Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring in Frank

The second of the three mantles on The Sickening (V3 or 4ish).  The problem starts in the small cave at the base of the face.  A fall from here would be spooky.  An easy move, thankfully!
After bouldering in relatively warm and sunny conditions all winter long, the weather last weekend felt ironic; unseasonally cold and snowy as a storm blew in on Saturday.  Nevertheless, the weather forecast for Good Friday promised a day of dry weather before the snowstorm arrived, and so a handful of Lethbian boulderers headed out to the Slide to get in a day of springtime bouldering.  
After a stop for coffee and a typically uneventful drive, Kyle, Jonas, Mark, and I arrived at Slide, and since it felt a bit cold we hiked around the Spiderweb area looking for new problems.  Walking though the blocks, I ran into Josh, who had just sent his new steep sloper problem The Renaissance (V9).  He was nice enough to do it again so I could see how the line went.  It's very unusual for Frank Slide in that it is (a) quite overhanging and (b) almost all the holds are slopers.  Maybe I'll get around to trying it this summer!
We then drove over to the Healing Sector, where Dave T. and a handful of other climbers from Lethbridge were climbing on the Healing Boulder itself.  Mark and I climbed a handful of the highball slabs on the backside of the boulder (Mark also did a lap on Sage (V5) and Jahealey (V3)), and I took a look at the classic Healing Arete (V4) which I STILL haven't done.  Instead of trying Healing Arete, I dragged a mat around the corner and climbed a line I had tried last year; it starts by traversing up and left out of the small cave on the SW corner of the boulder, and then climbs the easy (but very tall) arete above.  It is a fun and sequential line, though cramped where the line traverses left out of the cave.  It may have been done before (though I'm not aware of any ascents), but such a fun line deserves a name so I called it The Sickening (V4ish).

Chatting with my spotters on the last move of The Sickening.  The problem starts in the small cave (just visible between the spotters), traverses left, then climbs the face and arete up to the obvious ledge, where I mantled on to the ledge and climbed the short slab to the top.  Lots of moves, mostly very easy, though.

Josh and Mark wanted to try something a little harder, so we packed up and headed over to Tomb Raider (V6), which is the steepest problem at the Slide (probably a 7-foot horizontal lip/roof problem).  Mark and Josh both did it quite quickly; I found the beginning fun and not too hard, but couldn't manage to get a heel-hook on the roof to stick and as a result I kept falling off.  Mark added a direct mantle finish to the start, calling it Cradle of Life (V4 or maybe V3), and I cleaned up a short roof problem just downhill that we did and called The Shiv (V3).  
Since it was getting a bit late in the day, we packed up and went for pastries at The Cinnamon Bear (delicious!), then headed back to the slide for more bouldering.  My tips were thrashed, so I didn't actually climb anything, but Mark and Josh tried the Triangle Pinch Project (Vhard) while Kyle and Jonas did some moderate problems on the Super Heroes Circuit. 
I climbed a lot more than I usually do, which was nice, and we headed back to Lethbridge with throbbing fingers.  After a year of teaching at the University, I'm not in very good climbing shape, but hopefully with the warming weather I'll get my fitness back up and get some climbing in this summer.

 The start of Tomb Raider (V6), before disappearing under the huge roof.
I've been thinking a lot of projects, lately; readers of this blog will already know that I tend to be a lot more motivated when I'm working something new and exciting.  I've been thinking of goals for the summer, and after some rumination on the subject, here is my 2015 Summer Project List (as of now, anyways).  I've limited it to 10 problems, to keep it within the realm of possibility...
1) The Prism (V9), on the Aftermath Boulder.  This line is a bit contrived, but has both exciting movement and great holds.  Last year, I did all the moves but one (which has never been done by anyone under 6 feet tall), but I think with some dedicated effort it will go.
2) The Communist (V7), also on the Aftermath Boulder.  Tall and aesthetic, The Communist is a great problem.
3) Paleofit (V7), on the Giant.  I almost did this problem a couple of times, but never went back with any dedication to finish it off.  Its a rising lip traverse on absolutely perfect rock, and a fun line to work.
4) Evan's Seven (V7), City of Giants.  Great movement, but on flat edges with bad feet, which isn't really my strength.  It'll be good for me!
5) Rising Tithes (V8).  One of the most sought-after hard lines in the Slide, Rising Tithes is across the river, and a little hard to get to.
6) The Rum-Runner Project (V6?). Will be fun to finally get to this thing!
7) The Smoke Ridge Project (V5?).  Not sure how hard this line will be, somewhere between V2 and V6. Looks fun, though!
8) The Hang 'Em High Project (V8?).  This looks long and hard.  It will be a miracle if I do it!
9) Mark of the Beast (V6?).  Another project!  Not so hard, but tall!  And with a terrible landing zone... I'd better get fit to stay safe.
10) Tomb Raider (V6).  My anti-style, but a great steep line.  I'd like to include Nintendo 69 (V9) on this list, but I find that problem brutally hard!

There it is! Ten problems for Summer 2015!