Saturday, July 20, 2013

Returning to the Source

Tom, Devlin, Ana, Justin, Lindsey, and Marc all joined us for a session at the Rock Shop today.  And I believe that we might have set the record for the most bouldering pads ever used under a single boulder in the state of Wyoming!  We had good conditions for warming up on the Paralysis wall, but unfortunately the day got way too hot after that.  I hate bouldering in the heat.  Hands sweat, skin fails, and worst of all I lose all interest in trying hard.  We attempted Nexus in full sun, and it was so difficult!  None of us even reached the lip.  We went to the UFO area next, and Tom sent "First Contact?"  We did a recently cleaned V1 near the UFO boulder, and repeated a few things, but as far as sending new problems went, it was a very rough day.  It was still a lot of fun to be outside, and hang out with everybody though.

Last week Ashley was out of town for a class, and she took the truck with her.  I couldn't get my car and the girls up to the Rock Shop or into Devil's Kitchen, so I went to the Source for a couple early morning sessions.  I spent one session at Source South, and the other at the Tombstone Formation.  It had been a couple years since I'd climbed at these spots, and I was pleasantly surprised.  Conditions were pretty good, and the problems have cleaned up nicely.  They are better than I remembered, and somewhat easier.  Here's a short video of two problems I highly recommend up there.  Arrive before nine for a couple hours of cool temps on shaded faces.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Report From the 20th International Climbers' Festival

It was an amazing festival this year!  So much was going on, that I couldn't possibly get to everything.  But here are some things that happened.

It looked like trouble for the Climbers' Fest when local police confronted the festival director.  But Brian just stared them in the eyes, appearing to use some sort of Jedi mind trick on them, and they calmly walked away.  
 Stacy taught me how to coil a rope faster,
 and she taught Sierra how to lead climb.  Now Sierra can set up her own climbs.  Thanks Stacy!
 I tried to explain the joys of developing Wyoming's boulders to a crowd of sport climbers.  It felt a lot like trying to explain the Philosophy of Science to
7th graders.
 Ashley and I spent a session bouldering in the shade at Motown during the hottest day of the festival.  It was just like Thailand.

Wind and Rattlesnakes was very well done!  Kyle did an amazing job of putting all the interview puzzle pieces together into a coherent and moving story.  I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

I also enjoyed every keynote speaker this year.

But my favorite part of the festival was showing the Rock Shop to some boulderers who could truly appreciate the area.  Danny, Kerrek, Charlie, Joseph and Catrina joined us for a beautifully cool, overcast day.

The original plan was just to warm up on the Paralysis wall.

Everybody climbed "Jammin is a Thing of the Past" and "Fighting Paralysis" to get things started.

Danny climbing "Fighting Paralysis."

 Then Kerrek started trying moves on a project I'd partially cleaned and given up on, to the left.
 Kerrek can use holds that I can't quite believe in yet.
 He came close enough to sending the line using his beta to prove that the line can be done.  But he stopped trying it because he wanted to save some skin for "Gem Thief."
 We all tried the project, and there might be different, difficult but workable, beta for all heights.

Catrina on the Paralysis Project.

Then Charlie decided to try skipping all the bad holds using a large dyno.

 Joseph gave that a shot as well.
 They both came close enough to catching the move to show that this method will work.  But climbing this section of the wall using any method remains a project.  Who will be the first?

Danny made masterful use of the casually dropped preemptive excuse.  "My skin is so soft.  I've barely been climbing."  But it turned out that it wasn't even necessary.

He sent "Starry Night."

Then Kerrek climbed "Gem Thief" after quite a few attempts.  It's the first V11 he's climbed in a single session, but he confirmed the grade saying that it's harder than the V10s that he's done.

Before we left the area, everyone climbed "Super Nova."

The next stop was the UFO boulder.  While Charlie, Kerrek, and Danny worked on that, I noticed another nearby boulder that Justin had cleaned, that I recognized from his blog.  It was so much fun to be able to jump on a new boulder that was already cleaned up and ready to go.  Thanks Justin!  I worked on up problems, and Ashley did a long traverse right to left across two sides of the boulder.  We aren't sure if her traverse is a first ascent or not.

Ashley near the start of the traverse.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the great festival this year!  And if you were there, I hope that you had as much fun as I did, and that you come back next year.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Photos and Captions

We've been so busy this Summer that I've gotten behind on the blog.  Summer's been wonderful so far!  The photos tell the story best, so I won't write too much.  Since the last post, we met my family for a week long vacation in Jackson, we've spent a couple days sport climbing with Ben, Ange, Devlin and Ana, we're still developing at the Rock Shop, and Davin showed me some bouldering that I hadn't seen yet in the Northern Winds.  

Momma and baby moose in the Tetons.  My Mom had never seen a wild Moose before.

Then the sun rose.

We competed in the bouldering leg of the Outerlocal games in Jackson.  Ashley won the Women's Division and I came in 6th place in the Men's.  The route setting was really well done!  I think Micah Rush and Jonathan Siegrist set the majority of the problems, and they did a great job.
 Ben Sears flashing "Wind and Rattlesnakes."

 Nice work!
 We rented a canoe for a full family trip to Boulder Island in the Tetons.
 My dad rowing back to shuttle more of the family across.
 One anchor on the big boulder offers three great toprope variations from 5.11a to about 5.11c.  Nice enough climbs that you'll want to do laps.  It's worth renting a canoe for.
Rowing back down String Lake.
 Wildflowers at Wild Iris.
 Ashley surprised me with a tandem paraglide flight.
 She knew that I had always wanted to try it, and it was so much fun.
 Now I'm planning to take a course someday.
 Indian paintbrush taken in the Tetons, and I didn't enhance or saturate the shot at all.

 We had great weather for a couple pitches at Fossil Hill with Ana and Devlin one evening.  A storm missed us but made a rainbow while I was climbing "Casual Entertainment."  We couldn't get to the camera.

Later I got a couple shots that I like of Ana climbing "Space Needle."

 Sierra's climbing has been improving rapidly.  Here she is climbing to the eye on "My Mind's Eye" at the Rock Shop.

We let Sierra try this line first, and she flashed it.  I think it's a first ascent.  She named it
"Slippery Truth."  Such a perfect problem name.  I'm so proud!

Alex is back from Europe and it's great to see that he's working on lines at the Rock Shop again.  We met him one evening, and Ashley managed to get the first ascents of two projects that we'd spent a couple days on.

She surprised me by getting the first ascent of what I considered to be my project "To the Pain" V6.

 She was happy to snake my proj.
 I repeated it using a dynamic move to the top after a few more tries.

Then we went up to the Touch of Grey wall.
 Ashley got the first ascent of "Two Snakes Traverse" V5/6.  It shares the start and crux of "Touch of Grey" but traverses to a low top out, out right, rather than climbing up the wall.
 On our way back from Jackson we stopped at Blacktail Butte.  Ashley repeated the "Hand Traverse."
 And I finally managed to send it as well.
 I've never seen so much infrastructure for the preservation of a single problem's landing.  But I'm glad that it's there.
 A Monument Plant at Wild Iris.
 A sign at the trailhead in the the Northern Winds.

Davin showed me a very interesting talus field in the Northern Winds.  He's been bouldering up there for many years.  The place has a wild and ancient ambience.

Davin on top of the area warm up.
 Davin sticking to the very small crimps of a difficult project.
 The project.
 Davin was very generous, and went out of his way to let me get a high quality first ascent.  After we both worked out the individual moves, he let me try it a few times until I completed it.  Then he jumped on and did it on his first full send attempt.
 "The Anvil" V7.  A three star classic.

I think Roo feels the same way about Summer as I do.
And now it's time for the International Climbers' Festival!  Hopefully I'll see you there.