2010
06.29
The Tram Car arriving at the Tram Station

The Tram Car arriving at the Tram Station

Well, it is summer again and Tram season is once again in full swing. I got my Tram pass on the last week of May and I have gone every weekend since. For those that have never been, Palm Spring’s Aerial Tramway is one of the best summer outdoor destinations. It costs about 20 bucks for the tram ticket and it takes you up 8500 ft where it is 70 degrees in pristine alpine forest. For regular climbers and hikers, I recommend getting the Summer Pass which is $60 and you can take the Tram as many times as you want from May 1st to August 31st.

My usual Saturday usually entails me and my climbing buddies meeting up in Monterey Park at around 9:00 am. We go pickup baguettes from Lee’s Sandwiches. My usual routine is 2 baguettes. One for breakfast while we drive along the 10 East for approx. 1hr 45min and another baguette for lunch. I always bring a bottle of water, a bottle of gatorade, and a bottle of red bull/coffee for a pick me up. If you plan on bouldering, I highly recommend the Tram Bouldering guidebook by Robert Miramontes.

Tram Bouldering guidebook by Robert Miramontes

Joe Morgan on the cover of Tram Bouldering by Robert Miramontes

We usually arrive at Tram around 11:30 am, park our cars and take the 12:30 pm tram up to top.  The tram ride takes 8-10 minutes and the tram platform rotates 360 degrees while you ride up. The tram ride is awesome and you will enjoy the views as you feel the temperature change from 100+ degree at Palm Springs to around 70 degrees up at the top of the tram.  Once you exit the tram you will be in the top visitor center where there is a restaurant, bar, gift shop, and information center.  On the top and middle floors, there are great outdoor patios for you to hang out and take pictures.  You will want to walk downstairs to the bottom floor where you can start onto the switch backs into Long Valley and head to the Ranger Station.

Long Valley Ranger Station at Tramway

Check in at the Ranger Station

Once you arrive at the Ranger Station, you will need to sign in to let the rangers know how many people are in your group and where you are headed to go bouldering. I usually write that I am headed to the Beach area as that is one of the more dense bouldering area.  Keep the copy for you and remember to return it at the end of the day.

As you follow the trail pass the ranger station, you will come across the first set of boulders on the left of the trail.

Ranger Station Boulders

Ranger Station Boulders at Tramway

These are my favorite warm up boulders. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that if I don’t warm up here, I’m pretty much screwed for the rest of the day. I tried to warm up at Frank’s Boulder last weekend and I ended up working Frank’s Roof v3 for like 15 tries and completely tearing up my fingers. So in my opinion, the Ranger station boulder is the essential warm up spot.

After getting warmed up, I start to map out my day of bouldering in the Tram Bouldering book. I have a couple circuits that I like to go through depending on what problems i’m looking to do.

My Infested Destiny Boulder at Tramway v7

My Infested Destiny Boulder at Tramway v7

Most recently my obsession was to send My Infested Destiny v7 this season so I mapped out a nice circuit into My Infested Destiny which is a problem that sits entirely by itself in the Unknown Territory. It is my favorite climb I have done to date and also the hardest climb i have done. This problem is unique for me because it is a sustained v7 with a variety of moves from a heel hook sloper start to a knee scum finger lock to the final dyno to a pinch. Everything you can ask for in bouldering is all in this one problem.

Ok back to circuits…

Undiscovered Territory circuit leading to My Infested Destiny.

To get to My Infested Destiny, I will first hike through to Black Cauldron. Black Cauldron is a great v4 sloper problem. After sending Black Cauldron and the v3 next to it, we will continue hiking uphill and hit boulders along the way. Ebonic Women v3 is along the way and as you move uphill you will eventually pass Soul Caliber, a cool looking v9.  Definitely worth stopping at if you climb at that level and love crimps. After Soul Caliber, the only boulder left is My Infested Destiny and it sits up the wash to the left of Soul Caliber.

Kung Fu Canyon to Shangri-la to Dance Floor to the Beach and finally to Boardwalk Circuit (add the Icebergs if you are expecting to catch the 9:45 pm tram)

Ok so this is the main circuit to go through if you want to see as many boulders and problems as you can. After the Ranger station warm up boulders, Kung Fu Canyon 0.20 mi down the trail on your right hand side. You can jump on Jet Li, a fun v0, or get crazy on The One v6 or Paper Dragon v10. These problems mark the beginning of Kung Fu canyon. As you stroll through you should eventually hit Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, a soft v7 that has tricky beta.  To the right of Crouching Tiger, you should find The Wave, a pretty line on a short overhang boulder. After the Wave, I would continue uphill till I get into Shangri-La.

The Cube at Shangri-la

The Cube at Shangri-la

Once you get into Shangri-la, the hike eases up as the terrain flattens out. You should see two big boulders leaning on each other and on the left boulder there is Like A Virgin, a v3R high ball crack climb that tops out on a scary looking flake.  Continue into Shangri-la by following the wash and you will get to another classic Tram problem called the Cube v5. The Cube boulder has the cube problem, the v4 sloper on the left side of the same boulder, the v2 mantle to the right of the Cube. Behind the cube you will find Byron’s Roof/Mosquito Cove v9/v10. To the left of the cube, you will also find The World’s Hardest v2 which is actually a v1.

Swing Dance Bouldering Area at Tramway

bouldering at the Swing Dance area in Tramway

Directly behind the cube for another 500 ft you should come to the Dance Floor. Another dense bouldering area with a wide selection of problems from the classic Swing Dance v7 to Square Dance v4. Also all around swing dance you will find a dyno problem, a sloper arete problem. Swing Dance was one of these classic tram problems that took me forever to get, but this season I discovered the mini-jib smear along with the inside heel hook for the send.

Methane Boulder in the Beach Area, Tramway

Methane Boulder in the Beach Area, Tramway

After the Dance Floor, you should head further uphill behind the Dance Floor Area and make your way into the upper parts of the Beach area…namely the Blue Flame Boulder. The Blue Flame boulder is an incredibly cool low over hang boulder with some of the hardest problems at the tram.  Blue Flame v7 is the obvious crimper problem that leads to a dyno into a sloper. To the right of that is Black Mamba v12, Stretch Armstrong v10, Black Flame v9, and all the way to the right is Red Spark v6. I’ve only mustered up enough gusto to get Blue Flame and Red Spark, both of which took me all of last season to send. If you get tired of these tram classics, you can descend into the main area of the Beach where there are literally endless problems. First boulder you hit should be Outcast v5/v6. Behind Outcast is the Methane Boulder, which has the Methane problem v5, Propane v2, along with the super long traverse that adds up to a v9. Opposite methane is Paul’s Rock which has fun problems at either ends of the boulder. The Sharma Boulder is also in the beach and it is a great difficult climb just uphill from Methane.

Boardwalk Boulder

Boardwalk Boulder

Last stop on the circuit is the Boardwalk boulder. The Boardwalk boulder hosts a number of classics including the Boardwalk v9, Left Hand of Darkness v9, Soul Shine v10, Over the Boardwalk v7.  I’ve only been here a few times because I get caught up trying other problems along the way, but this area is definitely a classic tram area.

The extra area for the truly dedicated who managed to save some skin can venture off into the Iceberg area. The Iceberg is also a fun are to go to but it is incredibly tiring to hike to. If I do go all the way up to Icebergs, I always end up staying till it is dark just because it took so much effort to get to and I never want to leave a project undone there.

Well I hope this gives you a general idea of bouldering in Tramway. I am a huge fan of the area and I definitely feel that it is one of the best summer bouldering spots in southern california.  I hope you enjoyed reading this rant on Tramway bouldering.

Thanks,

Gary Yeung

Palmsprings Aerial Tramway

Pristine Alpine Forest at 8500 feet at Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

PS: Most of the photos are taken from WestCoastBouldering.com . Here is the link to there Tramway Bouldering Area guide. They do an incredible job of showing all the boulders as well as GPS coordinates of said boulders in Tram. Also if you have the funds…go buy yourself a copy of Tram Bouldering by Robert Miramontes and help out those that helped develop this wonderful bouldering haven.

2010
02.02
1% For The Planet Logo

GoldenGadgets.com joins 1% For The Planet

Hi everyone,

I am happy to announce that GoldenGadgets.com is officially a member of the 1% For The Planet Organization. GoldenGadgets.com has committed 1% of our sales revenue to charities that will directly benefit our environment. Our involvement in LED lighting and solar power has given GoldenGadgets.com an opportunity to help our environment and now we can contribute even more by providing funding towards environmental research. Thank you customers for your continued support in GoldenGadgets.com.

Thanks,

Gary Yeung

www.GoldenGadgets.com

2009
10.06
testing the first solar powered 12V DC LED Light Bulb

testing the first solar powered 12V DC LED Light Bulb

WE CARE Solar by Laura Stachel was just announced as one of the winners of the Half the Sky Contest from the New York Times.

Announcing Winners of the Half the Sky Contest

Here is the excerpt:

Laura Stachel, WECARE Solar
A California obstetrician has co-founded a volunteer organization of doctors, solar designers and lighting/communication specialists who devise solar-powered solutions for maternal health facilities in Africa, and are now field-testing a system in Nigeria and Rwanda. Without adequate electricity, hospitals in such under-developed areas often lose moms and babies who would have otherwise lived.

Congratulations Laura.

GoldenGadgets.com started supplying WECARE Solar in August 2009 with 12V DC LED Light Bulbs for her solar powered solutions. The WECARE Solar prototype uses our L-39F 12V DC, L-60F 12V DC, and our L-120F 12V DC LED Light bulbs to provide lighting for maternal health facilities.

2009
09.02
Greggs UK Bakery with Recessed LED Lights

Greggs UK Bakery with Recessed LED Lights

Greggs UK Bakery with Recessed LED Lights

Greggs UK Bakery with Recessed LED Lights

Counters and Shelves lit by LED strip lights

Counters and Shelves lit by LED strip lights

UK bakery chain Greggs has store lighting completely redesigned by Philips lighting. Full LED lighting should reduce energy consumption by 50%. Here is the original article from Philips.

2009
09.02

Philips launches the “new eW® Reach Powercore and iW® Reach Powercore floodlights can dramatically accentuate building exteriors and landmarks with a choice of high-quality white or fixed color light, while at the same time reducing energy consumption and maintenance.”
eW Reach Powercore is powerful enough to brilliantly illuminate large architectural façades and structures. eW Reach Powercore offers an alternative to traditional metal halide sources, providing more lumens of output (over 8,500 lumens at 2700 K; over 11,000 lumens at 4000 K) and unparalleled light projection (over 700 feet at 2700 K; over 800 feet at 4000 K) than any other competitive light fixture. This powerful fixture represents the next generation in exterior illumination.

Here is the press release from Philips.

2009
09.02

Starting September 1st, 2009, the EU has banned the importation of incandescent bulbs. You can still sell the bulbs but you can no longer import and restock. This is a huge move as incandescent bulbs waste most of the energy through heat output and not light. A similar ban of incandescent imports will start in the US sometime in 2012.

This is a great announcement as people and companies are forced to switch to compact fluorescent lighting and LED lights which are more energy efficient and last much longer.

Original story from NPR

2009
09.01

1000 Lumen LEDOsram has developed a small light-emitting diode spotlight that achieves an output of more than 1,000 lumens for the first time. That’s brighter than a 50-watt halogen lamp, thereby making the device suitable for a broad range of general lighting applications. The Ostar Lighting LED, which will be launched on the market this summer, can provide sufficient light for a desk from a height of two meters, for example. Its small size also enables the creation of completely new lamp shapes. Source: Siemens

For more information, please visit this articles web page.

2009
09.01

So I came across a few blogs about farming in the city. “New York” the magazine just published an article about creating a skyscraper dedicated to farming. The building uses renewable energy (solar power, wind, and pellet power), recycles all the waste water as well as plant matter.

skyfarming070409_1_300b_513

I quote from the article:

Imagine a cluster of 30-story towers on Governors Island or in Hudson Yards producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year. Using current green building systems, a vertical farm could be self-sustaining and even produce a net output of clean water and energy.

The article even mentioned that 150 of these buildings would be enough to feed all of New York City for a year. Imagine getting fresh grocery right by you instead of having it trucked in from countryside farms.

skyfarming070409_6_560_560

For more information, please visit this articles web page.

2009
09.01

I just found this article in slashdot about a new solar cell technology made to increase efficiency and bring down costs. The technology was developed at MIT to redirect sunlight and concentrate it to increase efficiency. The process includes dyeing the glass that will then redirect and focus the sun light to solar cells at the edges thus using less solar cells and still capturing all the sunlight. As I read through the article, the benefits to this form of solar concentration versus the “lets spin mirrors around to chase the sun” method is that it does not require mechanical mirrors chasing the sun and the main solar cell does not need to be cooled. This application could mean solar windows that will redirect light to the edges and create electricity for your home.

The link to the articles is here:http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/solarcells-0710.html

I also read a lot of the comments on slashdot regarding this article and the general sentiment is that none of this technology and said efficiency and cost saving will actually make it to the consumer. One of the best comments on slashdot was…”we solved the global climate crisis at least 4 times this last week”…which is hilarious but at the same time disturbing because for every “new” technology i read about that is suppose to be so dramatically life changing such as this solar cell technology…it never seems to trickle down to benefit the consumer. Solar Powered products continue to be excessively over priced because of the availability of solar cells. I have not encountered a single price drop in solar technology as an importer and distributor of solar products and I do not forsee the change. The scientists in this article claim to bring this technology into the market in 3 years but the real question is when will i be able to walk into a Home Depot/ Walmart or even GoldenGadgets.com and simply order a solar concentrating window that easily installs and then also easily hook it up to my grid without paying an additional 5000 dollars for an efficient inverter. better yet…how about having these windows in say a new Hybrid that will further assist battery charging…..the point is…new technology is wonderful…but its even better when we can actually get our hands on it and use it everyday.

2009
09.01

Recently I read an article by Extremetech’s Loyd Case as he arranged for the installation of solar power for his home. The article is one of the best written article for installing solar power at your home.

The first article details Loyd’s experience with selecting a supplier and contractor. He went through 3 different quotes and finalized on one contractor specifically for the rebates and the “whole package” factor which meant the company did the install, wiring, mounting, rebate processing, and building permits all in one go. I thought that was great as I have spent hours on the phone and in person trying to convince hardcore DIY people that if you have the money, pay someone to do it all at once…it is worth it and it will save you a ton of headaches.

Solar Power Installation for your Home

Solar Power Monitoring and Review after one month

The article goes into details about what can go wrong when setting up such a big solar panel system. From his experience, the process of installing the solar panels seem to be the easiest and the toughest was deciding how much power he wanted to generate and then how much it will cost based on the rebates. (worked out to $38,000 after rebates and $60,000 before). Great part is that the owner is monitoring the system closely to see how long it will take before he will recoup his initial investment…and he estimates 8-9 years. Also his new electricity bill is now $11-12 dollars versus the $150+ he was paying.

For more information, please visit this articles web page.