Saturday, January 26, 2013

Chasing the Sun and Incremental Improvement

 It's been a long time, and the post's title pretty much captures what I've been up to for the last month.  A lot has been going on, but no one thing that's been inspirational enough to warrant it's own post.  Now it just feels like I'd better start posting again before too much time goes by. Here's what's been going on.

 I've been polishing up the guide, gathering historical information from many friendly people, and have worked out a plan for printing, and then distributing the guide with some help from Fixed Pin Publishing.

I've been dieting.  Been hungry for a month, but dropped six pounds, and have noticed the difference in my climbing.   

Mike and Dave of ClimbTalk had me call into their radio show down in Boulder last week.  Talking with Dave before the show was a lot of fun, but that wasn't being recorded or broadcast.  I called in later, a little more nervous, and hope it went alright for the listeners.  I've been listening to The ClimbTalk podcast and The Enormocast podcast while making simple edits in the guide and doing household chores.  I'm not even sure how the cleaning ever got done before there were podcasts.  If you enjoy hearing about climbing, and different climber's perspective on the sport, you should give both of them a listen.

Here's a report of the last month's climbing days.
Just after New Years Day, a visiting climber named Ben came out for a day of bouldering with us at the Dolomite Band.  The high in Lander was 23 fahrenheit, but it felt like 60 up there.  It was a good day to climb Arch Roof.  The climb has a boulder in the landing, and with Ben there we had one extra pad, and he was a good spotter.  I tried some beta that didn't work for me.
 But it worked for Ben, and he flashed it.
 I worked out some new tricky undercling beta, and topped out eventually.  We also spent some time at the Big Overhang.  I haven't been able to send Ashley's version of the B1 traverse yet.  It's my biggest project at the Dolomite Band.  I've probably put 5 days into it over the last couple years.

Ben got the full tour, and we ended the day on the Mono Wall traverse.  It's one of the best problems on the Band.
 It traverses 10 feet and then climbs an arete on good incuts.
 Last Saturday we planned to visit three boulders on Fairfield hill.  I was so excited by the sunny, and windless, weather that I drove up at 9:30 and brushed off snow so they would be dry by noon.
Our first stop was the Slug boulder, and it filled the entire session. It's a somewhat small boulder, but the stone and problem quality is high.  We repeated all the up problems and then got to work on a traverse.
Fun granite slopers near the start of the line.

 Rounding the corner is the crux.

 We made it somewhat of an eliminate at the end.  It works into an old problem called crack traverse, where only the lowest crack is on for hands, which keeps it more interesting at the end.  Ashley climbed it first, but she let me name it.  I've decided to call it "The Clam" V5/6
 After bouldering we went sledding on the shady side.  The snow wasn't quite deep enough to cover all the sage or rocks.

 I got this shot of the west end of the Main Wall and Squaretop across the canyon at sunset.
 After all that outdoor bouldering and sledding, I felt too tired to go to the Elemental Bouldering comp.  Ashley and I reenacted a smaller comp on Monday with a couple extra score sheets.  The problems were really good, and it would have been fun to attend the real comp if I hadn't worn myself out.

The days are starting to get longer, and now I can get some exploration done if I leave right after school.  Yesterday I hiked up to ledges just east of the Granite Buttress.  There's potential for a few problems up there, but I'm still looking for something better.  With so much rock, and long mini walls over ledges, I'm sure I'll find something worth the hike if I keep looking.
 Even if I don't, it's a nice way to spend an evening after work.
 Today was my second day of projecting "Citadel of Hope" this winter.  The dogs are always ready to go.
 And Ashley's been pretty friendly about doing multiple toprope ascents of the line in order to get her climbing workout.
 It's really nice that the first half falls in the 5.10 range, and the second half is the 5.12 part.  The first half has become a toprope project for Sierra.  Clipping the last two bolts is still a project for me.
 Roo spent the session playing with a new friend named Paco, and was pretty worn out at the end of the day.
You're probably worn out too if you've read this far.  I'll try not to wait a month before posting next time.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: The Greatest Year for Lander Bouldering, So Far

This last month has been too cold on the weekends.  But even without the month of December contributing much, 2012 was still the best and biggest year in Lander bouldering history.  Well over 100 new problems were done.  On top of the new level of quantity, the quality of the problems and areas we climb at near Lander took a major leap forward in 2012.  While many of our new areas were first discovered in 2011, this was the year that their development really got going.  From the Rock Shop, to Devil's Kitchen, to the new sandstone, to the Land of Oz, the best and most difficult lines near Lander mostly happened in 2012.  Getting some help from Colorado climbers such as Jamie Emerson, Collin Horvat, Justin Jaeger, and Daniel Woods certainly accelerated things.  Daniel Woods climbed "Never Cry Wolf" in Devil's Kitchen, which at V13 or 8b is currently the hardest problem in Wyoming.  Other noteworthy lines for difficulty and quality done this year include "The Giving Tree" by Jamie Emerson, "A Tribe Called Lander" by Chris Marley, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" by Jesse Brown, and "Nexus" which is the highest quality first ascent I've ever done.  Davin Bagdonas kept the exploration going, by hiking past the next ridge to the Midsummer Boulders.  A whole new set of amazing boulders in a scenic alpine valley just waiting for some attention from fit boulderers.

This year also stands out personally, because I put almost all my spare time this year into writing a bouldering guide.  I've never taken on such a large, difficult, and long term project for "fun" before.  It was looking a lot like any standard, self-published, full color, bouldering guide when I was working on it in June.  Then Ben Sears heard about it and volunteered to help.  Ben is a graphic designer who once lived in Lander, and had some spare time, between his days of lobster fishing, while living off the coast of Maine.  At first he just helped with the maps, then he offered more design advice, and once he saw how hopeless I was at design, he decided to design every page himself.  He took the whole project to a new level of quality, and I think it's looking as good, or better, than any guidebook out there.  Here are some sample pages.

My favorite cover so far.     
 The first few pages.

This table of contents shows all the areas included in the guide.

 Somewhat of a mission statement.
 Every section begins with a full page photo, and then a map drawn by Ben.

 This is what the problem pages look like.
 A few more sample pages.

A couple pages from the Rock Shop.

 And a couple more from Sweetwater Rocks.

I finished writing the guide just a few days ago, and Ben finished designing the last section today.  Now the proofreading, and tweaking begin.  I'll be busy getting estimates from printers, and have a lot things I need to make happen, but our goal is to have the guide available for sale in April before the season here really gets going.  I can only hope that 2013 will be as productive as this year was.  It just hit midnight and the fireworks in Lander are amazing right now!
Here's to the New Year!