Friday, May 30, 2008

My Own Wheels

Big news on the climbing related front. Today. I got my first car. Its a navy blue Jetta wagon. Overwhelmingly psyched! Big shout out to Tim, Noah, and Max for last last two years of car borrow-age and huge thanks to Byron for countless rides to the boulders. Wouldn't have climbed half the things I did without you guys. Byron, I hope your should will be down for some autumn sessions upon my return.

Equinox: Day 2

While Mr. Sock Hands is well on his way to a post-seshwan feast, I just finished up my second wish-listed climb of 2008. I woke up a bit before six and found myself below Equinox just before eight am. It was about thirty degrees cooler than Tuesday and I was psyched to see if things felt better. Twenty minutes later, I found myself on top of the boulder and it not feeling especially hard to get there. Needless to say, I was very happy. I decided to move over to Dave's Problem, a powerful and core intensive V10, and was able to quickly figure all the moves out. I fell going to the lip a few times, which is a crux move on link, and felt worked. Having other things to do in Seattle, I packed up and figured I would be back fresh next week with a whole new amount of psych a la Ander. Here is a video of the send, the editing could be a bit cleaner but the software I am using at home sucks so I called it good at this:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The New Pad Getup

Well, Ander and I plan on doing some hiking to gain access to a few new backcountry boulder fields and, as Byron will attest to, my crash pad was not in the best carrying condition after a bad day at the Pass. After dropping 25 bucks for some new buckles, webbing, and a waist belt, along with some serious sewing know-how skills of my mother, I have a pretty good suspension system in place. Check it:

Off to Gold Bar in the early AM tomorrow to try and get some sun free time on Equinox. Forecast looks good so hopefully good news here tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


So back in Washington and back on my Gold Bar project. I headed up to the Equinox boulder this afternoon to arrive just as the sun was hitting the holds straight on. 80 degrees and 70% humidity! Despite that, I came the closest I have been to climbing this one, latching the right hand crimp a couple times only to have my heel blow just milliseconds after. I think next time I head up it will be earlier in the day before the sun reaches this bloc. Here is some bits and pieces of my day:

And a video of my friend Kelly doing Equinox:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rumney Sport Climbing

Climbing an amazing 5.3 somewhere above Waimea.

Flying Hawaiian 11b, just past the technical steaming crux

Rumney Bouldering: Day Two

Today, I got in a few solid hours of bouldering before we headed off to Maine. First we went back to the main boulder area below Waimea and then stopped by a smaller area on the other side of the town of Rumney. I was able to onsite two V5's, onsite two V7's, and do a V9. I also gave Satan on a Half Shell a few more goes and it felt a bit better but still no send. I also tried another V10 at the smaller area called Loomit, that was by and far the coolest hard climb I tried at Rumney. Big holds, with really cool drop knees, toe hooks, and other various trickery to climb out a roof. I tried a couple of V6's but they all shut me down. As per JJ's request, here are some photos:

Jerry's Traverse, V7, Onsite

Satan on a Half Shell


Loomit, V10

Metallic, V7, Onsite. Very cool crimping, but if this is V7 then Pyramid Power is V10

Dave's Variation, V9. Zig Zag Crack is just to the left of me.

Spraguesorus, V5, onsite. While the face does not look super solid, it is bomber and holds some of the coolest crimps I have held in Rumney.

The amazing swooping lip of Spraguesorus, just one of the cool features that the schist rock produces here.

Child Prodigy, V6. Couldn't quite get this one, but still cool moves on good rock. I have decided that I very much so enjoyed the moderate bouldering that Rumney had to offer but it was the hard end of the spectrum that I found not very interesting climbing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rumney Bouldering

The forecast did not look so good for today but I woke up to blue skies and headed off to Rumney for some bouldering. I was excited to try some of the lines I knew about there. I warmed up and then started working on Satan on a Half Shell (V10). I was not able to figure out a sequence to gain the upper crimp before the lip and ended up moving on, partially because the bugs were so bad under the Umbrella Boulder. Just in the last three days, it seems that the flies have stuck around but in addition the mosquitoes have come out. After lunch, I tried Pyramid Power, a problem that is rated V7 in the guidebook. If Big, Big Love is V8 then Pyramid Power is at least a grade harder but I could see better conditions making holding the slopey pyramid crimp easier. I will admit that I did check 8a on what others called this climb and seeing that almost everyone called it V8 made my ego feel a little better. I also tried Satan's Choice (V11) but promptly got shut down by the powerful moves. I have to say that if I return to Rumney, I will take it's route climbing 9 out of 10 times over the bouldering and I will take any in Southern Colorado over it any day. If you like climbing in the gym or the Park then the Rumney bouldering is for you, if you like the subtlety of outdoor climbing then head elsewhere. That being said, I found Zig, Zag Crack (V2) to be a climb of the highest caliber and went about doing it with various different sequences 6 times in a row. Tomorrow, I plan on checkout a smaller bouldering area down the road from the main crags of Rumney in the morning before heading off to Maine for some quality family time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great Barrington: Something from Nothing

After Big, Big Love, I set my sights on Joe Kinder's power climb, Something from Nothing. I have to say this is one of the better climbs of this difficulty I have tried in a long time. The whole boulder has a number of horizontal crack features that you are climbing and Something from Nothing climbs three of these features to a lip. It seems simple enough: big up, match feature, big up, match feature, big up, mantle, but requires both precision (think Green Lantern), power, and a lot of core strength. At 6'1" I felt extremely bunched up on a few of the hand foot moves (JJ - you should be psyched) but I was able to do all the moves in about an hour minus the crux right hand move (second photo, notice that my feet are not actually on anything). I really like the movement on this problem, it climbs amazingly well and I feel if I got a bit more powerful it would be possible for me. Check video of Ty Landman climbing this problem here. Tomorrow it is back at Rumney, this time to do a bit of bouldering. Hopefully

Great Barrington: Big, Big Love

Brayton and I arrived back in Boston on Sunday to meet up with my parents that were at a conference there. My dad headed back to Seattle the next day and my mom and I are staying in New England until the following Saturday, when it is my cousin's graduation. My mom, being the unwaivering supporter of my climbing, graciously agreed to come along to a few of the climbing destinations I wanted to check out. We headed to Great Barrington Monday afternoon, only for me to get stumped by an hour and a half of wandering in the woods trying to find the Speed boulder. That evening I got more precise directions from Brayton and Max Zolotukhin to the boulder and easily found it the next morning. I was psyched to do a problem called Big, Big Love. It is a V8 with some awesome toe and heel trickery. It starts on some good holds where you gain a toe-heel cam and do a big move up to a good but small crimp then do a one arm type move to another crimp before some core dependent lip moves. Overall a classic and amazing problem.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rumney Sends

Overall, I was able to climb way better in Rumney then I was expecting. If you saw my fingers Wednesday night you would have wondered why I was going climbing in two days. I had no pad (think Dave Graham and Terremer) on my left pinky and a bad split on my right middle finger. I also had not done anything to help my endurance in over a month. With that said, Brayton and I focused mainly on boulder-routes, with me avoiding things with really sharp crimps. The first day I was able to send Stone Monkey, a 40 degree overhanging 30ish foot route that goes at 13b. The crux is around a V8 and is followed by hard 5.11 or easy 5.12 climbing. Brayton fell clipping the anchors and will send it next time he gives it a serious go. The next day I kept it a bit more mellow to give my skin some time to heal up. I flashed Flying Hawaiian, a super super super classic 11b at Waimea. The problem has three cruxes, but one is a really unique pretty blank and extremely delicate slab dihedral. The climbing required my full attention the whole time to not blow off. I also tried to flash a endurancy 13b while being run down by the first ascentionist (who was randomly belaying on the next climb over) but fell at the crux out of pump. On Sunday, I warmed up by trying Technosurfing, which is called the best 12b at Rumney. It requires some endurance as the crux is not very difficult but somewhat sustained. I surprised myself by flashing it. Next, I did Bottom Feeder on my second go after working the moves out. It goes at 13a but is only about 15 or 20 feet tall and is more like a powerful yet still balancy V7. Finally, I gave the Fly some goes but was able to do no better then establish on the start. The first picture below is Brayton, the second two Brian, all on Stone Monkey.

Rumney: First Impressions

Well, I would have to say Rumney is one of the best sport climbing crags I have been too. The thing I liked the best is that there is a ton of diversity in the climbing here, everything from boulder problems, to boulder routes, to power endurance, to pure resistance. Not to mention great rock and lots of hanging draws. Therefore, you can try whatever you want with little commitment to needing to get to the top if you do not like the climb. My least favorite part of the place was the scene. I generally find sport climbers less friendly then boulders, probably because two sport climbers are not forced to interact with other people in the same way that boulders need to, and Rumney has no shortage of people intensely working their projects, especially at the Waimea wall. I guess I am more attracted to chilling on a crash pad with my friends then hang dogging up a wall next to three other people doing the same. My favorite time here was getting up to Waimea on Sunday at 7 am, an hour before anyone else, and having the whole wall to just us. The climbing can best be described by three strengths of Dave Graham's: crimping, technique, and kneebar-ery. I would consider myself a pretty solid crimper. When the way to grab a hold is in question, I often roll my fingers into a crimp without thinking but this is the first time that my joints hurt from crimping so many things in a row. The climbing here is also fairly technical, with lots off heel hooks, drop knees, toe smears, knee bars, and other various methods of rock trickery. Overall, I got to climb some great routes while here and I look forward to the day I get to return, even though I don't know when that will be next.

Waimea Wall

The Fly

The start of Big Kahuna (5.12d) and a typical piece of rock on Waimea

Kerosene Milkshake, Ander Rockstad, Third Ascent

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mt Evans

On Sunday, Ander, Cletus, and I met Justin up at Evans for our first day of alpine bouldering.  None of us brought snow shoes, thinking that another week of melting from what Carlo told me was up there would be sufficient.   However, we spent a good amount of time post holing around area A between climbing.  We started out our day at a problem that TJ put up last fall called Tactical Error.  Using some funky mantle-esk beta I was able to put all the moves together quickly and get the second ascent.  Chris Schulte also showed up and after quickly destroying the first move repeatedly, was able to finish it off and get the 3rd ascent after we left.  The problem is exceeding hard to grade but the most similar thing I have done is Skinned in the Woods (V8) and this problem is a bit of a step up from that.  It is both more powerful and delicate, maybe in the V-Fun/Hard range. Next we headed up to A, where with a improved snowy landing, Justin and Ander both send Peasants into Leaders (V7) quickly.  Proud!   I was able to talk Justin into giving me 20 minutes on Silverback because it felt way better then it ever had to me before.  After figuring out the first move Justin sent and a few tries later I did too.  Psyched!  With the snowy landing, establishing on the start felt easier and I would put this problem in the 9 to 10 range. Before the day was over we made a quick trip to the Dali wall were I made some progress on Super Gui, coming close to sticking the big move out left twice from the start.  Due to my lack of motivation on carrying more then the necessities, I declined brining 10 pounds of photo equipment and left the media documentation up to Justin.  Check his blog for photos.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Southlands Trip: Cotopaxi

Today I did not have class so I headed down south to meet up with Chris Gatzke and do some rock scaling.  Byron had been hyping up this boulder problem at Cotopaxi and from what he showed me I could not argue.  Chris kindly took part of his day off and we went out and we had a really good session.  Cotopaxi is in the Arkansas River Valley and is a near desert environment.  Extremely dry, sandy soil, cacti, and a lot of rock.  The plan was to hit up Eric's Sister, a 15 foot tall triple bulge of amazing and solid granite to another 10 feet or so of mild slab.  After working the moves out, I quickly was able to get to the lip but threw to a hold and fell to the ground.  Just as we had arrived at the boulder, a thunderstorm began and the top holds still were a little wet.  I spent some time getting some chalk on them and then was able to put it all together for the send.  The problem is awesome, with the difficulty crux right at the start into a series of large and powerful moves to a committing mantle at around 18 feet.  As for the grade, it falls somewhere in between Scalius and the Nickness for me.   Gatzke made some good progress on the biggest powerful move from an undercling to a decent crimp before blowing one of his tips out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Post of Doom is Reduced to Nothing

Had this one in the hidden away but upon a stop at the Five Ten website today told me that it is now kosher for all to see Puccio crushing in these bad ass V10s!

Justin: I did extensive research this winter into different rubbers on varying rock types and have concluded that Vibram XS blah blah blah is the stickiest compared to C4, Onyx, etc, etc

Me: What about Stealth High Friction?

Justin: Oh... well, yes that is the stickiest.

+1 for Five Ten

Monday, May 5, 2008

Updates, Random Occurrences, and Future Plans

Its been a while since I posted so I figured I would put a little blurb up on what has been going on.   A lot of my time has gone into planning the 6th Annual Colorado College Rumble For Ritt Bouldering Competition (wow that was a lot of capitalized words).  It happened this Saturday and for the first time it was thrown off campus at the Sport Climbing Center.  Attendence was above what I expected, with a large turn out from local Colorado Springs climbers, which was awesome.  A lot of the reason we wanted to do it off campus was to bridge the gap between our two climbing communities.  Big props to all that helped out with prizes including Mountain Chalet, The Sport Climbing Center, Organic, Verve, HG Productions, the Access Fund, and Rock and Ice.  

Besides that I have been climbing outside a bit too.  Able to snatch the second ascent of a cool line down in the Southlands called Living on a Prayer.  Felt it was about V8, but it could be a bit harder.  Spent another day getting shut down by Muddy Waters.  Came really close on my first go, barely missing for me what is the crux move and then pulling back on, doing the move and finishing the problem.  Now if I could only link those two sections.  As for the pass, Byron and I finished up filming a brief interview/intro thing that will hopefully get put together with video from my Bloody Arete send and put on MVM.  But as for the last part of that, I do not know if it will work out or not.  Today I went up and put a few goes into The Green Lantern.  At almost 70 degrees out, it was about 50 degrees too warm for me to hold those holds.  That being said, it felt surprising do-able and I look forward to next falls cooler temps.

And as for the future, I am only psyched about where my plans will be taking me.  After school gets out, I am meeting up with Brayton and heading to the east coast for some bouldering and mini-route climbing.  Rumney, Farely, Great Barrington, and P-Way are on the hit list.  But with limited time there who knows how much we will see.  Regardless, I am very excited to climb with Brayton again and see some new and amazing looking areas.  After that it is off to Washington State, where I will be spending a little over three weeks in different parts of the Cascades, mainly with the intention of exploring a lot and putting up some cool new lines.  I have a few ideas of places to head already where I have found or been told about large alpine tallus fields (no Colorado, you are not the only ones with them, and these ones are not filled with butt-dragging traverses out of caves).  After that it is off to Wyoming to do some geology work with a professor of mine on climate and ecosystem reconstruction during the Eocene Climatic Maximum.  Then August will hold some work in store to make a few more dollars before returning to Colorado for a week of climbing and lab work before school starts again. Plus throw the trade show in there for August.  PSYCHED!

Here is a random photo from the archives of Freshman Noah (as opposed to Big Noah or Little Noah) crushing the problem right of Skinned in the Woods, which goes at around V4.