Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

Here's a photo from last Sunday; Sophia on her first boulder problem, on some granite blocks on Flagstaff Mountain's summit that we visited last week. We had a lot of fun just walking and looking at things on a beautiful afternoon.

This weekend, I was hit by some strange virus and felt terrible Friday afternoon and night. I did some Boulder Canyon research and photography anyway. Saturday I felt better. Maybe climbing tomorrow, though probably not outside, as we received an inch or two of snow overnight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Both Graham Aretes in One Session

I went up to the Graham Boulder this afternoon hoping to do the Left Graham Arete. The weather was dry and cool and pretty much perfect. I warmed up pretty quickly thanks to a fingerboard session at home. Ryan Silven showed up at the same time with the same problem in mind and he showed me the other beta that exists for the problem.

I hopped on the problem for a get re-acquainted session and strangely enough did it first try! After a short rest I worked the Right Graham Arete and after a few tries literally scraped up it. This is the first time I have done two double-digit problems in the same session. Here's the video of the Left Arete.

Needless to say I was very psyched and hope to get on some more local V11 and up testpieces over the winter. Training on the fingerboard has been very helpful as well as just getting out there as often as possible. Even at 44 years old, I feel I can climb a lot harder. Also I should add that the V10 Dragons, while not designed as an edging shoe, worked perfectly on the literally dime edges of the Left Graham Arete.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Boulder Canyon on Saturday

I got out for a few hours on Saturday and did some problem research on Cob Rock. The creek is surprisingly high right now and crossing was pesky but I got across and looked around. There is some really good rock up in the talus but RMNP style landings abound. Pride of place has to go to Sleepy Hollow V9, a tall pillar with great rock and holds. The Hug V11 looks very hard. Both have plenty of awkwardly placed boulders at the base. I am updating my Boulder Canyon Bouldering Blog to include these problems.

I went upstream to try the Graham Aretes which I haven't done in about 4 years. I met up with Alex Manikowski, a young boulderer who hails originally from Florida and has some done some hard stuff recently including the Hug. Using his beta, I did the Fields problem which is certainly not V5 or 6, more like 7 or 8. We checked out the Capps Problem which is nowhere near V9 in difficulty, closer to V10 or V11. After he left I worked on the R arete doing all the moves but not sticking the move to the crimp on the go, which is silly considering it's the second move on the problem. Then I worked on the L arete, getting very very close. I have wanted to do a V11 for a long while and this one seems very feasible. If possible, I want to get up to the Poudre to check out Castaway, one of the classic V11s in the state and pretty much my style. A little extra free time for Thanksgiving week may prove helpful in escaping Flagstaff for a while.

The real project is installing the wall in the cellar. I'm not exactly Mr. Handyman but I think I can figure this one out. The fingerboard is great. I did 20 pull-ups on the big rung and 2 or three front levers on the small. Pictures of the latter forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Open Air Repeated by Adam Ondra

I mentioned below my belief that Alexander Huber is probably the best all-around climber in the history of the sport. reports that Adam Ondra has repeated Open Air, a route from over 10 years ago and confirmed at 9a+ (5.15a), taking 5 days to complete it. Typically 8c+ takes him a couple of tries. Om, a 1992 route, is the next on the list of Huber desperates to go. What is interesting about this is the extent to which the historical record is distorted by publicity and promotion. Alex climbed Open Air before the age of widespread video and internet information so he operated almost in a vacuum and the route was ignored despite the obvious difficulty of the moves. Sharma's efforts on Realization were extensively documented and the ascent was promoted extensively so in many people's minds that route was the first 5.15. Whether the other contenders such as Akira or Chilam-Balam are legit is still contested.

(Thanks to Climbing Magazine for this link to an interview with Ondra about the climb.

Another interview with Ondra is at Planet Mountain.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home Improvement

Since CATS remodeled, there has not been a decent finger/hangboard in any of the local gyms for a while. So I am finally installing some finger edges in the cellar. I am also putting plans together to make a small bouldering wall so I don't have to travel in town if I don't need to. Any suggestions are welcome.

I spent some time Saturday afternoon working the V10 R to L traverse on Red Wall. All the moves are done and I think I can link it next visit. It's a good challenge. Very crimpy in the first half, then great holds and followed by a testy finish. A really worthy testpiece and a good job by Ted Lanzano.

Here's a video from Switzerland that is quite good:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't Touch the Glass V7/8 Video

Here's a video of a problem I did recently called Don't Touch the Glass on the East Face of Nook's Rock at Flagstaff. Will Lemaire did the FA of this short but high quality line. It's very hard to grade and conditions can make a big difference.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dragons Part 2

So after some indoor climbing, I tried the Dragons bouldering outside, bouldering at Flagstaff. Now they are fully broken in and fit the way they should. The fit is snug and precise with plenty of sensitivity under the foot. Through the heel and instep there is plenty of control but they are comfortable enough to not have to take them off the second you step off the boulder. On the smears, pebbles and tiny edges typically found at Flagstaff, they are totally solid with no problems. I doubt that there will be any problem on granite.

I would say that these are some of the best shoes I have worn in the past 5 years. I would not have chosen the earlier velcro version as I am not a fan of velcro but the lace-up version is a very different animal.

I should also put in a word for Rock and Resole and Ripstop Repairs as I have had them do work for me recently. Both are next to each other near Foothills in Boulder. Eric at R&R has probably done over 20 resoles for my wife and me in the past 10 years and we have had no problems at all. Jim at Ripstop Repair just replaced some stitching on the Asana pad that tore, doing it on the spot for cheap. Asana has promised to reimburse me, per their warranty. I still have an old Cordless pad that is being rehabbed which will be ready soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Metolius Super Chalk Issues

I'm putting this out there to see if anyone else has been having issues with new Metolius Super Chalk. I have been finding that it makes my fingertips slick up and makes holds feel glassy and slippery. I finally switched chalk bags today to some leftover older Metolius Super Chalk after trying the new stuff for a couple of weeks.After making the switch, fifteen minutes later I did a V10 second try that I had been working without any success earlier this year as well casually doing the first two moves of Smith Overhang V8. I will be looking for some older bags locally to compare and possibly switching brands. I'll post any responses I get from Metolius when I hear from them.

This is what the good stuff looks like:

The bad chalk has a woman on some sandstone sloper problem; good luck sticking to a sloper with what's inside the bag. Noting that it's made in China, maybe it's the melamine that's the problem

Friday, November 7, 2008


Go to Tim Kemple's Blog over at He has a video posted that clearly shows the future of web video. Grainy Youtube videos may be a thing of the past pretty soon and that's fine by me. Now if I could afford a video camera that shot HD... but that's another topic. More on the Dragon's outside performance this weekend.

Go to the Climbing Narc for a funny discussion of the infamous Clear Creek Dyno Conspiracy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Obama!

What more is there to say? Colorado is a blue state. Musgrave is gone. Udall is in. Not since we moved here in 1994 has this state gone Democratic. Now on to the hard stuff.

Is this the dream job?

At UKClimbing there is an interview with Duncan Bell, the director of Hot Rock, a "continuous global climbing expedition". Go to the website here and look around. If you have a bunch of time off and a fair amount of cash, this could be a pretty good option. If you don't the have money and time, the website is a great armchair traveler excursion.

I recommend taking a look at the other interviews in the series as well. While I am generally pretty happy doing what I do for a living, it is interesting to see what others have done in the world of climbing.

Alexander Huber Interview

Go to Planet Mountain for this interview with Alexander Huber. Also at the same site look at this story about Adam Ondra.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Quick Visit to Morrison

This morning, I went to talk with a landscape painter who lives in Lakewood, literally 5 minutes from Morrison. So I stopped to look at the bouldering again since I haven't been in ages. Center Route looks curiously feasible. Thanks to cinema verite artistes such as Sock Hands I can build beta skills and muscle memory from the comforts of my desk. What's the name for the version that doesn't use the RH undercling but goes straight up from the OK crimp with the LH and hits the "deck of cards" RH? Anyway one of these winter days perhaps.

Talked with Chuffer last night. He is off discovering little oases of rock in the woods of PA and seems very happy to have landed in the DC area. We certainly miss him though.