Archive for the ‘Los Angeles County’ Category

Malibu Creek With Climbing Legend Peter Croft

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Kevin and PeterSaturday night I had the pleasure to watch a slideshow and talk given by Peter Croft for the annual  Ventura County Search and Rescue All-Team Training Event.  (Kelly and I  were guests, Kelly is a former SAR member).  The presentation was powerful, with amazing photos of the High Sierra adventures Croft has focused much of his career on.  Lots of Epperson shots, and Peter talked about Greg’s ability to blend into the background, documenting the climbing without taking away from it.

We spoke briefly after the Q&A, but later that evening as we were catching up with folks, I approached Peter on impulse and invited him to climb in Malibu Creek with Kelly, Cliff and I.   He said: “I did bring climbing stuff…. How far away is it?”.  I left thinking that we might, just might be sharing a rope with climbing legend Peter Croft the next day.

Well, as you can deduce from the title of this post , I got a call the next day from Lieutenant Kevin Hartigan of Upper Ojai SAR (A local legend in his own right).  He and Peter were game to go!

I was excited! We rendezvoused nearby and caravanned down to the big city.   After some tricky routefinding on the 101 highway 😉 we reconvened at the trailhead and hiked in with some light rain.  The five of us (2 SAR members Kevin and Emily, Kelly, Peter and I) met with Cliff (Also a SAR member and Kelly’s climbing partner) and headed to The Ghetto (aka Little Europe).

Peter climbs in a deliberate and controlled manner,  a joy to watch.   He navigated Malibu’s confusing abundance of pockets confidently, no searching with the hands or feet. I could’ve watched him the whole time if I hadn’t been climbing and belaying.

Peter Croft climbing in Malibu Creek

All too soon, Peter had to leave for another speaking engagement.  He shook all of our hands and thanked us for our hospitality.  No, thank You Peter!

Peter Croft in Malibu Creek State Park

Peter Croft in Malibu Creek State Park

Unexpectedly Meeting Climbing Legend John Long

Monday, October 8th, 2012

John Long once emailed me about He said he liked the site and complimented me on some photos of Malibu Creek State Park. Once I got over the shock that a climbing legend and influential climbing author had found my website and bothered to email me, I wrote him back of course, feeling proud that my site had been so noticed. I’ve held that memory as a milestone in Rockgrrl’s history.

A year or so later I found John’s Facebook profile through a mutual friend and was flattered when he accepted my friend request; though, I have been too shy to comment on a lot of his posts.

I figured these brief connections, and maybe a chance word or two at some kind of climber or industry event, would be the closest I’d get to meeting John in person. This is why it was so great that I unexpectedly got to meet him yesterday!

Since I had just gone bouldering on Thursday I was thinking of skipping or postponing my Malibu Creek State Park Saturday climbing plans. Boy am I glad I didn’t!  K, Cliff and I went to the Ghetto area to climb and found it quite busy, taken over by a group. We went across the stream to some other climbs while waiting. Turns out John was at the wall with friends, talking about his daughters (who I knew a bit about because of Facebook posts). I tentatively approached him… why tentatively? Well besides the fact that he’s John Long, I once mistook someone at a party as John and struck up a confusing conversation with the person. I didn’t want that to happen again.

John Long and Me

John Long and Me

I prepared to clearly enunciate this time and asked, “Are you John?”

He said, “Yes” his face searching mine.

“I’m Eileen… Rockgrrl, you emailed me once a long time ago.”

Hi face relaxed, “Oh! Hi!”

“I’m also your friend on Facebook.” I nervously added in a rush, “It’s great to meet you in person!”

“Right, didn’t you get married?”

“Ya, that’s my husband over there in the white t-shirt”.

I followed up with some more nervous babble as we made our way across the small stream over to a climb K had just put up and I did introductions between him, John and Cliff.

Soon John Long was climbing with us. Frankly, I thought this was very surreal and I couldn’t stop grinning. Even now I felt nervous just typing that sentence.

John said he was still recovering from a dislocated shoulder, he’d injured it unicycling (something he’s been into for a while now) and he’d also not climbed in months. Watching him climb, you’d never have guessed any of the above.

My photo of John Long climbing at Malibu Creek. K is belaying

My photo of John Long climbing at Malibu Creek. K is belaying

After awhile, he turned to go back across the stream, I asked if I could get a picture with him.

“No,” he joked as he turned.

“Well I’ll just have to take it from you anyway then!” I grinned back.

My friend Cliff took the shot. I figured I’d ask if it was my last chance I’d see him that day. But it turns out we shared more routes and conversation throughout the day.

Me cleaning Johnny Can't Lead. Dave Katz, FA 1985 on it, is at bottom left

Me cleaning Johnny Can't Lead. Dave Katz, FA 1985 on it, is at bottom left

John was easy going and friendly with everyone, his voice carrying through the small canyon area talking about a variety of topics from Venezuelan politics to mainstream sports. He even solicited advice from me on photo file handling for an upcoming book he was writing. I also heard him telling his arriving friend –who turned out to be Dave Katz (another great climber and the person who developed many of the routes in Malibu Creek) — that “Rockgrrl is over there” which gave me another dose of surrealism.

I don’t know if it was adrenaline, good vibes, or what, but I climbed pretty well that day, despite having woken up feeling sleep deprived and sore in the morning. It was a blast to climb and talk about climbs with John and Dave. John and Dave put up many of our favorite routes in the park and Dave had FAs on some of the routes we were doing that very day!

I had my first try on the extended version of Kathmandu, which was a long overhung route rated 5.11. I did well on it; though, even doing it on top rope, I did have to hang to rest. Both John and Dave said the route was nearly a roof on top. Dave said it was the most overhung route in the whole park.

While we had a lot of fun in the Ghetto area (which was originally, Dave told us, named “Little Europe”) with John, Dave and the brightly colored group of climbing friends we had first seen upon arriving (they all decided to purchase funky running tights to climb in), we left for another climbing area, saying our good byes to all.

K and I were all still smiling from the experience as we scrambled away.

I’ve had the general good fortune to have found that many people whom I have admired from afar have been nice folks when I’ve met them in person. John’s definitely one of them! I am beginning to think though that this may not be the exception in the climbing world but perhaps the rule.

More photos from the day.

Red Rocks Tweetup Prequel – Video

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Weather forecasts were not our friends as we tried to plan for the Red Rocks Tweetup. With my friend Katie coming from Central California and with us still having about a five and a half hour drive to Red Rocks, we really didn’t want the sandstone rocks there to be too wet to climb on.

We decided to take one day to climb locally to help us decide what to do. It turned out great.

Prequel to Red Rocks Tweetup: Malibu Creek State Park from rockgrrl on Vimeo.

Mostly a scenic video of the day we spent climbing locally before taking off for Red Rocks. Rain was in the forecast (60% chance) so we were prepared to just be satisfied with a nice hike in, one climb and a hike out but we only got one drop & blue skies even came out in the end so we got a full day in!

Quick Shots – Echo Cliffs January 9, 2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Last Saturday I went out to one of the local crags, Echo Cliffs which is a cliff formation in the Santa Monica Mountain range. It was a beautiful day and had the added treat of being the second time I got to hang out with Teri, one of the climbers I know on Twitter. We climbed on and near Java Wall. As we had an odd number for our party this meant I got to take a few more pictures than I usually would on a climbing focused outing.

So here they are:

Note: You can see bigger versions of any of the pictures by clicking on the slideshow, it will take you to my portfolio website where you can continue to view the rest of the set as well.

Also, If you were one of the climbers in the pictures by clicking on a photo in the slideshow and going to my portfolio site, you will be able to download the picture for your personal use.