Thursday, May 23, 2013

Frank, Frank, and a little more Frank.

Sometimes a simple day of climbing in the Rockies turns out even better than expected.  An excellent case in point was last weekend.  The forecast predicted a day of showers, but several Lethbian climbers decided to risk it and head out to Frank Slide.  Fortunately, it was a great decision; the forecast rain never materialised, and instead we enjoyed a beautiful spring day with cool (15C) temperatures, perfect climbing weather.  Several of Lethbridge's growing bouldering community were at the Slide that day, including Mark G. and Beth, Kyle, Adam and Amanda ('Adamanda'), Mark D., Kyle, Ryan, and myself. 

Arriving at Frank, we decided to go the Ninja Turtles boulder first.  This was perfectly fine with me, as I had never been to that particular boulder.  I was keen to try as many problems in the House Area as possible, because I am starting to prepare the new mini-guide for that area and I hadn't tried most of the problems.  The front of the Ninja Turtles Boulder has several moderate slabs all named after those particular cartoon heroes (e.g. Raphael, Donatello, etc.), while the back of the boulder has two vertical problems named after the respective villians (Rocksteady (V4) and Be Bop (V3)).  I did them all pretty quickly, and everyone had a great time warming up on the boulder.

We moved on to the Aftermath Boulder, which is close by and has a great range of problems (from V0- to V6, with a couple of harder projects).  Everyone had a great session; Ryan, Mark, and Adam all came close on Aftermath (V5), Kyle repeated Vagina Dentata (V6, although he used different beta which may make the problem easier), and Beth did Four Inch Pinch (V2/3) quickly.  Mark, Kyle, and I spent some time trying to link the moves on the project just to the right of Aftermath (let's call it The Prism Project, because of the flat slopers that characterise the two cruxes of the problem), but while we made some great progress, a send still eluded us.

Adam looking stylish on the perfect edges of Aftermath (V5).

Earlier, I had spied a line up the tall face to the left of Aftermath, and although it looked difficult, I was excited to try it.  I cleaned up the face a bit, and we set to work.  A series of blocky sidepulls and underclings lead to a series of thinner, right-facing sidepulls higher on the slightly overhanging face. Everyone seeemed really psyched to try such a high-quality, hard, new line.  Kyle was able to link from the sit-start (on a large blunt sidepull) through to the flat sidpulls higher on the face reasonably quickly, and then Kyle and I traded highpoints until it became apparent that we were starting to head up into highball territory.  Since we were the only people still working the project, we decided to move on to the nearby Frictionary Boulder, another boulder I had seen from a distance but never climbed on.

Me on the Prism Project. This problem is one of those relatively rare lines where a great deal of subtlety is required on virtually every move.  Hopefully I'll actually climb it soon, it's such an amazing line...

My hands were feeling pretty sore by this time, so I initially watched as everyone else climbed some of the problems on the boulder.  Amanda sent her first V1 (congrats Amanda!), Adam did the thuggy undercling problem Underking (V5), and the fun Frictionary (V2) was sent by a handful of people.  I finally put my shoes back on to do Frictionary and Underking, as well as another new problem to the right of Underking I called Jigsaw (V3).  Unfortunately, the start is so cramped on Jigsaw that it really detracts from the line.

Kyle on the Communist Project, a brilliant new high line at the Slide.  We're not entirely sure how to finish this thing, I'm starting to think that it may actually have a couple of different finishes...

All things considered, another satisfying day in Frank.  I didn't manage to do anything particularly hard, but I did make great progress on two of the hardest problems (both projects) that I have yet tried at Frank.  Maybe next weekend I'll finally get some things sent!

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