Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Marching to Olympus! (guest blogger, Adam Dipinto)

With my elbow injury continuing to force me to the sidelines, I am excited that this week's edition of The Climbing Life will feature the writing and photography of Adam Dipinto.  Adam is Frank Slide's pre-eminent photographer, and many of the photos on this blog are the result of Adam's efforts.  Last weekend, Adam, Mark D., and Kyle made a trip up the mountain at Frank Slide, and here's what they found!  (Note: if anyone wants to send in mini-articles and/or photos that describe and depict bouldering in the Rockies, don't hesitate to contact me!)

With the weather calling for overcast skies and cool temperatures, a small group (Mark D, Kyle and myself) decided to be on the more adventurous side and scramble up the Slide to find some boulders and establish new lines. The approach began on the other side of the river through the forested area. The scramble through the forest was much more aesthetically appealing than the wasteland Frank seems to be at times. Moss covered the rocks and large dead trees towered over making it difficult to see the weather above us. Mark D. lead the small group, as he, Trent and Kyle had been up to this area before in the winter when it was covered in snow. Making it through the forest area after a 20-30 minute hike we approached an opening to the Slide’s face. From here you could see all of Frank. Albatross, Healing, and the House boulders all stood out among the sea of boulders that populated the area. With a bit more scrambling we made it to the first plateau of the Slide named The Olympus Ridge. 

Olympus Ridge is a huge area. My guess is that it may need to be divided into sub-sections due to the vast boulders in the area. One section being the left side near and within the forested area and the right side along the slide hovering over the river.

Excited with the vast number of boulders we decided to start at the far back of Olympus Ridge and to the left in the forested area. Within this area we found a number of boulders that were all well shaded and had decent landings. Two boulders that we cleaned up and established some problems on were The Stranger and Flies boulders. The Stranger boulder has six problems on it ranging from V0 to V4/5. There is potential for more lines on the backside.

Kyle sending Stranger in a Strange Land (V4/5).

Orientation (V0) - Starting along the left arete, Orientation has nice edges and positive feet allowing for a direct top out. Orientation is positioned at the best place to down climb the boulder after topping out.
Further Instructions (V1) - To the right of Orientation, Further Instructions uses the right arete and positive edges for a solid climb. A similar feel to Orientation, Further Instructions offers more feet adjustments and a higher right foot due to lower feet at the start being absent.

Catch-22 (V1) - Using the arete and a crimp on the slab as a start, Catch-22 goes directly up with a more powerful move to really positive holds.
Jughead (V1) - Just left of Catch-22, Jughead uses the edges along the bulging out section from the slab as a start. Much like Catch-22 it goes directly up to positive holds then to the lip.
The Cost of Living (V4) - Positioned under the left section of the bulge on the slab, The Cost of Living goes out right to the center and uses the arete of the bulge to a nice jug and a direct finish. 
Stranger in a Strange Land (V4/5) - On the farthest corner of the boulder using most of the bulge. Starting under the bulge using the edges where the bulge meets the slab, Stranger in a Strange Land goes up and over the bulge using left hand crimps, right hand wrist wraps and the arete. With a high right foot to position yourself up and onto the bulge, Stranger in a Strange Land offers a mix of out-stretched and very scrunched moves.

The King of Frank squeezing holds on the Stranger Boulder. 

After finishing up the problems on The Stranger Boulder we directed our attention to the Flies Boulder about 20 feet away. Mark D. began cleaning a line along the left arete starting low on a bulging out sloper. After giving it a few attempts, the problem seemed harder than he anticipated. Kyle and I soon jumped on the problem and together began piecing together the starting beta. The three of us started linking moves and became more confident on the problem, but it was Kyle that took the first ascent of Lord of the Flies.

Lord of the Flies (V7/8) - Starting underneath a left hand sloper crimp, using a positive right hand in-cut and a technical stiff heel. LotF goes out right to a positive edge then along the left arete to an odd hold with a nice thumb catch. After some foot adjustments the next right hand is to a smaller half pad crimp in-cut and then a large toss to either the peak of the boulder or to the farther right lip. Top out requires body position out right and around the peak.

Kyle brushing holds on the Olympus Area's hardest, Lord of the Flies (V7/8).

After a few honest attempts and not being able to stick the lip properly I decided to call it. There was a lot more exploring left to do and I wanted to save my strength for some of the other problems we might find. We headed out of the shaded forest and venture to more to the central area of Olympus Ridge. Kyle decided to hike up to the second plateau above while Mark D. and I split up and searched for new boulders. After not really finding anything too exciting and sendergy (send and energy combined) running low, Kyle returned to inform us that the second plateau (that I’m deeming Above the Gods) was basically a wasteland with six highballs.

With that news we decided to head down the Slide due to it being late and what looked like a storm approaching.

(Thanks Adam! Until next time... Cheers!)

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