Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Hug V11 Boulder Canyon

Photo from EZ Harrison's blog at

Yesterday I went up to Boulder Canyon to take a look at the Hug, a Chris Schulte problem near Cob Rock. EZ Harrison had called me the day before and wanted to check it out and as I knew it was not at all my kind of boulder problem, I decided to join him. A quick creek crossing thanks to the ice and we had the landing pretty well covered with 6 pads which is probably about right. The problem comes out of a little talus pit and is very tenuous right to the end. It starts with a big throw off a RH undercling followed by a hand/foot heelhook, a crazy rockover section and a surprisingly balancy and scary last 5.11 slab where you cannot retreat or fall.

EZ had been there a while and was having issues with the moves to get over the lip. After some minimal warming up I started working the crux and was super close to doing Chris' beta of going again to a toothy crimp. Suddenly EZ did the move a different way, heading right from the first small crimp instead of going again LH. A few tries later and he was at the top, the quickest V11 he's done. I was not finding the balance point on the move but felt like it would go soon. I was boosted onto the last moves and was pretty nervous about the exit which was sloping holds on a slab with a fair amount of dirt, lichen, and moss. Happy not to have slipped there.

We headed out to the creek only to find that the ice was gone and the water was up making for a semi-sketchy crossing, throwing pads across and rock-hopping for me. EZ free-soloed the tyrolean after tossing his pads.

I will probably be back if for no other reason than that the problem is an education in itself with mandatory toe-hooks, hard heel-hooks, slopers and lots of balance. You really can't spot anyone on it so you have to load up the pads to work it which, given the creek and the tyrolean access, is a pain but still feasible. Big props to EZ for a positive attitude and getting it done so fast! Video will be up soon.

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