Monday, June 16, 2014


Happy Father's Day to all fathers, everywhere! 

I don't really engage in any typical 'Dad' activities (golfing? fishing?).  I had spent a fun Saturday with my family, but with Sunday looking dry and cool, I thought a day of bouldering in Frank Slide would be engaging way to meet my 'Dad' activity quota.   I knew Ashley and Adrian would be bouldering as well, so hopefully I would get the chance to meet up with them for a some pebble-wrestling.

Arriving at the Slide, I headed over to the river.  I stopped briefly to clear out the slash and branches from the spring close to the Submarine Boulder (a great place to get water), then headed over to the Tombstone Boulder, home to two of Frank's best arete problems, Tombstone Right (V5ish) and Tombstone Left (V3).  I wanted to try a new line which would start on the start holds of Tombstone Right, climb up and left across a steep face along a series of good but steeply angled edges, and finish on the topout of Tombstone Left.  The landing for the Tombstone Boulder is especially bad, so I spent a half-hour or so shuffling rocks around to flatten out the base.  There are two large blocks just out from the base of the boulder (with a half-meter gap between the boulder and the two blocks), but at least now the boulders don't jut out dangerously, and the problems there are a lot safer. 

Warming up, I did a couple of new easy slabs on the right side of the boulder, after flattening the landing out somewhat.  A tall, easy, and nicely featured slab up the left side of the slabby face I called Boneyard (V0), and a shorter even easier slab to the right of that I called Boot Hill (V0; you can climb it in your boots!).  I then became psyched to try a line that would start on the start holds of Tombstone Right but traverse rightward around the arete finishing up the slab just right of the arete.  After a handful of tries I managed to link four tricky and powerful traverse moves into the high slab to the right.  Sticking with the theme of the boulder, I called it Gravedigger (V4ish).

I then set my sights on the hard problem I had come to the Tombstone Boulder to do.  The line looked obvious enough, but after a half-dozen tries I realized it wasn't.  I could see how most of the moves would go - a low gaston combined with a higher right-hand sidepull would allow for a long iron-cross move to the far left arete - but I couldn't see how to get into that position from the start holds (a huge left-hand sidepull and a right hand on a large sloping rail).  I tried - and abandoned - several sequences that failed to work.  I finally used three short moves combined with heel hooks to get me into the right position. Once I had that I managed to fire the problem off straightaway.

A not-so-exciting photo of the Tombstone Boulder.  Hard to take selfies while climbing... Amazing problems on this block!

I decided to call it Graveyard Shift (V6?), partially because of the 'tombstone' theme of the boulder, and also because I was working the problem by myself with no one around.  A great new line, with perfect edges and fantastic movement.  A tricky problem to grade; it took me some time to understand the movement, but when I did it didn't feel terribly difficult (I repeated it again immediately so I could take a video using my camera stuffed into my shoe). I finished up by repeating Rest in Pieces (V1) on the left side of the boulder; I broke off a key handhold but it didn't make it much harder.

Here's the video of me repeating Graveyard Shift.  Sorry for the weird cropping (you can't see the bottom-most four feet of the boulder, or the top-most four feet; that's what you get when you use a shoe for a tripod).  Luckily, all you really miss is the fancy footwork at the beginning, and the mantle which you can't see anyways as I am around the corner.  Enjoy!

After that, I packed up and headed to the City of Giants.  I stopped briefly in the Spiderweb Area to check out a few boulders, and I saw two absolutely incredible slab problems, side-by-side on the same boulder.  Continuing along the highway, I spotted Adrian and Ashley in the boulders below the City of Giants, so I pulled over and unpacked my mats.  I worked briefly on a trail up the embankment above the highway (now, if you follow the angling ledge, there is a trail from its highest point up to the plateau above), then headed up into the City.  I joined Ashley and Adrian and we headed over to the Need Boulder, where they wanted to try Bananarama (V4).  I showed them where it was, and did it a few times while I was there.  On my second time, I broke off the small-but-crucial foothold next to the arete!  I did it again, it's a bit harder, and a teeny bit more powerful, but basically the same.  Adrian did Bananarama (the new slightly harder version) in a solid effort.

Ashley making progress on the popular Bananarama (V4).  Great problem, with a not-so-great landing.

I had previously spotted a problem nearby that looked like it would be a lot of fun.  A bulging wall on rippling slopers would lead to a tall steep slab on really good rock.  I thought it would start on a good underclinging jug at chest height, but when I was cleaning it I realised the jug was cracked, and with a little prodding it fell off, revealing a smaller but still positive sidepull.  Since it didn't look like a good start hold anymore, I wondered if a sit start would go, so I took a look at the lower, much steeper start.  I was excited to see that a sit start would be more fun, and a lot more natural!  I set to work trying to link the moves together.

Looking down at the slopers of the new project.  Problem is nice and high (16 feet?), with all the business in the first 10 feet.  Very cool, and very slopey for Frank Slide!

After a half-hour, I realised two things.  First, the problem was very cool, with about ten sustained moves on slopers to reach a good rail and midheight.  Second, it was very hard!.  Even though it will be a challenge to link all the moves together, it will be worth it; Frank Slide simply doesn't have many sustained, technical problems in the upper grades.  Definitely an exciting summer project!

By this time, my tips were feeling a bit... smooth.  Adrian, Ashley, and I headed up to the Fathers Day Boulder.  We did a new V3ish lip traverse/arete problem, and I managed to do a tricky short blunt arete problem (V5ish).  We then turned our attention to Fathers Day (V4), a problem I had opened exactly a year ago, on Fathers Day 2013. Adrian and I both managed to do it (it certainly is one of Frank Slides hardest V4s!), and Ashley added another problem that starts as for Fathers Day but heads up and left onto a steep slab.  However, by this time the showers had started, and it was getting late, so we packed up and headed out.  Another fun day in the Slide!

I won't be in the Slide for a couple of weeks; I'm heading north, hopefully to do some climbing in northern BC (Bear Mountain / Hasler).

Until next time!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Posse at Frank!

Last week, an unusually strong group of folks travelled to Frank Slide for a day of early summer bouldering; Kyle, Mark G, Mark D, Mike D, Jaydon, and I from Lethbridge, and Morgan D from Fernie.  I was psyched to get the chance to climb with Morgan, he is one of the most active boulderers at Frank Slide though he lives on the west side of the Rockies Divide.  We met out at the slide at 10:00, and it looked like a perfect day for climbing - sunny, but not too warm!

We decided to head up to the City of Giants / Karst Valley sectors.  This was certainly fine with me.  I'm working a lot of things all over the Slide, but the City of Giants has a lot of potential for new problems compared to some of the other areas.  It is one of the least accessible areas of the Slide (you have to boulder-hop for a few hundred meters to get to it), but the rock is generally really good; solid with very climbable features.  I was also keen to get in there with a big group because lots of people meant lots of mats, and that meant a chance to try the highball prow on the Karst Boulder, one of the true king lines of the Slide.  So, after a brief march through the loose blocks north of the highway, we arrived at the City of Giants.

The only slight downside - at least currently - is that because the City of Giants is relatively undeveloped, there isn't a huge selection of warmup problems.  When we arrived, we looked around a bit then started to clean and climb some moderate lines.  I cleaned / swept / prepped / fixed the landings of three good-looking short lines (shuffling rocks is a surprisingly good warmup); a rising lip traverse, a bulge starting on a perfect rail, and a little cave/arete problem.  Meanwhile, Kyle, Morgan, Mark G and Mark D had been cleaning/climbing problems on a long somewhat loose boulder just south of the Shield Boulder and a small boulder with a buried cave beside it.

Once the proverbial cleaning dust had settled, various people had climbed the various problems.  The three problems I cleaned were quite fun, I called the arete Triage (V3ish) because Morgan cut his hand badly on another problem while warming up; for awhile it seemed like it might need a stitch, but he just glued the flap down (Mark D carries Krazy Glue with him), and then taped it up!  The little bulge problem (Boneyize (V3ish)) was really entertaining; tricky start moves made it difficult to flash, with only about half the group sending it first try.  The little cave problem (MicroCave (V2)) was fun but short.  Mark D, Morgan, Kyle and I all did the short buried cave problem, with Mark naming it Animal Instinct.  Most people used a heel hook in the roof for the first two moves (it seemed hard that way, Mark felt it was V6ish), but I managed to squeak through with a flash of the problem by using a compression toe hook, definitely easier for me than the heel hook beta.

Mark G and I repeated the very fun Helping Hands (stiff V1), then we moved over to the Split Boulder, home to some of Frank Slide's hardest projects.  We didn't get around to working any of the really hard projects, but we did try the 'impossible problem'.  A little backstory... Last winter, Calvin and I had tried a problem that looked like a fun warmup; a flat juggy ledge led to a tall leaning arete. Strangely, we couldn't do this 'warmup', even after a half-hour of effort.  As such, I was keen to see what everyone made of it.  After putting the mats down, Kyle managed to do the problem in about a half-dozen tries in a very solid effort!  What resulted is one of Frank Slides coolest compression problems.  From the start holds, a reach right to the sharp arete allows one to get their foot up on the ledge (I had figured that part out previously), but then a interesting rock-over move allowed Kyle to reach waayyyy out left to a tiny sloping sidepull on the face (I hadn't seen that! Too small!); this allows more complete compression of the arete, and either a short jump or a tricky static move to a perfect angled lip.  Classic!  No name yet, though.

I briefly worked a new lip/arete with Mike and Jaydon (Jaydon's Arete (V2/3)), and we did a fun new problem I had assumed would be a dyno, but turned out to be a fun and subtle problem using a very cool tiny sloping pinch.  From here, we headed over to the Need Boulder, where my nemesis awaited...

I had already spent two solid sessions on Feed The Need, the infamous kneebar problem in Karst Valley.  The problem is 11 (or so) moves long, but only the first move is particularly hard.  Originally, the problem was started by matching on a good sloper and using a tricky heel-toe lock in a notch on the arete to do a big reach to a good crimp (Kyle and Evan).  I had tried the problem MANY times with that beta, but I couldn't never make the foot stick in the notch, and I would simply slide off the start holds... so frustrating!  When I did manage to make the foot stick somewhat, I couldn't quite reach the crimp... argh!  Later, Mark D repeated the problem by changing the start-hold beta somewhat, and putting his heel on the sloper and starting instead with his hand on the notch in the arete. 

Me FINALLY sending Feed the Need (V6+++).  I'm long past the first crux move here, you can see the crimp (that is the end of the first-move crux) below the notch in the lip to the left of my left foot.  Knee bar move = amazing! (Mark Derksen photo)

But when I arrived at the Need Boulder on Saturday, I was excited to try Feed The Need, again.  I had trained all winter in Kyle's garage, which is a great place to get strong.  We arranged the mats, and everyone who hadn`t done the problem queued up to try it.  Morgan did it on his second try (very solid!), and Mike D did it fairly quickly as well (despite a few issues with the kneebar).  Mark G did it after several tries, getting locked really well into the kneebar (hands-free climbing!).  That left me, falling again and again!  Finally, after changing my beta to the "heel-hook on the starting hold" beta, I managed to JUST reach the crimp, and then I easily lapped out the rest of the problem.  Why did it take me so long?  I don't know!  It just seems really hard to me!  Inflexible hips?  Weak fingers?

After that, we packed up and moved to the Karst Boulder, to try the Prow project.  The landing at the Karst Boulder is especially bad, even for Frank Slide - just a pile of fridge-sized blocks.  There are two obvious pure lines remaining on the Karst Boulder, the tall prow to the left, and another almost-as-tall face line in the middle of the face.  Jaydon and I started moving a few rocks to fill in the landing for the second problem, while several others started throwing rocks into a pit to fill in the landing for the prow.  Unfortunately, my earlier bout of rock-shuffling had tweaked/injured my back a bit, and I was starting feel a fair bit of back pain, so reluctantly I stopped heaving rocks.  To say warm, I did a few new easy slab problems on the Fathers Day boulder (the very cool Pinch Slab (V0) and the also good Press Slab (V0) which featured a fun mid-slab mantle) while the others continued to drop boulders into the hole beneath the prow.  Fun way to get a workout, I suppose, as long as your back can handle it!

The very cool Pinch Slab (V0) on the left (the rock between the two seams juts out, forming a four-foot long pinch!), and Push Slab (V0) on the right, above the mat (you get to mantle midslab, very funky).

Finally, the patio-building was finished and mats were arranged beneath the Karst Prow project.  The first two moves are tricky; a long reach to a funky sculpted edge leads to another long reach to a strange split-finger pinch on a hold that looks like a biscuit.  Most people were having problems with the second move, but Morgan was making the first two moves look really solid.  After watching for a bit and worrying about my sore back I decided to pull my shoes on and join the fun.  Soon Morgan and I were both sticking the second move solidly, but it took a bit of searching to uncover the next move - a long reach up and right to a very cool karstic pinch.  Soon I was linking the first four moves, but started to get a bit intimidated by the height when I considered the next move, a long and slightly dynamic reach to an incut sidepull.  By this time it was getting late, and everyone was hungry/thirsty from a day in the Slide.  We packed it in, headed back to the car, and then made a welcome visit to A&W for burgers.  I am definitely looking back to getting back on the Karst Prow; it's such an amazing line, so if you're interested in packing a stack of mats into the talus with me, let me know!

Mark D on - and off - the first two moves of the Karst Prow Project.  Such an incredibly cool piece of rock!  Kyle and Morgan D spotting. I included the second photo because it is a textbook how-to-spot picture; hands open, perfect catch in the lats.  Maybe he should have his thumbs closed, though, but its a personal preference (better control, but increased risk of thumb injury in big fall).  Very fun problem, though!

It was nice to get back to the City of Giants.  Every time I go there, I see more and more potential for hard problems on really solid rock.  I'll be back, and soon!

Until next time!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Leavenworth Bouldering (Part 3)!

Saturday morning dawned warm and sunny!  A perfect day for climbing, but sadly it was our last day in Leavenworth.  I was pretty excited, nonetheless; the previous day had been one of the best days of climbing I had had in a decade, and while my tips were really sore (and bruised), I felt strong and relaxed.  We planned to go to the Swiftwater Area in Tumwater Canyon, and to take it easy, climbing a few moderate problems before we headed east.  Enjoying the morning sun, we packed up, cleaned our campsite, and headed into town for breakfast before heading out to the boulders.

Pics from earlier in the week.  Me trying Is (V7).  The beta I ended up using was different than I am using here... Thank goodness.  Turns out a tiny dynamic push with the left foot is all you need to reach the juggy rail high above my right hand.

By the time we arrived at the boulders, it was already quite warm.  We walked in to the boulders, excited to try some lines in Tumwater.  Much of the rock in the Tumwater Canyon is finer than that of Icicle Canyon, and some of the boulders at Swiftwater almost look like sandstone.    We warmed up on some fun steep moderate lines, and watched some guys work the infamous roof crack problem Royal Flush (V2).  It looked like so much fun I taped up to try it; I couldn't quite manage to turn the lip where the jams become a bit loose...  I should learn how to crack climb! We then moved on to the Campus Traverse Cave.  This boulder is huge, and hosts several quality lines, especially Sitting Bull (V7) and The Footless Traverse (V5).  We briefly tried Sitting Bull, but with time running short we decided instead to do quick laps on The Footless Traverse before packing it in.  I managed to squeeze in one more V4 flash on the left side of the cave before we headed back to the van, but our time in Leavenworth was over, and it was time to start the long drive back to Canada!  I had had an amazing time in Levy, and it was fun to climb shirtless in the sun, living the dirtbag life!

The drive back to Lethbridge was long.  And tiring.  We broke up the drive briefly by stopping to check out a potential new granite bouldering area; Kyle and I were both really impressed, as there were seemingly hundreds of perfect (though often fairly blank) granite boulders in a forest, with rock similar to Squamish.  With hours of driving left, though, we had time only for one quick problem before getting back in the van and driving off into the dark, bound for Lethbridge.

Another out-of-sequence photo, me on WAS (V8).  It was HOT earlier in the week when I was trying it, but the rock is so textured I'm not sure it made any difference.  Again, I ended up using a sequence much different than shown here; in the end, my right hand never even touched the arete, it went right from the hueco to the lip!

After we returned to Lethbridge, things slowly slid back into the same groove.  My hands were pretty much thrashed, so I took a self-enforced week off climbing.  There's always a sense of unreality after a long climbing trip; it often seems to me that my climbing life is more real than my day-to-day life, that it is somehow more immediate, more important.  I suspect I am not the only one to feel like that!

Things I Learned About Bouldering in Leavenworth that You Should Know!

1) The rock is textured.  It never wore out our skin, but it bruised our pads.  Conserve your tips!
2) There are ticks in Leavenworth.  I got bit by one in Levy, and found another walking across the rock at Forestlands.  Check yourself periodically, and don't thrash around in the bushes looking for new problems like I do, especially in spring when the ticks are out!
3) When eating out in Leavenworth, you will encounter sausage.  All kinds.  And schnitzel.  Be warned!  Eat like a Bavarian King in the morning, then send all day!  I won't even get started on the taffy...
4) The Forest Service campsites were much nicer than I expected, and generally cheaper than similar sites in Canada.  It's worth $19 a night to be close to the boulders, although if I was going for a longer trip, I'd find a nice spot a little further up the canyon, and maybe try camping for free on Forest Service Land. Camping in most of the Canyon seems forbidden, though.
5) If you are going to Leavenworth, spend some time training on edges and SMALL footholds.  It'll pay off!  Likewise, get used to BIG reaches on hardish problems before you go.  You'll be ready for the reachiness!
6) The grading of problems in Leavenworth is a bit weird.  Easier problems (V0-V3) seem really soft, as do most of the moderate problems (V4-V5).  However, most of the V8-V10s seem hard for the grade (possibly due to breakage of footholds).  The result?  V6-V7 is a weird grade range!  Solution? Check your ego at the door, and take the grades with a grain of salt.  Just enjoy the classic problems!
7) Go to Forestlands.  It is justifably the most popular area!  But don't go on the weekend when it gets busy.
8) Leavenworth could be a REALLY good slab problem area.  If you like slabs, bring a wire brush and a rope/harness, and get scrubbing.  With a little work, Leavenworth will yield dozens of some of the best slab problems I've ever seen.  This seemed especially true in Tumwater.  But document them and let people know where they are, it would be a shame to clean problems and not share them!
9) Levy is dirty.  There is sand and dirt beneath most problems, and when you get hot it sticks to you.  I was filthy after a a half-week, and we were psyched to find $4.00 showers at the RV campground across the highway from the Safeway.
10) It gets hot in Levy.  We had great temperatures, but I suspect that it would be too hot if we were there much later.  April and May would seem to be the perfect months, as with October and November.  More swimming in the summer, though; all the rivers were SUPER high when we were there, which meant no swimming at all.  

- - - - -

The following Saturday Shelley, Aya, Rowan, and I went to Frank Slide to go bouldering (and have a campfire, and hot dogs, and marshmallows, of course!).  We met up with Kyle, and spent the day in the Healing Area.  I did Jahealy Direct (V3) for the first time, and a handful of easy problems in the area as well. Kyle and I went over to to Mark D's new problem Supernintendo, just right of the arete on the backside of the Nintendo 69 Boulder.  We both did it quickly (I allmmmosst did it on my second try), and we felt that it was a fun and worthwhile V5ish-V6ish addition to the area.  It doesn't look that appealing (it has a sharp hold), but it climbed really well.  Kyle and I spent some time working the arete project, and I felt we made really fantastic progress, slowly understanding exactly how the problem would possibly go.  Hard, for sure!  I spent some time grooming the landing for two problems on the next boulder, both starting on a prominent rail.  Kyle did a heelhook-to-a-big-reach problem on the left (about V5, no name yet), and I did a V2ish problem I called Cracked on the right (it has a positive, slightly loose but completely chockstoned hold on it, hence the name). 

What next?  We're fully into the early summer season here, and my list of projects at Frank is only getting longer.  I hope to get several of them done this summer!  Also, I am heading up north to visit my parents in late June, so hopefully I can get out climbing to either Hasler Bluffs or Bear Mountain (hopefully both!).  I'm also hoping to visit a new granite bouldering area west (a long way west!) of Lethbridge, and open some of the classic new problems there.  Lots on my plate this summer! 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Leavenworth Bouldering! (Part 2)

After a day of rest, our fingers had recovered enough to get back to bouldering.  After breakfast, we packed up and headed to the Mad Meadows area (despite getting a bit lost on the approach).  The main cluster of boulders features two 'rooms' formed by closely piled boulders.  We warmed up by climbing the edgy Barnacles (V1) in one 'room', and the extremely fun (and unique) Hueco Route (V1) in the second 'room'.  The Hueco Route follows a series of initally huge but increasingly small huecos up a steep wall, ending in a drop-off from the highest hueco.  Everyone enjoyed the skin-friendly and highly-sculptured holds!  Kyle, Colin, and I then jumped on the steep and juggy Drugstore Cowboy (V3).  I wanted to try a harder problem around the corner, Occam's Razor (V5).  It looked straightforward, but wasn't!  It took Colin and I about 20 minutes to get it figured out and send it, using some unexpectedly funky beta (and some very high footholds!).  Since I've been back, a little internet digging shows that our experience with having to explore different techniques to send was not an atypical one.  It climbs through two steeply angled rail holds, and it is difficult to keep your feet engaged enough to pull smoothly to the next holds.  Very fun!

Colin hiding in one of the huge huecos of The Hueco Route (V1).

After we had finished that, we had to say goodbye to Colin, Caitlin, and Chris; they were heading back to Vancouver, leaving Kyle and I to the boulders of Leavenworth.  It was great having them around, hopefully I will get to climb with them again soon!  Kyle and I worked The Sail (V9) briefly, but were confused by the extreme tension needed for the first move.  More training, I guess!  We then hiked up the hill to try the famous Pimpsqueak (V9).  We made good progress on it (I made it all the way to the second lip) fairly quickly, but we decided that it was a little too spooky for one spotter and the limited number of mats we had.  On the way out, we stopped and did The Amphitheatre (V4), and Kyle tried Amphitheatre Dyno, which the guidebook implies is in the V8++ range.  It is a truly huge dyno (probably at least five feet, from two pockets); Kyle was only a few inches short.  Impressive!

Colin and Kyle beneath the cave of Drugstore Cowboy (V3).

From here we headed down the trail a bit, where we both flashed the very fun The Undercling (V5), and I did the The Hole (V6).  Kyle linked through to the mantle of The Hole really quickly, but since he can't mantle that well...  The Hole is a really cool problem; it starts matched underclinging a HUGE hueco (probably a meter across) in a steep and otherwise blank wall.  A huge move to good lip holds allows for a toehook in the huge hueco, and then two easy crimp moves lead to a tricky mantle.  Very cool, try it when you see it!  With increasingly tender tips, we headed back to camp and another relaxing evening of fire-watching and incredible night stars.

Colin and I on the aptly named Occam's Razor (V5).

The next morning, we headed into town for breakfast at The Renaissance Cafe (listed in the Guidebook as having the best breakfast in town).  I had a huge breakfast (complete with a fat sausage, of course!), then we headed out to the JY Boulders.  We warmed up on a few fun problems, but were disappointed to see that Mad Max (V7), a problem we had come to do, had at least two broken holds, rendering it MUCH harder.  As consolation, I did Yosemite Highball (V3, tall but not THAT tall), and we worked the beautiful Right Angles (V8).  We were close, but couldn't quite reach the key crux hold.  This would prove to be a theme in Leaveworth, actually; many of the hard problems in the area are difficult solely because of  huge reaches and small footholds.  I even coined a saying; "Leavenworth V8s are Leavenworth V4s with all the footholds removed".  Feel free to use it!

Kyle looking good on Right Angles (V8).

We did head up the hill to do Donkey Kong (V4), but if you ever go to the JY boulders, don't follow our example.  There are very few problems up the hill at the JY Boulders, and it is a bit of a bushwhack.  A bit disgruntled, we headed down the hill, packed up, and headed to the Straightaway Boulders.  An incredibly (!) shoert approach (about 15m) put us at the base of the famous WAS (V8).  It was something we really wanted to try, and is one of the best-known problems in the American Northwest.  A jump to a big egg-shaped hueco in the middle of a smooth and mostly-blank wall enables a reach to a steeply angled arete, the only feature that links the hueco directly to the top of the boulder.  I tried it for perhaps a half-hour; I slowly made progress, but was falling with my hand still several inches below the lip.

I turned my attention to the neighboring problems, Is (V7, starts with jump to the WAS hueco but traverses rightward before mantling into a huge dish) and Maybe (V4, which climbs the face left of WAS).  I flashed Maybe, but couldn't manage the huge reach on Is despite putting several serious attempts into trying to make the move statically.  Having climbed in Squamish, I was a bit disappointed that Maybe - a perfectly fun problem - had never been cleaned, and was both dirty and mossy.  I gave it a good brushing, making the problem a lot more fun.  After it was cleaned, I started to wonder if it was possible to jump to the Hueco on WAS, but reach left, and finish up the last moves of Maybe.  I tried it, and it went off smoothly, a fun problem, maybe a first ascent (although in Leavenworth, I doubt it!).  It climbed like an easier mirror-version of Is, so I called it Be (V4). 

The volleyball-sized hueco of WAS (V8). Beautiful hold!

By now, our tips were thrashed.  The next day was a rest day, for sure!  We had breakfast in town (Verona Cafe this time, big but a bit greasy), hiked through the boulders in Tumwater Canyon, walked around town, drank iced coffee (well I did, Kyle at ice cream), searched for and bought a Leavenworth Tourist shirt, went to the Fish Hatchery, and hunted for and then enjoyed a $4.00 shower at the small RV campground across the road from the Safeway.  Feeling clean, we grabbed a few groceries and headed back to camp for dinner.

By the next morning, our fingers had recovered... somewhat.  Though my skin was fine, I could see (and feel) bruising of my pads beneath the skin.  Still, the forecast was for slightly cooler temperatures (in the low 20s) and for some cloud, so we were hoping for a solid day of bouldering.  We headed to Forestland, the area with the largest collection of problems.  The boulders in Forestland also feature interesting holds and lots of steep faces; a great recipe for a fun day of climbing!  We warmed up on Breadline (V1, one of my favorite problems on the trip) and The Real Thing (V4), two classics on the same boulder.  I wanted to try Cruise Control (V6), a techy problem that Colin had tried earlier in the week.  The guidebook says "it's all about the feet", and this is accurate!  After a fumbling first attempt, I spent 15 minutes trying different body positions and foot placements.  After I was satisfied that I could actually hang onto the holds in the necessary positions, I got back on and did the problem.  Very fun, and really my style!

Kyle about to launch to the good edge on The Shield (V7).

In the meantime, Kyle had sent the famously dynamic The Shield (V7).  I wanted to get a photo of him on it, so he graciously threw a casual lap on it while I took pictures!  We then shuffled our mats around the rear of the boulder to try Busted. While the start hold of the original Busted (V8) is broken (though it goes at the same grade), new start holds permit an easier version of the problem that avoids the crux move.  After spending some time trying to get my heelhook to stick, I sent the 'lite' version of Busted (which is about V6), followed quickly by Kyle.  We also had the pleasure of watching another climber do the original V8 problem in a few tries, which was humbling. 

Me about to hop off of an attempt on Backdoor Ass Attack (V7).  Very fun slopers, cool mantle!

We were itching to leave and head back to WAS, but before we left I stopped to try Backdoor Ass Attack (V7), a very cool sloper problem with a bad name.  Even though it was a little hot for slopers, I was keen to try BAA as it is one of the very few pure sloper problems in Leavenworth.  I was skeptical I could pull off the VERY sloping holds, but due to the exceptional texture of the rock at Forestland I was able to send it in a relatively short time.  It is a funky (read: Trent-style) problem; both hands and one heel start on a positive rail, then a tricky pull to a sloping sidepull leads to a reach to a perfect boss-like sloper (points to you if you know what a 'boss' sloper is).  Very fun line!

Kyle staring down WAS (V8).  Classic problem!  Maybe (V4) climbs the (newly cleaned!) face left of the arete, Be (V4) jumps to the hueco, then reaches left to the arete, then finishes up Maybe, and Is (V7) starts in the hueco, but traverses right on crimps to a fun mantle onto a dished slab.

Kyle and I stacked the pads back in the van and headed down the road to WAS, hoping to make some progress on the line despite the heat.  We brought a few extra mats down (WAS is tall!), and started trading burns on the problem.  My right hand kept creeping higher and closer to the lip, but I didn't start making real progress until I started underclinging the hueco after the initial jump, which allowed me to pull in subtly as I stood up in the hueco.  I was still a few inches short, but then decided that a slightly more dynamic pull-in-shift-weight-to-the-rightwhileleaningabit approach was needed, along with a slightly higher grip on the arete.  Two more tries, and I was shocked to be holding the small sloper at the lip!  A tiny jump to a jug, a quick mantle, and I was on top the boulder!  Success!

Kyle wanted to try Is before we packed up, but I wasn't keen to try it again having fallen on the crux 'iron-cross' reach several times during our previous visit to the boulder.  Kyle, however, made the crux reach easily by dynamically pushing off his left foot and pivoting around his right.  With better beta, I put my shoes back on and sent Is in just a few tries, relieved to find that the finishing mantle was actually quite easy despite it's reputation.  All things considered, a great day of bouldering!  It has been awhile since I've send a decent number of hard-ish problems in a single day, it seems that a winter of bouldering in Kyle's garage paid off!

More to follow!  Cheers!