Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park

If you live on the Front Range, or read about bouldering on the Internet, you are probably aware that the Park is in full swing. I have been up there this week and have been enjoying the experience a great deal so far. My relationship with RMNP bouldering has been uneven to say the least, primarily for two reasons. First is the time it takes to get there and back, which is about two hours from my house to Lower Chaos canyon. However I am getting the hike more and more in hand, making the approach faster and easier. Second is the climbing style. Other climbers have commented on how since the typical problem involves crimping, I should be all set. I have found that true textbook crimps, such as say, the credit card hold on Nuthin' But Sunshine, are actually very rare. What is more common is a slippery, slightly sloping edge, often a sidepull, requiring a complex and powerful combination of heelhooks, toehooks and body tension to stay on. For some reason I find the texture of the rock in the Park off-putting; like Rifle limestone, it feels polished and smooth, lacking much in the way of bite or friction.

I am serving my RMNP apprenticeship by mastering (some day) the unfortunately named Gang Bang Arete, a "V8" which forces every style of climbing I am weakest at, slopers, toehooking, heelhooking, and long dynos. This problem has taken something like at least 4 days of visits to the Park and while I think it will go next trip, I cannot be sure. The holds are totally slippery, the line is unimpressive  (and I am pretty sure that someone at some point used pof on the start) but nevertheless, I feel that this problem needs to go down first. It is a matter of getting strong and paying dues. I also feel that the V12 just around the corner, Secret Splendor, may, in the end, take just about as much effort in terms of time.The moves on Secret Splendor are definitely coming together.

Anyway it has been a beautiful couple of sessions up there so far. The trail is almost snow-free at this point. In Lower Chaos, there is a lot of snow still among the boulders. European Human Being and Bush Pilot are buried as are the Warm-Up and Potato Chip Boulders. The formations up a bit higher are mostly dug/melted out. Most of the action is in Upper Chaos these days as the boulders are less snowed in and the approach made reasonable by the extensive snowfield over the talus. I hope to get up there as well soon.

No comments: