Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bear Mountain Bouldering

Last Sunday, Chris D. and I made a "boulder hunting and sending" trip to Bear Mountain.  I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the boulders at Bear Mountain.  The boulders there are really accessible (a relatively short drive and a very short approach), and lie scattered throughout an aspen and pine forest in a truly beautiful setting.  The boulders look beautiful, with a great diversity of angles (from slabs to roofs), and the problems generally have good landings.  Unfortunately, the rock there is often quite soft, and the holds can sometimes be brittle and/or grainy.  Despite these issues, the problems at Bear Mountain are proving to be a lot of fun, with quality movement despite the sometimes soft rock.

Arriving at Bear Mountain, we scouted around for an hour or so, before deciding on a cluster of great-looking boulders directly downslope of the Shaman cave.  We cleaned a handful of problems on a single boulder, and they all turned out to be nice lines.  The rock there generally has some moss and lichen, and although it cleans up nicely, it does take a little work to get the problems ready.  We first climbed a line I had cleaned, a leaning arete to a fun sloper topout.  We both did it without any real difficulty (V1?), and set to work on the second problem, a steep problem on shallow pockets.  The problem starts on a huge hold (which is nice because it makes for a very comfortable foothold), but then climbs up a relatively blank face via smooth pockets where pebbles have pulled out of the conglomerate.  After many tries (and breaking off many footholds), I finally managed the big deadpoint to the lip and finished the problem (V4? maybe V5?). 

We moved on to the problems that Chris had cleaned.  The first was a great problem on AMAZING sandstone slopers - perfectly radiused, and great texture.  It was a little stiff (V2?), but we both managed to flash it.  Then we moved on to a great-looking line that started on a big sloping pinch, and moved up with big moves and perfect slopers.  Chris flashed it; a good effort on a classic line!  Then we turned our attention to the low start to that problem, a hard start that climbed out a little cave on incut crimps.  We thought it would be pretty casual, but it turned out to be a lot more difficult than we anticipated.  We traded beta and worked on the moves for nearly an hour, and nearly gave up.  Adopting some of Chris' beta, I finally did the first four moves (the crux!), and finished the problem.  It is the hardest problem at Bear Mountain (so far), and is probably V6.  I've got my eye on a TALL slab on the backside of the boulder; if I get it cleaned, I'll take some photos so people can get on it!

Even though our fingers were feeling pretty pulped by this time, we headed up to the Shaman cave so Chris could do Shaman, and we could work on the other problem in the cave; a harder version of Shaman on perfect half-pad edges.  We did Shaman fairly quickly, and then worked on the other line.  Chris made very quick progress on it (using kneebars!), but couldn't quite stick the finishing hold.  Playing catchup, I managed to finish the problem (it finishes on a black pod-pocket high on the wall), calling it Trickster (V4ish).

Now thoroughly thrashed, we walked over and checked out some cracks at the main wall, then headed to McDonald's for ice cream.  A good end to the day!

So, my relationship with Bear Mountain continues.  However, on a sunny day, climbing on new sandstone boulder problems in a beautiful forest, I definitely love it far more than I hate it!

[Sorry for the lack of photos.  Chris took a couple, and when he sends them I'll post them here.]

No comments: