Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kiddie Crag Day

Saturday and time to climb but the whole tribe is mine to tend so.... Kids at the crag day!! Meg had some things to do so she couldn't come, so after the girls tested for their swimming class levels we hightailed it to the Island. There were a dozen people there when the girls, Ripley and I showed up so finding a belay for Bitch with a Broomstick 5.8 was pretty easy. This is the route my oldest Maya, has her eyes on. She will be 7 this summer and is always asking me to take her along on my trips into the woods and crag days. The weather is nicer now so it is easier to say yes, though that means Eden who will be 5 this summer wants to go too. Its so hard to say 'no' to one, and take the other. Regardless of the age advantage Maya has over her sister, Eden will be bummed if she isn't allowed to come as well. Today however I had all three, so we packed a lunch, various toys and stuffed things, a blanket, some diapers and all the required climbing hooha and off we went.
The girls took several turns on the route, but being that it is early in the season and their first trip this year, they were both a little timid and did more bouncing around on the rope than climbing. The bouncing is highly entertaining and a lot of fun for them so I encouraged it, plus it builds confidence in the whole system, which will help them if they decide to continue this silly game of climbing rocks. Ripley or Master Silly Piece as Eden has nicknamed him, was a hoot, running willy nilly all over the place. He managed to make everyone laugh, skin his knee and eat his fair share of dirt. The afternoon wore the little man out and he was fast asleep before we even got home.
Fortunately, in between kid wranglin sessions I was able to squeeze in 4 pitches which I am hoping will prepare me for tomorrow in Tensleep. Clint and I are day tripping to the pocketed Mecca of the sleep to see our good bud Alli and clip some bolts. Should be fun considering she has a house full of visiting climbers this weekend including the notorious CK.
On a different note local strong lad Kerrick Stinson dispatched The Wretched Harley V10 after putting in some sesions for his second of the grade. He questioned me as to the location of Pistol Whipper V9, rested a day then went and fired it with the quickness. This may only be the second ascent of the problem and he seems to feel the grade fits. He tried the center line that day as well but didn't get too far, seems he has a new project now. This is the line Dave and I landscaped and I posted about a few weeks back. Good Luck, shes gonna be tough.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Circuits Here, Circuits There, Circuits Everywhere

Tuesday, great weather, a good bunch of buddies and a few hours to kill. The posse gathers once again for the Tuesday evening bouldering session. I had to close the shop and was training some one but through a kind twist of fate I was able to leave early anyway. Still lagging behind the rest of the gang I caught up to them after their warmup at the Ethiopian Boulder, thank god I missed that, I'd rather jab sharp objects at my eyeballs than climb on the Ethiopian Boulder. I am only partially kidding, this boulder has become the default warmup due to its central location and vertical nature. Its not an awful chunk of rock, I'm just bored to death with it. Anyway I missed it, boohoo, on to the next one. We went to the Contact boulder, Dylan has these problems wired, so the two of us ran the gamut, while the others worked on the dyno or the traverses. This boulder has changed recently in that several hollow flakes got pried off creating and eliminating holds. I then drug the pads over to the Get It Up boulder to do Bobe Dole V4 and try Black Days V7. I managed BD via a couple different variants and got through Black Days in a couple trys. What a great problem! I wish I was strong enough to eliminate the jump start, its so powerful and I just wasn't feeling it. Time for one more, we ran over to The Pugilist for the troops to try, Dave, Pat, Garrett and Justin all made good progress on Spugilist V4 but no one sent. Clint and I hucked a few laps and then he headed out with Dylan. Garrett and Dave followed shortly after. I took Pat and Justin over to the Dirt Boss to show them the newly relandscaped landing, and feeling inspired ran a tennis shoe lap on the old classic traverse. I followed them down to the cheese boulder and watched Pat easily dispatch the V4 traverse whilst I sipped a well earned beer. Damn I love circuits in these boulders! Its no wonder I can never drag these guys away to clip bolts.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Evening With My Honey

A perfect Saturday evening found Meg and I kidless for once and anxious to clip some bolts. We cruised up to the Island to get in a few pitches. I was to be the rope gun, so we started on some easier things for warm ups, then moved to the back of the Tunnel Wall to finish. I got in seven pitches and felt exhausted at the end. Meg TR'd three and may have found a route she would like to project. Routes were Feeling All Right 5.9, Communtiy Service 5.10b, Spider Pig 5.11a/b, Silent Spaz 5.9, Digital Jedi 5.11c, Light Tension 5.11b and Aah.. Me Wrikey 5.11b. No pics tonight, as we were by ourselves the whole evening. I kept thinking some one else would show up because the temperature was so perfect, though it was nice to have the entire crag to ourselves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Into The Swing

Tuesday evenings are climbing days for me, though unfortunately we have no staff at the shop right now and with Meg working that leaves me with most of the duties for management and daily operations, argg!! Anything cutting into the precious climb time must be rectified. We are currently looking at applicants and within a few weeks should have some new staff and thus free up time for play and other work pursuits. Meanwhile my Tuesday night session with the boys was somewhat abreviated, but no matter I feel fat and weak from being on vacation for the last 2 weeks, so a couple hours was sufficient.
I met up with Dylan, Clint, Matt and Bryant at the Cheese boulder as they were all finishing up except for Dylan who was crushing one of the harder variants when I got there (and whining incidentally about feeling weak - ha). We all moved over to the Ripper Point V5/6 for Matt to give some burns on. No one else was interested, as Clint and I had climbed the problem the other day at the end of our session. D and I spotted and Clint hacked a new trail around the dreaded tree/boulder squeeze leading from Cheese to The Ripper. After a few goes we headed up to the Tuned Boulder so I could warm up. This boulder has 5 or 6 individual easy problems and a link or two. Apparently Dan Miller had cleaned a new hold and established a cool eliminate last week, so after dispatching with all the established stuff and the new variant, we felt inspired to clean a few more tiny crimps and poor slopers. We ended up making a handful of new eliminates and now we have another good boulder to warm up on with a dozen different climbs to choose from.
Clint starting up Physically Tuned V1

The Tuned Boulder session ate up the most of the remaining light and our psych, so we headed out. As I waved bye to D and Clint at the parking area, I noticed there was a climber on the Wretch Boulder. Turns out it was none other than Kerrick Stinson, a local young (15 yrs.) powerhouse who is currently tearing through the hardest Cody has to offer. Having done the Wretch V7 and Dead Mans Harley V8 he was working on the link up, Wretched Harley which goes at V10. I snapped a few pics then grabbed my shoes and joined in. Too late for me, I climbed pretty well but was too sapped from earlier to have any sort of chance. Kerrick on the other hand motored through the beginning over to the starting hold for the Harley like 8 times, but was unable to stick the big move. Bummer, I know the feeling. I can do the Harley on command but it always feels so much harder after climbing over there from the start of the Wretch. Hence I've never been able to manage the link. I studied Kerricks beta which is fluid and smooth having done it so many times and plan to visit this bloc more in the coming weeks.
Kerrick is very close and will soon power it into submission or will refine the moves to the Harley until they are automatic and go easy after the taxing beginning.
Kerrick and I both did our first V10 this spring sending The Plague at the Sphinx Boulders. He is 15 and getting stronger every day and should polish off the other climbs in town in that range this summer. For me at age 40, V10 is the pinnacle of my efforts, though the Wretched Harley is definitely doable.
Here is Kerrick blasting the intro moves of the Wretched Harley V10

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Well the imaginary wonderland of the Family Vacation has come to an end. The girls, the little man and I are all back home. Unpacked and... needing some outside time. My old friend Marc is in town for a few days and after catching up we ran out to the Cornflakes Boulder to run the circuit. He is quite out of shape from being in school in Michigan, but as usual was able to do all the problems and in true form, humped a very humpable feature on the boulder. It was a pretty good evening session to get stretched out and back into shape.
Marc givin a little slap

Marc and Anna and the Cornflakes Boulder

On Saturday afternoon Clint and I went up on Cedar to meet some friends and climb some other classics. We met up with Matt and Bryant at the Cheese boulder and walked up to the Dirt Boss. This Boulder has gained in popularity since another generation of landscaping saw nearly every boulder clogging the underside pulled out and rolled away. There is now ample room for the old DB Traverse V3 and the No Cheating Traverse V7 actually works much better with room to swing around and no jagged boulders waiting to bite you should you lose tension. Also the ground is now low enough to start on the giant cheater stone underneath which gave rise to the Bloc Party Problems, a half dozen V2 to V4 roof problems all beginning on the same start holds and shooting off in all directions. We ran through many of these new problems and each of us projected something undone. A fun session for sure.
The Hall Bros. took off and Clint and I went down to the Vestal Boulder so I could once again do the Vestal problem which I always think I haven't done. Not that its forgettable, its actually pretty good. We did the easier problems on the West side as well then played around eliminating holds. Here is Clint getting down on some very small crimps.
Today I managed to sneak away in the morning with my friend Drew who has been in town for a week or so looking for new boulders. He has a break between Spring and Summer term classes. Drew is very intent on finding new stuff, building trails, cleaning and sending anything that looks good. He has focused the last week or so on establishing a quicker way into the Fort Boulder and in the process, found some more boulders leading down to this boulder from above. Pretty cool stuff but kinda dirty. We spent a few hours punching a nice trail through the woods to the new stuff which is adjacent to the Fort Boulder. We'll see what happens with this stuff as there are many newish lines elsewhere on Cedar that have been found and cleaned or not cleaned and are rattling around in my brain right now. Much to do.

I was happy to get home in time to make it to the nursery to buy some tomatoes for the garden. I used compost I bought and some nice organic stuff we've been making in a trash can since last fall. I'll buy some peppers this week and once I get it all planted, the salsa factory should begin producing by mid July. Can't wait!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Stone Fort

I just can't be expected to come all the way East to visit my parents and not visit one of the killer bouldering areas the South has to offer. Little Rock City is one of my favorites and is only an hour and twenty minutes from my folks' house. We had three days to choose from and today looked as though it would be the driest and perhaps coolest, so the wife and I jumped in the car and went to try our luck. I say luck because this really isn't the best time of year to be trying to stick to slopey sandstone and last year we got hosed quite literally in May when we tried a visit to the ole Stone Fort. Rain and 100% humidity had us trying Diesel Power V6 and several others to no avail.
This year was different and though we drove through a bit of rain on the way over the boulders were dry and surprisingly sticky. I was excited to get Meg to try some classic moderates I had ticked off on previous visits. We warmed up on Mystery Groove V4 and some slabby stuff nearby. Spyro Gyro V7/8 was just around the corner and having tried and failed in the past, I hoped today would go better. The dyno method wasn't working and after a little beta trickery I found a way to heel hook and static the move to the jug. Seemed easier then Business Time to me but apparantly the dyno method is a bit harder.

With that out of the way, on to more classic easier stuff. Meg wanted to try the Wave V5, one of my favorite V5's anywhere so we played on that for a while. This problem is strikingly a lot like Man With the Slow Hand V4 in Horse Pens 40, which I did a few months ago, except it has a better start and isn't crammed down in a hole with serious dab potential.

We then went over to Dragon Lady V4 and Tri-Star both of which I had done before but was more than happy to play on. I also tried the recently completed Dragon something or other to the right of Dragon Lady. I had tried this in the past with no luck but had found a video of some strong bastard sending it so I thought maybe it would help me somehow. It did not make me any stronger or more likely to fire it, alas this is a very difficult climb. One more stop, a moderate I had always wanted to try, Super Mario Bros V4. It was nice to find a couple guys working on it when we got there, a little extra foam never hurts. A quick preview and I thrutched my way through for flash. Yee haw! Another fantastic line. We had run out of time and needed to hit the road. As usual, I pushed for one more of something. One of the guys there wanted to try the straight up exit which is called Nathan or something like that. I was game because I could see it had two giant moves down low and we had several crashpads. I managed the two big moves and was nearing the 20 foot mark but had no idea for what to do next, so I bailed.

All in all a great day, I even managed to get my $25 back from the gas station attendant that ripped me off earlier in the day.