Saturday, December 13, 2008

Morrison Delivers

Snow still blankets most areas on the Front Range, and we woke up to a cold and cloudy morning. We could see blue skies to the south, so we drove to Morrison. We had trouble getting psyched during the drive down, because neither of us had a project in mind. After many years of winter sessions spent in the Black Hole, we've already climbed the uncontrived lines that seem doable for us. I was holding out hope that we might find a fun contrived problem. Annette has shown us many good contrivances over the past few years, and as we drove in, I saw her hiking up to the cliffs with her three pads. The day was suddenly looking brighter. We warmed up in the Lobby, and asked Annette to show us a few problems. Years ago we climbed "Willow's Wart," but since then we've only warmed up in the Lobby. We decided to work on "Some Biceps are Bigger Than Others." It's a shouldery contrived traverse with a long cross off an atrocious left hand gaston. I eventually figured out that the best way to do it is to just keep crossing further left, even though I feel myself starting to fall off, and grab the hold with my right hand just before I fall past it. I was able to commit to the move because Annette let us use her thinner pads. The crux is right over a narrow rock shelf and thick pads don't leave room to do the move. I was having trouble linking the problem together, and pretty much wrote it off for the day when a group of climbers arrived including Kyler, Todd, and Dave. With Dave spotting, a couple more pads in the landing zone, and an audience, I managed to summon up the strength to climb the thing.

The gaston move didn't fit Ashley, so she made up her own variation with two matches and a lower top-out. The matches looked hard, and she barely managed to do the problem on her last attempt of the day. She calls her variation "Ashley's Biceps are Smaller Than Others." Here she is just before the crux.

Kyler at the same spot on "Some Biceps Are Bigger Than Others"

It amazes me how often we see certain climbers at Morrison. Rufus and Annette are two friendly Morrison climbers that stand out. They show us problems, help us work out beta, and were kind enough to pose for me. They happen to be out there almost every day that we are, and Morrison just wouldn't be the same without them.

The weather ended up being fine. It was a bit windy, but the sun was wonderful, and for half an hour, conditions were a little too warm for me. Colorado's micro-climates are amazing. In the early afternoon, the wind started getting more intense and clouds came in. We ended our session early, but we have no complaints. One good problem, one good day.


Peter Beal said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one carrying multiple pads for bouldering. Annette's setup looks good--how long before pad manufacturers figure out this is the wave of the future and make it easier to link pads together for hiking?

sock hands said...

hey peter: you can get lightweight cinch straps at the hardware store, or even in the supermarket, that work fantastically well. just lay the strap on the ground make the pad stack on top of it, sit or kneel on the pads as you pull it tight and presto: perfectly stable carrying system. i find that just one strap pulled tight is very easy, and very adequate. word.

next: as much as folks hate morrison, the features are super cool, the climbing thoughtful and techy, and the scene frequently very supportive, fun, and welcoming.

Peter Beal said...

SH, That's basically the system that I use and has worked well for everything from Flag to RMNP.

Re: Morrison, I am hoping to tackle Center Route once the temps get past 30 and all my end-of-semester stuff is finished.