Monday, August 26, 2013

Little Hulkamaniac, the Prince of Frank!

Even though my elbow is still feeling sore and weak, last weekend was simply too nice to pass up a trip to Frank.  Plus, a handful of boulderers from Lethbridge were heading out, so it seemed like a good opportunity to do some bouldering with fun people.  We decided to visit the Little Hulkamaniac area, which was fine by me; I had only been there one day previously, and I was keen to see what else the area had to offer.

Arriving at the Slide, we (Kyle, Mark D, Ryan, Amanda, Calvin, Justin, and I) headed across the tracks and up the ramp to Little Hulkamaniac and the surrounding boulders.  We decided to warm up at the cluster of boulders where Deep Blue Sea (V2) is located.  We ended up climbing several new moderate problems on the boulder next to it as well, including a handful of V0s and V1s, and a new V3 (Mark D.'s Some Like it Hoth).  Amanda also did the high V0 arete of Coraline, a great venture into the world of high bouldering!

Soon thereafter we packed up and moved on to Little Hulkamaniac.  This tall pyramidal boulder dominates the skyline at the area, and Little Hulkamaniac (V2) is one of the tallest problems at the Slide.  Certainly, it is the tallest non-slab problem; at about 22 or 23 feet high, it starts as a steep slab but then slowly becomes vertical, then overhanging right at the end.  We arranged the mats, and then everyone chalked up to try it. It soon became apparent that the problem had not only an opening crux (the second and third moves are tricky), but an final end crux as well (the last two moves on the face are committing).  After everyone had had a chance to try the moves, Kyle booted up and climbed the line.  Watching him, it became apparent to me how serious Little Hulkamaniac is; the last two hard moves involve a long reach to a thin edge, then another long reach to the finishing ledge.  Blowing either of those two moves would result in a huge plummet to the mats below.

On my first couple of attempts, I climbed up to the second crux, but then reversed a couple of moves and jumped off.  After watching Kyle do the problem, I realised that I needed to man up and commit to a high step and those two reachy moves.  I hopped on, and before I knew it I was at the finishing ledge, feeling a bit pumped.  I grabbed the lip, and topped out. Such an amazing line, perfect edges and minijugs up an arching face.  I have a lot of respect for the guys who worked and sent the line years ago!  One of the best problems at Frank, for sure!

Kyle and I then worked a line to the left of Little Hulkamaniac, that reminded me a lot of Connect Four (V8) in Squamish.  However, we were stymied by the powerful and technical moves, and moved on.   I did a couple of new moderate mini-cave problems close to Little Hulkamaniac, Tooth (V2) and Claw (V2), both fun lines on really amazing rock.  Mark D. did a couple of hard lines not far away, including Rise of the Phoenix (V5) and Stairway to Evan (V7).  Wrapping things up, we did a handful of moderate lines on a long block near Little Hulkamaniac, including the fun Rail Gun (V2).

I had a fun time, but was a little bummed that my elbow was causing me problems.  I still can't lock off with my right arm, and it feels weak.  Still, it is slowly improving, so I can't complain!  I'm hoping I can get back to regular climbing again soon; I'm looking forward to a long fall of bouldering at Frank.

What's next?  Get my elbow healed, get in shape, and get back to my projects!  Lots to do!

 On a closing note, I would like to extend a heartfelt farewell to Adam and Amanda ('Adamanda'), who are moving to Vancouver soon.  Enjoy the ocean, sushi, and Squamish!

[Sorry, no photos this time, I forgot my camera...] 

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