Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Climbing to Excess and a Visit to the Rock Shop

As the days get longer, the temperatures rise, and the snow drifts melt in the mountains, the climbing opportunities around Lander multiply.  The end of the school year is a very busy time, but I haven't been able to resist perfect climbing sessions.  Household chores and school work are finished during late nights, and I haven't been sleeping enough, but the climbing has been so good!  

We've had a weekend session on the Squaretop Boulder.
 And an after school session at the Cabin Boulders.  The whole area looks like a wildflower garden right now.

 We spent a very long day at the Wild Iris main wall in perfect weather.
And another after school session, with perfect temps, at the Lizard Lab.
 So much climbing...but those are just the standard areas, I've blogged about on many occasions.  On Sunday, I spent a long afternoon bouldering with Jesse, Brian, and Chris at the Rock Shop.  An area with very high quality stone that Chris began exploring last fall.  We met Chris at a meadow, and he took us to a small cavelike feature.  Jesse and Chris started brushing while Brian and I explored.  I returned just in time to see Chris top out his first ascent called "Sleepy Hollow."
 It's a V6 that is more difficult for short climbers.  I worked out the moves, but my sequence feels more like a V7 or 8.  It's a project that I'm excited to return to.  Chris also began working on a more difficult extension, but he had to leave before he could finish it.  We said good bye, and moved our pads to other new lines we had spotted.

Brian discovered a long line of features up an overhang over a rising landing.  A great problem he named "Mustache Ride." A lot of fun V2 climbing for a single boulder problem.

Jesse had his eyes on a tall wall of perfect rock.  He set up a rappel and cleaned the line.  Then climbed it ground up on his first try.  Quite high, with a stepped landing, and very long moves, neither Brian nor I felt like even attempting a second ascent.

"Headless Horseman" V4

 Then we hiked past a line that I wanted to try.  It looked like my style of problem, but Jesse snagged the first ascent.  A few attempts later Brian and I climbed the line too.  It's a V4/5 that Jesse hasn't given me a name for yet.

 We did a bit more exploring and Brian came back saying that he had seen a boulder that reminded him of the Mental Block, and that it had a good landing.  He had found a boulder Chris already named the Cube.  Jesse and I left another good roof we were looking at and checked it out.
 The line was beautiful, overhanging, and tall.  Jesse broke out his harness and rope to clean the high top out.
 It was a lot of work, and Jesse was the only one who came prepared to do it.  It was only fair, that he got the first few attempts on the line.
 He made quick progress and was the first to gain the lip, but was too tired at this point to commit to the top out.
 The crimpy face fit me well, and after testing the fall a couple times I made it to the lip.  Even though the landing was pretty flat, the top out scared me.

After getting to the lip a few times and contemplating whether the top out looked easier up the right arete or left towards a long move into a crack, the light began to fade and it was almost time to leave.  The climbing up to the lip was fun, so I decided to do it one last time.  I got to the lip and reached my hand up the arete just to see what it felt like.  Then I threw a heal hook just to see how it would feel.  It didn't feel right, so I switched my left foot to a toe.  Then without even deciding to do it consciously, I began rocking my weight over it, and found myself standing on the lip without any good handholds!  Suddenly committed, I traversed left and gained good holds in the crack.  Then it hit me that I had finished the problem, and it was by far the best first ascent of my life.  The stone, angle, setting, features and height are exactly what I look for in a boulder problem.  It goes at V5, and the only other V5 I've done that surpasses it for quality and commitment is "Germ Free Adolescence" in Eldorado Canyon.  I've done harder first ascents, such as "Follow the Work" but this is the first I would give three stars using the Capps and Wilder world class objective scale.

I've decided to call it "Nexus Causality." It won't be the easiest name to remember, but I like the idea that most events don't have a single cause, and a nexus of causes definitely went into this ascent.  Chris showed us the area, Brian came down the hill excited about the boulder, Jesse cleaned the line, and fading light gave me a deadline. No single thing lead to the line getting done.  It was a team effort, and a combination of causes.  Thanks for everything guys, and let's get back to the Rock Shop soon!


Davin said...

Great Climbing! I have to see this problem, the best FA of your life. Looks great.

Could you explain the "Capps and Wilder world class objective scale"? Say in comparison to the Hueco Tanks Scale of stars.

I'll be up Friday and will stay for a few days. Maybe we can get out.

Lloyd Family said...

I can't wait to show you "Nexus Causality!" It's my best first ascent as far as quality goes, but you've done lines of comparable quality. You'll like it.

I'm referring to the system as described in Emerson's RMNP and Evans guide. It's basically the same as the Hueco System because Hueco is a world class area. Many guides use a local scale that give stars in comparison to other local problems and are therefore more generous. When you begin comparing problems at small local areas to the best problems at world class areas, star ratings are much more conservative.

I'm planning to do some brushing on Saturday afternoon, and a full bouldering session on Sunday at the Rock Shop. Let me know if you can make it.