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[TR] jtree for xmas - too many to count 12/20/2013

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Trip: jtree for xmas - too many to count


Date: 12/20/2013


Trip Report:

I took my annual trip to Jtree. I've had several people ask me where my tr was. I got busy at work...but things have finally slowed down enough to post. I have a new full frame Canon 6D now, so the pictures are better than ever. Who knew a full frame sensor could make such a difference?


My wife and Craig came down as usual, along with some other Seattle friends. Honestly, you don't need to go down with a partner...it's super easy to find partners in jtree. Walk around the campground, they are everywhere.


Without further ado, here they are. I will be brief with my comments as I am supposed to be working this rainy Saturday.


Just like last year, I had no partner initially, and a sucky campspot (Jumbo Rocks), so I painted for a few days as I watched for an open spot in Hidden Valley.


Sorry about the size of these images. I make them 1920 for video includes, or Facebook...but this website has sidebar columns which cramp them.




Intersection Rock. As I was working on this painting, I saw John G. from last year while leaving my car. I told him about my troubles finding a campspot closer than Jumb. He pedaled over an hour later to my easel at Intersection.


"Dude, I got you hooked up! You can share a spot with my buddy in site 6, but you have to decorate the Secret Santa box, like, with a drawing, or something?"


Who says art doesn't pay?


I did a quick sketch of Chimney Rock and I had a spot! This is my new painting of Intersection Rock, which I've not painted before.




This is Des, she started and owns: http://seattlesalads.com/

We are on Godzilla meets Bambi 5.9, a great long hand crack on the back shady side of Echo rock.





We may have drank some Jamesons the night before:




Hanging out in the desert, weather was perfect this year. Craig, Vlad, Des and my wife Sue




Sue following Double Dip. She loves that climb,but I hate to lead it because I'm alway rusty at friction. I was looking down at the 25 foot runnout thinking "She owes me for this!".




Des and Vlad:





Sport climbs at Indian Cove:




John G. and Tanner. Getting the party "rolling".



Met a great guy from Seattle after I stopped painting named Dave B. We climbed together for two days unti my wife showed up.


Dave following first pitch of Bird on a wire, 9+. The second pitch has a scary crux right off the hanging belay. I was looking up at Dave thinking:"factor two fall!" but he got through it.







Dave on Hobbit Roof:




Lolo following hands off:



Lolo following Toe Jam:



Aaron about to follow La Reina 5.9



Tanner on Sexy Grandma 5.9, love this route! Tanner and John free soloed all over Intersection Rock, even above left Ski Track, to the top. As casual as if it was a root trail.











We made two night time hikes through the Chasm of Doom. I've noticed it's harder to find when you do it after a few drinks:










in the Chasm, at midnight:




The hardest routes I did this year were:

Fisticuffs, onsite lead 10b...super fun splitter

Rollerball 10b-ish - followed Craig up that one, wow, not sure I could have led it.


My friends are still down there living the life...





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So good! Fantastic images as usual Mark.


So, you are pretty happy with the 6D I take it? A full frame sensor has been on my list for years, and it looks like the prices are finally starting to come down. Your images are a good argument for the upgrade, that's for sure!


Did you get any new glass to go along with it? What's your go-to with the new body?

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Yes, the images are noticeably better than my old 7D, which I sold after a year for $800. I didn't think a full frame sensor would make as much difference as it did...quite remarkable.


I had already purchased the canon 24-105L lens last year, and it was great on the 7D. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/397662-USA/Canon_0344B002AA_24_105mm_f_4L_IS_USM.html


But when I put that lens on the 6D, because of the whole crop factor sensor thing, it went from a nice lens, to a perfect lens for rock climbing. 24mm becomes wide angle on a full frame sensor, so now I can shoot my partner on the ledge, and get them all in the frame. I have less magnification out at 105, but I don't miss it.


That lens is also 4.0 throughout the zoom range, so you get nice bokeh at any zoom...and it is almost all metal...very little plastic.


Those two together can shoot almost anything. Night sensitivity is amazing. I can shoot at up to 6000 iso with zero noise...or, low enough noise that it is easily fixed in Adobe camera raw.


The only negative is the weight. I lead up to 9 with it on...training weight! When I do something harder and take it off, I feel a lot lighter.



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In talking with Scurlock and others, the 24-105 is a pretty well regarded lens. Good to know that you find it satisfying as well!


Now just to convince the finance minister.... It may take some time, but I will one day shoot with a full frame sensor!


Thanks for the detail on your set up Mark, very appreciated.

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Mark, those photos are stunning and I second Jason's thanks on the equipment gouge. I have yet to jump into the digital age of SLRs…still shooting on antiquated film…although not hardly in any quantity anymore. Good glass makes the photo for sure. These days, I just end up grabbing the point-n-shoot and throw it in my pocket. Someday…I'll own a nice DSLR…someday…


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I lead up to 9 with it on...training weight! When I do something harder and take it off, I feel a lot lighter.

Mark, I love the photos, they are really superb. Thanks for taking the time to share them. How do you carry the camera as you climb? I haven't tried real hard to find a good way but what I have tried hasn't worked out very well.

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I've gone through a series of padded camera bags over the years. Climbing is really hard on them, especially when you drag them up chimneys like Orphan, 5.9 jtree, or Battered Sandwich at Index...you are lucky to get two years out of one. I've been known to paint liquid rubber tool dip on the bottom to make them last longer.

This is my current one...or it may be a variation with a longer nose. I have a lens flare shield thingy on the end, and it makes the lens pretty long.



I am working up plans to make one from scratch, I plan to have full grain leather on the bottom, which is where they always wear through.


The key thing on a camera bag for climbing is to have two straps, a waist strap, and a shoulder strap. I tied 9/16 climbing webbing through the steel ring attachment points on the bag for the shoulder strap. So that can't come unsnapped...it's tied in with water knots. Also, you need both a zipper, and a snap closure. Double security.


The waist strap got upgraded to full seat belt width webbing, with a snap buckle. That way you can take your shirt/coat off on a ledge, while keeping at least one strap on your body.


But leading with a big DSLR camera is a different mind set. You can't push your limits with a big rack, and a big camera. But I enjoy photography so much...it's worth it to me.


I have compromised a few times by climbing with a smaller cheaper lighter lens... smaller bag, and awesome bokeh:




I also have a nice point and shoot for really hard leads, they are getting better all the time. The lack of control always irritates me though. I guess I'm spoiled by good tools.

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Sounds like a good system!


Your camera setup paired with a P&S like THIS would allow for pretty comprehensive coverage of almost any climb. My current P&S (el cheapo Elph) doesn't allow for RAW or Av, which I really miss.

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Cool, thanks for the reply. I currently have a pretty similar lowepro bag which I can rig to all my packs on the chest for hiking, scrambling and glacier/easy ice. I definitely wouldn't be looking to lead hard but just have something secure and not too cumbersome for those multipitch moderates. It sounds like the waist belt is key for keeping the cam from swinging around. I may have to try again to see what I can do to get up a few climbs with it.


Also thanks to your post I am coveting a full frame again. I've got the same glass but currently shoot it on a rebel crop sensor. I keep convincing myself that better photographers not better cameras make the difference. I'm sure in my case both factors are in play!

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JasonG, that Canon P&S looks nice!

I have the Sony RX100 for my P&S:



It's the best small one I've had so far...but even it frustrates me. It comes very close to my old 7D in good light.


Diepj, I shot for 8 years with rebels and then the 50D, and 7D. I was perfectly happy with those photos. However, there is something about the dynamic range in the shadows that starts to noticibly pop on a full frame. Look at my old trip reports and I'm sure you can see it. This is my first TR with a full frame.


There is nothing wrong with crop sensors though. There is an old saying about photography: "It's not the camera, it's the mind behind the camera."


The main reason I got the 6D was I was curious, and wanted a new toy. It works great, but in 3 years it will be old outdated junk.


I need to stop buying toys and save for my retirement :-)

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For PAS, check out the Panasonic Lumix LX7, no Sony proprietary crap to deal with and the lense is pretty nice...


Took these at JTree last month with my LX7...







Edited by denalidave

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Hey Mark, do you happen to have any newer (1-2 year old) DSLR gear for sale? I may pull the trigger on one if my tax return is as fat as I hope it to be. Probably buy new but you seem to upgrade often so I thought I'd ask.




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I sold my 7d, sorry. My wife allows me my toys, but I'm only allowed to have one DSLR at a time :-)


But b&h has some awesome deals on used gear. I had this 50D and took many awesome photos. It's all metal, with a guarantee:



Or a plastic used t3i with lens:



T3i shoots awesome video, and much lighter than the metal D series. My buddy craig, pictured above, has the t2i and takes amazing pictures climbing.

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Another great trip report,Mark. Thanks for taking the time. It was great to meet you and I really enjoyed the climbs we got on (even though Fisticuffs kicked my ass).

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Thanks for pinch hitting when my buddies were too hungover to climb!

I will post your pictures, it's been on my list. Work has been completely nuts. Craig did get some shots of Fisticuffs, I will try to get those out of Facebook and add them here.

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Brian, this me on Fisticuffs, 10b. Starts out yellows, goes to blues, and finishes on Camalot #4's.


Sorry we didn't get one of you...we were both on top.


Photo by Craig B.


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