Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tom Grundy not so end of year 2015 report

Tom Grundy 2015 + Year End Report

As usual I am a bit late for the end of the year. This year I have the excuse that I was traveling at the end of the year and then I just got busy/lazy when I got home. Also as usual if you want to be included in the mailing list for my not so accurately named year end reports then tell me.

I started off 2015 driving from Boston down to Florida ahead of a winter storm. In Miami I joined up with a group of YogaSlackers and friends and went on a cruise to the Bahamas. It was relatively short but we packed a lot of fun with slacklining over the ocean, beaches, snorkeling, touristing, and most importantly just hanging out with each other. Following the cruise and a few more days in Miami I headed west through the everglades to the west coast of Fl (fantastic bird photography opportunities) and then headed across the country (while getting sick) to Utah for the winter OR show. There we (Sam, Raquel, and I) decided to try to run an ultra (100K) trail run that summer – so we started running.

Back in Bishop I got back into climbing and bouldering as well as tried to continue running (really jogging) and some uphill biking to change things up. I  had some nice visits by friends. I also got back into the house project for the year – insulating the ceiling – a long slow process that along with whitewashing the roof did seem to help keep things cooler in the summer and warmer the next winter.

I explored a bit of Death Valley NP on my way to and from teaching slackline with Tom at the Red Rock Rendezvous near Vegas. I was privileged to get to join Liz and JD going up Mt Whitney for their summit wedding and then later in the Bay Area for part 2. Sadly my somewhat trusty steed (bicycle) The Sheriff was stolen from my front yard. Fortunately I was able to reconstitute my older bike.

This brings us to June and I was starting to run longer distances and add more elevation in the mountains. I slipped stowing my camera on the way up to Bishop Pass and hurt my wrist. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but due to slow healing and re-injuries it was still bothering me at the end of the year. Fortunately I could still run even if it was slowly. I did some cool big runs including to Pilot Knob, over Echo Col – Muir Pass- Lamarck Pass- and back to Sabrina, the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, and from Pine Creek through French Canyon plus a bit then back. These were mostly all day affairs in training for the ultra. Sometimes it seemed quite possible, other times out of reach.

In the second half of July I went to Wanderlust at Squaw Valley (a yoga music festival where I helped teach slackline and slackro) and to Lover's Leap for some climbing. Then another trip was down to San Diego to visit a bunch of friends and join in Paul's Slackpocalypse – walking as far as you could on a slackline in 8 hours. I managed 2.78 miles and was pretty beat down afterwards.

Then it was on to Utah for the Ultra. The Katcina Mosa 100K trail run was pretty brutal with a lot of elevation gain and loss. We started at 2 am and I felt ok 'til about Km 45 where things started to get unpleasant. I hit a low spot in the middle and walked for a while before being able to jog for the last 30K or so. I did manage to finish within the cutoff time (total time 20:03:11 for 100K or just over 62 miles). This was my first ultra and might be my last. Then we had the summer OR show and I returned immediately for the last 8 days of the Sierra Challenge. I don't think I was fully recovered from the ultra but I did manage to finish the 8 days I was there for plus a few bonus peaks.

Following the Sierra Challenge I packed up and drove to Bend to join a fun crew for Jason's 40th birthday trip down the Deschutes. We had up to 18 people in a wide variety of mostly packrafts. I stayed up in Bend for some more packraft fun plus competing in the 36 hour adventure race which we sort of finished (we finished, but skipped some of the checkpoints/activities at the end). I also had an all too short visit with Matt and Nandini in Portland.

In the end of September I left heading east. First I did some fun climbing in Red Rocks with Dawn (Frogland and Epinephrine) and then to Castle Valley for some photographic fun with Alf before heading to Estes Park to help teach slackline and climbing at the Yoga Journal Conference. I also got to highline up by Estes and then climb in Eldorado Canyon and a visit with Matt and Kristin in Colorado Springs before heading back west to Indian Creek and Mexican Hat for more climbing with Dawn and a stop in Flagstaff on the way home.

In Colorado I was encouraged to join a big overseas trip and decided there was no real reason I couldn't go, so I tried to finish up everything, get tickets, and pack for a few months of adventures. I left in mid November to join the YogaSlackersTAO trip (Tour of Asia and Oceania).

Hong Kong. Nov
The first stop was Hong Kong where I joined Sam and Raquel in a bit over a week of touristing, paddling, teaching acro, and rock climbing.

Thailand. Nov-Dec
We started in Bangkok before taking the train to Chiang Mai for some climbing and the YogaSlacker Thailand retreat. Then down to Koh Lanta with a bunch of people from the retreat for playing on the beach, slacklining, snorkeling, and deep water soloing. Then back to Bangkok for the acro convention and Star Wars in 4d.

New Caledonia. Dec-Jan
We got to New Caledonia just in time for a massive French Christmas Eve dinner. Then we went water and highlining, snorkeling, taught acro, and a trip up north for beach longlining and rock climbing. We returned on New Years Eve with multiple sobriety checks. Then we went to Ile des Pins for waterlines, snorkeling, caving, hiking, and other shenanigans.

New Zealand. Jan-Feb
After too long in airports and the air we started in Wanaka assembling our vehicles and crew. There we climbed, hiked, paddled, conditioned, caved, and otherwise touristed our way around the South Island before taking the ferry to the North Island for the Wanderlust Festival and more hiking and climbing.

Hawaii. Feb-Mar2
Here we stayed with Marshall and family on an army base. Adventures included paddling, boogie boarding, sand castles and other beach fun, rock climbing, hiking (Olomana and Koko Head), slacklining, acro jams, and hammocks. After Wanderlust on the North Shore (where we got to witness big waves and the Eddie Akau big wave contest) we did a little small wave surfing at Waikiki.

Then it was back to Bishop where my place was still standing. In all of those countries we got to sample lots of local food as well as the usual joys and frustrations of traveling with too many toys and electronics in new places with other people.

That is enough of a year to report on. As always I would like to thank the people that shared the adventures (especially Sam,  Raquel, and Nalumon) and brought in my mail and checked on my place (thank you Julie) so I didn't have to worry about it in my absence.

You can see some of my trip reports here:

and here:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Catching up a bit...

Spring has definitely sprung here in Bishop - that means the windy season and sometimes dust and my entryway filling up with flower petals - there are worse things in the world.

I finished up some of the YogaSlackerTAO trip reports... Here in stratigraphic order are Hawaii and New Zealand.

on top of Olomana first peak with Nalumon


on top of Tongariro

NewZealand North Island:

on top of a round rock

New Zealand South Island Pt 2:

pack rafting down the Hawea

New Zealand South Island Pt 1.

Back in Bishop it is time to get back in shape - climbing peaks, mountain biking, running, bouldering - the usual.

Julie jumps on top of Tungsten Peak

Julie on "French Press" - I finally sent this

this guy was on the Buttermilk Rd.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Red Rock Rendezvous 2016 plus

Once again I was teaching slacklining at the Red Rock Rendezvous with Tom Widdison. We set up the slack park on Friday and taught classes Sat and Sunday. We were joined by fellow YogaSlacker Nalumon who was a great help in setting up and taking down. As usual it was nice to catch up with some old and new friends there.

Nalumon tests out the rodeo line

sunrise is usually quite nice here - although I was hoping for some clouds

Nalumon slowly losing it in a timed lock-off - (she made 1:21)

getting ready for the Tom and Tom show

After the RRR we went Climbing on Monday before Tom had to head back to work. Nalumon and I did her first multipitch climb - Frogland on Tuesday. Things were a little more exciting than we wanted since we were behind a party of 3 and did the last pitch and the descent in the dark - still we have learned to bring headlamps so it wasn't that big of a deal. We did more sport climbing Wed and then hiked into Arizona hot springs for a relaxing overnight before I dropped her off at Caesar's Palace for a different Vegas experience.

Tom W belays Nalumon at Cannibal Crag

Nalumon way down below on Frogland

and almost to the end of the pitch

Nalumon at a belay

we topped out well after dark.

Nalumon took this pic of me leaping into the frigid Colorado R.

before jumping in herself

the ladder up to the hot springs on the hike out

The next day I got some library internet time and visited an Asian grocery store before driving back to Bishop in the rain.

Monday, March 14, 2016

New Zealand South Island

I am back home now, and have had time to write up trip reports for the YogaSlackers TAO  trip to the South Island of New Zealand...

Part I:

Part II:

meanwhile life goes on... After NZ it was a few weeks in Hawaii and then back to Bishop. Now I am getting ready to head to Texas... never a dull moment (well maybe some moments, but there is plenty to keep me busy).

and in case you are too lazy to follow the links, here is a teaser pic from Paynes Ford...

Climbing up "1080 to the G" at Paynes Ford, NZ - Nalumon took the pic

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Caledonia: YogaSlackers TAO trip country 3

Once again I will post this incomplete as it probably is. We are in NZ now, and internet isn't always available.

One of the reasons to visit New Caledonia was to see Charlotte - another YogaSlacker teacher who lives there. Since we were on that side of the world - why not? (in case you were wondering  New Caledonia is northwest of New Zealand and east of Australia and has strong ties to France). Charlotte did a ton of work planning and setting things up for our visit and her housemates put up with an invasion by 7 people and way too much stuff. Thanks everyone.

23-12-2015 (I am using the local date convention) We flew from Bangkok to Australia and then on to New Caledonia arriving in the evening to a Christmas Eve eve dinner. We were all pretty tired but I did my best to partake of all of the delicious dishes followed by a proper cheese platter and then deserts. I was exhausted and wasn't doing very well following the conversations in French and I crashed before the party was over.

24-12-15 we packed up and headed to a highlining spot. This was in the channel below the dam for lake Yate. We hiked in and set up the highline as well as a shorter water line. The highline was about 40 M long and maybe 15 - 20 high. People jumped off the one side into the water below and it was lower than some of the deep water soloing in Thailand. Still I was not at all ready to go leashless and just fall into the water (but Charlotte did pinch her nose when she fell on the highline even though she was leashed). I wasn't doing particularly well with the water line or the highline and fell off of both repeatedly although I did walk a bit farther on the waterline and the falls were less traumatic.

Charlotte goes for the nose pinch as she falls off the highline

A brief moment of balance before I plummet

Sam takes the ride

another brief moment of balance

Tony stands up on the highline

That night we had duck breasts cooked on the fire and camped out (in general the French influence increased the quality and expenses of our food here).

25-12-15 For Christmas we were joined by Gianni who brought out the Hala SUP for us to play with along with the waterline and highline. I did better on the waterline but probably worse on the highline this day. After a satisfyingly tiring day we packed up our toys and headed back to Noumea where we were joined by Nalumon who was unable to get on the earlier flight from Thailand.

Matt on the Hala SUP

Sam captured me getting a spide pic

It really was pretty scenic there

Charlotte and Tony re-rig the line

making up new SUP acro moves

26-12-15 We got up too early to get in some yoga before heading to the Capoeira studio to teach a weekend acro workshop.

a heap of acroyogis

28-12-15 todays mission is to snorkel and dive (for those certified). We headed out on a smallish boat through some bouncy waves to Amedee Island where we snorkeled 'til we got too cold. I saw a sea snake and a few turtles and plenty of coral and fish. Others saw a shark. The visibility was pretty good - at least until my mask got somewhat obscured. Then while the divers went and dove the rest of us hung out on the island. Most napped and I busted into a few coconuts and did another snorkel run where I was menaced by an aggro parrot fish. Then we headed out to try to find some manta rays. We dragged Charlotte around behind the boat a bit but didn't find any so we went to a shallow spot behind the reef and did another snorkel. The visibility was even better here. That night we picked up a rental car and had a most excellent dinner at Gianni's.

Sea Snake

Sea Turtle

menacing parrot fish

a colorful tridacnid - giant clam

there is a shark hiding there

2cd snorkel spot - pretty pretty

29-12-15 We pack up and head North in 2 vehicles. We went to a public camping beach near Poe. There we set up a few slacklines including one nearly 270 ft over a section of beach out to a mangrove tree. It was flapping pretty hard but a wind-dampener helped a lot. It took a few tries but eventually I was able to walk accross (nearly to the end) and back. I also took the SUP up a back stream where there were a lot of large land crabs behind the mangroves and fish in the water (that wasn't very clear). Once the tide came in it was a whole lot harder to walk the line - in fact nobody got very far over the water. That night the neighbors turned on a generator when it got dark and shot off a heap of fireworks later in the night before finally turning off the generator.

the peanut gallery and the waterline

Eric watches the line flap in the wind

and sits on it

30-12-15 The next morning there was some rain and a lot more wind. The long line was really flapping and the tide was coming in. It was a challenge just to stand up let alone walk more than a few steps. I also tried to use the SUP to surf the smallish waves that made it past the reef but didn't have much succcess. We packed stuff up in a windblown rain and headed N again. We stopped on the side of the road for a picnic lunch and then continued on up to Coumac where they let us stay in the campground even though they were closed for the night. We quickly jumped on a few climbs there. They were in limestone with little sharp inclusions. There was also a small cave here we checked out. That night there was quite a chorus of frogs as well as maybe a distant peacock. Some locals pulled in at some point in the night and talked to Eric for a while (he was in a hammock) and rushed my tent kicking out a stake. I don't know if they thought they knew us or were just being boisterous.

picnic spot off the road

31-12-15 I got everyone up early to get on a few climbs before we had to move. I still failed to get on the one steep line that looked good. We headed on to another climbing area - Notre Dame. There we climbed at the Jane wall for a while until some serious rain sent us to a more overhanging wall. There I did a one-fall ascent of a 7a cllimb and some steep fun lines as well as a very pumpy top rope on a long tree root growing from the roof down to the ground. I think it was about 20 or 25 M tall. That night we drove back to Noumea. This was a bit sketchy because we were scared the gas stations were going to be closed. I think Charlotte sweet talked us into one. Also there were a number of sobriety check points. We decided not to use our limited new French phrases that were useful but not cleared for polite company. I think the guys that made Sam take the breathalyzer couldn't believe that there were people who didn't drink. We did see and hear a lot of distant fireworks at midnight and when we got to Noumea close to 2 am there was a party across the street still going strong...

Charlotte climbs on the Jane Wall

Gianni heads up the tree root

Kristin's first lead

Hand to Hand is a lot easier with a toprope

near the top of the tree root route 

this gives a better perspective on the height of the root

looking up at the climbs

Nalumon on the "5a" that was really a 5c+

Nalumon climbs into the light at the top

1-1-16 This was a rest and recovery day with laundry, computer work, attempting to buy food for the next mission (most everything was closed though). Despite taking a ferry boat to Ile Des Pins we had a weight limit. We didn't know how hard it was, but took the time to pack things as best we could.

2-1-16 There was another too early morning to get to the ferry on time. There was quite an element of hurry up and wait. Eventually we got onto the ferry aided by the fact that they allowed us to have an aggregate weight and Matt's pack had a good bit of weight supported by the ground when they weighed it. They also didn't weigh our carry on bags so had we known we would have packed differently. Ile Des Pins looks like a stereotypical tropical paradise with super blue water, white beaches, and green hills. We lugged our stuff to the campground and set up before returning to a beach. There we played in the warm water and on the beach and with the paddleboard. It was possible to embed your legs into the sand past the knees by pumping them up and down on the shore. Then we played with leaning various directions.

3-1-16 This day we had a rental car to shuttle us about. First we went to a cave. This was relatively undeveloped (not really at all) and we swam in the crisp water to another room. Sam and Matt and Kristin explored a lot farther and got muddier. I played around with long exposure pics but gave up when another group arrived. Then on to Bay Gadji where we explored by paddleboard and packraft a bit and harvested a few coconuts. That night we took a longer than expected walk to take some night pics and explore.

the water in the cave got more muddy on the return
this was another entrance I would have liked to explore more

4-1-16 This day we had a mission. It involved getting permission and renting a kayak (and we were joined by Tito). Then we paddled and swam out about 1.5 K to an island with a little archipelago of sub-islands where we set up slack lines over the water. This was made more difficult and exciting by the fact that the islands were sharp and overhanging on all sides. Eventually the lines were set up and walked or at least attempted to be walked. The short one wasn't so hard, but the long one bouted us all after a few steps. Still it was a spectacular setting. Then we had the challenge of taking it all down and shuttling everyone back. There were a few mini- adventures along the way, but it was a success. We were a little scared the last 4 of us would be walking the 15 K back to camp but Charlotte and Alexandre came through and rescued us. That night in typical YogaSlacker fashion we decided to hike up to the highest point on the island for sunrise, and why start in the morning when you can go the night before and sleep on top? So 6 of us did that. It was quite hot and sweaty even in the dark until we cleared the treeline and got a breeze. There was even a little copse of trees on the summit for those with hammocks.

5-1-16 Of course there was a bit of rain at night, but we got up and to an overlook in time for a most excellent sunrise. Somewhere on the hike back down I lost my Sunski sunglasses.

overcooked fisheye in camera HDR of the sunrise

waiting for the sunrise

The rest of the morning we were all pretty beat and in the afternoon we walked to a private beach and ate coconuts and swam. I saw a lionfish but the snorkeling was frustrating because I needed to shave so my mask leaked.

a lionfish

That evening we went to Alexandre's for a ceremony to get permission to set up the water line (graciously they allowed us to do the waterline first). I had no idea really what to expect but as the oldest I was to be our spokesperson while Gianni translated. Basically I said how we had come from far away to do what we loved in this beautiful place and thanked them for allowing us (the island is all private property held by the pre-French natives). This was accompanied by traditional gifts of tobacco and cloth. Then we all had tea. We also got a small pile of fresh mangoes and were shown how to harvest coconuts with a long pole. While we were waiting before hand we set up a slackline and the kids tried it.

6-1-16 This was our last day. We took group pics and went to the private beach. Freshly shaved the snorkeling was a lot better and I saw a giant ray as well as some blue coral and plenty of fishes and floating rocks (pumice). Then we returned for a final shower and to walk to the ferry to return to Noumea. There was a fair bit of acro on the ferry as well as a nice sunset. That night I was up far too late packing and messing on the computer.

enacting our favorite French idiom "la tete dans le cul"

scenic scenery

Raquel and Sam play catch with his hat

7-1-16 Morning came far too early along with a trip to the airport. There we departed for more adventures in New Zealand.

the Noumea area from the air

and we are off to New Zealand