Monday, May 5, 2014

Oz, The Cabins, and Sweetwater in a Week

Jesse F. arrived in Lander on his road trip from Portland, Oregon via Joes Valley.  We made plans and met at the parking lot in Sinks Canyon for a Sunday afternoon of bouldering, but it was raining.  Skies looked blue to the east, and few minutes later we'd completely changed the plans.  Ashley and the girls went to the gym, while Jesse and I drove out to Oz.

Conditions looked good, and we got on this line thinking that it might be a warm up.  It turned out to be more difficult than expected.  I don't know the line's name, but I think it's a V5.  I was happy to finish it. 

Jesse's wild heel hook beta.  

From there we went up the hill to "A Tribe Called Lander."  It was fun to watch Jesse figure it all out and send the line quickly.  He finished it just before it got too wet up top.

Snow was falling, but I expected it to clear up.  I found another boulder, started cleaning it, and we began working out beta on a strange roof problem.  The snow intensified until we found ourselves in blizzard conditions with lightning and thunder!  This photo was taken before it really got bad.
Worried that we might not be able to drive out easily, we decided we'd better try to leave as quickly as possible. On the hike down, I watched a dark wild horse, silhouetted in snow, run away over small hills with the wind streaming through it's long mane.  What a sight!

Luckily the roads out weren't as bad as I feared, but I was happy that I bought good tires for the truck last summer.

On Thursday, Jesse met me at the Cabin Boulders after school.  I was playing around on "The Camera" but not making much progress, when Jesse mentioned that he had climbed "Honest Joe."  "Honest Joe" has been my most wanted problem at the Cabin Boulders since we moved to Lander.  I put in a few attempts almost every session that I'm out there, but have always been flummoxed as to how the line should be done.  Jesse shared some beta that Kyle V. had shared with him.  The beta worked, and I did "Honest Joe."  It's amazing how cryptic a four move sequence can be.  If you'd like the beta, here's video footage.  But it might be more fun to try to figure it the problem for yourself, and only watch the video once you've given up.

On Friday, I did something that turned out to be really stupid in hindsight.  I arm wrestled one of the biggest students in the 7th grade.  Luckily I won, but unfortunately I gave myself elbow tendonitis in the process.  Winning wasn't worth it.  I couldn't climb on Saturday, and my arm is throbbing right now after a very light session in the gym.  Let this be a warning!  Bouldering friends, don't let bouldering friends arm wrestle!  A piece of advice well worth the time spent reading this post.

Since I couldn't climb on Saturday, I focused on giving Ashley and Jesse a good tour at Sweetwater, and tried to figure out exactly how Jesse climbs so much better than I do.  I observed that, in addition to being light and strong, Jesse reads the rock carefully and does a better job than I do of figuring out optimal body positioning for each move of a problem before he even tries them.  He has a method and style that I'll try to emulate once my elbow is working again.  It was fun to hang out with Jesse, and gain some insight into how double digit bouldering gets done.

Unfortunately, the very dry Wyoming air wreaked havoc on Jesse's moisture accustomed Portland, Oregon skin.  On the last attempt on "War Cry," his fingers split open in four different places!  Jesse decided to end his trip early, rather than wait around for a few days, hoping that his skin would heal before he had to be back in Oregon.

Jesse making an ascent of "Old School" V5.  
It was a fun week!  Despite some bad weather, and skin issues, Jesse sent or made impressive progress on most of the hard problems accessible during springtime in Lander.  And I got out for much more climbing than the weather, my to-do list, or my injury should have allowed.  Thanks for the good sessions Jesse, and I hope we see you again soon!