Like most people, I am motivated by clearly-defined goals. Without them, my approach to things (climbing-related and otherwise) is a little aimless, and not particularly intense. My trip to Hasler Flats was intended to provide me with a clearly-defined goal, something to get me training hard through the long, dark Canadian winter.
My expectations were exceeded; I came away not with one goal, but several. Clearly framed in my mind now are six projects. Three are unbolted lines on three different walls in the Hasler Flats area; all of these are hard, steep, aesthetic lines on bullet-hard sandstone and conglomerate. Two more are hard crack lines, one of which has never seen an ascent. The last is a hard boulder problem, on the Boxcar Boulder that lies at the base of the talus beneath Hasler Bluffs.
The last objective is, for me, a familiar one. For the last 12 years my focus has been on bouldering, and I'm sure I will be able to train for and send the problem. However, the rest of the lines will be tougher. I have never climbed a hard crack (I think my hardest crack routes have been 5.10s), but the two hard splitter cracks at Hasler are so clean, so intriguing that I will enjoy training for them. The three sport routes are more familiar territory. Toprope the lines, figure out the best possible sequences and clipping holds, determine bolt placements, put the bolts in, then begin the long process of getting to know the route, and slowly putting the moves together in order to send. I love that process, that feeling of turning an unknown puzzle into something I can understand and accomplish. I'm psyched!
I had the first session on my garage bouldering wall last night, with my daughter Aya. My wife has dubbed it The Mancave, which I find both apt and hilarious. I hope I can find a way to keep the space warm, so I can get in as much training this winter as my body will allow. I've already got my first projects on the wall, so it's going to be fun time!
I put together three photos to make a montage of one of the projects in the canyon. The picture is taken from straight-on, though, so it doesn't look as steep as it is. A blunt arete, probably 20m high, three crux sections. Hopefully it's not any harder than .13a or b, or it might be out of my reach. Enjoy!
One more thing before I sign off. Lately I have enjoyed my friend Owen's blog that describes the bouldering (and the hunt for boulders) in the Lake Tahoe area. Great writing, great pictures, and a whole lot of excitement! Check it out at http://bowlderhuntin.blogspot.com/
One of the 'super-projects'. 20m of hard, steep climbing on a blunt arete. It's going to be fun!