Monday, December 10, 2012

Late-Late Season Sends

Finals Week...

Kill me. 

As of writing this, I'm taking one of the now seemingly rare moments to myself to relax and partake in my beloved pastime of talking about climbing.  Another lengthy post with lots of pictures.  enjoy!
This season seemed as though it would never end; the 50 degree days just kept on comingOnly three weeks ago, Rebecca and I even got into the alpine crags above Torrey Valley.  We managed to spend one full day there, where we mostly explored the Lake Louise Trail.  The lake itself offers few bouldering opportunities, mainly boasting slabby walls.  The bulk of the boulders are found about a mile before the lake, and are generally quite good.  I only put up one problem- Resin Hit (V4).  It moves left on nice crimps to a big move, then V0 to the top.  I finished it as a drop off for now, since the 20-22' height is a bit intimidating with 2 pads, 1 spotter, and a big ol' pine tree right in the way of the landing.  Maybe next time.  I also got Rebecca to make her two first FA's: a nice little V0 just down the wall from Res Hit and a cool V2ish thing at another crag.  I cleaned and felt out two other projects, but they're currently well out of my abilities- one I'm not even sure is possible!

 Beautiful Wind River Gneiss

Lake Louise

 Res Hittin'

 One of Rebecca's problems

 Really cool project- V9-V11 range

 Go-Go Gadget Shoulders!  Horrible slopers

I also found a really sweet ram's skull.  So worth the extra 20lbs.

On the way down, I scoped out a talus field Davin had mentioned to me the day before.  We probably should have spent the day there, because it's really quite excellent.  About the same quality as the stuff up in bomber basin with half the hike!

 We got snowed out the next day, so we headed to Wyoming's #1 shitty weather day crag- Sinks!

 Soul Finger (5.11a)

Two weeks later, I find myself bouldering in a t-shirt at Bennett Peak with the usual crew of Davin and Bryan, with the addition of local climber Caleb this time.

It was December first and I was prepared for the worst, but it sure was perfectWith a bit of PTSD from the last time I made the freezing river crossing, I brought along a pair of rubber waders which proved to be one of my better decisions.  Davin swears that the mind-altering pain of crossing barefoot adds to the quality of the Bennett Peak experience, but maybe I'm just a bit more of a hedonist than that... 

Only the second time I'd been to the riverside crag, I gained a new appreciation for it.  The rock is super good, and the boulders are VERY concentrated.  They're also pretty interesting as far as granite and gneiss boulders go, with lots of hueco and sandstone-like features.

Like most of my other trips this season, I put up one problem and cleaned a project.  Anteaters (V3) traverses right up slick ledges to a nice sloped jug with mellow topout.  The pretty face looks slick, but actually has excellent texture.  The project is further right on the same boulder, with what I think will be a single move of V7 or V8 off of a great incut to a not so great crimp.

 The Anteaters boulder, which actually has 5-6 problems

On the opposite side of the boulder, Bryan cleaned and sent a really cool prow problem, which I think goes around V4.  You could probably add a + for anyone in my height range; What was a big throw for Davin and Bryan was a full on superhero dyno for me.

Up above, Davin cleaned and sent Swamp Donkey (V6), a bizarre and slightly awkward climb on cool features.  I nabbed the second ascent after some work, and I can say I honestly really liked it.  It boasts some really thrutchy moves on awesome slimpers, moving up to a pinch that's probably one of the coolest granite features I've ever grabbed.  

Bryan on Swamp Donkey

Shortly after, Caleb sent several really nice moderate V0-V2s nearby and Bryan cleaned off another project from a year or so ago.  Davin sent it first and Bryan quickly followed.  Time Will Tell (V6) takes an obvious line of quality crimps to a big honkin' dyno.

 Time Will Tell

After the classic tour of PA crusher Tim Rose's  (super impressive) problems in the area, we hit the Saratoga hot springs to find peace, relaxation, and maybe some swamp donkeys. Blissfully unaware that the next weekend would finally usher in the sudden and shocking chill of winter, we enjoyed conversation with the pleasant locals and the calm, clear night.
 And now, I sit here in my apartment procrastinating my studies.  Its 10 degrees outside.

I've got a plane ticket to Puerto Rico for Sunday and I'll be there for about a month. I did my research and found a few local climbers who are stoked to show me around; the island is practically made of limestone!  I'm excited to explore what the area has to offer, and with lots of development going on now, there's no better time to visit.




  1. Great Post! I'm still hopeful that something good will be found near Lake Louise, and I'll look again sometime. Enjoy Puerto Rico!

  2. Thanks David! I actually looked at a satellite map with Davin and there are definitely good boulders there, just on the opposite end of the lake. You'd have to cross at the river and walk around the left (South?) side and the best of the best looks to be near the farthest shore from the trail. Long & rugged approach, but probably worthwhile!