Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Pass History: The Green Lantern

The Green Lantern may be another problem vying for best problem at Ute status.  An immaculate piece of rock off by itself with only one line up it.  A clear sit start with an straight forward but extremely difficult crux move.  It was first done by Dave Marquess back in the spring of 2005, using some very heinous intermediate crimps.  It had recently snowed heavily and everything was out of commission but this bloc and Dave and Byron quickly set to work.  Within 15 minutes of Dave's send, Byron Johnson nabbed the second ascent via a sick lunge to a decent slot.  This has now become the standard beta to try but three years later no one has been able to link this climb together again.  However, I have seen Austin Geiman come agonizingly close on a number of attempts.  As for me, I get utterly destroyed.  I can barely do the "easy" opening moves let alone the powerful crux.  Maybe it is a mental block or maybe I'm just not powerful enough, but this problem has now worked its way back onto the top of my list of projects so hopefully there will be some more news about this rig soon.  Here are two photos of Bryan Boyko, who did not actually stick the move in the photo due to the difficultly of actually getting ones fingers back into the slot, and Carlo Traversi working the Green Lantern.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hilltop Boulder History and Projects

Today I hoped on going and finishing up the project on the hilltop bloc at Ute Pass.  This boulder is the first bloc that one sees from the Waldo Canyon parking lot and had long been dismissed as too blank to have any lines.  Back in the day the bloc was called the Gay Boulder because of a drilled pocket traverse on the backside.  One day Ben and Boyko were up at the pass and they decided to clean the line up.  They found a series of crimps that moved rightward from a massive jug to a good incut at the lip finishing with a committing mantle.  Ben renamed the block the Talledega Nights ("Hi, I'm Ricky Bobby and if you don't chew Big Red, then fuck you!")  Ben came close to sending last spring but since it happened to be raining at the time was not able to top the climb out.  Since then I have topped the climb out from the incut, which felt to be a V5 or 6 mantle in itself, but neither Ben nor myself have been able to reach the incut from the start.  Today we had a big old session on it and both Ben and myself were able to stick the small intermediate below the good incut but fell bumping.  On my third go of the day I split my tip open which put me out of commission on the problem.  Shortly after Ben lost his psych on grabbing the holds too.  However, a few months ago Max and me and brushed a few holds about 10 feet to the right but could not put anything together on it.  Since we had a number of pads we did a super stack and were able to brush the holds up higher and feel around a bit.  The climb will be fairly simple, only three moves.  Start with two crimps, right hand to sidepull, right hand to good incut near lip, left to jug, mantle.  While the line did not go due to skin conditions of the crew, the likely grade is V7!!!!!  Here are a few shots of Max and Ben giving the crux move some work; Max is attempting to go left handed to the incut while Ben was trying right.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ute Pass Seshwan from the Past

Last spring Boyko and Carlo came down from boulder for the day with the intent of doing Daddy Fat Sacks.  We covered a surprising amount of ground in one afternoon, with all of us working Daddy Fat Sacks, Cool Cuts for Tojo, The Gusher, what would become Beyond the Clouds, and The Green Lantern.  Both Carlo and Boyko came super close to the Fat Sacks, with Carlo's height making the crux right hand bump very difficult and Boyko having difficulty linking the whole rig together.  The first three shots are Cool Cuts for Tojo and the rest are Daddy Fat Sacks.


Bloody Arete Sit

Yesterday Byron and myself went to the pass for a few hours so that I could hopefully finish up the Bloody Arete Sit.  Bloody Arete is an old school Ute Pass line, put up around a decade ago. Dave Marquess made some news when he got the second ascent at the age of 13.  The line was originally called V11, when Colorado Springs locals compared its difficulty to that of Full Service in Hueco. Dave's method involved some heinous small moves including catching one crystal as a mono. Beta has since been refined and the line may be slightly easier.  Despite the sharpness of a few holds, this is the best climb at Ute Pass in my opinion. I had fallen off the end of the stand the day before so I knew I was close.  I was just hoping my skin could hold out for long enough to get to the top.  I dialed in the stand by doing it a few times and then went for the sit.  What turned out to feel like the crux was just grabbing the right hand crystal on the face and actually committing to holding it.  This hold gives the problem its name and had split Tim's finger on Friday.  I got the send after about an hour or so although the moves did not feel as smooth as the day before. Luckily, the top went smoother then previously, although I still did not feel especially secure. The day ended by eyeing some new lines and then attempting a crash pad toboggan.   I tried to jump onto the pad but i just slid over the top of it and landed on my stomach on the ice.  Check Byron's blog for footage of the send and attempted toboggan.  Here are some photos from the fall of 2006  of Nathan Brand and myself working the stand in not so ideal conditions. 

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Tablelands

I spent the first part of my time in Bishop with Vic Copeland, a friend of Simon's from Sac and a longtime Eastside climber.  He gave me an awesome tour of the Sads on my first day, just touring around and doing the classics.  I like the Sads a lot more than the Happies, it feels a bit more like climbing and a little less like being in the gym.  On our second day, Vic and me got super psyched up on Golden Shower in the Pollingrains.  We woke up early and rallied Rob's Honda up the Buttermilk road as far as possible and then tried to walk the rest.  Considering out pad quiver (one full pad, two half pads, and a piece of closed cell foam) we were hoping that there was a decent amount of snow below the bloc. The Pollingrain approach is normally made by driving around Buttermilk mountain clockwise, but we opted for a counterclockwise approach.  It turned out we did not have as good of an idea of where the boulders were when coming form a different direction.  Minus some wet and cold feet, we had a great time tromping through the snow with no one in sight even though we never found the Pollingrains.   After warming back up at the Looney Bean, we opted for a few evening laps on Atari.  Here are some pictures from the volcanic tablelands. Buttermilk country to come.

Vic on an stunning but unknown arete in the Sads

Vic on his own Los Locos in the Sads.  You cannot tell it, but there is a 10 to 15 foot deep hole below him.

The immaculate Atari, Happy Boulders

Ryan sends Strength in Numbers while the CC crew watches, Sads.

The volcanic tablelands looking to the east

2008 Hit List

The 08 wish list challenge is on sockhands and while I have no updates from JJ's end, I cannot say I am doing too well.  Snow prevented access to three of my five Bishop climbs, and lack of finger skin kept me from wanting to grab the holds on a fourth, and I did not send the fifth.   The Fat Sacks puts me at 1/30 right now, a whopping 3.33%.  So here it is:

CO: No More Greener Grasses, Dark Waters, Bush Pilot, Nothin' but Sunshine, The Nothing, Gorillas in the Mist, The Last Dance, Daddy Fat Sacks, Talledega Nights Project (ute) WA: The Practitioner, The Peephole, Equinox Hueco: Diaphanous Sea, Rules of Chaos, The Flame, Left Martini Joes: Wrinkle in Time, Beyond Life, Fingerhut, Worm Turns, Jitterbug Perfume Bishop: The Mandala, Golden Shower, Evilution (topout), Heroun and the Sea of Stories, This Side of Paradise Squamish: Worm World Low, Backseat, The Egg, Blackhole

The Fat Sacks

The weather was a little warmer today so I decided to do my afternoon petrology lab tonight and go up to the pass.   Byron and I got up there at around 2:30 and met Gatzke and Ander.  They were working the prow but quickly moved over to the tojo face as the temps began to fall.   I warmed up for a while, down climbing into the top out of Daddy Fat Sacks to remove the snow, dry the holds, and chalk them up.  My first go I stuck the first big, hard move but too far to the left and fell coming in.  I actually tried to take a reasonable rest, which ended up being about 10 minutes, and on my second go of the day sent.  The moves got a little desperate at the end, but I tried to hold everything together and hoped that I would not break anything.  Trying to keep the psych up, we headed over the the Bloody Arete.  I was able to slap at the second hold, which is by far the crux move, but could not stick.  The temps were quickly getting too cold to climb so I decided to repeat the stand to refresh my memory.  Did it to the jugs but decided to wait on repeating the sketchy topout for the send.  Hopefully the weather will stick with us and we can have some good conditions this weekend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On the Road

Its been a while since I have made a post and I apologize, but I have been traveling a lot and have not had computer access.  In the last month, I have spent a week in Font, a week in Paris, five days in San Francisco, two days in Sacramento, a day traveling to Bishop via the widest possible methods of transportation, five days in Bishop, two in Ojai (Santa Barbara area), back to the Bay for a night, and now I am back in Colorado.  Overall, a semi epic trip but I would have to say the most interesting and diverse one I have taken.  An inspiring series of events that makes me want to spend much more unplanned time on the road.  I recently read the "non-fiction" novel Into the Wild, and in it one of the characters states that love is the most powerful force in the universe.  To that I might add compassion, but I found people's faith to be enormously large when it comes to welcoming strangers into their lives.  I thank each person who brought me into his or her home, gave me a ride, lent me change for the bus, or gave me a spot, without you my travels would not have been the same.