Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day of the Frank!

Slowly, my elbow has begun to improve.  It still hurts to extend my arm or to pinch anything (like a cup), but gradually the pain is lessening and is being replaced by a uncomfortable tightness.  I went bouldering to Frank the last two weekends (first with Shelley, Aya, and Rowan, then the second weekend with Kyle), and to my surprise my elbow felt better after a day of climbing!  I think it really needs to be stretched as it heals, so the tendon doesn’t end up scarred and overly tight.  I have been stretching and massaging it every day, so I imagine that has helped as well.

My trip to Frank with Shelley, Aya, and Rowan was half bouldering trip, half family picnic outing.  Shelley, Aya, and Rowan bouldered a bit, but mostly clambered over the rocks and played in a pond / sidechannel of the Crowsnest River.  I was unsure if I would be able to climb, but to my surprise my elbow held up reasonably well, although it was somewhat uncomfortable.  I cleaned and put up a handful of problems south of Albatross, including the especially fun Jumbo Shrimp (V1) and Nectarine (V2).  I also did Limestone Catastrophe (V2/3), which is a very interesting problem on a unique nose-like feature.  A fun day in the mountains with my family, capped off by a hot dog roast by the river.  My elbow felt really good that evening, more comfortable than it had for a while.

Not a great picture of a great problem; Chicken Little Arete (V3).

Frank summer; potential across the river.

Encouraged, I made another trip to Frank the following weekend, with Kyle.  It’s always fun to climb with Kyle; he has a focused approach to bouldering that I always find refreshing.  We spent the day climbing problems along the river, including several new lines. As we headed in to the boulders, we saw a large garter snake, which watched us calmly as we walked by.  Kyle had never seen a snake in the boulders before, so I gathered it was an unusual sighting.  We warmed up on Limestone Catastrophe and a new tallish arête to the right (which I called Attack of the Pikas (V0), on account of all the pikas we saw near the boulder). 

We then did a new problem (The Bowing Bishop V4ish) to the left of Attack of the Pikas, and then set to work on repeating Don’t Blow It; it had been V4 until I broke a crucial hold off.  Kyle and I found that it could still be climbed, although it was certainly harder (hard V5?), and the sequence somewhat different.  We tried a few more lines on that face, then turned our attention to the backside of the boulder.  I had cleaned up a problem on that face the previous week, and I wanted to try it.  I fumbled my first few attempts, then watched as Kyle nearly flashed the problem with completely different beta!   Both Kyle and I sent it soon thereafter, calling it Day of the Snake (V4ish).  I added a much easier direct finish to the problem as well, calling it The Smarter Garter (V0).

Kyle checking out the first crux hold (the second move) of Day of the Snake (V4ish) (first photo), then grabbing it with authority (second photo).  The heel-toe cam is an important technique on many Frank Slide problems, as Kyle demonstrates here.
Continuing our circuit along the river, we did a handful of new problems, including three problems on the Hubris Boulder (including a really nice V1 slab), and three new problems on a new problem boulder right beside the road.  We finished off the day with a send of a new bulge problem by Worm Face (I called it X Factor (V2ish), great holds on perfect rock), and three easy slabs on the Worm Face (such amazing features, it’s too bad the problems there are so easy).  We wrapped things up with a trip to Tim Horton’s for doughnuts.  Thanks to Kyle for a great day of bouldering! 

Again, my elbow felt better after a day of climbing than it had the previous day.  Encouraging, certainly.

With a little luck, my elbow will be healed enough that my fall season isn’t a write-off.  Lots of projects that need to get done this year, including The Communist Project (should be a fun fall project), the Mark of the Beast Project (I just need to man up and climb that thing), the Submarine Project (still wet last time I checked), The Prism Project (I think I need to train my open-hand strength a bit)...   I’ve also added another couple of projects to the list, a V7ish face problem on sloping but full-pad edges, and a V9ish-looking arête.  Whew! 

Until next time! Cheers!

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