The summer is ending all of a sudden, I reflected, as I wandered around the crusty jagged boulders of Upper Chaos on Wednesday. I went up there to try Barbed Wire Beard, which for once was dry. The weather was perfect, though a bit warm for this very crimpy problem. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the altitude was proving to be a problem here. A few inconclusive tries after working out the end was I all I had to show for my efforts. I feel as if I could get there feeling OK, the problem would go so it may have just been an off day. I did look around at other problems up there, finding the two-mover, Friday the 13th, for example which looks pretty good. But in general, it was mostly a wearying hot hike, quite a contrast from other times up there.
On Sunday, I stuck around Lower Chaos, hoping to make more progress on Element of Surprise. This is a relatively obscure problem, despite its excellent appearance and proximity to Tommy's Arete and Deep Puddle Dynamics, two of the most well-known classics in the Park. It could be because it is fairly low angle and very thin and crimpy and technical in nature. This is a style I tend to favor so it is a natural project for me to invest some time in.
After the initial rush of sending in the Park in May and early June, it would seem that everyone (who is anyone, which counts me out) is going to Lincoln Lake, high up on the summit slopes of Mount Evans. Wolverineland is the moniker being created for it, since a wolverine was sighted there in the spring of this year. Whether M56, as the creature has been named, is going to be psyched to come back to a place suddenly popular with boulderers is an open question. I will say that pine martens are doing just fine in Lower Chaos, as one started scoping out my Clif Bar at the base of Element of Surprise.