Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Beach

Well that didn't take too long!  Ashley sent the project today.  And Sinks Canyon has a classic new traverse.
"Bad Girls at the Beach" V6/7
Ashley named the problem after the M.I.A. song she was playing during the send.  

The problem begins on two low slopers on the right side of the boulder. 
 And it tops out using the chalked pinch on the upper left side of the photo below.
This sector might not have been developed if I hadn't received a Facebook message.  Three weeks ago, a boulderer named Shane from Casper contacted me.  He was planning his first visit to Lander, and he wanted to go bouldering.  The weekend forecast looked windy, and most of the boulders in Sinks Canyon were covered in snow.  The Dolomite Band was melted out, but it would be in the wind.  Just west of the Dolomite Band was a sandstone draw that might be sheltered from a strong west wind.  I hiked up to check things out.  I saw some things that looked good, and now there are ten good problems up there.  The area gets as much sun and melts out as quickly as the Dolomite Band, but it's much more sheltered from the wind.  It's the warmest bouldering discovered in the Lander area so far!  
 The area has a lot of very soft stone.  On our first day we passed a lot of chossy boulders on our way to a wall in the back of the canyon that was more solid.  We decided to start climbing there.  Unfortunately we weren't completely sheltered from the strong winds on that first day.  Ashley decided it was too cold and windy to climb. But Shane is used to living in Casper, so he thought the conditions were great!  I decided it was tolerable, so we put up some problems.  We're calling the aesthetic wall at the top of the side canyon "The Rolling Dune."

"Starting Over" V2

 "Dune" V3 is a more direct start that finishes the same as "Starting Over."

 After finishing those two problems, Shane added a highball to the west called
"Black Slabbath" V0+

The next day I met Shane again, and we hiked up to what looked like warm ups.  Turns out they weren't warm ups.  This one starts low, matched on the hold Shane has with his left hand, moves right, up, and then slightly left to the top.

"Truth Hurts" V5
 I also climbed a SDS line on the short boulder just right of "Truth Hurts."  Ashley came out and repeated it last weekend.

"Get Shorty" V4
 Shane ended the development that day by doing a SDS line on the south side of the dolomite boulder in the field below the beach.  It has some of the sharpest rock around!
"Scalpel" V1.
It was fun to spend a couple sessions with another boulderer psyched on development.  Thanks Shane!

 Last weekend I used a broom to sweep up a piece of the cliff band just above the boulders.  Some of it was covered in onion skins of loose sand, but the rock below was solid enough, and it turned out to be a perfect warm up traverse.
"Surfer's Paradise" V0
 On the Rolling Dune, I added another independent line just left of "Dune."

"Mirage" V4

 The same day, I committed to a unique line on a boulder just above "Get Shorty."

"Step Right Up" V3 is somewhat of a circus trick.
 You start low with a good right pocket and a low left sloper.  To top out you need to high step, get your weight over your feet on poor holds, and then walk up the sandy slab without any holds.
After doing "Step Right Up," we began working on the traverse that is now "Bad Girls at the Beach."  It took us two full sessions to send it.  Most of the rock at the Beach is very sandy when you first start climbing on it.  Even after brushing with a lapis brush it continues to shed sand when you grab the holds for many attempts.  For a while we needed to brush the pockets on "Bad Girls" after every attempt.  Eventually all the loose sand came off the holds though, and the rock turned out to be very nice and surprisingly solid underneath.  We thought "Bad Girls at the Beach" would be V8 or 9, but once the holds were clean, it went at V6/7.

If you hike up to the Beach from the Dolomite Band parking, you shouldn't have any difficulty locating the established problems.  All the lines above will be clean for a while.  Remember that sandstone is more fragile when wet.  Please let the problems dry for a couple days after a big rain or snowstorm before climbing on them.  If you want to do some more first ascents up there, feel free.  There are some proud lines waiting to be done, but they will probably require some rappelling to clean up first.  I'm planning to get to work on them eventually, but I don't mind if someone else puts in the brushing time and climbs them first.

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