Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sendtember in Frank!

Fall has arrived!  With the cooling of the autumnal air and the shortening of the days, the cottonwood leaves are turning a brilliant yellow and crisp sending temperatures have arrived!  In the last few weeks, we've been climbing a lot in the House and Heart of Frank sectors, opening new lines and working on the trails in preparation for the 2016 Tour de Frank, which is coming on Saturday, September 17.  After a short introduction to the event, the horn will blow at 11:00 for six hours of bouldering in Canada's largest bouldering area!

The typical crew of Frank Slide Locals (Kyle, Mark, Dan, Davin, Josh, and myself) have been busy cleaning and putting up new lines... and climbing a lot in the process!  We visited the Slide twice over the long weekend (despite less-than-perfect weather), and had a blast with the new lines we've unearthed.  A lot of the new lines are moderates, which are slowly transforming the sector into a great area to circuit. We were unexpectedly joined by Michelle and Andrew Neis, who seem to be living the dream as they travel to climbing areas across North America.  Michelle and Andrew are friends with Davin, and had come out to Frank Slide to sample the boulders.

Kyle on the perfect holds of Brighter the Light, Darker the Shadows (V5/6), a brilliant end-of-the-day send on the Beautiful Struggle Boulder.

One of the highlights of the long weekend for me was my FA of a new line I named Jaws (V4ish). Lately, I've been on the search for problems that utilize knee-bars (I'm keen on learning a new technique), and was excited to find a line on the side of the Diamond Boulder in Frictionary that uses a semi-solid knee-bar to great effect.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten my kneebar pad at home, so was forced to use my bare knee to send the line (ouch!).  I returned the following weekend with the pad to repeat it in comfort!

The big weekend project, however, was the Beautiful Struggle Boulder, named after the original line on the boulder, the brilliant Beautiful Struggle (V3/4, which I managed to flash!).  After the dust had (literally and figuratively) cleared, the Beautiful Struggle Boulder is now home to 15 problems, from V0 to V5.  A great addition to the boulder is Josh Bylsma's new line The Oracle (V4), a funky compression line on perfect rock.

The next generation of the hardcore boulderers of Southern Alberta at work!  Getting serious (and seriously high!) on the fantastic Railway Slab (V0 R).

Next weekend we were back again, this time spending the day in the Railway and Commodore areas.  Walking into the area, we found a handful of the Lethbridge junior climbers at work on the Railway Boulder, and with a little encouragement we sent them up the imposing Railway Slab (V0, but high!). They all lined up for the send, and I reveled at how high it looked with junior climbers en route.

After a little work, Davin, Dan, Kyle, and I managed get the send train rolling on the techy Eclipse (V5), before we headed over to Commodore to do some trail work.  After an hour or so of pick-and-shovel fun, we managed to finish the last section of trail!  Climbers can now walk on a finished path from the highway all the way to the edge of the Heart of Frank Sector, a fantastic improvement (at least my knees think so)!

Dan Anhorn off the crux of the steep and funky Eclipse (V5).  He sent shortly after.

Before we wrapped up for the day, we did a little more climbing.  We tackled a short but intriguing line on great rock on the edge of the Commodore Area. It took a little work to figure out the strange technique required to engage the start holds, but when we finally understood what was required, we sent the first ascents of Wilderpeople (V4? 5?) in short order. A great end to the day!  We packed up, and headed to A&W for hamburgers (Teen Burgers are on sale for $3.50! Yay!).

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