Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Photos, Less Writing

It was an incredibly busy weekend, but I had fun and saw a lot of new stone.  No time for many words, here are the photos.

Sweetwater roadside areas: Pirates of the Caribbean

I put up a new problem at the Glass Factory that I really like.  A V4 that I've named "Old School," but I didn't take photos. 

At the the end of the day, we checked out a new area Jesse told me about.  We didn't have time to climb, but we'll be back. 
Jesse's first ascent, "Weapons of Mass Destruction"
Today, I found more to explore above Torrey Valley.
Have a good week, and consider downloading the bouldering video "Western Gold" at Savage Films.  I highly recommend it, and will write more about it soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Break

Last week we had Spring Break, and we decided to follow the same path that we did last year. It's a good trip. We went to Red Rocks, stopping at Little Cottonwood Canyon on the way. We had perfect conditions at the Cabbage Patch. Boulders don't get any more convenient, but the Cabbage Patch might actually be too close to the road. Road noise and the smell of burning breaks hurt the ambiance. The problems are really fun though.

Ashley climbing a perfect arete problem called "Fat Albert Gang."



We also enjoyed "A Bit Slopey" as described in Utah Bouldering published by Wolverine. But it's probably V6/7 rather than the 8 points it's given in the guide.
"Double Dyno," just up the hill, is a moderate classic that shouldn't be missed.

Then we continued our trip to Red Rocks.

On our first day we went to the Kraft Boulders, and I saw my first chuckwalla. It ran into a crack and inflated itself, just like the guidebook said it would.

Sundance enjoyed the sun.

And Ashley did too,

but she was sick with some sort of flu/pneumonia, and lying in the sun was all she could do. She worked so hard during the last few months, with the spring break as a mini finish line, and then got sick as soon as she was off. It's an unfortunate, but pretty common occurrence for teachers. It usually happens to me the during the first week of summer break. The body seems to have trouble when stress lets up abruptly.

She didn't feel well enough to hike up Gateway Canyon, and most of the Kraft Boulders were catching a lot of sun. The only shaded face was the north face of the Monkey Bars boulder. I'd given up on "Monkey Bar Direct" last year, but I didn't have many options, so I decided to try it again. Long story short, I made unexpected progress, and then came back to spend another day on it. I came close to sending, but didn't manage to do it on this trip. The line took most of my energy so I didn't do many new problems this year. It would have been nice to finish it, but I'm not too disappointed. I enjoyed working on it, and now I'm motivated to make a greater effort to get stronger, which for me means training as usual, but getting lighter.

Ashley was feeling well enough to climb a little on the final day. While I projected, she climbed anything she could in the vicinity including a very short climb with good moves called "Umpa Lumpa."

One windy afternoon, we got half a session of climbing at Red Springs before sunset. It's a good place to find shelter from westerly winds. "Cherry Garcia" is a nice problem and full value for V2/3.

That's all the climbing news and photos I've got to share from Spring Break this year. Some ideas are bouncing around in my head, but they'll need to wait until I have more time to write.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Best Laid Plans, Can Be Revised

Thanks for indulging my odd sense of humor with the last post. Here's a standard one.

With unusually warm weather, and no recent snow, the mountains looked completely clear from Lander. So clear that we thought we could make the drive to Devil's Kitchen. I met Jesse and Chris, and we jumped into Jesse's recently acquired 4 wheel drive boulder recon vehicle to make the trip. It was a beautiful day on Saturday. And we saw a lot of pronghorn on the drive.

But one large drift forced us to turn around. It's likely that many more large drifts were waiting at higher elevations, and we'll probably need at least a few more weeks without snow before the Kitchen will be accessible.

Washakie Reservoir was our backup plan. We went to a couple nice looking sandstone boulders that I had scouted last winter. We began cleaning, and Jesse established a V3 called "Fat Boy on a Diet."

Jesse climbing his first ascent.

At first inspection the sandstone seemed just like that found in Sinks Canyon, but the more we climbed on it the more we realized that it was much softer stone. Jugs kept breaking off in our hands, and Chris had to back off when he realized that a very large flake might break off and crush him. I made a quick hike to a cave I had already inspected on a very snowy day, and discovered that with the snow gone, the cave was too big to boulder. The features were all too high to reach. We left, and now I know that Washakie Reservoir isn't worth another bouldering visit. The sandstone isn't solid enough, and the cave isn't good for climbing either.

We hadn't gotten a workout, and it wasn't too late, so Jesse and I decided to go bouldering up the Falls Trail in Sinks Canyon. Jesse hadn't done a couple problems that I knew about, and he wanted to re-establish an old classic that he had seen on an old topo. We warmed up on the upper part of "Rio's Face" and then climbed it from the, first move crux, lower start. Then I showed Jesse "Silver Spoon," and he flashed it.
Jesse firing "Silver Spoon" first try.

I began brushing "Poorman's Cocaine Corner" which is named after a famous boulder problem in Yosemite that it closely resembles.

I thought it would be clean enough, but fell on two attempts due to dirty holds. Jesse grabbed his stickbrush, went to the top, and cleaned it properly. If you like the problem, Jesse deserves the credit. We both climbed it, and it's now one of my favorite problems in the Lander area. Thanks Jesse! A three star V5 with a physical crux down low, and a mental commitment required up high. Here is the best shot I got of Jesse on the line.

We finished the day with a little exploration in the talus field. Now I'm making plans to return to this problem.

It's an established line. I don't know the name or the grade, but it looks like fun.

Optimism often works, but the best laid plans sometimes fail. Keep revising, and things can turn around. That's what happened on Saturday.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Two Advanced Sending Techniques Revealed

Do you want to send harder problems? Of course, we all do.

A standard post will be coming soon, but today I'm posting a special instructional video.

These are two advanced sending techniques that I've decided to share. Many climbers aren't aware of these surprisingly effective and modern methods of climbing harder problems, or don't take advantage of them as often as they could. They've helped me climb so many problems that I couldn't, or maybe wouldn't, have done otherwise. Learn them, practice them, and send more.