The May Long Weekend! That precariously balanced three-day period that sits atop the divide between spring and summer! Some years, it tips decidedly back into springtime weather, with cold rain, clouds, or snow. Other years - seemingly in the minority - the May Long Weekend leaps forward into the sun and heat of summer. This year, the ides of May leaned back into spring, and the weather was rainy (Saturday and part of Sunday), and coldly sunny on Monday.
"Aha!" you say to yourself. "But aren't cool and sunny days perfect for bouldering?"
As such, Monday morning saw Kyle and I heading west on the Crowsnest Highway, sun at our backs on the way to Frank Slide. The number of problems at Frank Slide has grown steadily in the last few years, and now there are at least 650 problems (as logged on Sendage.com; likely there are as many as 750, possibly more). Arriving at the Slide, Kyle and I decided to head into the Spiderweb sector. Spiderweb doesn't have that many problems - large blocks are relatively sparsely distributed there - but it does hold some of Frank's classic hard lines, including the hard one-move line The Dyno That Made Baby Jesus Cry aka the Baby Jesus Dyno (V8), and Josh B.'s new steep bulge problem The Renaissance (V8/9).
We headed into Spiderweb Right, where we warmed up on a short slab problem, and then tried a new-ish Kyle M. problem, The Wind and The Wizard (V5?). It starts on a good edge in an overhang, then reaches up to a good sloper at the base of the hanging slab above. From there, the difficulties start; tiny edges above aren't really quite enough to stand up on the sloper. After many tries I did the problem from the second hold (urgh!), but decided that I had had enough crimping hard on tiny holds and moved on, leaving an ascent of the full problem for another day.
We moved around to the other side of the boulder, where I wanted to work on a new line that I had tried - and failed on - during my previous trip to the Spiderweb sector. It starts at the lip of a large (but unfortunately blank) cave, with a good incut sidepull at the lip for the right hand, and a good flat edge for the left. The difficulty in the problem lies in using a tenuous left heel hook, with absolutely nothing for the right foot to press against. After 45 minutes or so, we had worked out the best way to do the problem; a very cool sequence which in its use heel hooks and slopers seemed much more like a problem from Squamish than from Frank Slide. I think I am going to call it either Collateral Damage (my wrist, which has been injured for several days now, was pretty tweaked by the end) or Windigo (keeping with the magical / wind theme of the boulder). Funky and powerful (V6ish?), I think the line is fantastic, a great addition to the Spiderweb.
We also tried a new project that looked improbable at first, a fairly involved line following an intricate series of long traversing moves on small edges above a lip. By the end of a long session on the line, we had worked out a feasible sequence of moves, but without managing to link the problem. To make the problem as user-friendly as possible, Kyle and I put some effort into prepping the landing, so hopefully some of the strong lads who climb at the Slide will give us a few weeks to work the line; I'm always motivated a bit more, and try a bit harder, if a problem hasn't been climbed yet. The mystery - the riddle - of climbing is important to me; a potential problem or route is always more interesting if I'm not quite sure how - or if - it can be done.
On the way back to the van, we stopped and climbed one more problem, an angled arete on a very cubical boulder very close to the parking lot. Kyle flashed the problem with ease, while I had to bear down and try hard to send it. Given the proximity of the problem to the highway, I think I will call it White Noise (V3?). I know what you're thinking... and you're correct. Kyle DID do it first. But I'm sure he won't mind.
Fully thrashed by this time, we went to the A&W for hamburgers, and settled back into the van for the long drive back to Lethbridge. Even after almost three years of climbing in the Slide, there is STILL so much to do!
Until next time!