Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Things Are Different Now

A line of 5.10 ads says "Quit Your Job." Ashley took that advice last May, and it's been great for her climbing.  I'd estimate that she's jumped a couple grades since last year, and she appears to be as strong as she's ever been.  We both climbed Chris Marley's line "Mr. Smiley" V7 at the Rock Shop. But Ashley's beta looked more difficult.
Ashley seems pretty happy about the time off.
I went back to school with Autumn.  And Ashley's been traveling with Sierra, seeing the places we've always wanted to be able to see in the fall.  When you're teaching, fall is the one time of year that you never get to travel far.

Ash and Sierra enjoying Glacier National Park.

While they were away, Autumn came out to the Rock Shop with me and sent "Bobcat's" V1.  A line that I cleaned a couple hundred feet to the west of "Mr. Smiley."

Labor day weekend arrived, and we took advantage of it by getting back to Devil's Kitchen.
Ashley and Sierra demonstrated the efficient breakfast routine they'd perfected on their Glacier trip.
Sierra climbed very well on the trip, but I was just as proud of her for carrying her own pad in and out of the lower kitchen without complaint.
We re-brushed and climbed a few warm ups that had already been cleaned at some point in the past.

And then we went over to "Bumblespeak" V8.  On my first trip to the lower Kitchen I saw this line, and I knew that Ashley would like it.  I brushed up most of the line, and Jamie Emerson sent it later that fall.  It ended up taking until this year before I got Ashley down to it for an attempt, but it did suit her perfectly, and she sent it quickly.

Here's video of the ascent with just a couple long chalking rests, from jugs, edited out.

Then Sierra figured it out too!

I wasn't willing to put a full effort into "Bumblespeak."  I feared that I probably wouldn't be able to do it, and in the attempt use up the strength I needed to finally send my project.  It's a beautiful dynamic problem that doesn't suite my height.  It's called "Flying Machete Monster" V5.  

I only managed a stand start version, and just that felt at least V6 for me.

Happy with my send, I also appreciated the amazing landscape on the hike out.

Now true fall weather has arrived and I've been taking advantage of it by getting in after school bouldering sessions.  Soon the days will be to short for them.  My main objective has been the direct sit start project into "Delicate Diagonal" at the Source.
I'd been making progress, but I thought that it would be too reachy for Ashley and Sierra.  We spent a Saturday up there anyway, and Sierra sent the project!  Ashley sent it a few tries later.  Sierra thought that it was easier than "Bumblespeak," and Ashley thought that it was just as difficult.  Sierra named it "Mastery Challenge" after the final tests in Khan Academy units.

I use holds that Sierra can't reach, and the line feels like it could be V10 to me.  Take a look at Sierra's sequence below, and try to imagine a larger climber making it work.  It doesn't even feel possible.

As I write this, Ashley and Sierra are on the road again.

Sierra sent "Big Boy" V7 at Joes Valley, UT

And they've also visited Priest Draw, AZ

While they've been away, Autumn and I returned to one of my high priority projects at Deer Park.

We had perfect weather for it last Saturday.

My original sessions on this line started with a very difficult, awkward, and crimpy traverse into the feature from the left.  That start adds significant difficulty, but also takes away stars from the line and began to seem contrived.  I decided to start the line from a different sit start, right below the boulder's main feature.  The right hand starts on the crimp shown below, and the left hand starts ~18 inches lower than pictured from a nice sloper.  From the start that I did it's a classic V6/7 called "Autumnal."  A right leg knee pad allowed me to get a good knee bar on the first ascent.

The move from a perfect pinch to the lip is especially fun.

I'm very happy with this line!

I also put up a new V3 on the right side of the Focus and Flow Wall called "Crimpy Temps."
And another V3 nearby called "Perfect Fit."
Temps are dropping, Ashley's traveling, Sierra's sending, all of us are hiking, projects are falling. The times are changing.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Terra Incognita Interview, Wolverine Publishing, and End of Summer Photos

I've got news to share!

Terra Incognita did a thorough interview with me this week.  If you'd like to read the most complete synopsis of my thoughts on climbing ever recorded, check it out here.

Wolverine Publishing is now carrying my guidebook Bouldering in the Wind River Range.  If you'd like a copy of my greatest creative work to date, it's available here.

And summer vacation is over, but I got some great climbing in before returning to school.  Here are my favorite photos from the last few weeks described with short captions.

I got to watch Kian get the first ascent of Mother*^!^*@# Snakes at the Rock Shop.  It's a great looking line, and might be in the V8 range.  Please let me know if you get the second ascent.
 And I saw Chris get the first ascent of "The Conversation" at the White Stripes sector of Roaring Fork.

Kerrek had a great day at the White Stripes just a couple days later.
He got the 2nd ascent of "Knife Fight."

 Then he repeated "Switch Blade" and "The Conversation."

Ashley got the first ascent of "The Sabbatical" V8, at the White Stripes Sector.

Here's a shot I like of Alta and Kerrek starting the three mile hike out.

For my last big trip of the summer I spent 5 days at Devil's Kitchen with Jason.   I'm posting photos, and I'm not going to pretend they were taken elsewhere.  But be aware that access is sensitive.  Buy the Tribal Fishing and Trespass permit.  Get a tour from a local boulderer if you can, and try to be as discreet as possible.

Jason taught me how to take better photos of the stars.  Here's one that I like.
 We descended into the canyons of waterfalls and thick vegetation twice.
 And had a great time on the blocks of the lower kitchen.
 My family joined us for the last three days of the trip.  A highlight was when Ashley, Sierra, and I all climbed a line that might be called "Stripes" V7.
 Chris and Paco made the trip in too.  Paco is the happiest dog I've ever met.
 Devil's Kitchen is a special place.
 On a rest day I hiked to the summit of the granite island, and got an amazing view.
 On my way I found a few good blocks in a sector called the upper upper kitchen, and we went there on our last day.

Ashley warming up on the Triton boulder.

 I climbed "Triton" which one of the best V4s I've ever done.
 And Sierra climbed it too.
 Jason on the final morning of the trip.
On my last bouldering day of the break I worked on "Psychedelic Relic" at the Rock Shop. While I kept falling off the crux move, Ashley and Sierra both climbed "Inglorious Bastard" V7.
 The climbing's already been really good the last few weeks, and it's not even fall yet!