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.

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


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.