Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Monster Rock

With names like “Invisible Slayer of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazrad” and “Nyarlathotep Arises from the Blackness of 27 Centuries” you can easily gather that the route developer and landowner, John Hogge, is a sci-fi and horror fan. The story behind “Invisible Slayer,” as I call it, is that once one reads this book (or climbs this route in this case) you become possessed with evil demons. After climbing it I didn’t feel possessed with demons, but I did feel possessed to keep coming back and climbing it.

“Invisible Slayer” in my opinion is now one of the best 5.11 routes in the Austin area. Around the corner in “The Pit” there are several other routes that would likely top the charts as well. Actually, there are many other, even harder, routes that have yet to be sent, leaving opportunities for a few first ascents (FA).

The area is small and has limited parking, but is an amazing climbing spot with routes that are sure to become Austin classics. When you walk in you are not horrified by a long approach. It’s actually only about 20 yards. You then make your way down a series of steps and ladders (sorry no dogs allowed). At the bottom you find a small canyon reminiscent of the Black Corridor at Red Rocks. The Pit hosts about 10 + routes on either side ranging from 5.8 – 5.12.

On the other side, facing the river, there is a monster traverse with several exit options and a witches stew (ok, that was bad) of routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.13. And yes, I mentioned river. The area is about 20 yards from the Pedernales River, making this a good spot to hit in the summer. Not only for the swimming, but because the temperatures in the canyon appear to be about five degrees cooler.

What? You only boulder? Don’t worry, there are over 20 boulder problems and likely more development to be had. So, if you want to check it out, visit John’s website and set up a visit. It’s private land so you have to check in with him first.

Web site description:
“Monster Rock (MR) is a private rock climbing area near Austin, Texas, currently hosting day-pass climbing for $5 on scheduled weekends announced on Austin Climbers, Climbing Buddies, and Erock Online forums. The day pass also lets you compete for prizes in a laid-back ongoing climbing contest. Soon, access will be available via affordable annual memberships.”


Monday, November 5, 2007

Sharma on NPR

"Climbing is [an] evolution. Where the standards today are the combination of the efforts of all of us who are climbing right now and all the people before us … standing on each others' shoulders," Sharma is quoted saying in the NPR article (link below).

The article introduces Sharma's new film King Lines and does a good job of introducing readers to the sport via Sharma's words.

Check the article out for more...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Onsight contest at Monster Rock in Austin

From John Hogge

Please register now for Monster Rock’s Onsight Contest. Simply email me ( with:

1. your return email address

2. phone in case you change emails

3. your highest redpoint in the last 12 months. (I’ll confirm this with witnesses when determining the winners.)

The property is small, so I’ll schedule manageable sized groups (16-20) on weekend days 11am-sundown, until everyone’s done. We can exchange emails to coordinate a day when you can come. The cost is $10 on that day.

If you aren’t interested in competing, register anyway to climb recreationally on your scheduled day. This is a cheap way to preview MR to help determine whether a membership will be worth your money.

Forms and Information on the contest are at (but the rules are subject to change prior to the comp).

Information on Monster Rock is at

This is a simple, mellow, two-bit back-woods Podunk one-horse-town comp run by 1-2 people to provide an interesting game for previewing MR. It will look pretty simple compared to those big city-slicker productions Limestoner and Gripper; no freebies such as t-shirts, Cliffbars, or discount coupons. No slide show at the end of the day. No bling besides the rock and some intense fun.