Monday, December 15, 2014

Sinks Canyon Sessions

Quite a few areas in Wyoming were boulderable during the past couple weekends.  But school's been keeping us very busy, and the weather forecast actually looked best for Sinks, so we spent our climbing days here.  It's really nice to have 275 boulder problems within a ten minute drive of the house.

Sierra's gotten serious about her climbing, so in addition to thinking about what Ashley and I would like to try, I'm now planning our sessions with Sierra in mind.  We went to the Slug boulder because it has fun warmups that Ashley and I could repeat, and lines that Sierra could work on.

Sierra's best send of the day was "Leeches" V3.
Later, we made the short hike over to "Buttwink" V7.  Ashley had never tried it in good conditions before.  She started to piece it together, but couldn't figure out a sequence through the long crux move.

Then we hiked to the Kingsford boulder.  My goal for the day was to climb at least one problem that I hadn't done before.  So I gave "The Seam" project a few tries.  I think it's possible, but quickly realized that it would take more than a day's work.  So I moved on to my last hope for the day, a line called "Flame" V6.

Since writing the new guide, I've had a couple people ask me about "Flame."  One person asked me for details on the sequence, and another said "There is no way that's a V6!"  I couldn't really give any advice or argue about it.  I'd tried the line on three separate days, and hadn't been able to do it either.  One of the rules I gave myself when I wrote the guidebook is that I wouldn't change historical grades unless I had climbed the problem, and even then only if I felt sure that the grade was at least two grades off.  Since I hadn't figured out the problem, I left the historical grade of V6 in my guide, and privately wondered if a hold had broken.

I won't take the time to go into detail about every sequence that I tried.  I tried so many variations.

But before the sun set that day, I climbed "Flame" V6!
And once I did it, the grade felt in line with the other dolomite V6s in Sinks.  I can usually send a given V6 in one session if it isn't a full out dyno.  But this one took me four days because it's just such an intricate puzzle!  After the nice starting edge there are quite a few sidepulls and tiny holds to choose from.  None of them had chalk, and none of them feel good, but in the right positions some are slightly better than others.  I was able to find one set of hand and foot holds that could give me the distance I needed to latch, and keep, the only good hold below the lip.

It's snowed again now, the chalk's probably gone, and if you aren't my size you might need to find your own way.  Good luck!  Sinks dolomite is sharp.  And most of the harder lines on it require perfectly done, powerful moves, on painful holds.  But it feels really good to finish some of these lines.  "Flame" isn't the hardest thing I've climbed, but it just might be the most impossible looking thing that I've done.  Standing under the line, after topping out, I still couldn't believe that it was possible to use such small holds to make such a big move.  I was quite satisfied with the day, and happy that the line does match what's written about it in the guide.

Sinks on Saturday morning.
On Saturday we were just hoping to get a quick session done before this snowstorm arrived, but we ended up getting a beautiful full day at the Beach.  We warmed up on a traverse that I put up last spring.

"Dusty Springfield" V3.
Then we hiked up to the highest climbable sandstone wall in the mini canyon.  I had brushed off some lines that I wanted to try.

On the right side Ashley added a left to right V2 traverse that she hasn't named yet.
I did a sit start from the flat hold to her right called "Sure Thing" V3.

Then I added a really nice SDS line at the left end of the wall called "Sand Cat" V3.
It could be harder than V3 if you're tall.  We brought our feet up while still using tiny crimps.

We moved on to another project, but I'll post about that once it's finished.  There's really quite a bit of potential left on the shady side of the Beach, and with some brushing on rappel, a few proud new lines could be added to most sandstone areas in Sinks.  When I get the time, I'll be excited to get to them.

That's all I've got to share this week.   But if you've gotten any bouldering first ascents near Lander during the last year, it is time to send them in.  I've already gotten started on The List 2014. All I'm asking for right now is the name, area, grade, and first ascentionist of each problem you'd like included.  I think we might have already surpassed last year's total.  Thanks for your help!

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