Friday, May 28, 2010

In the Footsteps of John Gill

One of the side-affects of this blog has been publication in print including an article recently published in the Alpinist. I want to write more about this essay later but through it, I met the historian Kerwin Klein, currently teaching at UC Berkeley. A long-time boulderer, Klein was in Boulder researching material for a book on the cultural history of climbing. He writes a blog about climbing history called and his most recent entry is about the relationship between late 20th century American history and Gill, neatly tying it into an ascent of the famed Left Eliminator at Horsetooth, a problem he had been thinking of for 20 years.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The (Shorter) Reverse Undercling Traverse V9

The (Shorter) Reverse Undercling Traverse V9 from peter beal on Vimeo.

This is a very good powerful R to L traverse that exits into the Consideration, a classic old-school V3. The proper start is in the low cave on the far right end of the wall and tacks on an extra V grade. I have not been able to figure out the sequence to get through the corner so far. Eventually I will work more seriously on this option. Beta suggestions are welcome.

If you are interested in seeing a particular problem added to this blog, I will try to film it, either myself if I can do it, or someone else if feasible. Let me know. The videos on this blog are intended more as a resource or guide,helping people locate problems or figure out sequences, so the more the merrier.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Boulder Climbing Festival?

After witnessing the success of the Battle in the Bubble two weeks ago, I am sure I was not the only one wondering why it is that Boulder, which is such an important center for climbing in the US, has no annual event celebrating the sport. At this point, the number of cities and climbing centers holding such events is in the dozens at least. It seems to me that given the geographical location of Boulder with tons of world-class climbing nearby, numerous outdoor companies, proximity to a major airport, and of course thousands of local climbers, that such an event could be a huge hit, not just regionally but nationally, even internationally. I have discussed this with a number of local figures in climbing and will keep readers posted on my findings. Please let me know what you think and what you would like to see at such an event.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Positive or Negative?

In the world of climbing, it seems that anything, be it a new route, a problem, a film, a book, whatever, elicits strong reactions. I was struck by this recently in reactions to a post by the Climbing Narc on a new film from Big Up called the Insiders. I was one of the first to respond to the video, saying that while all the pieces were in place, I felt something was missing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Battle in the Bubble Review

For the first time, Boulder, Colorado has hosted a climbing event, The Battle in the Bubble, that reflects its position as one of the country's premiere climbing destinations. Simply put, everything went perfectly from a spectator's point of view.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Battle in the Bubble

As anyone who has been following the competition circuit or the climbing scene in Boulder knows, the Spot is producing a big outdoor competition, The Battle in the Bubble. This will be held today at the Spot and tomorrow at the Boulder Reservoir and promises to be a big show, possibly a breakthrough for involving the area public as spectators.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Project at Flagstaff Goes, Boulder Canyon

I have been working on the low start to that Flakes It Direct for a few sessions. This is a really nice powerful set of sidepull crimps on an arete. It was done a few years back and is always chalked but I have never seen or heard of anyone doing it recently. After Chip Phillips pointed out an obvious and on-route heelhook, it all came together quickly. I tried the top-out doing the upper problem the hard way. It turns out that way is truly contrived so I finished up with a more direct path to the jug, as seen in the video. I still think the low part is V10. The music by the way is a song called "The Rules" from the children's show on Nick Jr., The Backyardigans. The lyrics are very apropos of climbing, especially the last lines as the credits roll.

That Flakes It Direct SDS Flagstaff Mountain from peter beal on Vimeo.

The next day, I headed up to Boulder Canyon to see how Hardboiled (V11) felt. The stream is nice and low and the approach was easy. After some frustration with slippery granite, the moves started happening and I linked to the lip. I am hoping this will go this season before the crossing gets hard. I should add that the ear on Replacement Killers is broken. A post on Mountain Project mentioned it was flexing and that was definitely the case. A few gentle pulls with a nut tool and it came apart. I am amazed someone didn't pull it off climbing. The problem should still go, maybe V12 now?

I will be working on updating some info on Boulder Canyon once the semester is over.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Felipe Camargo on Flagstaff

A quick session last night at Flag, climbing with Shannon Forsman. We did a couple of V7/8s and started working on the V10 SDS to That Flakes it Direct. Gabor Szekely, Zack Smith and Felipe Camargo showed up shortly after and upholstered Botslayer (V10) nicely. We watched Felipe flash Botslayer with incredible ease and then a few minutes later, linked up the full problem/project from the lowest start, a classic likely V11. Felipe is from Brazil, a destination which recently was discussed in the blogosphere. If Felipe is representative of the talent potential from South America, look out! Felipe went on to hook up Trice V12 in about 20 minutes. As for me I punted on the "easy" part of my project but I think it will go soon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flagstaff Tour Recap

Amazingly everything went without a hitch on Saturday. We had a nice little group of 7 or 8. Chip Phillips was there and a couple of representatives from Boulder OSMP. Right on cue the golden eagles flew overhead as we discovered an old carpet square someone left behind so environmental lessons were abundantly available. By noon we had made it down to Beer Barrel rock, so we made it only about half way but I will plan on part 2 in the next month or so. Scott Rennak and I discussed the work being done by the Flatirons Climbing Council as well as the OSMP CCG which could have a huge impact on access to climbing resources in the area. The short version is that climbers in the Boulder area are finally mobilizing towards responsible stewardship and community activism to make sure that climbing areas are both protected and accessible. Bouldering should be better represented in that effort.

Here are some photos from the tour, courtesy of Brian Spiering

Afterwards I did a little bouldering, getting very close on the low start to That Flakes It Direct, a likely V10. The climbing went well, but a couple of things I observed in the vicinity were upsetting. One is the practice of throwing pads downhill to save the trouble of carrying them. I suppose in a truly barren talus field that might be OK but by disturbing soil and vegetation, pad-throwing denudes and erodes the landscape. Pad-throwing is lazy and very harmful to the environment. Secondly, please don't bring your dogs bouldering. The Dark Side is relatively green with trees and low-level vegetation. Amusing your dog by throwing sticks down the hill to chase means that dogs will bound through all that growth, tearing it up and killing it. My recommendation now is that for virtually any popular bouldering area near Boulder, your dog should be left at home. If you must bring a dog, respect the environment and keep the dog leashed unless he/she is truly well trained. Finally, please don't bring glass bottles to Flagstaff. Glass is prohibited in OSMP anyway and more and more microbrews are coming out in cans which are much easier to pack out and less dangerous if inadvertently left in the field. I plan on a fuller post on the topic of environmentally sound bouldering very soon.