Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hueco

I'm down in Hueco right now and taking a rest day while the 2 inches of snow that fell last night melts. Yesterday I took a tour out with some of the kids from the ABC group at the Boulder Rock Club. It was inspiring to climb with those kids. They are so positive, super strong and confident, and have tons of fun. The highlight was watching Sean Rabatou climb a problem called Mangum -- V9 at age 11 and height probably just over 4 ft is super impressive.

Since I've been down here, I've been mostly just going on tours in the backcountry. My main goal is to find some new lines that are really cool. On other trips, especially last year, I was more focused on repeating established lines. This year, I'm psyched for new things. It's lots of fun to explore here. I found one line that I'm especially psyched on and have tried a bit. It's a 25ft arete with a slab that behind it at just the right distance so you can step off onto it but it doesn't get in your way when climbing. I've figured out all but one move on the problem and it has some crazy beta. I think it'll be a classic if it goes down. Here's one picture that doesn't really do it justice. If it goes, I'll probably try to get some better photos and perhaps some video.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cheating Reality Video Shoot

Yesterday I went back up to Cheating Reality with Chuck Fryberger to capture some video of my new route. I'm really psyched because I think we killed it. It's so beautiful up there and the climbing moves are so interesting that we couldn't go wrong. Still, judging from the few stills I've seen and Chuck's impression, we got some amazing stuff. I can't wait to see the whole footage.

This footage will go into a new film Chuck is making and planning to release this coming Spring (2010). It sounds like he's got lots of other sick footage so I'm sure the video will be great. He also has an amazing camera that is movie studio quality. He and I are planning to do more shooting over the next month and a half to put together a section that profiles me as a climber and as an individual. I'm psyched to be working with him. Check out his blog to see some of the other filming he's been up to: http://www.chuckfryberger.blogspot.com/

For now you'll have to do with a few single frames from the video that will come out in the Spring. It'll be worth the wait for the real deal though, I'm sure. Just check out this amazing perspective!!!



Sunday, November 29, 2009

Agonizingly Close

So I'm down from the wall now and back in Boulder. I had fun up on the route but didn't manage the send. I did come about as close as possible though.

After redpointing the lower crux on Saturday, Sandy and I hiked to the base with all our gear on Sunday and hauled everything to the top of pitch 3. Early the next morning, I lowered down and worked the crux of pitch 3 (hard 12d). Sandy came down to the belay and I redpointed the pitch first try. We broke camp and then I started up on the next pitch (12a). I had done it years ago on TR, but didn't really remember anything. I decided to go for it pseudo-onsight rather than working the moves first. It took lots of patience figuring out the route because the first section meanders a lot before you get to the crack. I pulled it off though and then did the heavy haul. Pitch 5 goes at 12b and I remembered that it was a bit tricky at the end. I didn't want to waste the energy for a solid onsight try knowing that I could blow it right at the end, so I climbed it first taking rests at every few pieces. I got to the top and lowered down. With most of the beta figured out and the gear sussed, I sent on my next try. At this point, I was a bit tired from the climbing and hauling and decided to aid the next pitch (12c) to save more energy. Once I got to the top, I lowered down and worked it on TR. By the time I got back to the top of the pitch, it was almost dark, so I decided to haul the bag and set up camp -- leaving the redpoint for the next morning.

Hiking the final load up to the base

A scary load indeed!

On Tuesday morning, I first tried some of the moves on the second crux of the route, pitch 7 (13+). This pitch is a 12c thin traverse to a really tough vertical boulder problem on tiny holds. I tried the crux moves a bit trying to remember the sequence I had figured out in the past. After a few tries, a key crystal on one of the crimps crumbled and I didn't think I could do it using the same beta. Luckily, I figured out a slightly different way that wasn't significantly harder. Confident that I had a sequence, I came back to the bivy and lowered down to prepare for a redpoint of the lower pitch. To my surprise, the crack had seeped over night and was unclimbable. So instead, I headed back out the traverse of pitch 7 to try to understand the crux moves even more. After a few tries, the sun came around the corner and I was forced to quit. The rest of the day was mostly spent chilling on the portaledge. At the end of the day, Sandy and I lowered to the bottom of pitch 6 and I redpointed it.

Not much for the hands and tiny feet on the 12c section of pitch 7

Spending a rest day in style

My hope was to redpoint the next pitch Wednesday morning and make it to the final collection of hard pitches that evening. I was confident that I could do the rest of the climb if I could complete pitch 7 because everything else was 5.12 and below except for one 13a bouldery crux move which I had done in the past. Early in the morning, I gave a go at pitch 7. I climbed through the 12c, which was a harsh warmup, and then rested at a no-hands stance for a bit. Then I launched into the crux. I got near the end, but my hand popped off the crimp as I was preparing for the finish moves. I suspected that I crumbled a little part of the crimp, but wasn't completely sure. I tried the move a few times to make sure I could still do it the same way. Then I gave another try, but things went wrong. The moves are so technical and require such a high degree of precision that it's so easy for something little to go wrong. On my third try, I found myself staring down the final hold before things get easier. I only had the crimp with two fingers and the foot I was standing felt bad. I had to make a quick decision: go for the hold now, or try to get things in better position first. I chose to go for the hold and slapped the edge of it just as everything popped off. Unfortunately, I didn't stick it. I couldn't believe how close I had been and kept questioning if I made the right decision. When I got back to the belay, I realized that this attempt had left me with a blood blister at the top of my pointer finger and middle finger on the hand that holds the key crimp. Not good... I drained the blisters and gave one more attempt for the day but didn't come as close. I spent the rest of the day again sitting on the portaledge and making sure the blisters didn't fill back up. I figured I could give another good go the next morning.

My fingers after draining the blood blisters

On Thursday morning, I gave a few more tries but didn't come as close as the previous day. Hindered by bad skin and tired muscles, things just didn't feel as good. I could still do the crux in two overlapping sections, but it just wasn't clicking. I conceded for the day and then had to make the hard decision to go down. It was difficult because I knew I could do this move as well as the rest of the route and I had worked hard to get to this point. Still, the forecast for the next days was grimmer calling for higher winds and perhaps a snow storm. Additionally, I needed to be back in Boulder by Sunday. If the weather had been perfect, I probably would have had enough provisions to wait another day at this point and still climb the rest of the wall. It just wasn't right though and my psyche and confidence had faded.

I really wanted to succeed on the route, but I guess I'll just have to come back to it. Here's a photo of pitch 7 that will hopefully inspire me to get back soon. Can't deny that it is a beautiful place to climb. I just hope more holds don't break before my next attempt.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Surprise

So I had a pleasant surprise yesterday. I redpointed the first pitch which is a tough 12c for the first time. Then I started out on the second pitch. It was definitely a bit colder and there were some clouds which shaded the wall at times. Conditions felt better, but still not perfect. I was planning to try to link into the crux dyno to see how it felt from the start. I wasn't really serious about redpointing the pitch because I knew there was a move past the crux that I hadn't remembered how to do on my previous attempt. I did the first two cruxes and then pulled the last crux that leads to a good pod before the dyno. I rested at the pod for a while and then set up into the small crimps and bad feet that you jump from. Everything felt pretty good so I lunged to the left and to my surprise, stuck the hold. All of a sudden, I realized that I could redpoint the pitch right then. I was worried and nervous about the moves ahead which were still a bit unfamiliar. I took my time though, milked the rests, and somehow made it to the better slopey holds at the end of the pitch. At this point, I wanted to get to the end so badly that all technique went out the window and I grovelled my way to the jugs at the top of the pitch. I was so surprised that it was hard to believe that I had just done it. I really wasn't expecting this. I thought maybe I would have a chance in the morning shade when conditions were better, but in the afternoon sun? I guess things just came together well and I got a little lucky.

After a little rest, I went up on the third pitch (12d) to refresh the sequence. I came back down and prepared for a redpoint. I made it through the first half of the pitch just as dusk rolled in and as I rested at a good stance in the middle, everything became dark. I switched on my headlamp and gave a go at the crux section of the pitch. Only a few moves in, I was doing a technical foot move and couldn't see or feel the foot hold I was supposed to use. My other foot slipped and I was off. I gave up for the evening and came down to the valley floor to collect all the gear for spending a bunch of days on the wall.

I'm heading up there today soon and will haul all my gear up and spend tonight on the wall. Tomorrow morning, I'll give the third pitch another go and hopefully send first go. Then I'll try to climb the next three pitches (12a, 12b, 12c) and set up bivy before pitch 7 -- the next major 13+ crux. From there it all depends on how I feel and whether or not luck favors me. Hopefully I can sneak out a redpoint of pitch 7 on the next morning and then cruise up to the final cruxes on the route. I'll have enough gear to spend about 5 days up there so hopefully I can get it done. It'll definitely be tough though.

Here's the video of me climbing Midnight Lightning V8 a few days ago. It's not the best quality and is a bit squat for some reason, but no time to fix it now, got to get on the wall. Psyched!


Midnight Lightning from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yosemite Update

I've been in Yosemite for about a week now and the weather has been amazing. In fact, it's been so nice that it's been a bit too warm on Lurking Fear. I've worked the crux pitch three days now and am trying it again this afternoon. On the first day, I spent most of my time searching the rock for the minute holds on the crux 2nd pitch. I figured out most of the moves, but left some for later. My second day up there was pretty much a wash. I went up pretty early in the morning hoping that the route would still be in the shade because it's on the west side of El Cap. Unfortunately, the route is in the sun all day long this time of year because the sun is so low. I tried some of the moves on the crux pitch, but it was so hot that I was worried I'd slice my fingers to shreds. So I came down and did a bit of bouldering instead. The bouldering conditions were so amazing that I started wondering if I was doing the wrong thing focussing on a bigwall route. On my third day on the route, I came up late planning to do most of my climbing after dark -- strange to be doing that in November in Yosemite. I made progress on the crux pitch doing some long links and coming close to sticking the crux sideways dyno. The dyno is a bit harder now because a key hold that you used to dyno from broke. It still goes though and probably isn't too much harder. Hopefully today I'll get more links and stick the crux move a few times.

On Sunday, I'll head up there, haul the first three pitches and stay the night at the base. Then Monday morning, I'll have a last ditch effort at redpointing the crux pitch. I'm not too optimistic that it will go because the climbing is very technical and delicate and it's easy to make a mistake. Plus it will be difficult to keep my skin good and my feet from hurting throughout the whole pitch. Even if I don't redpoint the second pitch, I'll still climb the rest of the route and try to do most everything else free. If I do manage to pull off the 2nd pitch, I'll still have lots of hard climbing to the summit including the other crux pitch which could prove to be more desperate (though it is shorter). In either case, it should be a fun outing and the weather looks perfect.

I'm psyched.

Unfortunately, I don't have any interesting photos from the wall. I have a short low-quality video of me repeating Midnight Lightning that I'll try to put up tomorrow before I get on the wall.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yosemite Bound... I hope

So my next big plan is a trip to Yosemite for the last two weeks of November. I'm really psyched to have a go at freeing Lurking Fear, a 20 pitch 13+ route on the left side of El Cap. Unfortunately, the weather there is pretty unpredictable this time of year. If it looks like a storm system is passing through around then, I'll have to abandon my plans and head to Bishop or some other place. I'll be going with my girlfriend Sandy and this will be our first wall together.

I've climbed the route in its entirety twice (both one-day ascents). I've also spent some time working the free pitches and had the first 6 pitches fixed for a bit. The main difficulty boils down to two sections: a hard slab pitch early on with a crazy sideways dyno and the 7th pitch which has a very hard technical boulder problem at the end of the traverse. The rest of the climb is mostly 5.12 and below, though there may be one or two other 5.13- pitches. I've done all the moves on the route so I think I have a chance of sending if the weather cooperates. Either way, the climbing up there is really high quality so I'm guaranteed to have fun.

I really need to start climbing more routes if I want to be in the correct shape for this climb. Not that two weeks is really enough time to get fully in shape. All in all though I feel in good shape so I'm not too concerned about training.


Lurking Fear is the left most route in this picture

Check out this really cool site (unfortunately you can't see the route because it is around the left edge of the wall):

http://www.yosemite-17-gigapixels.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Celebration

DISCLAIMER: If you are only interested in my climbing exploits, read no further.

Tonight I had a celebration dinner for my ascent of Cheating Reality. I'm mainly writing this post to give props to my super good friend Noah because he hooked me up with an amazing bottle of wine as a celebration gift. This bottle, Caymus 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, is currently one of his favorites... and now is one of mine. Thanks Noah.


Noah Kaufman

Inspired by this good wine, I wanted to cook a meal that was worthy to be shared with the wine. If you don't know already, cooking is one of my hobbies. I decided to do Filet Mignon stuffed with a wild mushroom pate drizzled with a red wine reduction. I served brocollini on the side to give a freshness to balance the meal. All told it came out great. The wine was phenomenal --- extremely chewy with strong berry tastes mixed with mocha at the front, powerful tangy tannins in the middle and a smooth long lasting finish. Really enjoyable! The meat was local Colorado beef and was amazing. My best bit came late in the dish when I was hit with the acidity of the reduction quickly followed by the rich creamyness of the pate and then the full flavor and texture of the beef. A great meal to celebrate a great climb. Below are two photos of the meal.

Hope you don't mind the non-climbing / personal post.

-Matt


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheating Reality

Yesterday I completed a project that I'd been working on all fall. This is the one I mentioned in the previous post.

This line is amazing! I'm so psyched to have completed the first ascent.

The route climbs the North Face of the Devil's Thumb in the Boulder Flatirons. For those of you familiar with the Flatirons, this is the incredible overhanging face that is visible from most places in town. The Devil's Thumb feature protrudes from the ridge at an angle creating a dramatic big overhanging face on the uphill side. The route had been done partially as an aid route many years ago. There was some fixed gear leading to two old 1/4 inch bolts about 2/3 up the wall. Nothing else on this overhang has even been attempted.


Devil's Thumb
(my route is just around the corner from the left arete)

The route involves face climbing to a obtuse technical corner with a thin seam. This seam ends at the old aid anchor. From here there is a blank bulging wall that leads to a slightly overhanging headwall. The bulge has one crimp that is used to generate an improbable leftward dyno to a sloper at the top of the bulge. Stuck in an iron cross compression between the sloper and the crimp, I have to swing my feet up high and left to hook a jug that allows me to pull my body farther left to grab better holds. There is a decent rest here and then a final powerful and crimpy boulder problem section. In classic form, the route ends with a mantle onto the slab that leads to the summit of the formation.

Though the route had some fixed gear, I decided to lead it completely on natural protection. This made the route a bit scarier, but also more clean. The first section (up to the end of the aid route) requires some 5.12a R (maybe R/X) climbing in the first 40ft. Then the gear gets better. The route's crux move is well protected by two adjacent pieces. After the crux you get some gear before embarking on the headwall but it's a bit marginal. The final headwall crux (which is about V7) is done with your feet about 5ft above the marginal gear which is about 7ft above the good gear --- definitely a bit scary. Because of the inherent danger, I decided to take a headpointing approach to this route. Prior to my ascent I did it twice on TR and did it in overlapping sections other times. I also had one lead attempt where I fell at the crux because a foot hold crumbled a bit.

I decided to call the route "Cheating Reality" for several reasons. First, I knew that any play on "Devil's Thumb" would inevitably be cheesy. Second, the crux dyno move seems impossible at first and when you finally stick it for the first time, you feel like you've cheated reality. Third, the gear was a bit scary and by not falling on the route, you are cheating reality. And finally because I feel like I have cheated reality by getting to do the first ascent of this amazing feature right outside of Boulder, the climbing capital of the US.

As for the grade, I'm suggesting 5.14a R. It's difficult to rate a route like this because it's bouldery and heady, so it'll be nice to get other opinions down the line. The climbing stacks up like this. 5.12a R climbing to a good jug rest. Then a 10ft. technical 12b/c section leads to good jugs but bad feet. This position is good enough to stop for a while to place gear and compose yourself, but is taxing enough that you can't treat it as the kind of rest you camp out at (at least I can't with my endurance). Then you launch into the crux which is really a five move sequence. As a boulder problem this feels like V10. After the crux you get a decent rest where you can relax a bit and prepare for the end section, though again, you can't stay there for ever. The final moves take you to a big undercling and then a small right hand crimp. From this crimp you have to dyno left to the slopey arete/lip of the wall. You climb up a few moves and then mantle over. This final headwall is probably about V7 (maybe V8) with most of the difficulty focussed on the move to the lip.

The rock quality on this route is for the most part really good and the climbing is varied (intricate, technical corner moves mixed with thuggy dynos on crimps and slopers). The location of the Thumb is extraordinary and the bottom of the route has a perfect flat rock to chill at. All in all this is a world class route. The bouldery nature of the climb appeals to me though others who prefer more consistent routes will probably find it a fault. I think it will be a Front Range classic for sure and I'm hoping that others will go out and try it. Don't let the 1h 15min hike deter you --- it is totally worth it.

For this ascent I had a webbing anchor hanging from gear at the top of the route. I'm planning to put in an application to replace the existing anchor (including moving it to the top of the route). I'm also planning to remove the fixed gear on the route which I feel is unecessary including: 1 head, one knifeblade, two old 1/4 inch bolts, and one 1/4 bolt without a hanger. If anyone knows who put this gear in and how to get in touch with them, I'd like that info. It would be nice to get his/her opinion before changing the route. Though removing this gear will make the route more dangerous, it will also make it more pure. The route can be done without any fixed gear so it seems to me that it should always be done that way. Ultimately, the real difficulty in the route comes above the old aid anchors where the only choice was natural gear (given the current Flatirons bolting restrictions). Since that is the style up there, I think it should also be the style down below. Finally, it's my impression that the former aid route has had very little attention over the years and so very few people will be affected by the change. In fact, it will still be aidable though perhaps a bit more spicy.

Here are some photos that Andy Mann shot of me on the route. These are outtakes. Hopefully you'll see some of the best images in print somewhere. I'm also hoping to capture some video of the route soon. I think video will truly do the line and the feature justice.


Working the crux on TR
(this view doesn't show the angle of the wall well)



The rest just after the crux


Climbing the seam in the corner

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Short Trip

Hello everyone in internetlandia. I've been consumed with school work since my trip to Canada and haven't had many interesting things happening on the climbing front. That said, I'm hoping that things will start picking up even though October is going to be a busy month for me.

Most of the climbing I've been doing is on a trad project around Boulder. I'm really psyched on the route and hopefully it will go down soon. I've done it on TR twice and have come close to a redpoint. The lead is a bit heady so I've only had one go on it. Right now the weather is terrible in Boulder so it doesn't look like I'll be able to get back on it soon. Hopefully things will clear up next week and I'll get out there and fire it. I'll definitely post more info when I do it. In the mean time, I've been just climbing a bit indoors and around to stay in shape.

Last weekend I took a trip to Moab, UT and had a great time. It was really nice to be in the desert and the weather was perfect for climbing. I went out there with my girlfriend Sandy and met up with some other friends there. On Saturday we climbed in Indian Creek at the Reservoir wall. This was my first time to this cool crag. The highlight of the day for me was climbing Less Than Zero 13-. Often I get a bit bored with the monotony of Indian Creek splitters, but this climb was super varied. Most of the the hard parts involved off balance liebacking on changing corners. I hung my way up the route on my first go, worked some sections on TR on my second go and led it clean on my third go. At the end of the day I did the classic Slot Machine 11+ which is tight hands and hands in a acute corner forever. The line is super aesthetic, but definitely on the repetitive side.

After a day in Indian Creek, Sandy and I took off to Mill Creek for a change of scenery. I'd never climbed there and so was super excited. The routes are on the short side and tend to be bouldery. It was pretty cold when we started the day but then conditions became perfect. I climbed Sinister 12c as a final warmup and then tried The Bleeding 14a. This climb was really cool and I did all the moves except a hand switch and a foot movement. It felt like it could go with some more effort, but not in the one day I had. At the end of the day I tried Tiki Man 13c and surprised myself doing it second try. That climb is really fun and I highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in Mill Creek.

Unfortunately I don't have any climbing photos or video but here are a few photos from the trip.

Weather coming into Indian Creek on the day we left.


Sandy fixing some breakfast before leaving for Mill Creek.


Beautiful camp site near Mill Creek


The aspens were beautiful at 8000ft. this time of year.


Definitely a pretty area.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Path Video

Here's the video. The goal in making this was to document the whole climb. As a result, it's not quite as action packed as the modern climbing films that usually just give a general impression of routes. Unfortunately the raw footage is not the best -- the lighting conditions were bad, the filming angles were difficult, and there was lots of background noise. Anyway, I did my best to edit something together that shows what the climb is about. I think the side and back angles don't do justice to the steepness of the climb, but hopefully the top down footage tells that story.

Hope you enjoy.

The Path from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Path video on the way


I'm editing the footage I have of me on the Path and will try to post it later tonight. I'm leaving for a week trip where I'll be away from internet access so I want to get it out before then. Until later, here's a still from the video footage. This is the crux move.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Path Experience

The Path climbs up the center of a steep, tall, intimidating wall at the back of the lake crag at Lake Louise. It was established by Sonnie Trotter 2 years ago in traditional style and was given 5.14 R. It has seen one repeat by Ethan Pringle last year. The gear is sparse and small, but the falls are mostly clean. The wall is covered with beautiful streaks and the climbing follows perfect well-spaced edges. There are several hard sections throughout the route with some ok rests between. The crux moves come near the end when you're quite tired. The route tackles the wall above an existing 5.11a sport route.

As you can see in the next two photos, Lake Louise is an idyllic location. Unfortunately many people know this and so it's also very touristy. The back of the lake crag can be seen in the first photo... at, well, the back of the lake. The lake is truly this color too, no fancy photoshopping here.



The next photo gives a route overview of the route though the scale and angle of the wall is a bit distorted. The whole length of the climb (from the ledge at the top of the 5.11a pitch) is about 70ft, 60 of which you can see in this picture. The gear labeled on this photo is all the gear I used for the whole climb. There were one or two other potential placements, but they wouldn't have changed the runouts much. At the ledge below the bottom of the photo, I placed two equalized pieces as well.


Here's a photo of me on the opening moves just before the first piece of gear. This is probably the most dangerous move on the route because you are far from your last piece and could actually hit the ledge if you fell. All other falls should be clean. My right hand is on a small slopey crimper and I'm about to stab into a good horizontal crack.


In approaching this route, I decided to do a few things different than Sonnie and Ethan. Both of these guys essentially soloed the 5.11a sport route to get to the ledge at the base of the main face. In a way this makes sense because then you are climbing the center of the wall from bottom to top. I was more psyched however to climb the 5.6 corner about 8ft. to the left that also led to the same ledge. I soloed this corner and then placed two pieces equalized at the ledge. You can just barely see that gear at the bottom of the photo above. You can also see a rope threaded through the anchors at the top of the 11a. The main reason I decided to take this approach is that I was having a hard time getting myself psyched to go for the route knowing that I would have to solo the 11a each time. I don't think it really changes the difficulty of the route because you get a no-hands rest at the ledge before the upper headwall. The upper part of the route is what really inspired me so I chose to make that the sole focus by just climbing the 5.6 to get to the start.

The other thing I did differently is that I climbed a slightly new way at the very end of the route. The crux moves are a sequence of hard leftward traversing moves on slopey crimps. They lead you to a good lieback hold where you can get back some of your strength. From here, Sonnie and Ethan climbed straight up to a jug at the top of the face where you can clip a set of anchors. The rock quality in this section seemed a bit dubious to me. There were several blocks that seemed to be just sitting on the little ledges. The first time I set up on that anchor, I nearly knocked a huge block on my belayer that could have been fatal. I think that experience spooked me a bit and made me less psyched to climb through that section. Then I realized there was a way to climb back to the right and finish straight up the end of a black streak to an anchor slightly to the right. I got psyched on this finish because the rock seemed more solid and also because at the end you can actually mantle onto the slab for the full no-hands rest. So when I sent the route, I took this right finish variation. The moves on both variations are roughly the same difficulty so I don't think this changes the full difficulty of the route at all.

All in all, I was really psyched on the ascent. It was a difficulty challenge to get myself to the point of redpointing this route. At first I was very intimidated by the wall and hesitant to take on such a big project. As I got to know the moves better on TR, I realized that I was physically able to do the climb. Then it took a while to wrap my head around actually going for it. I spent 4 days trying it on TR. Then I had two days where I tried it on lead once per day. The first day, I just went piece to piece to familiarize myself with being on the sharp end. The second day I gave a full redpoint attempt and nearly sent, but popped off the last hard move and took a 35ft. whipper onto a gray Metolius master cam. Exciting! On the 7th day I sent on my first try. All in all, I probably took about 7 TR and 3 lead burns. Because the route is so long and involved, I couldn't try it much each day. As for a grade, I think probably 14a or 14b -- with an R for a danger rating.

It was a great experience and a great culmination to my month long trip in the Canadian Rockies. I'm resting today and will give one more attempt at Existence Mundane 14b tomorrow before I leave to head back to Boulder. I tried the route yesterday and linked through the lower crux twice. I definitely feel close so hopefully the stars will line up and I'll get to eat my cake too.

Thanks and props to you for reading this far down on quite a long-winded post.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I Found The Path!

Yesterday evening I sent the Path, a 14a trad route at Lake Louise. I had put a bunch of days into the climb and was super excited to send. I'll post more info and video soon, but right now I'm heading up to Acephale to get back on my projects there.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Canada Climbing

It's been pretty uneventful since my last post. I'm still up in the Canmore area. I climbed the 13c I was trying (Army Ants) but haven't really done anything else.

I was up at Lake Louise for the past three days and I tried the Path again. This was exciting because I figured out the rest of the moves and had some good links on TR. I'm definitely more psyched about the climb now and am committed to doing it. I'll probably start giving lead attempts the next day I try it. It's definitely going to be a bit scary so it make take some tries to get my head in the right space to be fully going for it. I think it should be mostly safe though. Hopefully the weather cooperates. It's hot right now and then it looks like it will rain a bunch soon. I'm worried that the Path will not dry quickly -- it has many black streaks that are obviously from water running down the face. I have a week to two weeks left here so perhaps I'll get some good conditions.

Today I'm heading up to Acephale and will try Existence Mundane some. I've done the lower crux move a few times now, but I still need to get it more solid if I'm going to link through it from the bottom.

Since I don't have any media from this trip, I thought I'd post some footage I have from a weekend trip I made to Colorado Springs this May. I bouldered two days and got some decent footage. The first day was at a place called Thunder. The rock there was amazing -- some of the best stone for bouldering anywhere. Unfortunately there weren't tons of problems. There was one big boulder with a bad drop off landing that had an inspiring arete with a bit of chalk. I got psyched to do this and then I got psyched to climb a line to the right which I think was an FA. Here's video of those two problems.

Thunder Bouldering, CO Springs from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Hiatus

Ok, so here's the deal. I climbed a lot this spring and in the process probably neglected my PhD work a bit. When I got back from Rumney, I really needed to kick into gear with this work so I put climbing on the shelf. I did make it up to Mt. Evans a few times, but the weather didn't cooperate too well. Mostly I just worked. My motivation for school work was helped by the warm rainy early summer weather we had in Boulder. I also spent a bunch of my time working on house projects. Part of the drive to get all these things done came from my plans to be on a climbing trip all of July which is what I'm doing now.

I've been up in the Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise area of Alberta climbing routes. I've been here for about a week and a half now. So far the trip has been relatively uneventful so I haven't felt the need to rush to get something posted here. Also I don't have any media to share which I usually like to include. It's hard to get photos and video when you are climbing routes mostly with one partner. Maybe I'll get something before the end of the trip.

I had three major goals for this trip. First, have fun and see a beautiful part of North America that is new to me. Second, check out The Path, a 14a trad route at Lake Louise. And third, do more sport climbing and increase my fitness. I don't really do lots of sport climbing so I thought it would be fun to do some on this trip and push myself on some hard routes.

So far the trip has been a success on all points though I haven't completed any climbs of significance. I tried The Path two days and figured out some beta. I'll probably go back soon and work it some more. I'm not sure if I'll commit to going for the redpoint. The route is really long and the setup is pretty involved. Redpoint attempts will be challenging so I'll probably only try to redpoint if I think I have a high probability of success in a few tries. I'm always wary of taking on a project that could just consume the trip. I felt this way about trying the Cobra Crack last summer though that seemed much harder than The Path.

The sport climbing has been great so far. I've mostly been climbing at a crag called Acephale. It's really stacked with hard routes. My main objective is Existence Mundane 14b. I've tried this route two days now and feel somewhat close. I haven't quite done the crux move, but it comes early and I feel that if I figure out how to do it I'll have a decent chance of redpointing. I've tried a few other routes and am looking forward to giving another redpoint burn on Army Ants 13c. I got on the route twice yesterday and came close on my second go. I'm definitely still just trying to improve my fitness. After not climbing too much, I needed some time to get back into things. Hopefully my next two weeks will be fruitful and I'll have some good news to post here. Sorry again about the lapse in posts.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Yesterday evening I flew back to Boulder. I was very fortunate to have perfect conditions on Monday. Originally I was going to wait till the evening so it was out of the sun, but the weather midday was cloudy and about 55 degrees with a decent breeze. I decided these would probably be the best conditions and so I started warming up around 10am in the boulders. Every so often the sun would poke through and I would get anxious -- worrying that I might miss the perfect conditions, but the weather held through my whole warm up. Once I felt loose and ready to pull on small holds, I headed straight to the Fly. A friend of mine from Boston, AJ, was up at the crag and I was able to get a catch from him after setting up the rope. It was great to pull onto the climb with tough skin that I knew wouldn't slide. I actually messed up the first few moves and even slightly changed my beta on the fly (pardon the pun). Nevertheless, I found myself at my highpoint and this time the toothy gaston actually felt pretty good -- my fingers stayed in place easily instead of sliding down the slope of the hold and I made the cross through move without trouble. I felt strong on the next move and pushed through to the end though slightly nervous about the final moves even though I had done them many times. I was super psyched to do it first try of the day and to have my primary objective for the trip completed. Here is video of the send.

The Fly Send from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.



After doing the Fly, I decided to try Cyberblock 13d because someone else was also trying it. They suggested that I try to flash it and I figured why not. The crux is close to the ground and the whole route is relatively short. I went for it and sent first try even though I was climbing very rigid and not relaxed on the upper section. Next I climbed a cool arete route called But Bongo Fiesta 13a. I was close to doing this climb many years ago when I wasn't really a 5.13 climber but never sent. It was fun to do the route.

After these climbs, my friend Phil showed up and tried the Fly a bit (for his warmup). Then we went down to Supernova 14b and he gave me the beta spray-down. I tried the climb and did all the moves but decided not to try any redpoint burns because I felt that I could hurt my shoulder on the crux move.

So we headed down to the Monsters of the Id crag and Phil did Parallel Universe 14a on his second try. I got back on it and figured out a good sequence for the upper part. I did a link from the end of the first boulder problem to the end of the climb and then called it a day.

Yesterday I went back out to the Id, but I was pretty sore from the previous day. I warmed up and then gave Parallel one redpoint burn and fell on the last move. I knew I could do the route but was unmotivated to try again so I stopped climbing, happy with the success of my trip.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rumney Update

Today I'm hanging out at the Manchester airport. I got a ride here this morning from some other people staying in the campground and am waiting here till later when I'll rent a car and drive back to Rumney. I'm waiting to avoid an extra day charge on the rental. Plus there is internet here and power.

I tried the Fly two days ago and felt even better. I got the same highpoint but felt more solid getting there. I also did the final move three times. All this was pretty good considering it was a bit warm and humid. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and dry so I'm hoping to put it all together. My skin should be mostly recovered and hopefully won't slide as much on the holds. I'm psyched. If it goes down, I might try Parallel Universe 14a a bit. I tried it once yesterday and did most of the moves. It's a cool climb that would be fun to do.

Here's a video clip of my best attempt of the Fly on my first day.

The Fly 14d (attempt) from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rumney Day 1

Yesterday I tried the Fly and it went well. I remembered most of the subtleties of the beta and had a link that was as good as my best attempt in the fall. I have video but it's too slow to upload on this connection. I'll try to post it later. It's raining now and I'm resting. Tomorrow should be good though so I'll get back out on it and hopefully will send.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Off to Rumney

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've got some stuff to put up, but haven't gotten around to it.

I'm heading to Rumney tomorrow and will be there for a week. My main goal is The Fly 14d. I tried it last fall and came very close so I'm hoping it will go down this trip. I probably won't get much internet when there but should have some news and media to post when I get back.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hueco Video on Momentum VM

After my February trip to Hueco I edited together a video piece on my trip. It's taken a while, but it's finally up on Momentum Video Magazine. Check it out. It is my first major editing project and I was pretty psyched with how it turned out. In it I climb Diabolic and Terre de Sienne. I also show footage of Andre DiFelice climbing Algerita. Last night's showing of Rocky Mountain Highball was awesome - you should all pick up the DVD when it comes out.

Monday, April 27, 2009

RMHB Premiere Today!

Hey Front Rangers. Don't forget to hit up the Boulder Theater tonight for the premiere of Rocky Mountain Highball. Doors open at 7pm. Click here for more info.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cache la Poudre

Yesterday I finally made my first venture to Poudre Canyon. I have been intrigued by the bouldering there since I moved to Colorado but never made the trip because of the long drive and the relative lack of information. It was nice to finally see some of the boulder problems I had heard about.

I was most psyched on Circadian Rhythm V13 and spent most of my time trying it. At first the moves seemed desperate and the holds were way more slopey than I was imagining when I saw video footage of the problem. Things started going better after I felt more warmed up. Eventually, I figured out all the moves and had one or two good links. The challenge in this problem definitely seems to be linking all the moves together because each one requires lots of tension and power - and these things will drain quickly. I never managed to stick the second move from the start, but I think I'll have a decent chance of doing the problem once I can manage that. I'm definitely psyched to get back on it again soon. Here are two picture of me trying this problem. Below is a picture of I took of my girlfriend Sandy on Scarface V6. (Sandy took the two pics of me).




Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rocky Mountain Highball

This coming Monday (the 27th) is the premier of Rocky Mountain Highball at the Boulder Theater. It's going to be a great film so I highly recommend going if you're in or around Boulder. I'm in the film too. There should be a clip of me climbing Firstborn - the V11 arete I put up in the Flatirons this winter.


Here's the relevant info:

Yama Studio and The American Alpine Club present ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGHBALL.

“Rocky Mountain Highball” is a new climbing film that presents an in depth look into why some climbers push themselves to boulder at the vertical limit. The film documents the many facets of bouldering by interweaving numerous classic climbs in Colorado with interview footage from the leading figures of the climbing world.

Director/Filmmaker Scott Neel, and Yama Studio have brought in a huge cast of world renowned climbers, like Paul Robinson, Mark Wilford, Kevin Jorgeson, Lynn Hill, Daniel Woods, John Sherman, John Gill, Steve Mammen, and Jason Kehl. Having filmed more than 70 climbs with more than 35 athletes, this film proves to be an exciting journey through the world of highball bouldering.

Pre-sale tickets are on sale now at The Boulder Rock Club and The Spot Bouldering Gym for $12. Tickets are $14 at the door and also available at www.BoulderTheater.com. Here is a direct link to the page - http://bouldertheater.com/event_detail.php?id=1067

Please visit www.RockyMountainHighball.com for more info, the official trailer, and interactive cast line-up.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ads on my blog

I thought I'd add google ads to my blog to see if I can generate any worthwhile income. Hopefully they don't bother you too much. Support a poor climber / grad student and check out an ad link if it looks interesting.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Black Lung Video

Here's a video of my attempts and send of Black Lung in Joe's Valley. This is really a great problem, hopefully the video does it justice and gets some psych to everyone.

I forgot to mention it, but La Sportiva has a little article that I wrote about my trip to Joe's on their LIVE website. Check it out at this site under the "Crown Jewel" section:

http://www.sportiva.com/live/


Black Lung Main from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Iron Monkey Update

Well I've been on Iron Monkey three days since my last post. The first day like many days before was pretty pathetic. I wasn't able to do the dyno move and generally felt pretty weak on those holds.

I spent most of the second day trying crazy different beta for the crux move trying to avoid the dyno. I do this every so often when I'm really frustrated with trying the dyno beta. I had a few sequences that could be possible but probably V14 or harder. Towards the end of the day I put on a new pair of Testarosas and tried the move again with my hand slightly higher on the pinch. For some reason the slight hand change made the body position feel much better and I stuck the move. I rested for a sec and pulled back on and stuck the move again. I tried a third time and nearly missed scraping my hand on the way. It was awesome to stick the move again after so many failed attempts. It felt totally different too - I was all of a sudden way more confident when going for the move because my body was in a better position.

Yesterday I got on the route again and felt even better. I stuck the move 4 times once starting a few moves down. I also climbed from the bottom and hit the hold when I went for the jump. The gear beta involves a tricky nut placement so I spent some time working the placing sequence (which is the trickiest sequence on the whole climb). I think I know what to do now so I just have to get it done. I'm psyched to start giving it serious redpoint attempts though I'm going to make sure I do the move several times each day I go up there so it stays fresh in my memory. Last year I stuck the move a few times and then started going for the redpoint and never stuck the move again till three days ago.

Also, I'm working on a video of my Black Lung ascent and hopefully will post it here soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another Joe's Video

Here's a video of my friend Siemay Lee trying Wills Afire, one of the best tall V6s in Joe's. Unfortunately I had put my camera away by the time she sent the problem, but here is an edit of some of her attempts.

Today I'm heading out to Iron Monkey and will hopefully have some better luck on it.


Siemay Wills Afire Attempt from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another trip concluded

8 hours of driving later, I'm back in Boulder once again making the context shift between climbing and school. And of course catching up on the other random things that need to be done but are never done during a climbing trip.

The trip to Joe's was amazing. I couldn't have really asked for more success. The weather was a bit on the cold side but I managed to climb most of the problems I wanted to climb. It was so great to do all of these classics - the rock in Joe's is very unique and creates near perfect problems.

Two days ago was my last full day. After warming up, I did a fun highball called Baraka V9 on my first try. Then I hung out and watched my girlfriend Sandy climb a cool V6 she had tried previously. Next it was Noah's time to send and he came super close to doing Beyond Life. He fell going for the lip. He's still got another week of climbing there so I'm sure he'll do it.

Baraka V9

At the end of the day I went to try a problem I had seen at the new 8-mile area. It didn't look like it had been done, but you never can be sure. It's near the top of the hill just right of a striking arete that had just been climbed or chalked up on rappel at least. The problem starts in two crimpy pockets and moves up to two worse holds. Then you have you make a big move to a decent edge. From there you climb a 4 star V0 to the high top out. It was super cold when I was trying it and I had to run up and down the hill to stay warm. I did the problem after a few attempts from the start. I'm thinking it's probably V11. I haven't decided on a name yet but two possibilities are Freestyle and White Rabbit following the 8-mile theme. You all should suggest some names and then maybe I'll set up a voting gadget. If anyone knows if this problem has already been done, definitely let me know. Here's a photo of me sticking the crux move.


Yesterday I climbed a bit but didn't feel great and stopped early to get going on the drive. Here's some video of my flash of Beyond Life a few days ago. I have a few more videos that I'll try to upload in the next few days.


Beyond Life from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Monday, March 30, 2009

(cough) I think I've got the Black Lung

So yesterday was a rest day and I climbed the two days before. On Friday, the day after my 30th, I went back to Black Lung and did it second try. I barely stuck the third move, all fingers but one popped out, but I managed to get them back in the slopey pocket. Later in the day I went over to the right sign area in the left fork and flashed Beyond Life V10. I was really psyched to flash this one because it has been a goal since I saw the problem about 5 years ago.

On Saturday, I was really sore but climbed anyway because my friends Noah and Siemay had just arrived and were psyched to climb. We went to the right sign area first and I climbed They Call him Jordan V8 with the non dyno beta. Then I did Wind Below V8 which is one of the best problems in Joe's - perfect tall face with fun moves and a challenging top out. After that I tried Man From the Past V11. This problem has a super hard deadpoint to a pocket from two underclings for the first move. It took me a while to figure out how to do this move, but the first time I stuck it I did the problem. At this point I was totally worked but Noah was psyched to check out one more area. So we headed up to the Garden of Eden to look at the problem Eden V10. I rallied my energy for a flash and then was completely done for the day. Noah sent the problem right after me.

Today is my last full day of climbing. I feel fairly rested and the weather looks manageable. I'm psyched to get on a few more things before I have to leave.

My connection is really bad here, but I plan to upload videos of Black Lung and Beyond Life soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Belligerent Weather

I woke up this morning to an inch of snow on the ground. It was still snowing but the sun was poking through so I was hopeful about climbing. By about 1pm most of the snow was melted so I decided to go out to the boulders. Unfortunately the wind was howling. Hoping that it might be somewhat sheltered I hiked out to Black Lung. When I got there, there was still a sheet of ice on the lip. I knocked off most of the chunks but there was still some left melting slowly in the sun. To my disappointment, the wind was not any calmer here. I decided to try to climb anyway and did a quick, unhelpful warm-up. I got a push through the first two moves and tried the last move a few times. After trying some new ideas that didn't work, I barely stuck the move with my original beta and climbed the top out avoiding the ice. I rested and gave a few goes from the bottom but was freezing cold and unnerved by the wind which was picking up. Finally I threw in the towel and gave up on my hopes of doing Black Lung on my birthday. It's pizza time now and hopefully the forecast is correct in showing that tomorrow and Saturday will be better.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Joe's Part II

Today is another rest day. Yesterday I got a lot of mileage in. I started on Black Lung and came really close to doing it (see the video below). I fell going for the third move three times. At the beginning of the day I did that move and the rest of the top out. Hopefully the whole thing will go down tomorrow - my 30th birthday. It would be a good present to do such a classic V13 on my 30th birthday.


Black Lung Attempt from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Later in the day I tried a few problems in the Left Fork. First I tried the moves on Black Out V12/13. I did all the moves but the crux move. The crux is a long move off a bad crimp to another small crimp. It felt really hard and the foot hold you use is kind of awkward because you want to drop your knee but if you do, your foot skates off the hold.

After Black Out I was thinking about trying Gentleman Jack V11. I was a bit tired and thought about waiting to give the problem a try when I was fresher because I wanted to give it a good flash attempt. I was still psyched to climb some so I just tried it anyway. As it turned out, I still pulled off the flash. It was a really fun problem with interesting moves. I almost botched the final moves and was scared for a sec that I'd take a bad fall. Fortunately it all worked out though. Here's a video of me climbing this problem.



Gentleman Jack V11 from Matt Wilder on Vimeo.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Joe's Valley

I've been a bit out of contact recently. Mostly doing school work and climbing little. I was a bit sick the last week and a half and so I was taking it easy before my spring break trip. I did do the final competition last weekend at the Spot gym. It went well. I got third place in the qualifying round (behind Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson) and ended up fifth on the ridiculous finals problem that involved traversing a steep wall with a 15 lb weight vest and then stripping the vest and climbing a really hard three move problem. Anyway, it was a fun comp and good training.

I'm in Joe's Valley now and will be here for another week. I arrived on Saturday and climbed a little bit then and also climbed yesterday. Today is the first rest day. I'm really psyched to do Black Lung V13 and was happy with my progress trying it on Saturday. I did the first move once and also did the second move. I've tried this problem many times over the last 6 years but have never had many back to back days on it so I always forgot my beta. Saturday was my first time ever doing the second move though so I was pretty psyched. I'll probably try it tomorrow morning.

Apart from Black Lung, my main objective for the trip is to repeat a bunch of the classic V9-V11 problems I've never done. One of these is Jitterbug Perfume V10/11. Yesterday I checked this one out and was psyched to give it a flash attempt. I pulled on and everything went pretty smoothly and I pulled off the flash. I came close to falling on the crux move left to the gaston crimp. At first I only stuck it with one finger and had to reel in to get the rest of my pads on the hold. It was definitely a cool problem and I was psyched to flash it. Check out the video of me doing it below. (By the way, Jetterbug Perfume is also a great book by Tom Robbins and I highly recommend that you read it). I'm hoping to give some good flash attempts on some of the other problems around. One in particular that I've wanted to flash for a long time is Beyond Life V10/11. I'll probably get on that one soon. Yesterday I also dod the Hulk Sit V9 which was a unique problem with a cool undercling gaston move. It's definitely nice to be back in this area with really fun problems on cool rock. Stay posted for more news and vids from the trip.

video

Monday, March 9, 2009

Iron Monkey

I've been taking it relatively easy since Hueco, resting my skin and muscles and catching up with school work. I did get out to Eldo yesterday and got back on Iron Monkey a 5.14 trad route I've been working off and on for the past year and a half. I was hoping to just crush the crux dyno move feeling strong from my recent bouldering adventures. This was not my destiny though. The move still felt really hard. I came close to sticking the dyno but never latched it. I'll probably get back on it again this week. In two weeks I'm heading to Joe's Valley for a week of bouldering there. I'm hoping that I can do the Iron Monkey before I head there.

I'm sure that this route is very hard for me. I think it really just exploits my weaknesses. Other people have suggested 5.14a but I can't imagine it being easier than 14b. For me, it really feels like it has to be 14c. Of course I have little basis for assigning a route grade. I can only say for sure that the Fly in Rumney which gets 14d would be much easier for me than this climb. In V grades, the whole crux section feels like V13. I've tried this climb for more than 10 days and still haven't linked the first difficult moves into the dyno and I've only done the dyno 4 times. That's probably the longest I've spent on any one pitch or problem. Of course for others, the climb is easier - for example Daniel Woods did the crux move second try.

It's cool to have such a hard project for me though it's sometimes frustrating knowing that it's not as hard for others. I guess this is just the name of the game sometimes and it's good to work on my weaknesses. Hopefully I can overcome the difficulties and finally put an end to this longterm project.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sent!

Well I did it on my last day (Saturday). It was the day of the Rock Rodeo and Terre de Sienne was one of the problems on the list for the comp. Algerita, Diabolic, El Techo and others were on the list too. I decided to register for the competition after all figuring that if I did Terre, I would have a good chance of doing well. I warmed up and then got ready to try Terre. Paul Robinson was there as well trying to do it for the comp. While I was getting ready to try, he gave it a few attempts and looked super solid on the first move but fell on the second move. Then I gave it a go and did it on my first try of the day. When I stuck the second hold, my feet cut and I had to hold a tough swing on the bad crimps. I was so energized though from my own psyche and the energy of the people there for the comp that I just wouldn't let go. The rest went casually. It seems like this problem is probably V14. It feels harder than most (perhaps all) of the other problems I've done - though in some ways it's relatively simple. Paul repeated it shortly after I did it.

With Terre done, I got myself into competition mood. Next I did Diaphanous Sea V12 on my first try. Then I went over to Algerita V13. I was looking forward to trying it because I'd never done it and thought I had a good chance. Unfortunately, a key hold broke just before I was about to try. So I gave up on that hope and went and did El Techo V11 first try. Then I went and repeated Diabolic V13 on my first try. After this I went up to Bleeding Brothers V12 with a few people. I watched for a while and then gave two tries. Unfortunately, I had a cut on my pinky that was holding me back and I just wasn't feeling it. After this, I did Chbalanke V11 on my 4th try. Then I did Loaded With Power V9/10 on my second try. At the end of the day, despite being tired, I pulled off Dark Age V11 on my first try. What an amazing day - for sure my best ever. It felt really great to climb so well for a day though my body was pretty worked by the end. This performance was enough to get me second place in the Rodeo. I stayed close to Paul Robinson but he was able to win it in the end with these v points: 14, 13, 13, 12, 12, 11 (though the 11 got 13 points in the comp). A fun day and a great workout.

Now I'm back in Boulder after driving 12 hours straight by myself yesterday. It's nice to be home but I've lots to do to catch up with things - especially at school. The weather looks good this week though so hopefully I'll still get some local climbing in.

Thanks to everyone who followed my Hueco exploits through this blog.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oh so close

Got back on Terre de Sienne this morning and came even closer. Here's footage of my attempt. If I had a second longer before my left foot popped, I might have sent. Anyway I've still got one more day to get it done. It looks like Saturday might be a bit cooler too - today was low 80s (though the strong breeze helped things some). Below is a photo from my close attempt the previous day I stuck the move and fell when my right hand blew off the starting crimp. I like how the only thing connecting me to the wall is the horrible crux crimp. It's as if I'm trying to hold the swing even though everything else has come off the wall. Anyone who is familiar with this hold knows how absurd that would be. At least I was trying hard.

warning: may contain bad language

video



I tried Algerita a bit after Terre and figured out some more beta. Then I did El Techo de los Tres B which has gotten easier since a hold got bigger. I wasn't really expecting to do it but gave a try from the start anyway and everything worked out. It seems like it is now V12 or V11. Not sure. I guess some people have suggested V11 and I could definitely see that. It is probably more classic now as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

80 plus degrees

Just finished up a hot day of bouldering. I still managed to get some good burns on my projects though. I hit it early, just after the park opened at 8am. First objective was Terre de Sienne. I warmed up and started getting ready to give it a go. As I was waiting for any sort of breeze to cool my hands a bit, Tim Clifford and gang showed up. I waited a bit longer for the conditions to improve and then decided to give it a go. On my first try, I stuck the first move with three fingers and didn't quite have it good enough to do the next move. My skin started rolling on the small crimp just as I was getting my feet positioned into the drop knee. Still this was the first time I stuck the move so it felt great anyway. I gave a few more burns and came very close to sticking the hold again on a few occasions but it didn't happen. I know I can do it now so I'll just rest tomorrow and get back to it on Thursday - hopefully there will be a bit more wind then. Tim tried it some and came close to sticking the first move.

I got back to the headquarters before 10 and hooked up with Glen and Heather for a tour out to the East Spur. I was psyched to get back out Coeur de Leon V13. My first two goes were ok but I tried slightly different beta which ended up being worse. On my third try, I went back to my original beta and came closer but still fell. On the fourth try, the problem went down. I was psyched to do it because I was pretty sure that I wouldn't get it done and probably wouldn't get back to it on this trip. I was sure that that was my last try as well because it was really cutting the skin on my right pointer finger which is crucial for Terre and my left bicep was hurting from the stressful underclinging. It's great that I managed to pull this one off. If I can only complete Terre de Sienne and Algerita, it will be an amazing trip. As it stands now, I've already had a successful trip and would still be psyched even if I didn't do anything else.

Hopefully the weather improves slightly for my last two days of climbing. I'm prettty sure now that I won't compete in the Rodeo because it will be hot and I will run the risk of hurting myself trying so many hard problems.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Diabolic Sent


I did Diabolic yesterday! Super psyched. It went down first try from the start after doing the upper moves once. Here is a still from some video footage I got. Hopefully I will edit a piece together from my trip and submit it to MVM.

After Diabolic, I tried Terre de Sienne a few times and felt pretty good but didn't stick the move. Later I tried Algerita a bit - it was too hot to really work it though I was able to figure out some of the moves. I'll definitely try to get back to it if time allows.

Tomorrow morning I'll go to Terre early to give a few tries and then I might go on tour back to Coeur de Leon. Hopefully things will fall into place for me on these projects.

This morning I went out and filmed Andre DiFelice climb Algerita. He worked it yesterday and sent it in a few goes this morning. Watchin him do it motivated me even more to do the problem.

In other news, Nalle and Jon Cardwell put up a new V13 in the East Spur Maze. It's on the same boulder as Glas Roof. Looks like a good problem. I think they called it the Machinist.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hueco Update

Hello from Hueco. I'm sitting outside the headquarters using the free internet now. Today is my first rest day. I arrived on Thursday after a tiring drive and climbed some. First I tried Diabolic V12/13 and felt pretty good even though I was a bit disoriented from the drive. I even managed to get a new high point and came agonizingly close to sending the whole thing. I stuck the crux move and fell on the next move which is probably the last hard move. I think it'll go down tomorrow morning if I can get on North Mountain. Here's a video of my best attempt. I also tried Terre de Sienne and felt good on that too. I didn't do the first move but was hitting the hold without too much extra body movement. It will have to be a really precise deadpoint but I think I can do it. I climbed the rest of the problem first try again so I think it really will just come down to that first move.

video

Yesterday I went on a volunteer tour to the East Spur Maze. I ended up trying Coeur de Leon V13 a bit and came really close to doing it. I fell after the crux on this one too. The problem is in a hole and thus not too aesthetic but the moves are really interesting. I'm psyched to try to get on another tour out there and finish it off. I think it should go down quickly now that I know the beta which is very intricate and convoluted.

Lots of strong climbers are down here now and there were some solid sends yesterday - I'm sure I don't even know about all of them, but for starters, Nalle and Jon Cardwell both did Coeur de Leon and Nalle flashed Full Monty V12. I think this must be the first flash of the Full Monty - definitely a solid effort. Tim Clifford is down here for a bit more than a week and despite the fact that he's getting over the flu, he climbed Algerita V13 yesterday and is close on El Techo de Los Tres B V12/13 (not sure of the grade because it has apparently changed recently because some stones were pulled out of the crack behind one of the holds making it a bit bigger).

I'll be climbing on North tomorrow and will hopefully get a some sends of my own. I'm really psyched on Diabolic and will head to that first. Then Terre de Sienne will be next on the list. Hopefully I can do Diabolic quickly so that I will still be fresh for Terre. I'd like to try Algerita a bit - Tim told me his beta which is slightly different that what I've tried in the past. It'll probably be unrealistic to have skin left for trying Algerita after a session on Terre. We'll see. Stay tuned for more news from the Hueco front.