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

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.

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.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Leaving for Hueco tomorrow

I'm hitting the road tomorrow afternoon and should be climbing on Thursday. I'm super psyched - and feeling healthy though maybe slightly out of shape from not climbing much the past two weeks. I'm optimistic about the trip though. I'll be bringing an HD camcorder down with me so hopefully I'll get lots of good footage and be able to edit something.

Andy Mann couldn't join me in the end, so I'll be heading down solo. The weather is looking good now but may warm up next week. Hopefully the conditions stay reasonable - you don't have the option for early morning sessions or lantern night sessions in hueco to get better temps. Anyway, I'll try to post regular updates on the trip whenever I can get internet access so stay tuned. Here are a few more hueco pics from the archive.

Unknown climber on Babyface

Sandy climbing Ghetto Simulator

Sandy doing some serious filming just like I'll be doing down there soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Going to Hueco Soon

Here's a photo of my friend Josh climbing the ultra classic See Spot Run in Hueco. I'm heading back down in less than a week. Super psyched. I haven't been climbing much recently because I hurt my back a little and then got sick. I wanted to rest well when sick to make sure that I am healthy by the time I get to Hueco. I went down there over Thanksgiving and was sick half the trip and didn't have enough energy to do my projects even though I felt good on them. I'm feeling pretty good now. Hopefully I can finish business on this trip. My main goals are Diabolic V13 (in the photos below) and Terre de Sienne V14. Felt close on both last time.

Can't wait to get down there. I'll be heading down there with my friend Andy Mann. Hopefully he'll catch some good photos that I can put up on the blog. I'll probably be there for a bit more than a week and may catch the Rock Rodeo at the tail end of the trip.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Firstborn it is!

The name of the arete I put up two weeks ago is Firstborn. There were 60 total votes (20 for Oldest Child and 40 for Firstborn). Thanks to everyone who voted.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Partage slideshow and reflection

Last week was pretty uneventful. I did a bit of hiking around the flatirons searching for new good lines but didn't come across much. Yesterday I put in a session at the BRC and did this move that fully wrecked my back. I don't think I did any permanent damage but it's pretty sore right now. I've never had my big core muscles this sore before. I was trying to hold this really violent swing onto a good jug. Now I feel like a stake was driven right through my midsection and it hurts to do a simple sit up. I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days though (I was even able to climb some right after I hurt it).

I brought up Partage a week ago and it reminded me of a reflection I wrote about the experience. I gave it to La Sportiva to put on their webpage but it was never posted. I figured I would post it here. Also, I put together a slide show of images of my climbing the problem taken by Stephan Denys. Here's the slide show and below is my reflection on the ascent. At the bottom is a photo of me on a 7c arete near Partage that I flashed earlier that day.

Partage 8a+ (photos: Stephan Denys)

(Note: I wrote this just after returning from my France trip last March)

I just got back from an amazing two week trip in France. I spent the first part in Fontainebleau and the second part in the South of France, mainly at a new sandstone bouldering area called Annot. I met up with Tony Lamiche there and he gave me a great tour of the climbing. The trip was memorable for many reasons, but climbing-wise, the highlight for me was flashing an 8a+(V12) arete in Font called Partage. When I first heard about this problem, probably 7 years ago, it was touted as one of the best problems in the world - one of the select five star lines. Though I visited Font briefly a few years back, I never got to see the problem and so it remained a mystery to me. Seeing the problem in person was one of the main priorities for this trip. I wasn't sure if I would climb on it because I knew it was hard and my time in Font would be short.

The day I arrived in France, I went to see the problem and was impressed by the purity of the blunt arete. I was inspired to climb but was tired from the travel and it was raining slightly. The next day I climbed at other areas to get used to the unique style required for Font climbing. On the second climbing day, we visited Butiers, the area where Partage lives, and I climbed many cool problems I had never tried including two 7c flashes and a great 7b+ highball called The Master's Edge. Towards the end of the day, I decided to head to Partage just to play on the moves - I figured that I should at least see what it was all about. I spent a while setting the pads up, fondling the starting holds, and imaging the strange body positions that would be required to make the slopey arete features usable. The thought of actually flashing the route was not a realistic consideration, but I figured I'd try my hardest on my first attempt because there was really no reason not to. I gripped the starting pinch, placed the first delicate heel hook and pulled on to try the first move. I reached the right hand hold and it felt terrible but I knew it would be better if I could move my body to the opposite side of the arete. With an on-the-spot invented move akin to a sideways mantle, I managed to get my body to the left side of the arete and made the move to the next hold. To my surprise, the hold felt decent. I realized then that I was through perhaps the hardest moves and actually had a chance to flash the problem. I had to quickly suppress this thought and focus on the climbing. I made the next move to a bad sloper just below a good pocket. As my hand slid down the sloper, I was able to reposition my foot in a place that would allow me to reach the pocket. In a completely focused state of mind, I pulled up and stabbed my hand into the pocket. I stuck it and just needed to pull the exit moves to finish the problem (and to not take a bad fall as I was pretty high now). I was completely surprised by the ascent and at the same time overwhelmed with a feeling of personal accomplishment. This was certainly one of my best climbing efforts - it felt amazing to connect every move perfectly while pushing myself to the limit of my ability. The involuntary noises that came out of me while climbing literally had the neighborhood dogs barking. It was a special experience to climb this amazing problem I had known about for so long in this style. Attached are some photos of the actual send though they don't quite do the climb justice.

The next day, Tony and I climbed at Cuisinere and I was fortunated enough to climb Karma, another classic font 8a+ that had been on my list for a long time. After unsuccessfully throwing ourselves at Hale Bopp, we finished the day on the archetypal Font sloper problem, La Chose 7c+. The following day, day four of climbing for me, Tony and I tried a cool 8a roof called Opium. We tried all sorts of beta, but nothing worked well for me and eventually I gave up. Shortly after I stopped climbing, Tony figured out a better sequence and sent the problem - I was too wasted however to give it another try.

Though my time in Font was short, I was blessed with perfect climbing weather and couldn't have ask for more. After a night spent in Paris, I headed south with Tony. We cruised into the Alps just as a storm dumped a foot of new snow. Though our mission was climbing, we couldn't pass up a day of skiing. Tony gave me the tour of his local resort and we found amazing untracked gullies, woods, and bowls. It was a great challenge for me to keep up with Tony - he's an amazing skier. From the Alps, we headed southwest to the small town of Annot. Here we spent the rest of the trip climbing at a newer sandstone area that Tony had helped develop. The climbing was similar to Font but different in certain ways. All in all, it was a fun area with many great established problems and tons of potential. Hopefully I'll be publishing a photo essay soon in one of the climbing mags that compares Font and Annot.