Saturday, March 29, 2008

Since break...

          We got back to Colorado College on Sunday night and since then I have had very little productive climbing activity but I have been out a bunch.  On Monday I went to the pass with Tim where he fell off the mantle jugs of Ship's Prow.  Shortly after that, we received a call to see if we could work at the gym. Apparently none of the lame CC gym employees would work a simple hour shift so Tim and I had to come back to keep the gym from having to close.  Just a note fools, when you prevent me from climbing outside because you are lazy it does not reflect well upon yourselves when you are trying to get hired back next year.  
         The next day Byron and I went to the pass so I could try the Green Lantern and Byron could finish his one arm project up.  Byron blew off the finish jug a number of times, a feat that I would peg with at least 8 points.  He will send next session for sure.  I also repeated Skinned in the Woods twice and finally was able to complete the V7 left of Herbaceous Orangutan.  I then went up to the Green Lantern but was thwarted by the heat of the day.  Those slimpers were not meant for 60 degree weather.  However, in addition to trying to climb a series of frustrating events probably made this my worst day at the pass.
         On Thursday, Ander and I went to check out the climbing conditions of some blocks down by where Chris lives but many of them were still snowy due to late season storms that have hit Southern Colorado.  Tomorrow it is off for a second attempt at finding Scalius and maybe some goes on Chill Style.

The Wind Below

Might just be the best problem I have done...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break Continues: Joe's Valley

After Ibex it was off for three days in Joe's Valley as our tour of Utah continued.  Well it turned out the word on Joe's is out and it was just about the dead opposite experience that we had just had in Ibex.  On Saturday there were over 40 people at the Black Lung boulder alone, with probably 10 more scattered at any time in the other Area 51 boulders.  That being said it turned out that a lot of the people I enjoy climbing with were there and I got to say whatup to Carlo, G, Conner, Alex, Ryan, Brian, Chuck, Rylan, Bret, and Kyle.  Everyone was sending in good form and a even a few of the larger sessions were fun, just as it did not get too big as to one getting the feeling of waiting in line.  Given that I was 7 days on rolling into Joe's both my tips and power were not that their fullest but I still had an amazing time and it just reminded me how much I love the climbing in Joe's.  I made some progress on some harder stuff but the best moment came when I was able to Flash Kehl's The Wind Below (20+ feet, V7) on our last day.  A very nice cherry on top of an already amazing trip.  Shots of that session to come.

Chuck coming very close to Black Lung before it got too hot to pull on those "holds"

G working the Lung

Kyle on Resident Evil

Ander on Wills a Fire, or is he trying They Call Him Jordan...

Looks to be the latter

They Call Him Jordan

No he not crawling out of a giant birth canal, it's Ander flashing his first V7.  External Tulips.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Red Monster Boulder

Sand Dunes

Bomber Rock

Big Bend Blocks

Due to an inclement weather forecast in Utah we held off our departure for Moab until Thursday.  On the way we had a good session at Clear Creek where I am starting to come frustratingly close to Muddy Waters.  It seemed that the bad weather from Utah was heading towards Colorado because the drive over the mountains was long and snowy.  We arrived in Moab to clear skies at 3 am but woke up four hours later to being haled on.  Fortunately the blocks dried quickly and we were able to climb on the Navajo sandstone for the next three days.  I was able to send Chaos (V8) pretty quickly, falling off trying to match the lip of the boulder a number of times before topping out.  The climb is defiantly the gem of the area and worth stopping through to do.  I also climbed an awesome slab arete called Blue Light (V9) that proved to be very difficult for me along with a number of easier but equally fun problems.

Amazing desert patina walls

Noah on Party Trick Sit (V6)

Ander on Chaos (V8)

Again on Chaos

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring Break

Spring Break has been up in the air for a long time.  In January, I would not have believed someone if they told me I was not headed back to Bishop, but peoples psych and ability to travel change.  For a bit it was looking like we would be checking out the unreal bouldering that the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas offered but it turned out Chris was not able to be away from work for so long.  As of a couple hours ago, it was off to Switzerland.  Last minute plan tickets cost an amazing 348 dollars to Milan from Denver, which put us only a short train ride to Ticino.  However, when we went to buy the tickets it turned out there was a 450 dollar service and tax charge... so by noon tomorrow I will be done with my Physics 241 final and off to Utah.  Four large guys and a lot of climbing gear will be packed into, and probably strapped onto, a very small Jeep.  Sam, Noah, Ander and I will be headed to Ibex, Joe's, Moab and maybe more over the next 12 days.  Check back later for lots of media.

Monday, March 10, 2008

More from Ponderosa

Ander on the last few juggy moves of King for a Day.  Was going to pull some Tim Kemple so photoshop-ed it looks fake shit on this one but I bumped the tripod just enough that merging two photos became impossible.  Looks a little off cause I tried to save it with a lot of editing so that one had a better sense of the boulder.

Chris working his way up the first of the two dihedrals on King for a Day

Chris pulling the crux move of King for a Day.  This requires both generative power to reach the good spot on the second dihedral and core tension to stop the ensuing swing.

Forget the name of this rig but regardless it was a stellar one.  Ander on the Scoop boulder's V4 arete.  Its a little tall but at this point all the business is done and its pure pleasure to the top.

Unfortunately I got a little wrapped up in this one and never managed to snap a picture of anyone trying it.  This is by far the area's best test-piece that I saw.  Unique moves on immaculate rock.  Its called Triple Mullet Blow Job and goes at around V10.  I fell on the crux move a number of times but even just working this problem proved to be very satisfactory and enjoyable.  The climb moves out a series of three (the first is only visible in the upper left) upwards moving rails on a 50 degree overhang.  The line is a bit of a traverse but for the style and grade it might be the best I have tried. 

Rocklands Movie

One thing I have come to realize about Colorado College is that there is SO much funding available to students if you know where to look.  Separately the friends and family of CC students Ritt Kellogg and Jerry Alberg have created two funds that help the outdoor programs keep running.  One can get money for everything from library materials to hiring a guiding service (college insurance) to take new climbers outside to getting complete funding to explore backcountry bouldering in the high Sierras or Alaska during the summer.  I have recently requested a number of new items for the library, including the Bishop and Red River Gorge guidebooks, the movies Spray and Rocklands, and a book of essays and photos about bouldering called Stone Play.  I just watched the movie Rocklands today and thought I would tell people a little about it considering I had not heard much about it besides that it was on an area where even a poorly done movie could still be rad.  As it turns out, the movie is really very good.  It balances interviews (the good Memento kind not the bad stoned Chris Sharma kind) with lots of footage of classic looking problems from V4 to V14. The movie was made a few years ago but just recently was released outside of South Africa.  The filming techniques take advantage of some straight Hollywood shit (well beyond what Big Up is doing right now, defiantly watch the "Making Of" section).  The movie was also filmed on actual film, like Memento, but does not have the crispness of High Definition.  The movie follows Fred Nicole, Bernd Zangerl, Scott Milton and others on what I believe was their first trip to the Cederberg Wilderness Area after being convinced it was the future of bouldering by Todd Skinner.  The only thing that left me hanging a little bit was the Dave Graham project dot dot dot-esk finish to the movie when Fred Nicole fails to complete what may now be the hardest problem in the world, Amandala.  Needless to say, even the footage of Fred not doing the problem is very impressive.

More from the Nascar Bloc

The V8 arete on the Nascar boulder.  It starts on a semi-awkward crimp rail and then moves up the arete with pinches and crimps.  The problem has one sharp crimp which did not feel very good to grab after baking in the sun all afternoon but besides that climbs very nice.

This boulder is extremely fun to play on but a few of the lines are a little contrived.  The boulder features a line of slopers to a good jug.  If you exit here it is V5.  Then it changes to a line of crimps.  Half way through the crimps is a V7 exit using some very interesting body positioning.  If you continue on to the next arete (the one Ander is on in the first photo) and exit out it then the problem goes at around V9/10 and if you continue out a black streak to the right of the arete it is V11/12. 
A close up of the immaculate volcanic rock present in the Ponderosa area.  I meant for the hand to come out in focus but it turned out so that you still can get a sense of the texture.

Ander nearing the V7 exit of the Nascar block traverse.  There is some amazing beta involved in this climb to make it easier.  Half way out the slopers on the first part of the climb I do a 180 and start climbing to the jug with my feet in front of me using cool toe and heel hooks.  Then once you reach the jug there is a nice bat hang rest.  From there, a nice bicycle, as seen above, is used to keep the tension before gaining a sidepull to pull through to the lip.

A few from NM

Nascar bouldering area.  Byron's slab problem is just to the left of this tree and the backside of this bloc holds one of the better crimping testpieces of the area, The Argument (V11).

Swiss Cheese (V7).  Its hard to tell you how good this line is.  Very very reminiscent of the Mushroom boulder in Hueco.  But also very difficult; none of us sent.

Byron pressing out his one arm slab problem.  Very proud.

Ander on one of the best lines of the area, King for a Day (V6).  It goes up a series of two offset dihedrals with awful smears for feet and very barn door-y moves finishing with some big jug moves at the top.


During the week, Ander, Byron, Chris and I decided it would be really nice to head out of state for a long three day weekend.  We planned on heading to Joe's Valley, but conditions both there and driving over the mountains made us decide to head south instead.  We settled on an area that Chris had been to before called Ponderosa.  It is about 45 minutes northwest of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Minus about 10 miles of icy roads on the way down, the drive was surprisingly mellow.  We arrived at around 1 am and decided to check out a few problems.  I tried to flash an amazing block called Triple Mullet Blow Job (V10) but was not able to unlock the cryptic sequence at night.   The next three days were spent checking out the established problems and talking to locals about what is going up currently.   From the sound of it, New Mexico could yield a ridiculous amount of bouldering on both sedimentary and igneous blocks and everyone is excited to return soon.  Send of the trip goes out to Byron's one arm mantle slab. This was the first time Byron has climbed (although it was still only with one arm) since he had shoulder surgery last August.  Seeing him back on the rock was great and we are all looking forward to the future sessions to be had.  Byron and Chris were able to get a lot of footage of the problems there and in between climbing I was able to snap a few stills.  I should have a few photos up soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another day at Ute

Today was another beautiful day in Southern Colorado.  Clear skies, a slight breeze, and cool-ish temps.  Byron and myself got up to the pass and met Chirs Gatzke, Max, Ben, and new Colorado resident Ryan Nieto, and were subsequently joined by Ander.   Cool Cuts for Tojo (V9) saw its 15th and 16th ascents (by my count) by Max and then later by Ander.  Needless to say, both were psyched!  After Chris put some good burns into both Cool Cuts and Ship's Prow Sit and Ben Max and Ryan decided to bail on climbing outside for some plastic squeezing, we walked over to The Green Lantern.  I had my best single go on the problem today, latching the slot and pausing before everything exploded apart.  Also needless to say, I am very psyched.  In the words of DG "If I do it next go I will be happy, if I do it next week I will be happy, if I do it next year I will be happy.  This is a line I am going to keep trying until I do it." And due to the nature of the move, it could be next go and it could be next year.  All I can say is that I hope it stays cold for a bit longer.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Byron Update

Byron is starting to get back into the game.  On Saturday he not only had a right one arm establishment game, where you had to try to establish on the wall with just one arm, at the Murray blocks but he also did a number of hangs at the Spray Boulder. Before long he will be crushing all of our projects.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Kerosene Milkshake

Here are some photos of the problem that Justin most likely got the first ascent of.  The rock is amazing looking.  It made us all think of the black and gold streaks of Joe's Valley.  Justin mentioned a goofy sign at the country store that said something along the lines of Pure Kerosene Shake and said he might call it something like that.  The problem starts on a bunch of good edges and after four or five moves it becomes blank to a good sloper ledge, which requires a big right hand toss to.  The hillside slopes away from the problem, making each fall result in a bunch of the pads sliding downward.  Minus a not ideal landing this problem is outstanding.  It probably goes between V5-V7.


On Saturday, Ander and myself met up with Bryon, Justin, and Chris at Elevenmile Canyon. The plan was for Justin to quickly do Anger Management, for Ander and I to send the arete sport climb Spew, and to put up a new line on the backside of the spray boulder before continuing to the Murray blocs, then Chill Style, and finally off to Scalius.  However the conditions decided to change our objectives.  Byron and Justin camped the previous night in the canyon and had already found out that Chill Style was covered in ice.  It also turned out to be far to  warm for Justin's project and Ander and I never ended up tying into a rope.  However, the line on the backside of the Spray boulder turned out to be a very good problem and we had a great morning working it.  Justin quickly sent, followed by myself a few goes later.  Ander and Chris both came very close, each taking some fun but scary falls from the crux throw.  We then went in search of Scalius but after an hour or so of driving around on backroads trying to get to the boulders, we decided that the snow was not going to allow climbing there.  We hurried back to Elevenmile Canyon and spent the rest of the day on problems at the Murray blocs.  The main problems were all dripping wet but there were three very fun climbs that were dry.  Ander, Justin, and myself all sent an amazing compression / body position problem that was very reminiscent of Yosemite and Squamish climbing and then Justin and I sent two other sweet problems on an adjacent block.  Check Justin's blog for media on these climbs.  

Elevenmile Canyon

Chris hoping the days hot weather did not make the ice too unstable

Melting ice

Close up enough Byron?  Ander on Spray Cave Right (V7)