This Saturday, a contingent of Lethbridge boulderers headed to Frank for a day of springtime bouldering. After a bit of discussion, we decided to start at the Snakebite Boulder, as it hosts a wide variety of problems, from short V0s to tallish, harder problems. I was keen to go back as there were still a few problems there I hadn't done. We had left early, so it was still a bit cool when we arrived. I had to climb several problems to warm up, a process that seems to take longer as I get older.
As the morning got hotter, I did the last two established problems I hadn't done on the boulder, Brett's Ugly Face (V2) and Python (V2). Both problems were a lot of fun, with big moves to big holds. Mike (making his first real trip to Frank) did the tricky Apple Shampoo (V4) quickly and smoothly, while Kyle repeated KBMI30 (V5) to demonstrate key beta at the crux. No one else managed to do KBMI30, although Mike and Mark came close; navigating the high sloper crux of the problem proved difficult in the hot sun.
I had previously spied another line on the Snakebite face. Starting on the start holds of The Good One (V0 or V1), it seemed possible to traverse right into the juggy hold in the middle of Obi Wan Kenobi, and then finish on that problem. It took me a little while to mentally work through the moves, but when I had a good idea of what to do it only took me a handful of tries to do the problem. An initial cross through to a good pinch led directly to a long move out to the juggy edge in the middle of the face. I called it Ben Kenobi (since Ben is an older, wiser version of Obi Wan Kenobi) ;). It's probably V5 or V6, a fun addition to the boulder. Now, there are four hardish side-by-side problems on the Snakebite Boulder, from left to right they are Ben Kenobi (V5/6), Obi Wan Kenobi (V5 or 6), Apple Shampoo (V4), and KBMI30 (V5). Kyle and Mark came close to sending it as well, but as it was getting hot we moved on, trying to find shade.
A handful of people were keen to try the infamous Fender (V6?), so Kyle, Mark, Adam, Calvin, and I headed over to check it out. I had previously wanted to attempt to flash it, but a quick look at the holds suggested that would be a virtually impossible task. Fender is sequential and technical, with small holds and body-position dependent movement. Kyle and Adam made good progress, linking the beginning through to the crux dyno. I eventually managed to link smoothly through to the dyno as well, but since I am virtually the world's worst dynoer (is that a word?), I gave up on the problem. Mark had mashed one of his fingers moving a rock; sadly, he didn't even have a chance to attempt the problem. Fender seems quite hard for the grade, although it did seem easier and easier as I figured out how it went.
I did, fortunately, have something to do on the Fender boulder. Beginning on the start holds of Fender, I cleaned up (and climbed) a new problem that trended up and right along a featured ramp, establishing Bloody Mary (V1 or 2). It is a very funky line, technical and balancy, without being too powerful. Kyle had also spied a new line on another boulder just a few paces away, so while they were engaged with Fender I put up another new short problem. The Need (V1) starts sitting, compressing a distinct V-shaped feature, and climbs up and left on absolutely perfect (!) rock. I started with a right knee-bar, hence the name (The Need = the kneed).
We had planned to leave Frank at 3:00, but after our attempts on Fender we still had 45 minutes or so before we had to go. We decided to try Postive Water (V8), a short, hard lip traverse problem just west of the Albatross Boulder. Although we didn't have much time on it, I managed to climb all but the last few moves. Next time, for sure! Adam also made great progress as well, I'm sure he'll make quick work of the problem.
Now that we're well into the spring season of Frank, it's time to get to work on some more serious projects. I've pretty much thrown 'the pocket project' right off the project list (too hard / improbable), but I've added 'The Shield Project' (amazing, will be one of the hardest problems at The Slide) and the 'Trent's Cave Project' (looks awesome, I hope it is!) to the list. I'd better get busy, and put some time into getting some of these things done!
Until next time!
[all photos were taken by the generous Adam Dipinto!]