Saturday, December 31, 2016

Searching for Truth and Possibilities

The quest continues.  It was a very busy fall, and the lack of posts here was caused by too much happening rather than too little.  Instead of reporting in chronological order, I'm arranging this post by area.  We spent the most time at Sweetwater Rocks, and finished a handful of new lines out there.  The first is an amazing feature near "Weapons of Mass Destruction," a rail formed of some of the best rock out at Sweetwater.  I brushed it off, and we used Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who would get the first shot at climbing it.  Sierra won the first attempt, and flashed it.  "55 Feet of Fun" has good holds for hands the whole way, but it gets pumpy by the end, we'll call it V3 even though no move is that difficult by itself.  Stepping off is usually an option, but it isn't a good idea to fall off this line.
Here's a photo of Ashley climbing a portion from the opposite angle.
Ashley put up a short new V4 a couple hundred feet to the east called "Hamstring" with a tough crux heal hook.
During another session Ashley climbed "Another Toe in the Ocean" V5 using a less reachy variation that looks a lot harder than the sequence I use.
A couple weeks later, Kian got the third ascent.
We were filmed on that day for a documentary series called "This American Land."  I'll let you know when it airs.

Another day I set up a rope to try out a tall crack project.  It still needs some brushing, and it will be difficult.
 To the right I climbed a new line called "Spookier than Expected" V3.

    We also finished the top of a fingery project.  We'll need to get back to finish it.                            

Here's a portrait of Sierra and the view from what I'm calling the "Bird Bath" zone.  Later that day she climbed "The Hampi Traverse" V7.

We got another good Sweetwater session in at the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" sector before the snow came in.  I repeated "Falkor" V5 and Sierra climbed "Fight the Nothing" V7.  Sierra almost climbed "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and Ashley had a good time showing her how it's done. 
On the downhill side of the boulder I added a new problem called "Top Down" V5 that starts as shown in the photo below.

The line might not be finished though. It should have a V8-10 sit start one day.

And that's the news from Sweetwater last Fall.

While I was out filming "This American Land" at Sweetwater, Ashley and Sierra were away.  They were checking out the bouldering around Chattanooga, TN.  They competed in the Triple Crown Bouldering at Stone Fort, and spent a day at Rock Town, Georgia.  

They report that the southern sandstone is good.  I still  haven't climbed on it yet.

I spent one perfect afternoon out at Oz with Steve, Noah, Siemay, and Zun.

A portrait of Steve at the end of the session.

We figured out a start to Jon's tall warmup that doesn't use the block under the roof.  I put it together first, and called it "While You're Away" V5.  It has immaculate stone.

Steve trying "While You're Away."

Siemay climbing the V4 left stand to "A Tribe Called Lander".  We also did a V6 stand version to the right.  None of us were able to climb Chris' full line that day.
Zun climbed a bunch of nice new lines on the block just north of "A Tribe Called Lander."  I think it will become known as Zun's Block.
I'm still looking forward to doing a lot more climbing and exploration out there.

Davin and Bryan made a trip for what looked like a perfect day in the Kitchen.  But high winds blew rain across the divide and into the canyon all morning.  In the afternoon, things dried up well enough to climb, but conditions weren't ideal. 

Davin demonstrating the crux on "Viscountess Olive."
Bryan working "Larry Bird."
The humidity stayed high and the rock never felt quite dry enough.  No lines were sent, but we had a fun day on hard projects, shared our knowledge, and looked at some new things.

Jesse Brown shared topos to Flaming Gorge with me a few years ago, and it bothered me that I still hadn't checked out one of the best looking sectors.  So we spent a nice day climbing there with Steve and Jan.

We all warmed up on a perfect line of slots that Jesse called "100 Degrees of Hate" V1.
And then climbed a crimpy line called"Jesse's Lap Dance" V4.
We did a few more moderates that I didn't get photos of, and ended the day on another great line called "Robber's Roost" V4.
The sector is beautiful and it still has a lot of potential, but it hasn't gotten much traffic, and the lichen is growing back.

Then the weather abruptly switched from a very warm fall to a very cold winter.  With Davin's help and direction, Sierra and I have hiked some areas that could offer winter bouldering near Lander.

And we've seen some beautiful landscapes along the way.

Even after the cold hit, we had a surprisingly beautiful session at Torrey Valley.
Sierra almost flashed "The Good Earth Traverse" V8.  She got it on her second try.

We sought out warmer temps at Unaweep Canyon, CO over Thanksgiving break.

Sierra flashed "Chinese Algebra" V6

Ashley and I did "Chinese Algebra" too, but my favorite climb was the "Hueco Problem" V4.

During the most recent cold weekends we've gone to Sinks canyon.

With one day spent at the beach.

And another day I went sport climbing with Sierra at the Main Wall.
It was only 13 degrees in Lander, but the cliffs were really nice that day.
And that's what we've been up to.  But there is an underlying theme to this long and wide ranging post.  The truth is what's out there, and the possibilities are what can be done with the truth.  We spent the last season searching for both.

Once again, I'm working on this blog on New Years Eve as the fireworks go off in Lander.  We just got back from a Christmas trip to New Mexico today, but this post is long enough already.  I'll have photos from Roy, and the 2016 List of new boulder problems posted soon.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Things Are Different Now

A line of 5.10 ads says "Quit Your Job." Ashley took that advice last May, and it's been great for her climbing.  I'd estimate that she's jumped a couple grades since last year, and she appears to be as strong as she's ever been.  We both climbed Chris Marley's line "Mr. Smiley" V7 at the Rock Shop. But Ashley's beta looked more difficult.
Ashley seems pretty happy about the time off.
I went back to school with Autumn.  And Ashley's been traveling with Sierra, seeing the places we've always wanted to be able to see in the fall.  When you're teaching, fall is the one time of year that you never get to travel far.

Ash and Sierra enjoying Glacier National Park.

While they were away, Autumn came out to the Rock Shop with me and sent "Bobcat's" V1.  A line that I cleaned a couple hundred feet to the west of "Mr. Smiley."

Labor day weekend arrived, and we took advantage of it by getting back to Devil's Kitchen.
Ashley and Sierra demonstrated the efficient breakfast routine they'd perfected on their Glacier trip.
Sierra climbed very well on the trip, but I was just as proud of her for carrying her own pad in and out of the lower kitchen without complaint.
We re-brushed and climbed a few warm ups that had already been cleaned at some point in the past.

And then we went over to "Bumblespeak" V8.  On my first trip to the lower Kitchen I saw this line, and I knew that Ashley would like it.  I brushed up most of the line, and Jamie Emerson sent it later that fall.  It ended up taking until this year before I got Ashley down to it for an attempt, but it did suit her perfectly, and she sent it quickly.

Here's video of the ascent with just a couple long chalking rests, from jugs, edited out.

Then Sierra figured it out too!

I wasn't willing to put a full effort into "Bumblespeak."  I feared that I probably wouldn't be able to do it, and in the attempt use up the strength I needed to finally send my project.  It's a beautiful dynamic problem that doesn't suite my height.  It's called "Flying Machete Monster" V5.  

I only managed a stand start version, and just that felt at least V6 for me.

Happy with my send, I also appreciated the amazing landscape on the hike out.

Now true fall weather has arrived and I've been taking advantage of it by getting in after school bouldering sessions.  Soon the days will be to short for them.  My main objective has been the direct sit start project into "Delicate Diagonal" at the Source.
I'd been making progress, but I thought that it would be too reachy for Ashley and Sierra.  We spent a Saturday up there anyway, and Sierra sent the project!  Ashley sent it a few tries later.  Sierra thought that it was easier than "Bumblespeak," and Ashley thought that it was just as difficult.  Sierra named it "Mastery Challenge" after the final tests in Khan Academy units.

I use holds that Sierra can't reach, and the line feels like it could be V10 to me.  Take a look at Sierra's sequence below, and try to imagine a larger climber making it work.  It doesn't even feel possible.

As I write this, Ashley and Sierra are on the road again.

Sierra sent "Big Boy" V7 at Joes Valley, UT

And they've also visited Priest Draw, AZ

While they've been away, Autumn and I returned to one of my high priority projects at Deer Park.

We had perfect weather for it last Saturday.

My original sessions on this line started with a very difficult, awkward, and crimpy traverse into the feature from the left.  That start adds significant difficulty, but also takes away stars from the line and began to seem contrived.  I decided to start the line from a different sit start, right below the boulder's main feature.  The right hand starts on the crimp shown below, and the left hand starts ~18 inches lower than pictured from a nice sloper.  From the start that I did it's a classic V6/7 called "Autumnal."  A right leg knee pad allowed me to get a good knee bar on the first ascent.

The move from a perfect pinch to the lip is especially fun.

I'm very happy with this line!

I also put up a new V3 on the right side of the Focus and Flow Wall called "Crimpy Temps."
And another V3 nearby called "Perfect Fit."
Temps are dropping, Ashley's traveling, Sierra's sending, all of us are hiking, projects are falling. The times are changing.