Friday, September 6, 2013

Jolly Green Frank!

Last weekend was the last-official-weekend-of-the-summer-holidays.  As it was a long weekend, Shelley had an extra day off work, so she suggested that we turn my usual day of bouldering into a short camping trip to Frank. While I'm not crazy about sleeping on the ground, the idea of bouldering combined with a fire at night and a great campsite by the river sounded really appealing. So on Saturday morning we packed our van and headed off to the Crowsnest Pass.

Since my elbow is still bothering me, I planned to spend a sizable proportion of my time doing slab problems.  I have long had my eye on an enormous slab in the City of Giants; it faces The Giant itself, and is visible from the highway.  It is a great angle for a moderate slab problem, and features a thin seam running straight up the middle of the face (which, coincidentally is the highest part of the boulder). 

I packed a short rope, harness, and bouldering mat out to the slab when I arrived in Frank, and hiked out to the City of Giants.  I wanted to clean the boulder on rappel to ensure that loose holds wouldn't break and make me take a huge sliding fall off the slab.  I tried the crux moves hanging on the rope (to see what they felt like),  and started to have second thoughts.  I have climbed a handful of fairly high slab problems (including Desire and Wendy's, both in Squamish), but this slab seemed higher.  Kyle, also in Frank that day, came over to check out the slab, and didn't seem too bothered by the height of the slab.  So I put on my shoes, chalked up, and send the problem.

Me on Jolly Green Giant (V0+).  Tall!  Scary!  I'm just starting the crux section, which reaches pretty much to the top of the boulder.

Fortunately, the problem turned out to be somewhat easier than I had anticipated. The crux of the problem is the last 6 meters, and involves smearing on decent but sloping footholds.  My feet stayed where I wanted them to, and I didn't encounter any really difficulties.  I handed Kyle my camera, and asked him to take a few pictures, and climbed it again.  Strangely, I found it a lot scarier the second time up the slab!

Later in the day I looked at the photos, and was surprised at how TALL the boulder is.  Standing directly underneath the face, the height of the boulder seemed reasonable.  The photo, however, shows that the problem, which I called Jolly Green Giant (V0+), is a lot taller than any other slab problem I've ever done.  A lot!

A slightly tricky high step... almost at the top now....

After that, the rest of the day was mellow.  Kyle found a great cave problem nearby, which became Man With Two Heads (V4 ov V5), and we did a short roof problem with a bad landing called Swinglish (V3).  We checked out a few more projects in the slide, and called it a day.  Lots of potential in The City!

Shelley, Aya, Rowan, and I had a great time camping.  We had a fire, roasted hot dogs, and ate potato chips.  A fun time with my family!

The second day we all went to the Trees Boulder in the Healing Area.  It had a great setting, and great landings.  I did a handful of tall slabs, including the amazing High Noon (V1), which reminds me a lot of The Witch (V1) in Squamish.  I cleaned and send another cool face problem on the boulder (with a last-move crux!), which I called Knock on Wood (V1).  I named it that because if you fall from the last moves you land in a big cottonwood tree.  Not an ideal landing.

The Element Boulder.  I did a couple of tallish slabs on the backside of the boulder.

By this time it was getting hot in the Slide, so we decided it was time for cold drinks, and headed back to the van.  A great trip to the Slide; fun climbing, good times with my family, and lots of great weather.

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