Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back at Nathan's Couch

I headed back to Nathan's couch on Friday in a unsuccessful attempt to climb on the boulder.  Southern Colorado had been hit hard with snow in the last couple days and up to six inches were on the ground in places in Elevenmile Canyon.  The face of the boulder was actually totally dry but the topout was covered.  I rappelled in and clean the snow off so the block would be dry the next day.  On Saturday, I returned, figured the very committing topout out on a rope, and then started trying it from the start.  Unfortunately, I was not able to stick the crux left arm lockout move.  There is more snow on the way in the So Co but hopefully I can get out sometime this week to try it again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nathan's and Ben's Couch

On Tuesday, Ben and I went to Elevenmile to try the center project on the Nathan's Couch boulder.  This is one of the better lines I have found in recent months and I was psyched to give it some good burns since I was feeling very fresh having taken Sunday off and only climbing a bit on Monday.  After figuring out a better foot placement for one of the hard moves, I feel off on the last hold below the lip from the start, which is well past the crux where the problem is only in the V5 range.  Overall, the guy will end up being around V9 I think.  After that, Ben and I headed down to a sharp arete that Ben was psyched on.  Ben put up a nice V4 line on the left side of the arete (tentatively called The Loveseat) and I added a line moving out the right side of the arete at around V5 called The Recliner.  Photos below:

Ben uses a odd drop knee to do the first crux move on the problem.  I found that this set me up poorly for the next difficult move and instead use a high left foot and lock off the right crimp.

The hardest single move requires one of maintain body tension to reach out right to a good dish as static as possible.

The start of The Loveseat on the Ben's Couch boulder.

The Loveseat continued...

Ben, who could not span the long reach I did that kept my body on the right side of the arete during The Recliner opted to climb the start of The Loveseat and then move right into The Recliner.

Ute Pass

On Monday, Tim and I met Byron and Austin up at Ute Pass for a short session.  The weather was cold and between small flurries of snow, we got some good climbing in.  The first four photos are Tim on The Hueco Problem V7 and the second set of three is an unnamed V5.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I waited to post about the best for last.  On Monday of last week, Tim and I climbed Moonlight Buttress (1200 feet, 5.12d) on the Northwest Face of Angel's Landing in Zion.  Wes started around 9 am and each climbed the first four pitches (5.8, 5.10. 5.11c, 5.12b) cleanly and all free alternating leads starting with Tim.  Each of the next five 5.12 pitches were climbed free but not cleanly redpointed.  We topped out sometime after six more worked than either of us have ever been and hiked up to the top of Angel's Landing before going back to the car for a big meal and a lot of water.

Moonlight Buttress takes the center of the prominent buttress in this photo.  Pitches 4 through 11 are all on one continuous crack size that does not vary any more than a couple cam sizes the whole time.

Its a bit hard to see but the person below the roof is me at the hanging belay situated at the base of Pitch 7 and Tim just getting to the next ledge at the end of that pitch.

Moe's Valley

We had some car troubles in the middle of our trip and, while at the mechanics, were invited to a dessert party outside of Zion that was a fundraiser for a woman to ride two horses from the tip of Scotland to the tip of England and write a book about it.  We decided that we would go bouldering at Moe's for the morning and afternoon and then make our way to Springdale to eat some treats.  While Moe's disappointed me a bit, the desserts came trough and it was fun to eat as much sweet stuff as you can after camping for 10 days.

Country Boy

Here is Brian Rhodes on Country Boy (5.12+).  This route had a sharp, difficult crux near the bottom, shown in the first three pictures, to a pumpy and hard to read arete/compression section at the top.  Tim and I never got on this but it would be one of the first things I would want to try when I return to Gorilla Cliffs.

Warm Up Route

Here is Tim sending Warm-Up Route (5.12+) at the Gorilla Cliffs.  This short three bolt route is very technical on amazing grey and gold rock and it probably better described as a V6 to a V4.  It is just to the right of Boone Speed's The Present.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Zion and St George

Next it was off to Zion to do a bit of backpacking.  We headed to Kolob Canyons, which was some of the most beautiful terrain I have ever seen.  We found some truly AMAZING boulders in the backcountry.  Everything from compression blocks over the river to crimp lines up amazing 20 foot aretes.  We had some good sessions but did not top anything out.  Next, it was off to the Saint George area, where Ben Tim and I met up with Lauren and Brian for some pulling on immaculate limestone.  We spent a day and a half at Gorilla Cliffs and a day and a half at the Cathederal / Wailing Wall.  These are some of the best sport crags and I have ever been to and I would love to return one day.

The view from one of our camps in Zion Canyon

Pierre and I chilling at the Gorilla Cliffs

Sunset from Highway 91 near the Cathedral

Lauren warming up on an amazing 11c

Children of the Corn

One of the things Tim and I were most excited for in Ibex was trying Children of the Corn (5.13a). This route gained some fame when Tim Kemple soloed this and in the process made himself sound and look a bit foolish (in my opinion) during a section of Dosage 3.  It is essentially a very steep crack of almost every size with reasonable jams that has a face climbing section at the top that is hard cause you are pumped.  While we did all the moves, neither one of us sent. But we certainly had a great time trying such an overhanging trad route.  Here are some photos.

Red Monster

Our first stop of Spring Break was Ibex.  It was particularly windy, but everyone had an awesome time and Ibex got the approval the group, most of whom had not been there before.  I climbed on Bruce Lee for a bit but never came super close to sticking the crux left arm bump.  Here are a few photos.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gripped Photo Sequence

I am happy to share that I recently got a sequence of photos published in the Canadian magazine Gripped. This marks the first time I have had something printed in a major climbing publication and I am very excited about it.  The sequence is of my good friend Bryan Boyko doing the Index classic Lego My Ego last summer, shortly before crushing his left ring finger off in a canary accident in Alaska.  I am very excited for Bryan, as his finger had recovered very well and he has started climbing again in the last couple months.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Updated: Ute Pass

On Friday, Byron, Brian, Than and I met up at Ute Pass to get a short afternoon session in.  The weather had temporarily turned cold, and between snow flurries, we got some great climbing in.  After two years without trying it, Byron did Bloody Arete Stand (V8) first go without warming up.  Despite the sit move being left arm intensive, I convinced Byron to try it.  He only gave it two goes but came very, very close to sticking the move.  Next, we headed over to The Gusher (V11).  I sent this one two years ago but was not able to pull a repeat off today.  We then moved our attention to a line I put up to the right called Beyond the Clouds (V10) .  I would say this is top three lines at the pass (along with Bloody Arete Sit and The Green Lantern) but despite this, it has not seen a second ascent from the sit.  We worked it for a while and out of no where Than pulled off the third ascent of the stand, Above the Cloud (V7).  Below is a video of the days happenings.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Project Wall and other updates

Things have been good in the So Co recently.  The weather has been a bit on the warm side but we have still been getting out a lot.  We have been working on some nice projects up in the Splatte.  Below is a video of a nice block I found a bit ago.  The center face is about 18 feet tall and 15 feet wide with a beautiful line right up it.  All the moves have gone but no one has linked it together yet.  Probably around V8.  There is also a nice climb moving out left from the same start that is a bit easier, maybe V7, which has also not gone.  You can also watch this video in high definition here. In other news, Tim, Nathan and I went back to Triple Exposure today and Tim had a good link from the ground into the crux of the crack.  I got some great telephoto video from across the way and coupled with a good continuos shot from above on a rope and I will have the material to put a nice piece together on the climb.

Five Ten Treasure Hunt