Trip Report
Days of Oatmeal on Cardboard (Alabama Hills TR)
Tuesday March 26, 2013 2:33pm
The Days of Oatmeal on Cardboard

Prologue
Gotta climb gotta climb gotta climb gotta climb OUTSIDE!

Valley? No – need something new.

How about Alabama Hills? Only been there once. Can’t really remember much about it.

Day One – The Fix

P: “How’s this for a plan – we drive out in the RV pulling the tow car, and then leave the RV over there so I can use it for Death Valley when Kate comes to visit, and drive back to the Bay Area in the Subaru?”

Road trip book on CD, Harry Bosch! My favorite angst-ridden, loner LA police detective. Always gets his insane murderer in the end, usually after he, one of his partners, one of his lovers, or a dirty cop gets shot along the way.

P: “I think my goal for this trip is to climb every route in the Alabama Hills.” M: “That’s a pretty interesting goal.” P: “Well, maybe there are some routes I can’t climb, but I’m going to do as much as I can.”

4:30 PM “We’re here!

the cushy bivy
the cushy bivy
Credit: phylp

Let’s go climb a few pitches before the sun sets! What’s the closest place we can go?” Ahhhhh, five quick pitches at Arizona Tower. Got my first outside fix of 2013. Feels very good.

Not sure what this is!
Not sure what this is!
Credit: phylp

Day Two – Quantity

Twelve pitches at the Corridors.

The Corridors
The Corridors
Credit: phylp

The rock is a little spooky, like the description in the guidebook “oatmeal on cardboard”. I dial back on my expectation of what I’m willing to lead on this trip. Falling on this stuff could be like sliding over a cheese grater. An older climber with longish white hair who looks like an apostle wandering the desert, comes over to give us a gift of booty, an ATC he found in the brush. The twelfth route of the day is over 100 feet long. I somehow drop my own ATC from the belay. Must be something in the air. Anyway it’s a sign that it’s time to wrap it up for the day.

Tonight’s movie is “The Imposters”, an old comedy by Stanley Tucci, which I ordered by accident when I meant to get “The Imposter”, a recent documentary. We’re glad for the mistake – the movie is very funny slapstick with a great cast.

Day Three – Quality

On the drive in we see the Apostle picking up roadside trash and stop to say hello. He gives us his blessing in the form of a nice handout on letting go of brain chatter and the illusion of the ego.

Today we aim for highly starred routes and do a total of eight fine quality routes at Tall Wall, Hoodgie Wall and Sharks Fin. Murcy does an extra route which I decline because my toes are in screaming pain from my too tight shoes. Why oh why did I bring this particular pair? At least the rock quality is much better today.

This is not a picture of a giant bat.  It's Murcy on something on the ...
This is not a picture of a giant bat. It's Murcy on something on the Shark's Fin
Credit: phylp


This evening we watch Dave Birkett “Set in Stone” for the evening entertainment. Is it inspiring or terrifying to watch someone lead E9 6B on marginal gear?

Day Four – The longest routes

Back at Hoodgie Wall so I can start on “Ankles Away”, which I missed yesterday. What a beautiful route. The rock is almost … rock-like! Then a couple more pretty routes on Truffle Tower and off for the long approach to The Loaf. Man, it’s brutal. Must take at least five minutes and gain 30 feet in elevation.

The routes at the Loaf are beautiful and long for clip-ups – about 160 feet with double rope rappels. Then it’s time for a break and lunch… whence I fall asleep from exhaustion. So much for climbing every route at Alabama Hills. I’m about done. I offer to belay Murcy on a few more routes but he’s easy and instead we go for a walk to the arch and check out Alabama Dome for a future trip.

On the walk to the arch
On the walk to the arch
Credit: phylp

For dinner we eat a fine buffet composed of the previous three nights of leftovers, made perfect with a bottle of Zin. To wind down from the mental stress of four days of clipping bolts set body-length apart, we watch the video “Committed”, about Gritstone headpointing and x-rated onsights. All is right with the world.

We wanted to check out the routes at the Portal but the road was still...
We wanted to check out the routes at the Portal but the road was still closed.
Credit: phylp

Day Five – Satisfaction

We feel happy. We drive home through a dense fog interlude at Tehatchapi and a stop for spicy hot tacos in Bakersfield.

When’s the next trip?!?

Credit: phylp

  Trip Report Views: 1,284
phylp
About the Author
phylp will climb anything (as long as it's not wide), anywhere (as long as she can get a hot shower at the end of the day), anytime (as long as it's not too hot or too cold).

Comments
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SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Mar 26, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
Phyl...wonderful TR. what a neat choice to head to Alabama Hills! Love your adventuresome set up with your rig! And another Harry Bosch fan, yep Mr. Angst Ridden. Great movie selection too. Man, you got a lot of climbing in...spectacular!
Hope to catch up to you soon when we're back in the Bay Area.

Thanks again for the share....good climbing stuff...spring certainly is here!

Susan.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Mar 26, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
Awesome, can't wait to get out there this year, love that area. Thanks for stoking the fire with this TR. Glad you guys had a good time.
Roots

Mountain climber
Tustin, CA
  Mar 26, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
stoking the stoke indeed...thank you..looking to get back there very soon : )
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Mar 26, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
A more gorgeous area exists,, somewhere..maybe...maybe knott! Nice Trip!
Myles Moser

climber
Lone Pine, Ca
  Mar 26, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! For home!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Mar 26, 2013 - 04:05pm PT
Nice place no.

Lots of Super Tacos hanging out at the Hills.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 26, 2013 - 04:57pm PT
Thank you for posting. Love that area, especially what is higher up there! :)
10b4me

climber
  Mar 26, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
I enjoy climbing at AH. haven't been in a couple of years.
I found the ratings to be all over the place, (some soft, others a sandbag) on the AT
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Mar 26, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
Luv da choss!
this just in

climber
north fork
  Mar 26, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
Always drive right past AH, one day I will make it. Looks like a great trip you two had. Thanks for the TR.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Mar 26, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Nice.....Spring is in the air!
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 26, 2013 - 06:23pm PT


thanks:
I will get out this spring
I will get out this spring
I will get out this spring.
splitter

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
  Mar 26, 2013 - 06:42pm PT
Thanks for stoking the fire with this TR.
My sentiments, precisely!

Although I haven't been there in close to two decades, the AH & vicinity are one of my very favorite places & they are gonna be stop #1 on my upcoming 'extended' road trip. I'm glad that you decided to choose them.

Regarding "the next trip", we'll be looking forward to the TR!

BTW, "The Days of Oatmeal on Cardboard", great title for your TR! & YIKES, that definition does make it sound as if, like a "cheese grater", it cud do some major gratin' on ones b'hind! ;)
MH2

climber
  Mar 26, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
We wanted to check out the routes at the Portal but the road was still closed.


Doesn't look like too much of a walk.

But you did spend a few good days, sounds like.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Mar 26, 2013 - 06:47pm PT

Wow, you've just left me in envy, Phyl!
Wuz gonna go to Colorado National Monument, but
the weather turned to 'springtime in the Rockies,'
so I'm working around the house.
This sure helped!!!!
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Mar 26, 2013 - 07:01pm PT
Dig PhylP. She goes in style.....Nice!
Groovin' on your TR, Lady.
Woot!!4!!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Mar 26, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
So the "Alabama Hills" are not in Alabama, but in California? Hmmm. Then where are the California Hills?
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 26, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
Glad to provide a bit'o'entertainment for the Forum readers. I hope I succeeded in making up for the lack of climbing shots with some humor. I'm always amazed at the TRs of folks like Vitaly, Micronut, Ed H, etc. who manage to climb or belay and hold a camera at the same time and end up with great photos to share.

MH, this is only my second time in the Lone Pine area, and I've never been up to the Portal area. The road was closed about 5 miles up and according to my guidebook the trailheads are at around 11 miles up. But there was very little snow and I think people were riding their bikes up the road.
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Mar 26, 2013 - 09:13pm PT
I think the California Hills are in Minnesota, or Maybe North Dakota.
Gotta keep 'em guessing!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 26, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
Awesome!!!
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Credit: murcy

There are some pretty fun lines of consistent, cruiser, well-protected climbing. Props to the developers.
thudge

climber
CO
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
I like your sense of adventure!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
Right on phylp.
kennyt

Trad climber
Oregon
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
Where is the "cushy bivy"? I'd like to take the trailer loaded up with the fam.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
Cool trip!
Thanks for sharing.
Tad
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Where is the "cushy bivy"? I'd like to take the trailer loaded up with the fam.

http://www.bouldercreekrvresort.com/

Well run with all the whistles and bells.
kennyt

Trad climber
Oregon
  Mar 26, 2013 - 11:41pm PT
Thanks, Murcy.
Bronwyn

Trad climber
Not of This World
  Mar 27, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Love the Hills. Never a bad day there!

And the motorhome!!!

Thanks for sharing! Whets the appetite for a return...SOON!
harpo

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
  Mar 28, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
Did u use "bishop area rock climbs" croft and Lewis, by Eastern Sierra Climbing Guides? Were all the routes u did in that book? Did u get info anywhere else?

I drive past the ah's a coue of times a year and want to stop there more often.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Mar 28, 2013 - 12:41pm PT

So the "Alabama Hills" are not in Alabama, but in California? Hmmm. Then where are the California Hills?

I was going to say Alabama, in the hopes of inter-state diplomacy, but honestly I don't think the Alabamans would have anything associated with black beans and avocados in their neck of the world.

Not too late! Just find some rock in Alabama first!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Mar 28, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Nice work phylp! Thanks for the write up! Oatmeal on cardboard eh? Sounds interesting to say the least! Nice digs! Jealous!!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Mar 28, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
Killer Phylp! Such a scenic place, only ever did shark fin on the way down from the portal once but a real pretty area to hang out. Your report was great, way to get that mileage!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 28, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Did u use "bishop area rock climbs" croft and Lewis, by Eastern Sierra Climbing Guides? Were all the routes u did in that book? Did u get info anywhere else?


Hey, Harpo - yes, that is the guidebook we used. It's soooo easy to find everything, the maps to the areas are very detailed, and everything is so close. And the photos of the crags make them very simple to identify.

Phyl
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
  Mar 28, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
thanks for the report. Which Bosh book?
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 28, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
Mr. Trophy, My habit when I find something I enjoy is to do the whole series from start to finish. I think with Bosch I started when I picked up "The Narrows" and I liked that so I went back to the first of the series and I'm working my way through. On this trip we listened to "The Overlook" but I already have "The Brass Verdict" checked out for my road trip with my niece next week.

I usually have a couple of series going at once. I'm also catching up with the Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbo and the "Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid" series. Very different moods. I'm up to the latest of the "Lucas Davenport" Prey series and I love those despite how gruesomely gorey they are. I get everything free from our public library system!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Mar 28, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Nice summation:

"Satisfaction

We feel happy. We drive home....

When’s the next trip?!?"
jogill

climber
Colorado
  Mar 28, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
I think the Alabama Hills were named by a group of southerners who migrated west either during or after the civil war.

I love the place. I don't climb anymore, but I really enjoy scrambling between the boulders and the outcrops, going up and down. Great exercise!
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