Saturday, February 2, 2013

Zenith


Alex Brown and I made the two hour drive early yesterday morning to catch one of Rumbling Bald's best days conditions wise. The forecast was calling for mostly sunny temperatures in the low to mid 30's with humidity just below 30%...aka PERFECT weather! I had been checking the Bald's weather religiously the last few weeks waiting for this day. It had finally come and I was psyched! I was also excited to break in my new Metolius Magnum pad (this thing is HUGE. 4 feet by 6 feet). We got to the boulders at 10am sharp, after the hike in and being slowed down traveling due to the High Country having a few inches of snow on the roads. I decided to warm up at the Clear Water boulder so that Alex could dispatch those lines quick. Which is exactly what he did! He sent Clear Water (V9/10) in a few tries, then made a very impressive flash of Fresh Water (V10). He royally effed up the beta, but that did not seem to matter at all. Alex quickly concocted his own beta, which in the moment I was sure would not work, and easily topped out the slopey boulder problem. After this it was time to get down to business, Zenith (V11/12). Zenith is an amazingly pretty boulder problem on bullet rock. It's probably between 25 and 35 degrees overhung with small-ish crimpers. It is only four moves to the hold that marks the end of the business and the crux comes at move two. The whole problem pretty much revolves around that one move. Here's the play by play: Pull off the ground with a chest height right hand crimper and a low left hand crimp. You have a good left foot and little for your right. The first move is a fairly simple lock-off to a small crimp/pinch with your left hand, then the crux comes. The move is a very hard and low percentage dead-point bump to a two finger edge. Then come in right hand to a knobby crimp, set your feet higher and jump to a slopey jug. After that all that stands between you and the summit of the boulder is an easy top out. I was able to make pretty quick work of Zenith (sub 1 hour). The problem seemed to fit my style extremely well! Having good two finger contact strength for the crux bump was what really what made it doable! Sending this problem was my ultimate goal for the trip, which is why I waited for the perfect day. The fast send was a combination of everything going perfectly right. For the move it was all about having everything click; hitting the hold correctly, having the left foot stay, pushing with the right foot in the right spot and direction, and keeping the core tension. The day also clicked in general; we had perfect conditions, the rock was in the shade, and I've been feeling strong lately. Without all of these things working in perfect conjunction with one another who knows how it might have been different. Alex came close to sending as well, but couldn't quite stick the bump move. He also split a tip early on the problem. We also put some attempts into the Pedestal Project. The very slopey right hand crimp felt crisp at first and I really felt like I could send that too! However, that wasn't the case as the hold began to feel just a little bit worse...maybe next trip! The rest of our day was uneventful send wise, but very eventful in another way. We hit up Homewrecker sit (V12), but moved on quickly because of how sharp the problem was. Alex was psyched to give Kamikaze (V10) some burns, so that was our next and final stop. I repeated it and showed him the beta. Then the unthinkable happened...Alex BLASTED off the sharp right hand crimp and tore his entire tip off!! Blood was just dripping out of his finger and with that our day was over. Then to top the day off my car got a flat tire on the way home, and I got to teach Alex how to change a tire! Enjoy the video above and the pictures below!!















Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kratos

So, after finishing off Black Crack last thursday I set my sites on my other main project, Kratos (V12). Yesterday I headed out after the mini snow storm to give it a whirl...but due to a soaking wet lip hold I exploded off the top and backslapped onto the pads! It was quite the epic fall (punt) and I was psyched to get it on film! So psyched even that I made a Kratos fail video with the fall in super slow mo (fail vid is on the video archive page). Disappointed, yet super stoked on how strong I felt on Kratos, I cleaned the snow from the top of the boulder in hopes that it would dry out for today. When I arrived today I found the hold was totally dry! A little chalk and brush action and she was ready to go! This was much to my satisfaction and aided in getting me psyched to try hard because I had woken up tired and sore from the previous day, but knew I'd regret it if I didn't go out there and try to put the rig down. Which is just what I ended up doing! It was chilly (27 degrees) and cloudy when I arrived today which made my warm up slow and hard. Luckily, the sun started to poke out from behind the clouds and gave my fingers that little bit of warmth they needed to perform on the super crimpy test piece. Then, five or ten minutes after the send the lip hold was dripping water again from snow melt! I'd say I had pretty perfect timing! All in all I probably put about 7 sessions (none lasting more than a half hour due to skin loss) of work into Kratos and this time I could not contain my excitement upon reaching the top. I was and am PSYCHED! Check out the send....



Thursday, January 24, 2013

The new New


First off, I could write about the bouldering in the NRG for a very long time. So, I am going to keep this post short and let the 10+ min of gorge bouldering development and 13 pictures speak for me. I was on a climbing mission these trips, not a filming one, so the video I did capture is simple. I also managed to not get some of the better climbs I tried on film due to darkness or just wanting to move to the next new boulder. Anyway...I visited the New twice this past fall for bouldering trips. And yes, the bouldering at the New is amazing! The rock is as good as anywhere else in the Southeast. Perfect sandstone. The first trip I took this fall did not gift me with great temps. It was in the mid 60's the days I was climbing, however I got to see a small portion the mainly undeveloped New River Dries and was psyched!  Zak Roper and I ran around portions of new boulder field like kids in a candy shop! Since it was quite hot climbing on the smooth riverbed boulders we focused our attention on putting up a bunch of moderates, which is exactly what we did! I think I came away from this trip with about 10 first ascents, most of which were great lines! My three favorites from the trip were Flesh Cycle (V9 fa video above), The Watchman's Post (30 ft. V1 arete fa), and Simply Orange (V8 fa). The second trip later in the year had better temps..but still not amazing (high 40's). On this trip I was able to focus on some harder lines, and managed to add Judah (V10) and Sampson (V7) to an amazing sandstone roof. Alex Brown was along for this trip and he made an impressive flash first ascent of David and Goliath (V9) on the same roof. Sadly, it was dark for the send of Judah and the next day we had a huge crew under the roof, so I did not get any footage of the climbs. I only have a few pictures of the roof to share, but I will for sure be getting some video of the above mentioned on my next trip to the New! This is partially because the roof is right along the hike into what I really want to go back for...the CSX Project (pics below and it's the last clip in the video below). This thing is an amazing 45 degree power-endurance fest on beautiful bright orange sandstone!! The thugy intro moves lead to a crux at the end involving a hard dead-point to a small crimp, then a big move to the jug around the lip. And a tricky mantle tops it all off. It will be another world class double digit boulder for the New! (another being Master of Manipulation, video is below) To the left of the proj. I added a fun and thugy V7 arete called Rap Attack (pic below). Well that's it in a nutshell, enjoy the video and pictures of some new New and get psyched!!



Micah under the CSX Proj
Micah on CSX
Judah (right line) and David and Goliath (left line)
Amazing double digit arete project

Simply Orange 

The Dries

Rap Attack
Another amazing arete (V4)
The Watchman's Post

Not sure what Zak named this one...V9
CSX again
...and again
another view of that amazing arete project

Black Crack

One of my projects most forward in my mind the last few months has been Black Crack (V12). I came relatively close to sending before Christmas break, then had to take a month off of it because I was up north. When I returned south, Boone was hit with a week long rain storm so training at the gym was the only possible thing to do. The first time I got to try Black Crack again was Monday and I felt terrible! Total regression on the problem, although I am feeling stronger than ever. So, perhaps that bad day had something to do with my two previous days of climbing (lost cove circuit and attempting Swisher Swervin')? I think so. I gave my body a much needed rest day and headed back out again on Wednesday. The weather was prime and I felt pretty good. I had a great session and figured out some micro beta that helped me to stick the hard bump move off the shark tooth once...but then I couldn't get my feet back on the wall! So, I was forced to leave tired and sendless. However, I returned today with confidence. My body felt ready, it was in the mid 20's with a breeze and a bright sun shinning, and I got a good warm up. All this together resulted in a day flash send of Black Crack! Needless to say I was extremely excited to tick this one off, but I carried on without any celebration besides the happy thoughts in my head. That's one thing I love about climbing; there is always the next goal in your head as soon as you complete one...at least that's how I am. Here are some pictures I managed to snap....


























Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pennsylvania

A few problems caught on film

Keyhole sit project
I had free time and plans to go to the New River Gorge for the first week of my winter break from school, but unfortunately the weather did not permit me to follow through on these plans. Everywhere on the East Coast seemed to have terrible weather that week. So, I was stuck indoors in Pennsylvania training at the gyms. Then the holidays kicked in and a long-ish trip was not in the cards anymore. However, I managed to make it out to Mount Gretna two days and Governor Stables one time. Both of these places are home-town favorites for me where I have unfinished business, so I was still psyched to go out and try hard! On some I was successful, and other will have to wait for another day! The first day, Travis Gault and I tried the keyhole sit  project and the cut tree project at Gretna. On keyhole sit I was able to unlock the crux hand sequence, although the feet movements will take some time to figure out. This one felt like it was well into the double digit range, with typical Gretna holds...small and bad. When we hiked over to the cut tree project when initially thought we could possibly send that session. However, it did not go that way! There was one move that just felt impossible for me; a large dynamic move with a terrible right hand sloper pinch and a underclinging crimp to the lip. Travis on the other hand was looking strong on that move! I think he could do it with colder conditions and a little more time working the moves out! This one again is a solid double digit boulder problem that would be classic. I returned to Gretna on another day with some friends for a more relaxed day of climbing and hanging out. On this day I sent The Box (V8) and got a little media of the problem. It's a fairly short one, but a great problem. Then I hiked through the woods, getting a little bit lost along the way (a lot lost), to find and try Kinesthetic Awareness (V11). After the slightly epic hike to the boulder I found the right hand start hold and left hand crux crimp soaking wet. However, after walking the whole way up there I was determined to try. I packed the holds full of chalk and started giving it some attempts. The wet holds proved to be too much however, and I was not able to complete the problem. I'm excited to go back with drier conditions and really try to tick this one! My last day outside while up north I went to Governor Stables with amazing conditions! My first stop was Lock n' Load (V10) where I found quick success! I thought this was one of the better hard problems of GS!. Stop number two was Tim Rose's (unrepeated?) problem Number Two (V10). It has a very hard start involving two tiny gastoning crimps. Again I was able to find quick success and nabbed an ascent of problem! Super psyched with my day thus far I headed over to the problem Finish Line (V9) to wrap up my day. This one went quick as well and got slightly interesting when I reached my hand to the lip of the boulder and felt a half inch of snow! This was one of my best days climbing on diabase ever and a beautiful day in general. Bellow are some pictures and a video from my little dose of Pennsylvania winter diabase.

And now for some pictures...


The Box (V8)

The Box (V8)

Kinesthetic Awareness (V11)

Kinesthetic Awareness (V11)
fun V4