Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Spring Report

It's been too long.  I started posting photos to Instagram as MRDLLOYD.  It's been quick, and easy. And it's fun to see the "likes" accumulate.  But Instagram also feels ephemeral, not quite genuine, and somewhat unsatisfying.  Digital snacking on sweetened tweets. It occurred to me that if my Instagram account was accidentally deleted, it really wouldn't bother me at all.  And if Facebook just disappeared, I'd probably be glad to see it go.  

But blogs are different. And I'd really miss this blog if it was gone.  So it's time to start updating it again.  

Here are a couple shots taken from my Instagram.
Sweetwater, with an oh-so-sweet Instagram filter. 

Ashley sending "Chobra" over Spring Break, V6, the Beach, Sinks Canyon.
It's been a colder Spring than usual.  But the Beach had good conditions over our Spring Break.  Ashley added a new V7, that I haven't repeated yet, called Lioness.  It starts hanging on edges along a sloping rail.
And climbs some of the best sandstone the Beach has to offer.
We've also spent a couple sessions at the Lizard Lab since the last post.

Sierra sent the Whale, V3.
And Ashley and I both did a full traverse of the Lizard Lab boulder.  It's long, but isn't really that difficult. It is pumpy, and really easy to slip off of near the end.  That happened to me a couple times.  Somehow I managed not to scream from frustration.

Up the hill, I climbed a version of Black Cross. I came in from the right instead of the left.  With this start, the line is probably V3, but has small solid holds rather than the fragile flakes leading in from the left like my guidebook shows.  I'd recommend the right start variation and give it a couple stars.  Fun edge climbing on a tall line!

All winter I've been wanting to get back to Sweetwater, and over Easter weekend I got out there twice.

Saturday was spent just covering miles of territory carrying only my camera.  I discovered that the good rock out there doesn't extend forever, but that even the chossy sectors have occasional moments of brilliance.

Roo exploring with me last Saturday.
This is one wall I found that will have some good, tall lines.
And I wonder if it's possible to top this roof problem out?
I also found this solid block with small crystal texture, surrounded in all directions by stone reminiscent of Vedauwoo. How does that even happen?  It's a great example of the strange varieties of rock quality found in the Sweetwater granite.  My stick brush is my height and shown for scale.

And here's another really good rock anomaly.
Late in the day I found a nice sector, sheltered from westerly wind, and close to a road.  I decided that it would be the best place to spend Easter with my family.
Shane came out too, and seemed happy with the place.  Despite the fact that it didn't yet have a single established problem.
Like any bouldering developer who's at a new set of boulders, he warmed up and then started hiking.  
 He found and put up quite a few lines.  We had fun repeating some of his problems near the lines that we were putting up, and calling up to hear what he had found further up the hill.  Bouldering development is more fun when you're not the only one brushing.  Thanks Shane!

One undone line on solid grey stone, with nice textured holds caught my eye.  It ended up going at V6. Ashley nabbed the first ascent.

The Grey, V6 SDS
 Later in the day, we got on the line shown below, thinking that it might be a fun V3.  We thought it would warm us up for another difficult project up the hill.  But slippery holds, and large spans, meant that it was harder than we expected.  Ashley committed to the powerful heal hook first, and got another first ascent.

Tick Tok, V5 SDS
After Tick Tok we were too tired to try the harder project.

 Shane and I walked one more ridge before driving out.  This boulder looks like it will be really good!
 And this face looked really difficult, but might be climbable by someone.
 On the hike back to the truck, we saw a good size horned lizard.  It's the first one I've seen in the last few years.
And that wraps up some of the good days since my last post.

It's been a very busy and productive Spring.  Though I haven't been blogging as frequently, I've been reading about climbing, and organizing my thoughts.  It feels like I've arrived at some clarity about my various bouldering motivations, and what my version of bouldering is really all about.  More posts will be coming soon...