Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Unfortunately the climbs exacted a toll in skin and perhaps some blood, and the promise of Family arriving for the coming Holiday sent them packing early. Too bad, cause I rousted Clint and Jason and eventually a swarm of other locals home for the Holiday came to join in on a fine session. Clint, Jason and I hit it just about perfect, arriving at about 1:30 to revel in the sun window that lasts until 3:00. The Provart brothers caught the last half an hour of sun in time to warm up. Drew arrived with Matt and Dave Klug after shade had engulfed the boulder but this didn't dampen their spirits at all.
Clint fired off Pocahook V7 very quickly and finally sewed together the intricacies of the Run Like An Antelope Traverse V8. It seems like every one climbed or learned several new problems and even though it got pretty damn cold toward the end, we all had fun. This vid has a few highlights from the day.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Drew, Logan Shane and I got out on Tuesday this week in search of some sun. The boys had designs on projects at the Antelope Boulder and I was able to talk them into warming up at the neighboring Sunshine Boulders. After a half an hour of V-zeroing, we turned to the arete in the entry corridor and ran through these great but kind of awkward problems as well. The Antelope beckoned, so we satched up what skin was left and headed down to this beaut. Surprisingly the warm up was just about right and we all felt strong.
We all punched out Sir Hugeness and the Tuk, two of the coolest V3's you'll find anywhere. Logan was psyched to do SH for his first time and we cheered him on to top it out. As a side note, no one ever tops these problems out unless succeeding for the first time because the down climb is a pain. Drew begged some beta for the best and most sandbagged V5 in town, Meathook. I gladly sprayed him down and soon after he sent. This seemed to be one of his most satisfying triumphs yet and he humbly sat in the nook above the problem breathing in his victory. I decided it was time for a go at Pocahook, a relentless link up of Pocahontas V6 across the high V5 link and into Meathook. I had become more and more interested in doing this since it was one of the few AB problems I hadn't done, and it forces the menacing Meathook move after considerable effort to get over to it.
I climbed through Pocahontas on my first attempt and was staring up at the Meathook move quickly thereafter. I reared back and hit it and as I topped out my mind raced with what to try next. Electric Nachos, a fussy one move V9 dyno piqued my interest, and so it began. I damn near stuck it in a handful of tries, but ultimately I had to walk away. Damn that boulder is good! Even if I finish it by completing every hard problem and goofball link up I can think of, I will still return because it really is that good.
This video showcases more the setting and angle of the AB than the problem being climbed. I would like to have done the beginning again to reveal whats going on at the start during the Pocahontas part but I had lost the light, so joining different angles may have been, well... disjointed. Hope you enjoy anyway.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Fortunately all is not lost, and with a call from Clint to tell me the Billings crew was coming for a Saturday session, I checked the weather and promptly secured a sitter for the afternoon (thanx Kerry!). Joel, Nate, Ben, Mike, Miles and Angela showed up shortly after 10 Saturday morning and finding 60 degree temps they were psyched. We all met at the Cornflakes boulder to warm up and though I felt my role may be more of a guide and videographer for the day, once I got warmed up, I felt pretty good and was having to much fun climbing to shoot anything. After running through the standard problems on Cornflakes we moved over to the Fishhead Boulder and did Tuna Town and The Bludgeoning, both of which are V5, one really hard and the other a gimmie.
Joel mentioned he would like to try Studs, a V8 a little higher up the mountain and with everyone warmed up, we hopped in the vehicles and headed up the switchbacks to begin our quest. Now Studs is a great problem but it sits right next to the Spear Point Boulder which is difficult to walk past with out your jaw dropping. The boys were psyched and with a quick problem spraydown and warning of small hold sharpness, they set to work. Spearchucker a great but painful V4 was first and after several successes we moved to Babies For Breakfast V7. This sandbagged sideways crimpfest repelled all but the mighty Clintone who fired it for his first time with the quickness, too bad I didn't have my camera running. We then moved to my longtime project, the Spearpoint Crack, a striking diagonal line begining in the center of the face and trending up and right. I surprised myself by doing the first move 5 out of 6 tries, which is usually very difficult for me, and of course falling a few moves higher due to my typical lack of core strength. At V9 this climb ranks in the middle of the 7 climbs on this face. Tribal Vibrations V11, the undone sit to the Crack and the right to left link up of Spear Chucker into Babies into Hoedown Throwdown (also undone) are significantly harder.
With the painfest over we headed to Studs and nestled the pads into the snow under the problem. I absolutlely love this problem, it is nearly horizontal and involves compression, big moves and slopers - dig it! I manged to do it my first try and fire the crew up, but being cold and in the shade it was gonna take a while for some more sends. Everyone had started to feel the chill and after trying a bit we decided to head down the hillside to find some sun.
We chose the Maze area and with a lot of great moderates to pick from we managed to send a number of good problems including The Gym V5, Sugar Pie V6, Medusa V5, Perseus V4, Crucified Serpent V1 and most everything on the Hueco Simulator Boulder. Also I did manage to finally shoot some vids for your viewing pleasure. Hope you enjoy.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I have put six tries into my granite sport route in the Lower Canyon to no avail. I have good sequences figured out and have one hung the route 4 times now pushing my high point higher each time I try it. I need to be good and rested to do this route and with regular bouldering sessions every other day I can't seem to recover enough to fire this route off. My friend Aaron took some pics the first day and made some video clips with my flipshare camera, none of which were what I was hoping for. I then tried to make a video using a tripod set up 100 feet away, this was marginally better than watching paint dry. I have excerpted some photos from the vids to spare you the agony of watching it.
The last 4 clips seem slabby, compared to the bottom, though this is not the case.Some pinches and stemming down low. Cruxy turning the lip, though not super hard, you are pretty pumped.
Again, wrestling with the lip.
I planned on climbing the Scoop route on Saturday morning, and with Clint in tow we showed up to 40 degree windy and shady conditions at the base of the route. No go for this geezer, I wouldn't even pretend to be that tough. So Clint and I raced up Cedar to join Dylan, Clint had his sights set on Two Face one of the best V7's on the mountain or any mountain for that matter. One of the warmups here is called Batman, a long V4 traverse that magically switches boulders to top out. A very unorthodox thing to do in bouldering, Cody boulderers did not invent this idea, but we definitely advocate it. People seem to hate traverses and the concept of switching boulders during a climb, too bad because this is a gem. I captured the reclusive Dylan Etscorn for his 100th or more lap on this problem.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Jason and I roped Drew into a tour of his new area the Driving Range, above and to the right of the Fort Boulder. This area was the result of trying to find a high trail to access the Fort Area from the Spirit Mountain Cave Road. Earlier this year Drew, Clint and myself chopped a new trail down through the forested hillside and into a new cluster adjacent to the Fort Boulder. As it turned out I was already familiar with the Driving Range boulders, having spied them during the trail building recon. Most are now landscaped and have established problems such as the unnamed warm up boulder, The Sandstone Pleasure Palace and the boulder now called the Country Club. This boulder had a golf ball and a driver near it when we found it hence the name. Drew had cleaned some holds and began to envision the climbs but hadn't had any success yet. We put in another day of cleaning and the sending began. Four short but good lines resulted with some variants as well. Here is a video we made.
Another session above the Pre-Cleaned/Pit area with the Tuesday/Thursday crew resulted in the Megarete V2 getting a more thorough scrubbing and more sends. We also wandered up to Dragon Force and cleaned the steep arete to the left which resulted in Danscaping a short but cool V6-ish problem with a viscious slopey top out with dab potential. I went back with Jason and Dave for Jason to try it and made another video.
On a last note I am reluctant to let the sport thing go just yet, so I finished bolting a steep route on the granite in the lower canyon. This is a line I began a couple years ago but just never got to finish it. As it turns out its quite steep with side pulls, underclings and pinches. I TR'd it today and with a little help from Meg, figured out a sequence that is funky but works pretty well through the steep scoop section. I slammed in 8 bolts and cleaned many exfoliated potato chippy flake thingies. One more day of cleaning prep and I may have a new rockstar of a climb. I sure hope I can climb this little beastie. More on that as it unfolds.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
The boulders typically see very little change as far as our local boulderfield goes. Occasionally someone authors a new problem or cleans up a new boulder or some jackass partyers make a fire ring and a huge trashy mess (that the climbers clean up). This summer has been different and momentum for improvement has increased in the recent years. This summer has seen landings flattened, large intrusive stones are literally gone, and many new problems on old well established boulders have been opened. I am psyched for circuiting this fall and trying some new games. The 100 point V4 circuit list has been made and now we have to go put it to the test. A similar traverse circuit has been bantered about and those with a bit of endurance are eager.
After warming up the other day at the Ethiopian we wandered next door to the Starvin Marvin Boulder to run through the fun problems it offers. We had a good crew so we shot some video and though it is not in the footage I managed to snag the FA of the link up Starvin Ape which we figured at V7. I had tried this on and off over the years but could never manage the Ape Index throw after crawling down into it, I just had to dig a little deeper. Here is the clip.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
We blasted out of town after I finished work and were on the road by 1:00. I figured about 7 hours round trip if all went well. The drive took an hour and forty five minutes and the hike another thirty minutes. We racked up and I set off up the bolt line not knowing how long the pitch was. The beginning was a little unnerving climbing over giant slabs of hollow rock to reach the first bolt which was up 40 feet or so. Once I got onto the more solid stone the climbing got better and I found a groove and just kept moving. The pitch was about 150 feet and seemed hardest going through the small roof at maybe 5.11-. It took me a long time to lead it, more than a half hour and Drew followed taking about the same amount of time. The second pitch is more sustained though slabby with a mid 5.11 crux section and is a little more than 100 feet total length. I led this pitch as well and it took only 15 minutes, drew followed pulling on quick draws to save time since it was getting late and cooling down. The final pitch is around 100 feet and goes through a larger roof on square cut jugs, it felt like 5.11-. Drew followed and we rapped with two 70 meter ropes down to the first anchor then to the ground.
Drew following the first pitch
The techy 2nd pitch
Looking up at the 3rd pitch with a big flake and then roof
Typical bomber anchor
This route is very well concieved, well protected and has modern bomber chain anchors. I would highly recommend trying it if you are confident leading 5.11. Two ropes are required since the first pitch is so long and 18 or more quickdraws worked well for us. Though overall a bit slabby there are several roof sections to get you good and pumped. The climbing is mostly on edges of varying sizes but occassionally you find great pockets. I believe the rock is granite though it tends to appear like limestone at times. Summer is the best time of year for this route and it gets morning sun. We were on it at 3 o'clock in early September on a perfect bluebird day and it was a bit chilly.
Monday, September 7, 2009
We desided to forgoe the comforts of campground camping and try wild camping. No water pump, no picnic table, parking area, no bathroom and no fees. Everyone did great but lamented the fact that I had not chosen a spot near the river, since river play is part of our morning routine. Nevertheless this was one of our better camping weekends, we had our hammock set up, an awesome fire ring and some fine food.
The French Cattle Ranch was our destination and I was psyched on trying some harder routes but nervous about the river crossing with the whole fam. As it turns out though the river is wide where we cross with both rock hoping and log shimmying, everyone did fantastic and were psyched that the hike up to the crag was so short. We warmed up on a route that was named after my eldest Maya back when she was just crawling right before she learned to walk. The route Racing Babies a fun 10b has a new start and a new finish since I last climbed it, and Meg had never done it before. We ran into several crews at this popular area including Jason McNabb from So Dak. I had met Jason on a trip to Spearfish Canyon a few years back and he was our gracious and most helpful guide for the day. He expressed an interest in bouldering in Cody, so we offered up our digs and a guided tour when he is free for a weekend this fall.
After the warmup I gave Jason a recommendation for some brilliant 5.11's over on the Back Forty Wall and we headed for the Grasshopper Wall. I had it in my mind that it was finally time to try Blue Light Special 13b. This is a route I bolted back in 2001 before any routes had gone in at the FCR, I remember being quite proud of it but knew it was going to take something I didn't possess at the time. Being that I flailed and failed on its easier brother to the right, I passed it on to Alli who claimed the FA. But something had changed this summer and after success on the route to the left I hoped I would now succeed.
I stick clipped bolt #2 since that seems to be standard protocol between gumbies and pros alike, and started up. The route is not very steep and the holds are typically single pad crimps and pockets with the occasional jug. I broke an unchalked crimp before I clipped the third bolt and took a giant whipper thus ending my flash attempt. I went into exploratory mode which is not as fun as onsight/flash mode but way more cautious and controlled. The route is demanding and has a very difficult crux 1/3 of the way up which I managed to make it through, though it doesn't really ever let up, offering one shitty rest at about 2/3 height. I worked out a plan and went for it about an hour later and fell right before the poor rest. After a little more refinement and another hour to rest I climbed through to the anchor surprisingly not pumped which was strange considering the size of the holds.
With a little encouragement from Meg I hung the draws on Kielbasa .12c and damn near flashed it. The crux is at mid heighth and has another 5.12 section above that. I managed to squeak by the hard stuff and lost my balance after commting to a high step two moves from the anchor and pitched off into space. No chalk and a hasty misjudgement contributed to that error, oh well, no one ever said onsighting was easy. Enough for one day.
The next day brought Alli and Kevin, Gilly and his wife Joyce and a guy named Dan all of which are genuinely kind and cool people. I was psyched for more and not sure whether to try Dances With Cows .13b or Slim Jim .13b which is Kevins current project. After some discussion I decided to go with Cows as it is yet another old creation of mine that I left behind for other climbers to conquer. Kevin had red pointed it recently and left a chalky trail for me to follow. He brought his drill with him as he usually does and asked me if I thought it would be okay to move some of the lower bolts around as there seemed to be ground fall potential due to poor placement on my part. I agreed with his assessment, so he set to work, fixing my prior short sightedness and I have to agree it seems much safer now. We talked about the unneccessary run out at the top of Keilbasa and after red pointing the route I hauled the drill up and added a bolt and changed out the frozen biner on the anchor.
Dances With Cows is also a really good route with a lot more big holds than I remembered. The intro stuff up the first 20 feet is really hard, not 5.11+ like the guidebook says but more like solid 5.12. I manged that bit and enjoyed the easier section above but the beast reared its bovine head back and thumped me soon thereafter. There is some very fingery hard shit to deal with before easing again to the typical Grasshopper Wall crimp and pocket ladder. I worked out a sequence or two and lowered to the ground, worried that I hadn't studied the crux well enough, but confident that I could finish it if I could somehow link past the hard shit. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting I lauched up and found a better solution for the bottom and hung on through the crazy small stuff in the middle. The end has great intermitant pockets to relax on and one test just shy of the anchors. I am very happy to have completed two of my hardest routes ever in one weekend with only 5 tries total.
The question I keep getting from people is "What is Different?" Why are you able to do this now when you could not in the past. I've climbed my hardest routes by far this season and the my hardest boulder problem in 15+ years of climbing. Well I'm not really sure what the answer to that question is. I did switch to La Sportiva Solutions and dammit if I didn't start climbing harder and more confidently the moment I put them on. I have had more time to climb this season and have been able to push myself harder so that has something to do with it as well. My kids are old enough now to drag to the crag and they and my wife have truely enjoyed our trips this summer. Having my family involved I am sure has also helped. I stopped the gym training for the first time in over a decade and though I bouldered a bit this summer I have avoided injury which has allowed me to climb at my limit. So maybe those things are the answer - all I know is I am, and don't mind being, addicted to this pastime. So I will conitue to rock climb. I have found a partner for the Rock Creek 3 pitch 5.11 sport climb and hope to do it tomorrow or Wednesday. Adios and thanks for reading.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Clint and I rolled up Friday night and drug the pop-top camper up the bumpy dirt road and parked it in a very unlikely spot right in the middle of all the boulders - perfect! Clint has been into stargazing this summer and has learned enough to entertain someone for hours with his laser pointer and star chart software on his ipod touch. The sky was clear and with no ambient light for miles in any direction it was pretty damn cool!
Saturday brought ideal temps and Mr. Anderson right about the time we were getting ready to begin our assault on the Landon Stones. We started with the venerable Sherman Boulder, named after the Verm himself due to the teaser pic he leaked out to one of the national climbing rags a decade and a half ago with the caption " perfect granite somewhere in Montana - I'll never tell". Actually Jon, the boulder is in Wyoming, a quick check of Google Earth confirms this. We did the classic West face V2, the Sherman Problem V5, with the sit V6, and LG's Desperate Ho's V6. All very good problems!
Clint Cook on the Sherman Problem V5.
Some rain later in the day yielded some brilliant staged photos.
Joel Anderson on the Sherman Boulder.
We made our way over to the Love Shack boulder passing by the Military Boulder cause it was baking in the sun. There are some cool slabby problems on this boulder including Hotel Lovin' V3, One Night Stand V2, Mutiny On The Booty V4 and Jump for My Love V5. We ran through all of these problems and needed a lunch break. Once finished with lunch, we decided to go for a walk through the trees to check out the rest of the less obvious boulders. This was about the same time that Mulky and Kerrick showed up, alas no break, they were fired up to get started. So it was off to the Tool Boulder to try out the Rod of Lordly Might V7 and several others. I managed to capture a strong effort on Clints part.
We bypassed some cool problems on the back of this boulder and went looking for the Cave Boulder which is a little farther into the trees. I really wanted to do this route my friend Matt Wendling had done back in '03 but I was just too wasted from everything leading up to this, plus I'm not sure I could do the crux move even if I was fresh. Oh well, Kerrick was psyched so I sprayed him down with all the beta I could remember and he made short work of it.
We landscaped the left side of this boulder and rediscovered an old problem and a new one that we insisted Mulkey do the first ascent of. He put down his camera and obliged us, creating Mulkeys Meat V2 or 3, a funky one move crux into a juggy finish. We finished up with the Cave Route, a cool V5 that comes straight out where the V10 starts. Everyone tried it and it slowly became clear that we were all done for the day.
I brought along some Delmonico steaks for Clint and I, we made some mashed potatoes and corn and chowed down. It seemed to cool down quickly and before long everyone was tired and headed for bed. One of the nice things about camping in this wide canyon is that it stays shady in the morning until almost 9:00 a.m., and I like sleeping in when I'm camping.
As soon as breakfast was done and the sun hit the boulders Kerrick was ready to work on the Assassin a cool and involved V9 that seems to keep getting harder as you go. Its about 10 moves long and has both open hand slopers and small sharp crimps. This was another one on my to do list, but I just wasn't feeling it so I went for a hike to check out a few boulders up on the hillside and an impressive crag at the top of the talus field. Here are a few pics from the hike.
The 300 foot tall granite crag, notice the boulder in the lower right corner of this shot, it is the one below that Clint is standing under in the next picture.
Impressively large and featured - maybe the next generation will solve this one.
Here is a shot of our camp right in the middle of the boulders
When I got back down to the valley floor young Kerrick was very close to solving the Assassin. I snapped a series of pictures and he fired it off shortly after.
We hiked up the road a bit and played on a roadside boulder and ended up doing 5 good problems on it. I am sure I've climbed on this boulder before but I have no idea what the name is. The problems are V1 thru V6. We drove up to Leif's House, another absurd name for an area, to find the Buddha Room Boulder. Near the end of the road, this large Bulbous Boulder has a rad V6 called the Bodhisattva on the front side. We dispatched this cool fright fest and set to work on an extension to Siddhartha a V2 that just ends to early. Unfortunately an alpine storm blew in and chased us back down the canyon to tear down the pop-top camper before it was soaking wet. We made it just in time, hooked the trailer up and eased her back down the bumpy road whence we came. The end of another rad weekend.
Incidently the Red Box Car, an old converted rail car, along side of the highway in Red Lodge has some tasty and cheap victuals if you ever you find yourself with a powerful hunger as you motor through town.
Although I didn't accomplish either of my ultimate goals for the weekend, the high end V climbs I hadn't yet done, I felt satisfied with my climbing and racked up 66 points on Saturday and about half that on Sunday for over 100 points for the weekend. Also Joel clued me in on the location of a 3 pitch sport climb that I was able to locate with my binoculars. Now I just have to find some psyched partner to drag back there and bag this gem. Heres a photo of the Line.
Friday, August 28, 2009
No, she is not sending but this whole effort was done with two falls. She cruised the first boulder problem which is like V9 and fell at a reachy section that plagued her back when this route was only Sky Pilot .13+. Now it has three more clips and another heinous boulder problem near the end, which she nailed as well. She is very close and it will most likely go down this season.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Two weekends ago was the last family outing to Tensleep. We harranged some friends into joining us and had a mess of kids in tow. Wouldn't you know it we picked the rainiest weekend in the history of rainy weekends to try and pull off camping and climbing with that many kids. Stir crazy would be a word that could be used to describe this experience, soggy, flooded, condensation, waterlogged are others that come to mind. Fortunately the sun came out Sunday by late morning and afforded us a little salvation. We headed up to the Wall of Denial and climbed two chunky and funky 10's ala Mr. Kardalef. I hopped on an old Stan Price .12a called Speak of the Devil and realized by the 3rd bolt that I never wanted to touch this route again so I had better not fall. Old skool rawl 5-piece bolts siliconed to the rock and spaced way too far apart at the bottom and way too close together up high were the theme here. I've climbed some excellent SP routes and this was not one of them, in fact it scared me away from the 130' long 12+ namesake route to the right. Enough for one weekend.
The following week saw a trip to the Island with Mikey and Jason. We strung up a cool 5.9 called Feeling Alright and then turned our sights on the classic V4 boulder problem, Kirts Corner right next door. Jason would love to climb the route Horn of Plenty .12a that extends up and out of this problem. After a half an hour or so of work, he had it wired. During this process I asked him to shoot a vid.
We then headed to the back of the Island for Mikey to lead Illegal Dihedral one of the best 5.10's that I have done anywhere. I figured if he could pull it off, it would be great for his confidence. I hung the draws for him so he could steal some beta, and he nailed it in great style.
The following weekend Meg and I planned to go to the Crazy Woman crag up on top of the Big Horns. I had finally located it the previous weekend in the rain with the boys during an exploration drive up Hazelton Road. Unfortunately that didn't materialize and I ended up flying solo over to Tensleep instead on Sunday to meet up with Alli and Kevin. Since all of their house guests were gone, I had them all to myself, which was nice cause I haven't climbed with them much this summer. They showed me the new trail into the French Cattle Ranch which gets you there in about 1/3 the time as from the main parking area. One caveat, you have to cross the river on a fallen log, pretty casual this time of year, not so in the spring though.
The ten minute hike in had me staring up at Esplanada a route I bolted years ago, in fact the first route bolted in the FCR. The grade has bounced around a bit over the years since the original Wutang sandbag .12b was hung on it, it seems to have settled in at .12d. We warmed up on the diminutive Little Smokey a three bolt .11a with a hard move off the ground. Apparantly the proper warmup is to lead it and then run two more laps back to back with no rest in between. It was fun and effective as I now felt ready for Esplanada. Someones draws were hanging which was nice, Kevin said they had been there all summer and the route had seen a lot of traffic. He asked if I needed any beta, I said I remembered it pretty well though as we discussed some key points I learned that people were now using the rose move sequence between the 3rd and 4th bolts because it made the clip easier and it was cooler that way. I smiled because that was the way I intended the route to go and the first ascentionist found a direct sequence with a shitty churt piece that screwed up the clip. With Kevin on belay I started up and the route just flowed pocket after pocket and before long I was at the top struggling to remember the crimpy exit sequence. Kev yelled something about standing on my feet and I realized he was right and adjusted my foot placements and it all fell into place. What a great route!
Alli and Kev whacked away at Galactic Emperor .14a which is the extension to Sky Pilot .13c. SP is another sandbag route that finished in the middle of the wall, it starts with a V8 or 9 boulder problem and is .13a after that to the low anchor. Three more bolts now take it to the top of the wall and through another hard boulder problem at the end. Apparantly the hook making up the other side of the low anchor had to be removed as it was catching climbers knots and harnesses, so only a single chain remains as the 9th clip. It can still be done as Sky Pilot but will probably always be taken to the top from here on out. I belayed Kevin on his second go of the day, and after working out some key beta on the previous try, he fired it off with some very loud and determined breathing. Very impressive to say the least, I'm sure Alli will send soon as well.
Kevin has been using Sugar Mama a sharp climb with tiny holds that is graded .13b as his second warmup. The first half is very easy and the second is very balancey and reachy. He falls every time and still hasn't red-pointed it yet, though he isn't trying very hard. I was thinking of trying it since it was drawed up though I changed my mind after looking at his mangled finger tips. I decided instead on the climb to the right the brilliant and deservedly popular Super Mama .13a. Kevin sprayed me down with some key beta as he had done the climb this season and belayed several people on it also. I went for the flash and fell about half way up, half way through the business section. The rest is no picnic either though it was easier and felt manageable. I decided on my second go to try and sprint it since the bottom 5.11 felt easy and if I could get through the hard stuff I thought I'd be home free. Not the case, I did make it through the tough stuff only to come flying out of a big pocket on a long move above that. Alli shot a video with her camera.
A little more study and a new plan was the formula and I fired it on my third try. There are two good rests, one below the .13a section and an even better one below the last .12 part at the top. I took them both and it was the ticket - my first bonafide Wyoming 13a. Quite pleased with our individual performances we hiked out and went back to the house for a delicious meal.
The bouldering crew presses on each Tuesday and Thursday evening and I'm beginning to become interested again. I joined them for a Thursday evening session though abbreviated by a prior obligation by my child's school. I only had a thirty minute window before dark. I wanted to help Jason out with Billings Shopping Trip a cool and kind of long V6 on the Good Foot Boulder. Of course I had my own agenda as well, a project that I still haven't decided on a good name for or if it is an eliminate. I was able to convince Dan and Clint to come along for the fun and we all set to work. I have tried this project on several occasions in the past and was still unsure how the upper moves were going to go, but I new it was all there. With Dans urging and ample pads I managed to hang on to the tiny side pulls and get the send. I think it checks in at V7 or 8, harder than BST but easier than Arizona Heat V8, all of which are on the same boulder.
This past Tuesday night was a mob seen with ten dudes and one girlfriend. It turned out to be a great session with lots of problem tried and sent. We started at the Bat Cave, moved to the Good Foot and then on to the Cozzens Boulder. At the end of the session I added up my V-points earned by completing each unique problem I did and came up with 26 for the 5 problems I completed. This little game seems to be gaining popularity as I troll the web, so I thought I'd give it a try. It got me thinking that this may be a good way to stay motivated and in shape for the upcoming season. I have set a goal of 50 points per session initially. This means I'll have to do somewhere between 8 and 25 problems per visit to the mountain to maintain my set goal. Considering we choose different sectors each time we head out this may be more difficult some nights than others but we shall see. Just something to help me stay on task.
This weekend we are heading to Red Lodge for some granite bouldering. I am excited for some cooler temps and a few projects that have shut me down in the past. Good friends and two days of pullin down should prove fun. Adios
Friday, August 14, 2009
We wandered next door to the Ra Boulder and Get Your Spoon On V4 was first up. This is a very involved problem with several tricks that need to be discovered for a send. Clint and Dan and Jason whacked away at whilst I videoed and I caught a pretty good angle of Clint sending. Dan pointed out the obvious sit start to Ra Nights right next door. Strange how Jrow and I never noticed it before. I was immediately psyched, dropped the camera and started brushing. I nearly flashed it for the FA but fell half way up Ra Nights. I was able to pull it out second go and it seems to bump the grade up to maybe V6.
It was close to sunset and I needed to manuever the troops around to the other side of the boulder, to my main objective Flash Of The Blade V7. Fortunately a cool somewhat scarey V2 called Purple Cobra is right next to it. I figured with all the pads and a little prodding we could lauch the send train and sure enough everyone but Jason flashed it. Finally to the Blade, this is an approximately 4 year old Victor Blanco addition I have always wanted to try but never have due to different lame excuses. It is a jump start problem with side pulls, its tenuous and kind of low percentage. It took many tries but I was able to send as we lost the light. Sweet!
Thursday came with a text from Dave Klug about bolt clippin at The Island our local granite sport crag. All summer I have declined due to being busy tiling and remodeling a kitchen. I finished the other day so I was free and Meg had secured a babysitter because she was kayaking with a friend and knew I wanted to climb. We warmed up on a cool 5.9 and went into the back to do some of the cool long 5.11-'s. Clint had showed up to round out our party of 3, which was cool because David had his sights set on Certain Damage a very difficult 5.12b and I wanted to go have a look at Redhead 5.12d. This climb is the only one at the Island I hadn't done and not for lack of trying, it had always shut me down. I hadn't tried it in many years so there was not much beta left floating around in my head. Once again with the light fading on me, I went for it knowing I would only have one chance. Holy shit! What a fight, I made it through the steep tiny crimps at the bottom and rested in the middle for the mind fuck 5.11 at the top. I climbed slow and methodically and after about 20 minutes arrived at the chains. Now I need to bolt some more.
Off to Tensleep today for two weekend days.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
We had many friends from Cody joining us for camping, music festivities and climbing this weekend and we headed over early on Friday to try and secure some campsites. Fortunately a site over in Tensleep Campground that stays cool in the morning was open so we snatched it up. This site is desirable because it has its own private creek for the kids to play in and several tent sites as well as a long driveway for the camper and extra vehicles. The walk in sites in Leigh Creek Campground were open and I directed Pat L. from Cody there. He decided to take both knowing that more folks would be showing up and it made a good home base for his crew.
Mikey and his kids were there Friday night and due to overcast skies Saturday morning we were able to head up to the crag early. The Cook family arrived in the morning and after a quick tent set up Clint was fired up to climb. We headed to the Mondo, as I had my eyes on Screaming Night Hog .12c and Aunt Jemimahs Bisquick Thunderdome .12d for today. I warmed up on Mommas Meds .12a because its short and has a quick powerful crux with good holds. Clint was psyched to try and flash it but failed at the last hard move. David and Ben walked up and were interested in trying the climb as well. David studied it and after a few questions went for the onsight - I made a video. I am not really concerned with polishing up my vids with music or anything fancy right now so here is the raw footage.
While Clint put the wraps on the 12a I went over and got on Night Hog. I usually try this route from the Schools Out/Jackabite intro as it is a lot more fun, though the route was intended to go up the slab to the left. I felt like I had a good shot at sending quick so I did the proper start hoping to only have to climb it once. The bulge is really quite easy with deep pockets leading to one stopper move. I almost pitched but managed to stick the awkward move and actually clip the last bolt. As I clipped the chains I was already studying the cruxy move on Thunderdome as it finishes on Night Hog also. I remember struggling with that move years ago, though today it looked manageable. After an hour of rest Clint belayed me and I sent it 1st try.
Reveling in my successes my wife reminded me that Gold Member 14a was the next route for me to do at the crag. Great! Only 5 grades harder than what I have been concentrating on consolidating this summer. What the hell? Alli asked me to remove her draws if I decided to get on it, so I went for it with her assurance that I could pull on quickdraws through what I couldn't climb. What a stunning route marred only by the shitty 40' of slab you have to start out with. Steep awesome pockets lead to a very difficult move using a 1/3 pad intermediate to set up for a big throw. Not happening, I pulled through on the draw right into another crimpy sequence leading to a weird side pull. This is the set up for another move I almost did but not quite. Another 4 or 5 bolts of really fun thought provoking 13a that is easy to mess up leads to a kind-of-topout and the anchor. An eye opener for sure, I felt like I could possibly do the two hard moves and definetly wire the upper section. I will marinate on that experience until a later date.
We ran down the trail and raced back to camp to change, cleanup and grab chairs for Jalans performance at Nowoodstock. The man is truly a professional and dazzled the crowd with a too short set due to a short time slot. The music afterward was not anything I was interested in and the kids were tired so we drove back up canyon to our little villa in the woods. We built a fire and settled in for the evening, quite satisfied.
Sunday morning brought coffee, delicious bacon and eggs, plans for an FCR day and keys locked in the car. WTF? This unfortunately would uncontrollably alter our plans for the day. A friend from Cody drove a set of keys over late in the afternoon and saved our asses. Meg and Julia took most of the kiddos to the park to see Sundays music lineup and the boys and I marched up the Leigh Creek Trail. We ran into a group of 7 or 8 that had tackled a cool steep charlie .12a at the lower Psychoactive Wall. They had the draws hanging but no one was climbing or even waiting to climb it, so we asked if we could run on it, they were very accomodating. I asked to borrow a harness and Mikeys size 11 slippers for my size 9 feet, because all my gear was locked in the car. My feet flopped around but managed to stick well enough to get the onsight. I belayed Clint as he easily soared up the route too. Feeling satisfied clint and I ran off down the trail with little Sarah on my shoulders to find the Haunted Wall.
After checking out this diminutive but intriguing wall we marched back to the Godfather Boulder to find Mikey finishing up one of the best steep 5.10s in the canyon. Hell yes! we want you to leave the draws. I did it in my tennies and Clint ran a lap as well. Good enough for a f'ed up day we headed for town to find the women folk and tribe of kids. We caught the end of Jalans set, more (now very cheap) concession food and a couple very light beers. The road home is quick after a good weekend and before I knew it I was backing the trailer into the driveway.
We saw so many people we knew this weekend, non-climbers and climbers alike and it was great to catch up however briefly with each of them. I brought the kids gear with me this weekend and my daughter Eden was excited to climb. We set up some easy top ropes and let all the kids play, though not nearly as amazing as the 60' rope swing we set up last weekend, but fun nonetheless. Also James Litz has struck again sending one of Kev's new projects at the Superratic. F'ed in the A, right of Pick Pocket is apparantly 14b, the first of the grade in the Canyon. Good onya!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Thursday get together included plans for a rad dyno problem called Fuc%ing Death V5 which is quite a stunner, I had to tag along. DMiller has been trying this problem, and with a little tinkering with the already benign landing has made it even safer. I shot video hoping for a send but to no avail. I encouraged Clint away from this highly improbable for a shorter guy dyno, toward its crimpy and powerful brethren Life Wish V8. I knew this climb was his cup of tea and unfortunately put the camera down right before he sent it. Bravo Clinton!! Good on ya. We marched over to the Contact Boulder where more landing tinkering had revealed a better intro on slopers to 3-2-1 Bombtrack V4. With a bit of grunting I pulled through to connect and send the new problem at V5 or 6. Dan immediately dissected it adding different holds and two alternate endings. C'est La Vie. This is just one more boulder that for years had only a handful of problems and now has so many cleaned holds and options we can't count all the variants.
Kids, Food, Trailer, Wife, water - off to Tensleep. A dreary Friday reminiscent of any day in February had me wondering what the other side of the basin looked like. A quick call to Kev allayed my fears, as the weather was fine in the Canyon. I packed the drill bag the night before and planned another Friday Bolting Blitzkrieg with my sights set on a short steep roof left of Papa Knows Best .12d. We got a primo campsite near the river and tucked in the trees, set the trailer up, got everyone situated and I was off.
I didn't even get to the crag until after 6, but was excited to bump into Micah and Colby from Casper along with Doc Tom R from Lander who were packing up as I hurriedly unpacked my junk show. I stick clipped up and swung over, and was happy to find bomber juggy pockets so I slammed in an anchor and began cleaning and exploring the tiny roof. Ambitously but naively thinking I could start and finish in two hours, I began to realize daylight was fading and the secrets hadn't all been unlocked. Blast!! It would have to wait until tomorrow. Oh how obsession is a naughty mistress and the nights I've spent agonizing over an unfinished route are truly cruel. Marky D. caught up with us raving about another 5 star steak meal from the Tensleep Salon and we drank and told stories around the campfire.
Saturday brought perfect weather and an opportunity to get up to the crag early with Mark as he can't sit still long enough in the morning to wait for the cliff to go into the shade. Brilliant! I could finish the route before my kids and other climbers showed up. Things went as planned and the hordes of people that showed up that day was impressive. The new route which was to potentially be for my wife turned out to be a bit on the bouldery side with a cruxy but short V4 after interesting 5.9 flake climbing. More than she wanted to deal with, I flashed the 4 bolt route and we called it Mommas Mental Medication 5.12a. I watched Mark, Mikey and Meg flounder with the tough section and though I intially thought 5.11 something, I think .12a is about right. People love short 12a climbs so we shall see what happens.
My real goal for the day was Aaron/Alli/Gilly's new route Crown Prince Abdullah .12d. I wanted to check it out and hoped it would suit me. Lucky for me Micah was there and also hot to trot for this new addition to the crag, he hung his draws on it. I watched like a hawk gleaning as much minutia as I could knowing I might have a chance to flash it. I had already watched a handful of people try, redpoint or flash this route and knew about as much as I felt I needed though still apprehensive about the bouldery crux at the end. As luck would have it, I pooped out up high at the last crux wrestling with the tricky footwork and gave up unable to recover. It was a pretty good fight and after hanging for a minute and discussing options with Micah, I worked out the sequence and felt confident I could do it if I could get back up there again. After about two hours I warmed up again on Mommas Meds to get my draws off and went for it. I climbed the lower boulder problem quickly and only took one short rest then launched into the upper crux. Before I knew it I was clipping the chains and already planning which other routes of this grade range I might try next.
Here is a video of Micah on his best burn of the day on Crown Prince. Its not a redpoint but I sewed together the pieces eliminating rests and a fall from the upper crux.
After a fine feast, some beers around the fire and a kid puking incident you don't want to hear about, we all headed off to bed. I awoke the next morning to the sound of someone or something banging on the camper right under my head. I ran out half naked to find Mikeys kid Danny with a stick and a rock in hand and a big grin on his face. I shooed him away back to his campsite only to realize I promised to make coffee for the troops in the morning and they were already up. Damn! I forgot to fill the water jug the night before.
Meg wanted more time on the ultra-goodness that is Circus in the Wind .11b and I realized maybe Circus in my Pants .12d, its neighbor might submit with some effort, so off to the Circus Wall we headed. This particular 12+ had damaged my fragile feelings on both prior seasons and I wanted revenge. Same as previous sessions I put the draws on CITW and swung over to draw up CIMP and have a quick refresher. Now the Circus Wall has a different sun aspect being on the back side of the main cliff, so its sun/shade schedule is different. It goes into the sun at around 3 o'clock, so morning is the best time to be there. We warmed up then prepped the climbs we wanted to do and I waited for my turn. It was close with the sun only a few feet away from the wall I knew I would only have one shot. Fortunately things went well and I fought through to clip the chains. I now only have one hard climb over there left to do and a handful of easier ones and I'm done with that corridor. Woohoo!! Progress!!
Our expeditiousness today put us at the TS Saloon salivating over the pizza menu only to find out we were too early. They hadn't even fired up the pizza oven yet. Shit! That place is expensive when I have to order individual meals for each of us, a pizza is much more cost effective and filling.
Next weekend is the Nowoodstock fest and hopefully we will have many Cody friends joining us for climbing and live bluegrass and dancing. Hope to see you there.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday seemed much more subdued, the actual Birthday day, with just Marc, Clint and I and a bottle of Jamieson. Oh lord, frickin wrestling again. This time I was suckered into getting involved in the fun. A bruised eyebrow, broken pinky toe and many scrapes and bruises later we had had enough. Actually a pretty fun evening, stupid injuries aside. We waved goodbye to uncle Little Marc and went back to our 'normal' lives as he returned to whence he came.
Ten Sleep here we come; climbing gear-check, camper-check, kids and wife-check and we're off. First up a better camp site that is closer to the river and is shady until late morning, perfect for sleeping in. Next up, check out new Charlie routes in Antarctica. Then on to the Proj and finally a leisurely day at the Circus Wall.
The new Charlie routes were woefully underestimated by mine self. They looked short and even though I couldn't even count all the bolts, I grabbed every draw I had brought. CK's bolts are usually close and plentiful which is nice. These things were long and involved, very tricky down low and rather continuous which belied the 10 and 10- written in chalk at the base. 13 clips later I was clipping the chains. Damn! Quite the warm-ups. Meg TR'd both and after some initial griping bucked up and finished each.
On to the project. On the way over to the climb I asked the girls to think of a name for the new climb should I finish it today. Much hooha was bantered about but nothing struck me exactly what I was looking for. Meg laughed and said you should call it Papa Knows Best. That was it, and as I pondered the name while shoeing up I relaxed a bit. I pulled on climbing strong through the bottom boulder problem and executed the new move beta I worked out last week on the next section. I took a well needed break to slow my breathing, then punched it through the next crimpy part and was too psyched to stop at the big undercling, so I blitzed through the tiny pockets crux nearly pitching off the small pinchy hold and before I knew it I was clipping the anchor. Wow! Glad to do it quick today and be done with it. Grade wise I'm not so sure. 12+ seems like the right ball park, though I would like some input from Alli, Kevin and Jeff.
Day two brings more sleeping in. How frickin cool to be camping and not have the sun roast you out of your nest. Also more river play with the kiddos and a scorching hot hike up to Circus Wall. Meg was hot for Circus in the Wind 11b and I had no firm plans other than to rope gun for her and entertain kids. We ran into Marky D. who was with Mikey from Thermop and his two young kids. I wandered up to the new Hitchhikers Guide Wall and was able to convince the crew to stomp up to try these short and cool looking routes. Kitty Improbability Drive 10+ was a super climb which felt more on par with White Buffalo 11b another short fantastic CK route. After everyone ran on that one the boys had to go so Meg and our crew strolled back down to the Ice Plant/Ravens Wall areas. Meg lead the steepest route there and though complaining about her head climbed strong between the bolts, conquering fear demons is no easy task. I realized Fun Stripe .11d was right behind us and with Megs urging I decided to give it a whack. For the 7th pitch of the day I still felt pretty strong and was able to onsight it, barely clinging to the multitude of tiny pockets on the steep section down low.
Once again a lack of media this time due to forgetting my cameras. Apologies.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The success of our first family weekend camping in Ten Sleep prompted an even longer weekend, Friday through Sunday. I charged the drill packed an extra rope and all the required steel. So many routes have gone in this year, everyone is psyched and some real good 'fill-ins' have been put up. The vibe was apparently infectious enough to spur me into taking on another long route requiring lots of cleaning. The new rig took an evening and most of the next day to prep and its a doozy. It seemed easy enough to maybe send quickly, being that there aren't really any stopper moves. I tried it right away and was shut down. It gets bouldery up high and the clips are farther apart due to the lack of clipping stances. Oh yes and it overhangs nearly 20 feet in 85', with no vertical sections. Perhaps I underestimated a bit and have had six runs on it with no success yet. It is mentally and physically taxing yet still a lot of fun and I am still psyched on it, so hopefully everything will fall into place this weekend.
The local posse is still bouldering religiously every Tuesday and Thursday evening despite the smarmy summer heat. I am so not psyched about bouldering right now, yet hanging with the homies is always a kick, plus there is a movement towards landscaping right now. It is interesting how this has slowly gained momentum over the years and is now gradually reshaping the landings of many of the frequently visted boulders. Controversial perhaps yet almost unanimously appreciated.
My picture taking has reduced to nothing and I can't seem to shoot a video of anything worthwhile, so I have nothing to post on that.
On the local news front the boys are polishing up boulder problems they have been working for a while. Oh, and with the dangerous rock removed from the landing of the Orange Ripple Boulder, the Problem Ancient Sea of Fire now goes straight up as a dyno without much anxiety. We ran the train on it the other night, it seems like V5 or 6 and is way more fun than the original shoulder wrenching method first used. Props to J-Tow for snagging what I think was the FA of the direct line a few years back before the landing was fixed. Also Kerrick Stinson got the second ascent of Prize Fighter the supposed V10 sit start to the Spugilist. LG got the FA years ago due to his brute strength and enormous wing-span. Kerrick worked something different out, so I am psyched to have a look. Also he has finally found the brilliant and clandestine Clam Shell boulder which should keep him busy for a short while.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We took the whole family up to the crag both days and they all did great. Meg got on Schools Out .10d, and would now like to lead it, which is good cause her training assignment for next weekend is to fall on lead. This is a great route to practice falling on, being very steep towards the end.
I was excited to try Calm Like a Bomb .12d and after warming up on a new route of Hueys to the right, I went for it. The Bomb is route I bolted maybe 8 years ago and couldn't do quickly, so I walked away from it distracted by other objectives. Dan Miller was psyched about the line so I offered it up to him, and he fired off in a few sessions. I hadn't even tried it since. I had a sneaking suspicion that now was the time and sure enough it went on my first red point burn. I had forgotten how cool this line was, with giant, deep jugs for the first 7 clips and then 2 boulder problems seperated by some decent pockets and a great cryptic reachy finish. I was pleased to put the wraps on that old dog to say the least.
The girls caught a snake with a friend of mine and Ripley covered himself with dirt.
The girls insisted late in the day that we go and find Charlie. Now mister Charlie Kardalef has rightfully garnered some fame at the old Sleep bolting many high quality lines over the years, but my girls love him because he is so good with kids. They are just drawn to him. Meg thinks its his bushy eyebrows. Nevertheless we hunted CK down, and after hugs we headed down the trail and back into town.
After dinner, Maya and I walked downtown to see Jalan Croslan play at the Big Horn Mountain Stage. Truly a treat Jalan is, and the place was packed with mostly climber trash. Which means about 40 of us had him all to ourselves, we danced and whooped it up. What a great show!
Afterwards I walked back to Alli's house to visit with Alli and Kev and their house guests Jeff and Gilly and to find out how their day went. Come to find out that James Litz, the powerhouse Southern boulderer was in town and having his way at the Superratic. Apparently he mowed down everything there in two days and set his sights on the old He Big 'em project. Kev tells me it took him five goes and believes it to be 5.14a which would make it the first bonafide 14 at the Sleep. Nice work James! Now if they can just drag him up to the Temple to send the really hard stuff. Yes, its bolted and waiting.
The next day we made breakfast and got away a little earlier so we could go play in the river before hiking up to the crag. The river was still raging and cold, hopefully it will settle down a bit in the coming weeks, because you can't really play in it when its that agitated. We skipped rocks and dipped our heads and it was off to the Superratic.
We ran into our new friends Matt and his son Stefan on the trail as we were applying bug spray to keep the flying oil rigs away. We sprayed them down too, and gave them directions as they were headed where we were going as well. Young Stefan is 12 and super strong sending Happiness in Slavery 12b in two tries and would flash the Behemoth .12b, a little later in the day. The Superratic has really come into its own over the last year or so with Kevin cleaning up and rebolting all Matt W's old destroyed lines and adding several new ones too. There is now a high concentration of 13's (5) and 12's (5), and with all the letters being represented there is also a wide variety, pretty cool.
My sights were set on The Hellion .13c and Kyberspace .13b. The former is a long term proj that should have gone down long ago but alas... and the other is newer and could be well suited to my strengths. After warming up on Leggo My Guano .10b with Meg, we both took a lap on the uber pocket fest The Great White Behemoth .12b. Meg commented that she felt she fought equally hard with both, hmmm... Jeff and his partner Nick had the Hellion strung up, so after watching Jeff send it smoothly I felt inspired and a bit saucy. I launched up and climbing too fast, blew it on a key new piece of Beta, which incidently works better and will save several very tenuous moves. I immediately pulled back on and did the move and nearly climbed to the rest several bolts up without incident. My forearms were tired and went into flash pump mode which forced a rest. The rest of it is easier, and all in all it felt pretty good. I will continue trying it for sure, it is easily one of the best routes I've ever bolted and someday I will send it. Kyberspace was next and as I waited for my turn, belaying and kid wrangling, a storm moved in. It started with a wind blown green pollen cloud carried by a frieght train-like noise whipping it down the canyon, very odd indeed. Then the rain clouds moved in, we packed up and ran down the trail to the car with kids in tow and narrowly beating the rain.
After a quick bite to eat, we waved goodbye to new and old friends, collected the trailer and jetted back to Cody. This may be the format for the next month, we are all psyched.