Friday, July 3, 2009
Vedauwoo to Evans and Back
The week began at Vedauwoo's Bistro boulders. I've been trying to help Ashley find a summer project, and I mentioned to Davin that Ashley liked hard traverses and problems with small holds. Davin said that a problem he did called "Cumulus" has really small holds, and is V11 or 12. I remembered seeing video of Jamie Emerson doing the problem. It sounded worth checking out. If you want to find it, it's listed in the Vedauwoo Bouldering Guide as the "Bolrog Project."
I let Davin know that we were coming up. He drove up to meet us and brought his friend Guili who had just gotten the third ascent. Conditions were better than expected. A nice cool breeze made things really pleasant as we got started. Davin and Guili walked us out to the problem, and helped us with their beta. Ashley was making quick progress and it looked worth trying, though I didn't have very high expectations. I jumped on and surprised myself by putting some moves together. I kept waiting for a move to shut me down, but it didn't happen. Once I had all the moves worked out I tried a few times from the bottom. The sharp rock cut through one of my finger pads and the moves felt much harder in succession, but possible. Ashley was making it look easy. She got through the majority of the problem quickly, but couldn't figure out how to get to the top out holds statically. Ashley doesn't jump when she's high off the ground. Davin and Guili were surprised by our quick progress. The crux moves are easier for short climbers. We made plans to come back on Tuesday, but my finger wasn't healed on Monday afternoon so we changed plans and decided to go to Mt. Evans instead.
My project at Evans for many years has been "Seurat." On my second trip to Evans I did really well on the problem. It was early in the season, and all that kept me from sending was seeping water in the final jam. Since then I've had three more days on the problem, and haven't managed to get my hand in the final jam again. Each time I visit the crack is more chalked up, and the foot pod out right feels less likely to stick. It looks like someone tried cleaning the pod with a wire brush, and ended up removing the texture I needed to get established. I know it's still getting climbed, but it may be getting more difficult faster than I'm improving. Long story short, every trip to Evans we've gotten worked on Seurat. Too worked to send anything else. On Tuesday, we got worked by "Seurat" once again. We felt holds on the Dali boulder.
We brushed some holds too, but we didn't climb much.
The only new line for me was the fun, but not too difficult, one facing Bierstadt.
Thursday we went back to Vedauwoo with the goal of sending "Cumulus."
We left Ft. Collins at 6 AM to try and get on it before it heated up. Our plan didn't work at all. The problem was in full sun and warm to the touch. Mosquitoes were swarming, everything was covered in dew. The problem felt slightly wet to the touch in the warm humid air. Ashley and I were competing to see who could send it first. Ashley was having no problem getting up to the top out moves. I sliced my finger back open on my first try of the day. I taped it up, and surprised myself by getting through the crux from the bottom. I wasn't sure if I could get through the crux again so I gave it everything I had and managed to finish it off. Here's the video. The holds are sharp so I didn't feel like jumping on it again to film other angles or hand shots.
Based on my experience with the grading system, I'm calling the problem V9. My experience with this problem reinforces the fact that grades don't work all that well for bouldering. A problem's difficulty often varies dramatically for people with different body types. Ashley cruised to the top out over and over again, but ended up three inches short of a static solution. Despite the sharp holds I really like the problem. Interesting, challenging climbing up an aesthetic line.
We left the Bistro Boulders, and finished off the session at the Nautilus. "Tempest" felt really hard after losing our skin on "Cumulus." Our daughters found a hideout that they wanted us to check out.
It was a cool hideout and we found a couple boulder problems inside. The first was a nice lip traverse with an exciting mantle over a poor landing.
Ashley was psyched to see a dirty lowball line. After brushing off a lot of dirt, she put all the moves together for an ascent.
It was a quick transition from what felt like serious bouldering to just having fun climbing around in a cave like hideout. Maybe it should always feel like just fun climbing around.