Tuesday, December 30, 2008
An Afternoon in Eldorado Canyon: V10 in one session!
I hadn't been to Eldorado Canyon in years and have done very little bouldering there ever. Perhaps I am a bit too thrifty but I really don't like paying to climb outside. But since there are a number of worthy problems and a universe of routes, I decided to buy a pass anyway. Yesterday, I drove out there to check out Qigong, also known as the Schulte Arete, and 606, a Will Lemaire classic on the Gill boulder. Qigong looks interesting but the boulder was cold and clammy and I needed a few more pads than I had to clear up the landing properly. It also looks very hard. So it was off to 606. 606 is a well-known crimpy V10 that climbs the west face of the Gill boulder and has the advantage of being directly adjacent to the parking lot. I gave it a thorough looking over and thought it looked very feasible. The flash attempt was pretty futile, though with good beta it is very flashable. Anyway after some time spent working out the specifics of the holds, I was soon falling at the last hard move, or what I thought was the last hard move, a stab for a horizontal slot. I realized however, that a better option was to throw for the big sidepull on the right. I tried it that way from the start, stuck the sidepull and finished the problem, happy to complete it in one session, 5 or 6 tries.
It is interesting to compare this problem with the other V10s and V11s I have done recently. 606 is regarded as solid in the grade which is why I feel that Ted Lanzano's Red Wall Traverse, which is very similar in style is much harder. That took me 5 or 6 sessions and many tries. The visit to Eldo also reminded me why I prefer climbing outdoors as much as possible; the experience is much richer, more complex, and so much more meaningful overall. Of course the weather is always an issue but I find it is part of the challenge. Seeing the glowing orange aretes and fins of sandstone against the brilliant blue sky and hearing the distant shouts of climbers high up on the West Ridge made me want to head up there again, to be high up on a crag in the sun gazing across to the snow-covered peaks to the west. Perhaps soon.
Visit UK Climbing for Ty Landman's review of the year in bouldering. Good pictures and video.