Posted by: doraandrew | November 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Hey everyone!

So we made it!

Gunks - We still love each other

Gunks - We still love each other

After a few days in Baltimore, just hanging out with Dom and Eliza, we took off to the Gunks! We got there on Thursday evening and Dom and Eliza met us on Friday. We climbed “High Exposure” a 5.6 classic which was super fun!

Gunks

Gunks

 

Andrew Leading P3 of High Exposure 5.6

Andrew Leading P3 of High Exposure 5.6

 

Dora Seconding with extra rope for Dom and Eliza

Dora Seconding with extra rope for Dom and Eliza

We were supposed to stay all weekend, but due to the sub-zero temperatures, we woke up on Saturday to some windy conditions, went to breakfast in New Paltz and headed on home!

We got in – with no porblems at the border – at around 6pm, just in time for our friend Cris’s b-day (slash our welcome home party :-))!

Dora opening front door, at last!

Dora opening front door, at last!

Thanks again everyone for all your support and for not forgetting us while we were away! I’m sure we’ll see you all individually in the coming weeks! I’ll be going back to work on the 9th of December and Andrew is beginning his job hunt. So hopefully we’ll get to see everyone soon!

Thanks again everyone, until next time!

Dora & Andrew

P.S. Let us know if anyone would be interested in us doing a slide show of our best pictures.

Trip Odometer: 24117 km

Posted by: doraandrew | November 19, 2008

World’s longest drive

So we’re finally in the eastern time zone… AT LAST!

We’re in Baltimore hanging out with Dom and his girlfriend Eliza! We left Vegas last Sunday under some threatening skies, the weather was calling for rain and cold temperatures so we got out of there and started our trek towards the East Coast.

Window Arches in Arches National Park

Window Arches in Arches National Park

First stop was supposed to be Indian Creek – but the weather was calling for snow, so we went and checked out Arches National Park instead. Really cool park with tons of cool arches. We did a few little walks to get a better view of the arches and continued on towards Colorado.

Where is Andrew? These Arches are freakin huge

Where is Andrew? These Arches are freakin huge

Snow covered tent again!

Snow covered tent again!

Oh Colorado… where the highway goes up to 11 000 feet… We found a nice and deserted state park to sleep in and woke up to 3cm of snow! It snowed pretty hard in Colorado and all commercial vehicles on the mountain pass had to have chains on their tires! It was pretty cool to see. We were surprised though because the roads were pretty clear and there was barely any snow accumulation on them! In Montreal, there would have been no fuss made about it.

Mountain Pass

Mountain Pass

Superman in Metropolis City (court house in back doubles as a fallout shelter)

Superman in Metropolis City (court house in back doubles as a fallout shelter)

Well as soon as we passed Colorado and said goodbye to the big mountains, we found ourselves in the flattest part of the country. The contrast was crazy! We stopped off in St. Louis, Missouri – which has the most awesomest library EVER! The city is pretty cool and there is the huge Gateway Arch which is much bigger in “person” than in picture! We hung out for a few hours and walked around the downtown area – question to stretch our legs after 3 days of driving!

From St. Louis we headed on out to Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves and did some awesome touring in the caves. They’re the world’s largest known cave system with over 365miles of known passages! It was pretty cool! We left there that afternoon and headed a little south and over to Red River Gorge – a really cool location for climbing that is “relatively” close to home – a mere 16 hours drive! We climbed on Friday and it was pretty good. Nice climbs that we both really enjoyed. On Friday night it rained all night. Our tent is not what it used to be anymore so we woke up in the middle of the night to readjust things around, but all in all nothing got wet – which is amazing after everything we’ve put that tent through!

Mammoth Caves

Mammoth Caves

So, being rained out of Red River Gorge meant we got to Baltimore sooner. So we got to Dom’s and Eliza’s on Saturday night and we climbed at the local crags on Sunday. Some very varied climbing between the two locations which was pretty cool!

Unsafe approach? Not with Dom our guide!

Unsafe approach? Not with Dom our guide!

Climbing the classic 5.10c slab on green moss

Climbing the classic 5.10c slab on green moss

Phil getting groomed at Doms place

Phil getting groomed at Doms place

Yesterday we headed in to DC and had an awesome time checking out the White House – from a distance – and all the memorials that are around. It’s a pretty cool city filled with crazy neo-classical architecture at every corner. We also checked out the Air and Space museum which is a must if you like that kind of thing!

Washington DC - Capital Hill (I am not a terrorist, I am not a terrorist...)

Washington DC - Capital Hill (I am not a terrorist, I am not a terrorist...)

Dora at safe distance from White House

Dora at safe distance from White House

We plan on spending tomorrow walking around Baltimore and then head on over to the Gunks for the weekend to climb… and that will be all folks. We will be home by Sunday or Monday!

See you all soon!

Andrew & Dora

Trip Odometer: 23015 km (about 5000 km in a week!)

Posted by: doraandrew | November 9, 2008

The fun, the dirty and the FABULOUS!

Hi all,

We made it back to Las Vegas in one piece after our fun time in mexico! So, by our title, you can see that we’ve done three different things: the fun (in Joshua Tree), the dirty (nasty-ass L.A.) and the Fabulous (MEXICO!)

Morning light from the top of cyclops eye

Morning light from the top of cyclops eye

So we left off in Vegas, and headed out to meet our friends Gretchen, Kristen and their lovely van ED, who

the girls dressed up for Halloween

the girls dressed up for Halloween

was great company for Baby Yaris. We got to Joshua Tree shortly before dusk. It’s an amazing place, and the drive there is super cool. We drove a little bit on route 66 and let me tell you folks, it’s barren. Very barren, there are tons of little abandoned towns here and there, and some “motor home colonies” in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea what those people do for water… or for a living. Joshua Tree is, well… full of Joshua trees! It’s super impressive to see, there are thousands of them, some over 500years old I’d think. The rock formations are super funky and if you let your imagination run wild, you’ll see all kinds of cool things in the rocks; skulls, poodles, ships! Very cool place. The following day we climbed with Gretchen and Kristen and a whole bunch of awesome people that were there. It was more on the social side rather than the climbing side, but we got in some cool routes! We also did some bouldering – this amazing traverse that is rated at 5.11+ which was great and tons of fun to work on.

Donald Duck

Donald Duck

On Halloween, we headed out to L.A…. that’s “the dirty” part of this post. It was nasty just driving into the city, there is a huge layer of well defined smog that lingers over L.A. The signs off the highway are full of grafities and you can barely see where you should get off… It was annoying. Regardless, we started off downtown, which is not so impressive. It’s all split up in districts. We headed first for some lunch in Little Tokyo which i must say was very nice! We then went to the toy district thinking it would be pretty cool to see, but low and behold, there are very little toys for kids, mostly adult toys… :O So we hopped in the car and went over to Hollywood. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime, because you could not pay me enough money to head back there. Tons of homeless, and no so glamour. We saw the Kodak theater, which looks better on TV Oscar night. We saw the Chinese theater which is nice, but nothing to write home about. So we headed over the Venice Beach – or Muscle Beach as some call it. It was nice and you get really nice views of the ocean, but again, full of homeless people. We cut our walk around Venice beach short as night was falling because it was sketchy. So that in a nutshell was LA! Now for the FABULOUS part :Mexico!

Star Princess (photo taken from our ship the Shappire Princess, this boat is a carbon copy of the shappire, so it made for a nice photo of "our boat")

Star Princess (photo taken from our ship the Shappire Princess, this boat is a carbon copy of the shappire, so it made for a nice photo of "our boat")

After packing our bags in a library parking lot, we headed over to the Cruise Terminal in San Pedro and got

our closest (cabin) with chocolate covered strawberries

our closest (cabin) with chocolate covered strawberries

on board about noon! Ship didn’t leave until 4:00, but hey, there were showers and food on board! Andrew’s dad met us on the ship and it was nice to have some company other than each other :) Our first two days were spent at sea. We went to a wine tasting, had amazing food, and sun bathed! In Puerto Vallarta we visited a Tequila factory, which was great, especially since it involved free tequila tasting! We were mighty happy after our 6shots of tequila :) In Mazatlan we did a fun walking tour of the Old Town and then headed over to a beach where Andrew got a very nice red tan! Our last port was Cabo San Lucas, which had a surreal beach on this little peninsula. The beach is called Lovers Beach, it was really nice and the water was very clear, nothing like the Caribbean, but super nice! So we hung out there the whole time in port!

Sapphire Princess - back of ship

Sapphire Princess - back of ship

 

dressed up for Formal Night

dressed up for Formal Night

 

Dora + Pirate

Dora + Parrot

 

Crazy diver (he missed the bottom rock face by less than a meter, very scary)

Crazy diver (he missed the bottom rock face by less than a meter, very scary)

 

Desert time?

Desert time?

 

Andrew before whip out

Andrew before whip out

 

Sapphire Princess

Sapphire Princess

Now, we’re back to the reality check… We drove from LA to Vegas yesterday and camped here last night. The weather is not so nice anymore, and it’s actually pretty cold. We’re starting to slowly make our way home, and should be back in a few weeks, it’s all so weather dependent… As there are a few places we want to visit and a few places we want to climb in. So we aren’t sure if this is our last post before home or if there will be another. Who knows! Thanks all for all your inputs, comments and visits (from some of you)! We’ve met awesome people throughout the trip and it’s really been an amazing experience for both Andrew and I.

Until then!

Dora & Andrew

P.S. The straight line home path: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&saddr=Las+Vegas,+NV&daddr=montreal,+QC&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.768112,56.25&ie=UTF8&ll=40.913513,-94.394531&spn=33.996668,56.25&z=4 We are going a bit of a longer way though… damn that’s far!

Trip Odometer: 18061 km

Posted by: doraandrew | October 29, 2008

Bryce and the low waters of Hoover Dam

Oh at last friends, with this post we’ll be up to date!

So, BRYCE!

Bryce! Check out all the Hoodoos

Bryce! Check out all the Hoodoos

 

Hoodoos up close (well still quite far away)

Hoodoos up close (well still quite far away)

What can I say. It’s an amazing place to see and to be. Truly funky and totally spectacular. We got there on

Driving through tunnel on our way to Bryce

Driving through tunnel on our way to Bryce

 Sunday mid-day and took drove up and down the canyon road checking out the cool views all around. Neither of us were feeling up to much as we had had some mr. noodles with a can of veggies for lunch and some Parmesan for extra flavour… it did not sit so well with either of us :( We mainly hung out and ogled at the hundreds of hoodoos all around us. We did a short 2.6mile hike – which for me was more of a run in search of a bathroom – from one view point to the other. There are really no words to describe Bryce, even the pictures don’t do it justice. It’s just this amazing place that everyone should see. I’ll leave it at that.

Dora and I

Dora and I

 

Andrew on top of Hoodoo

Andrew on top of Hoodoo

 Monday, we did a short 3mile hike that descends amongst the hoodoos and goes right through some of them. It was pretty cool! It was short and sweet, as we wanted to get back into Vegas before dark and we also wanted to check on the water levels of Hoover Dam.

Down below...

Down below...

 

Hoover Dam with the shadow of a new bridge construction

Hoover Dam with the shadow of a new bridge construction

 

Dam intakes

Dam intakes

 

Reservoir

Reservoir

We drove right along Lake Mead and the water level is pretty low (100 feet below FULL); Hoover Dam’s not much better either. The water level looks super low – yet the fountains at the Bellagio go every half hour, and the golf courses are a lush green :) We really got to see Hoover Dam this time around, as last time we were here it was getting dark by the time we got to it and there are no pedestrians allowed after dark, so it was nice to be able to see it and marvel at the engineering feet that it is.

New Bridge spanning the canyon

New Bridge spanning the canyon

 

Workers being crained out of there

Workers being crained out of there

 

The span...

The span...

On our drive to Vegas we did some math and figured if we could get a cheap hotel room on the strip we should do it. We were in dire need of showers and that was going to cost us about 10$, plus the camping, so we put our budget at 35$ for a room and hoped for the best. Well Expedia came through for us and we spent last night at the Imperial Palace. It was super nice to have showers and to be able to take as long as we want in them, not fearing that the time will run out with soap still in my hair. But i must admit we did miss our tent. Neither of us slept as well as we thought we would… a bed is a huge change after a few months of thermarest :)

The day of Tuesday was spent blogging away and running errands. We’re heading out to Joshua Tree to climb there for a day… i say A day because the rock there is super abrasive, so i don’t know that our hands will want more torture than necessary. Then off to Los Angeles for Halloween and then on Saturday we’ll be saying au revoir to the States and ola to Mexico!!!

Keep your comments coming  – and thank you Annie, as you would say, i guess Mt Whitney was a pregnant-hiking-day for me! We’ll be back in touch after the cruise!

Dora & Andrew

Trip Odometer: 16714 km

Posted by: doraandrew | October 29, 2008

Zion! second time around

Hey all,

So after our phenomenal breakfast with Vlad we headed on out to Zion. We had been there two years ago when we came out here, we thought the place was just breathtaking, so we figured if ever we’d come back out here, we’d have to go and spend a bit more time there. Most things were closed when we were here last as it was January…

Zion was amazing. Andrew wanted to do a big wall there, solo, all on his own. There are tons of climbing technicalities that i could insert here about how he climbs alone and sets up all his gear so he doesn’t die, but i won’t… for those of you interested in it, you can ask Andrew! There were a bunch of hikes that i wanted to do in Zion as well and we even thought about doing some canyoneering, but that didn’t quite work out as we needed to rent wetsuits…

Prodigal Sun 5.8 C2

Prodigal Sun 5.8 C2

 

Getting across the river

Getting across the river

 

Aid-Solo Climbing!

Aid-Solo Climbing!

 

Crappy Ledge - Yes I slept on that, well not really... rested on that for 12 hours

Crappy Ledge - Yes I slept on that, well not really... rested on that for 12 hours

 

Standing on ledge?

Standing on ledge?

We got there on Tuesday and on Wednesday mid-day i dropped Andrew off – well the Zion shuttle system dropped him off – at his climb: “Prodigal Sons” which is a 5.5C1, or a 5.6C2, or a 5.8C1, or a 5.8C2… all depending on where you look. Andrew decided to sleep on the wall and do the 11pitches over 2 days. This was going to be the longest we had ever been appart throughout our trip! Ahhh, at last ;) 

 

Morning view from top of Pitch 5

Morning view from top of Pitch 5

 

Looking down

Looking down

 

Half way through jugging pitch 10 after I did the Pendelum (you can see the lower out piece in the bottom right side of the picture)

Half way through jugging pitch 10 after I did the Pendelum (you can see the lower out piece in the bottom right side of the picture)

 

Prodigal Sun - Looking down (you can see a slow party below me 2.5 pitches below)

Prodigal Sun - Looking down (you can see a slow party below me 2.5 pitches below)

 

Me on pitch 10 (thanks Dora for the photos!)

Me on pitch 10 (thanks Dora for the photos!)

 So while Andrew inched his way up the wall, i went and did some hiking! It was nice to be able to hike alone, but at the same time, i missed Andrew’s sad attempts at trying to agree with me when i marveled at the changing colours of the trees and the cool shapes of the rocks. The usual on-the-trail-conversation goes something like this: me: “Isn’t that tree just awesome looking? Check out the rock shape! How cool is that?!?” Andrew: “Yep…”  After my night alone and Andrew’s crappy night on the wall (i later found out he slept on a small slanting towards the outside of the wall ledge, with his feet dangling over the edge) I met our next tent neighbour who invited me over for some coffee and i could not resist! Bruno is from San Francisco and makes EXCELLENT wine! Him and I hiked together in the afternoon as i went to meet Andrew at the top of his climb and help him carry some of his things down.

Pitch 11 5.Chimney, nothing like self belaying on a chimney

Pitch 11 5.Chimney, nothing like self belaying on a chimney

 

Meeting Dora on top

Meeting Dora on top, it took me 14 hours of climbing and one night on the wall. The party below me spent 2 nights on the wall.

 

Dora the professional bin compactor

Dora the professional bin compactor

Bruno spoiled us with rizzuto, tuna, veggies and wine for dinner! We were extatic needless to say, especially Andrew who had had a pretty hard two days, but he made it out and said it was Type 2 fun - fun in hindsight :) I must say though that he was moving up that wall pretty fast compared to some of the other two man teams that were on the same climb as him. It was impressive to watch!

Hiking Obervation Point

Hiking Obervation Point

 

The rest of our time in Zion was spent hiking and doing laundry. We hiked “Observation Point” which gave us a super nice view of the whole Zion valley with the Virgin river going through it! As a matter of fact, the picture that we have as a setting at the top of our blog – our “Ansle Adams wannabe picture” – that was taken in Zion two years ago! We also hiked through “Hidden Canyon” which was mighty cool!
The Dora looking over her relm

The Dora looking over her relm

 

No more dish washing!

No more dish washing!

From Zion, we decided to go over and check out Bryce Canyon. That was a little impromptu. When i was hiking on my own, some people said that Bryce was very different and nice and totally worth checking out. So on the 26th of October, just this past Sunday, we headed out to Bryce to see what the views were like there!

Anyone know what this thing is?

Anyone know what this thing is?

More in the next post, which will hopefully be tomorrow and then we’ll be all up to date. No more of this catching-up business :)

Dora and Andrew

Trip Odometer: 16036 km

Posted by: doraandrew | October 28, 2008

Red Rocks and epileptic Vegas lights!

Hey all,

So we left off with getting snowed in at Whitney! Well we fled there at a million miles per second and drove

Andrew chillin in the sand after leaving the snow

Andrew chillin in the sand after leaving the snow

 through Death Valley. I must say i was super excited because i though we would see the skeletons of dead cows – you know like you see in movies – but low and behold, no skeletons, and no cows, just a lot of desert, which was a nice change from the mountains. We even got to hang out on some sand dunes and waste some time just enjoying the heat. Let me tell you folks, it was short lived.

Below sea level?

Below sea level?

 

Andrew leading crux pitch of Birdland

Andrew leading crux pitch of Birdland

We got to Red Rocks in the afternoon, it’s just outside Las Vegas, and by just outside, i mean we have permanent light courtesy of the Luxor and the rest of the Vegas Strip at our campground! We couldn’t find a site so we asked two guys if it was okthat we share with them, turns out one of them is a mountain guide from Italy – now we have a good reason to go there :) Well imagine this, we’ve got our hats on and our winter jackets on IN THE DESERT because it’s cold. And to add insult to injury, we see a few flurries come down… So we spent the next two days updating the blog and waiting for the weather to heat up while dreaming of hot places. This prompted us to go to a travel agency and see if we can get any cheap deals on going south, where heat would be assured. Well folks, we’ll be off to Mexico on November 1st, on a cruise with Princess cruises – which was wayyyy cheaper than an all inclusive. We’re leaving from L.A. and will be returning to L.A. on the 8th of November, from there we’ll slowly make our way back home. We’re in no rush keep in mind!

Dora top roping a 5.10b/c

Dora top roping a 5.10b/c

 

Andrew topping out on a 5.10d in the Black Corridor

Andrew topping out on a 5.10d in the Black Corridor

Well, it finally warmed up on Tuesday and we headed out and did some climbing. We settled for some short classics while we were there. We did “Birdland” on our first day, a 4 pitch classic 5.8+. Well after climbing so many cracks, my transition to face climbing was quite scary, especially on the “this-thig-is-so-not-going-to-hold-my-body-weight-and-will-so-pop” sand stone of Red Rocks. But the climb was very nice! The following day we headed out and did “Dark Shadows”, a super nice 5.8 on some slick black rock. I must say that it was not all that it was made up to be for me, but Andrew and the rest of the people we spoke with really enjoyed it!

Huge spiders????

Huge spiders????

 

Beautiful sunset on the top of the car

Beautiful sunset on the top of the car

 In the afternoon we headed out to do some one pitch short climbs. We got to the climbs, one of which was called “Topless Twins” and we didn’t do it :( but there was a whole crowd of people there that had top ropes set up on a bunch of climbs. They invited us to use their ropes and climb as we liked. Well after some talking, turns out that one of the guys was the person who actually put up the climb Topless Twins. People call him “The Dean” of Red Rocks because he has put up more than 300routes and he knows the description or beta to prettymuch any climb in Red Rocks. So needless to say it was super cool to get to climb and hang out with him!

That night we met Gretchen, Kristen and Brian how were camping close by. We pretty much ended up hanging out with them for our whole time in Red Rocks. We went and climbed in the Black Corridor, which has tons of cool sport climbs and Andrew got to flash several sport 5.10d’s, and after a rest day (spent walking around the Vegas strip), we went to the Ragged Edges area and climbed there. On Sunday (Oct. 19), which was our last day of climbing in Red Rocks we went and did Lotta Balls and Black Magic, two 5.8 climbs, 3 pitches and 4pitches respectively. We ended our day with a nice single pitch 5.8 climb that was quite awesome!

Dora seconding on Lotta Balls 5.8

Dora seconding on Lotta Balls 5.8

 

Black Magic 5.8 yet another 5.8 overhanging pitch

Black Magic 5.8 yet another 5.8 overhanging pitch

That night we hung out at Brian’s Hilton suite! Brian was actually on a business trip and his company put him up on a super stupendous room at the Hilton! We got to take showers and hang out watching movies until midnight – way passed our usual 9pm bed time.

Turns out that after not having any visitors from home on our whole trip, we got two days of visitors in a

Lemy and Andrej in vegas

Lemy and Andrej in vegas

row! On Monday, we spent most of the day with Lemy and Andrej that flew down to see Vegas (well i think they came to see us :) ) and the Grand Canyon. It was super nice to see them and to hang out and catch up! On Monday night, our friend Vlad flew in for the week and we had an awesome breakfast with him on Tuesday morning. We checked out M&M World which was crazy fun and then i took the MGM casino by storm. That’s right folks, Lemy& Andrej got us on gambling – at the penny slots that is! So on our way out to our car, i decided to give Vegas another 1$. Well, i left with 2.38$ – i totally took the MGM by storm!

Vlad and Dora in the M&M store (4 story store)

Vlad and Dora in the M&M store (4 story store)

So on Tuesday afternoon the 21st of October, we head out to Zion, for some hiking and potential climbing for Andrew! But all of that will be yet another post!

Stay tuned folks, more sandstone adventures coming soon!

Dora & Andrew

 ps: we have managed to resist the temptation of getting married in Vegas, for all those of you who keep asking! We decided instead to spend the money on a buffet :) (But we are headed back that way….)

Added: Turns out we are famous, some people that we had just met posted our pictures on there flicker account scroll down a bit to find them: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spktiet/sets/72157608434600678/ 

Trip Odometer: 16036 km

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