Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Masochistic March

Yes, it's that time of the year, the last minute diet, tendon wrecking work outs and finger sweating video viewing.  I look forward to shedding a few pounds, but that's hard when PBR was 25 cents at the Palace tonight.

Just a few things to touch on, because I didn't get a chance to get outside this weekend as I was making some money photographing a wedding out in Columbus, MT.  It was a great event, fun to shoot and I got to spend some time with family in Billings.  Namely my grandmother, who is 90 this year, was great to chat with.  It was my first actual "grown up" talk with her and I learned a bit of family heritage.

I'm 90% sure of canceling my membership at Freestone in the coming days.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great place for the climbing community of Missoula, filling in a serious void that has been lurking since the Rock Garden closed 4 years ago.  That being said, it's not worth $60 a month for Victoria and I to climb.  Terrible setting and a constant, never ending stream of gumby dickheads cloud visions of getting stronger.  I realized today that I went from V5 to V8 in a matter of a few months at the woody and I haven't made any progress at the 6 months at Freestone.  Campus board and woody sessions begin tomorrow, needless to say.

Another thing to speak on:  Iron Man Traverse in Bishop.  I was talking to Slamarama Dogan Johnson on the phone today about his excellent and successful trip to the land of Bishes and we got talking about projects for when Victoria and I go for spring break.  He suggested I hop back on Iron Man Traverse, a climb I tried briefly 3 years ago.  It's odd that he mentioned it, because I've been watching a lot of videos to look at projects and there is always the Iron Man Traverse in them.  Wills Young from the Bishop Bouldering blog said it might be the most often tried V4 in the world.  That's probably true.  Clearly it's known as a classic, but why?  Sure, there is great history behind it, but does that warrant 4 stars?  I don't think so.  This is why climbing is so great, it's one of the most subjective sports/activities/hobbies ever.  To me, I don't see a 4 star line, I see a dumpy, lowball TRAVERSE, that barely climbs up.  This is the exact opposite of what I look for in lines.  But that's what is great about bouldering.  If you are into highballs, traverses, eliminates, dirt-diggler starts or all of the above, there is bound to be something for you.

Weather is looking "meh" this weekend.  Maybe, just maybe, stone will be dry.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

President's Day Weekend

I managed to get out to Lost Horse on Saturday with Victoria and little dog.  A bit of snow the night before soaked the majority of boulders we visited, but we got some of climbing in.


Slushy boulders


I finally got to try the crimpy face on the Snowbound boulder, but unfortunately the top was soaked and covered in ice so I couldn't try the final dyno to the lip.  I figured out the first 3 or 4 moves from the start, which involve 1/4 pad flat crimps and get smaller and much worse as one progresses up the boulder.  I think I should be able to finish it off next session if the top is dry.  Not sure how hard this one will be because the dyno will certainly be the crux, but probably anywhere from V6-8.



Tiny crimps = lots of blood/skin loss, photo by Victoria


Little dog looking very disapproving of my branch breaking.  The start is shown below my head on the flat cube flake and moves up and left.  Photo by Victoria.


I also got lucky with the weather on Monday, so I took little dog out again and looked for dry rock.  We ended up at Upper Roadside and I did Ender's Game and tried to low start to Travis' Problem.  Ender's Game would be a really good problem if the tree was gone and if it was harder.  I ended up dropping from the top as once again, the top out was pure ice.  Next stop was Big Chuck area to try the low start to Big Chuck.  I fired off "the move" pretty quick from the stand but ended up bleeding profusely from my left pointer tip, pooling blood in the tiny crimp slot needed to gain the edge shown in the photo.  While the sit is pretty cool, I don't think it warrants another grade.  The moves are no harder than V3, but then again, this problem is fairly easy for a person of my height.


Screenshot on Big Chuck, Callie ignoring me.

Frustrated and bloody, I went down and finally did the tiny turd that is Undertow.  Ended up traversing out left on the top out and stepped off because of ice.

I really need to bring a shovel with me.





Monday, February 13, 2012

Lost Horse Snow Circuit, New Motivation

Victoria and I headed south to LoHo on Saturday to meet up with Erich, his girlfriend Jessie and her little brother Sam.  We headed out of Missoula around 10:30, driving through at least 4 different snow storms until things cleared up around the junction of Skalkaho and 93.  The road is still pure ice past the resort but we managed to make it all the way to Motherload later in the day.  

We met up at Roadside to find every problem soaked or seeping.  We made the best of it, sampling the classic overhang, twilight*, and bug eyes.  Afterwards we drove to Motherload, climbed on the soaked beautiful people, better eat your corndogs and the slab between those problems.  I tried the low start to corndogs and found it absolutely impossible.  I think it is supposed to start on the terrible flat underclings right below the sloper, but I could be wrong.  Either way, the full line is graded at V8, when in reality, the first move is at least hard V8 in itself.  I think a hard V9 is a more realistic grade, from the underclings.  Does anyone know of anyone doing the low start?  

*  It should be noted that Twilight of my Youth/Benjamin Button ARE the same problem.  To say there are two separate lines would mean they are both contrivances and eliminates(unless that's your thing, lame ass).  I think that we should just view this as a single boulder problem.  It should also be noted that this problem is an utter lowball turd, but makes for an excellent warm up for cold fingies.  

Afterwards we headed to the Tanganyika boulder, sampled gib mir pfeffer, the traverse, red headed step child, the V2 layback, some random eliminates and the tiny v1 on the mini boulder.  All in all a solid day for being snowy and wet.  Not quite the project slaying session I hoped for but circuits/tours are just as fun.  I'm starting to enjoy climbing on moderates more and more.  I think my new goal is climb at least 30 points every time I go outside.  That certainly is subject to change during project mode, but I think it is a good benchmark for a day outside.  

In my nearly 5 years as a student/missoulian I've never owned a Lost Horse guide.  Certainly an advantage to be a "in the know local" as the guide book says.  I borrowed Levi's guide and found a number of problems that I'd wanted to try and some projects.  I found out that this boulder is actually the snowbound boulder and there is a "v-hard" problem in the center of the face.  I'm going to assume that it hasn't been done, unless someone else knows the history of it.  I also found out where Seemingly Impossible is, an elusive boulder that I have heard about for a while.  A proud Justin Pettersen first ascent that goes around V6.  




Snowbound Boulder with the "V-Hard" problem in the center of the face.

For a long time I struggled with the idea of Lost Horse being the "go to" place for bouldering.  After a year or so I had climbed most of the lines that were appealing and with in my means.  With new places being developed like Lolo and Butte it was really hard to want to climb at Lost Horse.  But after new motivation and knowledge, Lost Horse is now entering a renaissance, in my eyes at least.  The easy access to an unlimited amount of immaculate rock is almost unmatched in Montana.  The areas of concentrated rock outside of Lost Horse-proper number in the hundreds.  As soon as the snow begins to melt in the higher elevations I think it's going to be hard to climb anywhere else.  Besides Lolo, of course, because everyone needs a dose of humble pie every once in a while.

President's Day weekend looms ahead of us, hope y'all are getting outside.  I know SAM is, fuckin' bish.





Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bitterroot Blue Bird

Easily the most beautiful day I've ever seen at Lost Horse was today.  40 and not a cloud to be seen.  There is still quite a bit of snow in the open parts of the forest, the roadside has around 5 inches of crusty snow and the road after the resort is solid ice.  I would imagine you could get to the bridge in a 4x4 or all-wheel drive rig.  Warmed up on Bug Eyes, scouted some boulders and tried some harder stuff before the resort.  Got completely whooped by everything I tried.  Had the whole place to myself, which makes me wonder about other climbers in Missoula.  Maybe they were skiing the gnar or roping up at Mill Creek or Kooter.  Probably they were in the gym, working some shitty problems.  More for me I suppose.   



Callie, soaking up the sun. 



Callie and the powerful Bug Eyes


Anyone know what this boulder is?  Looks rad/thin/hard.  The arete is probably V1-2


Plan B project, Girl's Best Friend Boulder.  Upon further attempts, I think the main line will go around solid V9


The other side project, V12? at least.  This thing is absurd.


This boulder problem is the future of Missoula/Bitterroot bouldering.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lost Horse

A good looking forecast for Hamilton this weekend.  The best it has been all winter.  I checked a couple webcams yesterday and Hamilton has zero snow in town, so a quick call to the resort at LoHo for snow depth should clear things up a bit.


Excited to work some projects, specifically the one pictured below.  Thanks for the photo Schmechel.  



This problem is a beauty.  Thuggy underclings for a start, extreme tension for the move to the slot and a dynamic finishing move to the jug.  Classic 3 move boulder problem.  Conditions are looking prime on Saturday and I can't wait to get my ass kicked on this thing.