Friday, May 2, 2014

Afternoon Bouldering!

Early this week I was faced with a dilemma.  The weather forecast for mid-week was absolutely beautiful - sunny and 24C - but the forecast suggested that the weather would turn to cold / rain / sleet by the week's end.  I wanted to get some bouldering in before the weather turned sour, but I couldn't jet off to Frank Slide in the morning since I was looking after Rowan until noon.  I solved this dilemma by deciding that a late afternoon bouldering session would work just fine, since it stays light until 9:00 or so. 

So by mid-afternoon I was off to Frank Slide, in beautiful summer-like weather, for six hours (or so) of bouldering!

Adrian had asked if he could borrow a mat, so upon arriving at the Slide I tracked him down and found him at the Healing Boulder.  I hauled four mats into the Healing Sector, and left him and the group he was climbing with with an extra mat.  I warmed up with them, and was happy to flash Jahealy (V3), Crack Attack (V0), Origins (V1/2, very fun!), and repeated Easy Healing (V0).  I actually did Origins a handful of times with everyone that was there, it is a brilliant compression problem on fairly big holds. 

Everyone else was keen to head on to the Snakebite Boulder, but I had a different destination in mind. As they trooped off to the west, I packed up and headed over to my objective for the day, the Serial Killer boulder.  I wanted to get back on Energitus (V8), which I had briefly worked at the end of the day I sent The Ice CaveEnergitus is a long rising traverse on increasingly sloping holds, ending with a tricky - but not particularly hard - move turning an arete at the end and climbing a few moves up a slab. Arriving, I tried a few of the moves to warm up a bit, then tried to send it, but fell at the far left arete... again.   I rested, then tried again, falling at the same place.  I switched up my beta, opting for a high toe-scum through the crux.  I fell again, but felt that I had figured out the crux.  I rested, tried a few individual moves again, then chalked up and sent the whole line.  I almost teetered off at the end because I was pumped, but managed to stand up on the slab and grab the lip.  Success!

The crux sloper of Energitus (V8).  Not so bad once you get the hang of it... but it takes a while.

I rested for a bit, then turned my attention to another one of the hard projects in the sector.  Last year, I had looked briefly at a potential line that would start on Killing Time (V1, on the small boulder that leans against the Serial Killer boulder), and was intrigued.  It looked like a strange and technical problem, just the type of riddle I really enjoy.  Two easy moves on big holds lead to a line of smaller holds along the bottom of a curving blade of rock, vaguely reminiscent of The Cutting Edge in Squamish.  It didn't look that hard, so I laid down the mats and chalked up.

I was soon stymied by the strange moves.  I wanted to match on a gaston, the first of the hard moves, but couldn't.  I tried to cross to the hold, but couldn't.  The footwork seemed obvious at first glance, but as I worked the line it became apparent that some advanced trickery was called for.  I tried and abandoned several sequences before I settled on one that seemed to work reasonably well.  Instead of matching on the gaston I used another smaller crimp to do the next move, a long reach to a blocky sloper, and a kneebar/kneescum allowed me to do the final reachy move to a good hold.  Even with a good sequence, I still had to try hard to send it.

Crux holds of Sherlock (V6/7/8), a tiny edge and a sloping gaston.  Solo climbing trips = not particularly exciting photos.

How hard is it?  Who knows!  It looks like a V4, but certainly didn't climb like one.  Perhaps I missed something obvious, but I couldn't see any alternative sequences that appeared easier than the one I used.  I ended up calling it Sherlock (V6?7?8?) because of all the problem-solving I felt I had to do to send the line.  Regardless of its difficulty, it is an interesting 10-move problem that showed me that I still have a lot to learn about bouldering!

Before I packed up the mats, I did a lap on Killer B's (V4ish).  Such a fun and technical problem, not particularly physical, but very sequential and interesting.  Do it if  you get the chance!
I hauled my mats back to the car (stopping to talk to Adrian and Ashley again, who were shuttling mats back to their vehicle as well).  It was only about 7:00, and I wanted to take a look at some prospective projects in the House Sector.  Specifically, I wanted to clean up the so-called 'Junk Arete' project, one of the potential lines that I have included in the 'Missing Problems' list.  This steep face has some friable rock on it, and a few sections of the face appear fractured.  However, the loose rock largely cleaned up well, and what remained is a very difficult-looking problem almost entirely dominated by full-pad, but very sloping edges. Time to train on sloping edges!

Adrian!  Out for a day of bouldering!

 I spent the last half-hour of daylight walking around looking at boulders, and working on the trail that leads from the road to the House boulder.  I'm hoping that some careful trailwork will make the trail through that area a lot less awkward and potentially dangerous.

By now it was virtually dark, and I was tired.  A very rewarding half-day of climbing; some fun times with some fun climbers, two V8s, some trail-building, and a new project on the horizon. 

Until next time!

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