Friday, January 8, 2010

The Bandersnatch

I've been back in Boulder for a few days and have been lagging in summing up my Hueco trip. It's always the same, I get back into town and have tons of things I need to get done and always school work or research to do. Anyway, the short news is that I sent the project I was working on.

I named the route The Bandersnatch after a character in in Jabberwocky poem in Lewis Carroll's "Through the looking glass." This is also the name of my dad's sail boat and so this name is a bit of an homage to him. It's not really clear what a bandersnatch is, but they're presumably tough characters that deserve respect and a bit of fear.

This new problem is a good candidate for the list of hueco classics with its varied movement, length, ground level location, and striking feature. Like the mythical bandersnatch, this problem warrants some fear mainly because an unplanned fall from one of the several heel hook moves could result in an unpleasant tumble down the slab behind the climb. Mostly, though, the climbing is safe.

Chuck Fryberger got some great footage of the problem for his new film "Core" which will be out sometime this spring. Here's one video still that I pulled from his blog.


This is the move that takes you into the crux part. From a wide span, you heel hook next to your right hand and reach far up the arete to an edge (the one I'm grabbing in the photo). Then you have to bring your left hand into a little two-finger pocket, move the right hand to a small crimp, and then readjust the feet without losing tension. All that sets you up for a delicate dynamic move to a good hueco. From there you have to do a 6 move boulder problem that is about V8 and then an easy, classic topout.

Andy Mann got some cool photos too but might be saving them for print somewhere. If I can get his go ahead, I post some of the b shots here.

Difficulty: I'm thinking that V12 is probably a good grade for this problem but it's a bit hard because I haven't been bouldering other graded stuff recently. The problem took me 4 or 5 days to complete. Based on how long it has taken me to do other problems, that could suggest that the problem is more in the V13 range. Still I think V12 might be more accurate. I'm psyched to hear what other people think. It may be the case that the problem fit my style of climbing as well.

Here's another view of the line shot while I was brushing the holds on the first day.


For anyone intersted in finding the problem, it is on west mountain at ground level right near the wall of the rumbling rabbits which is in the guide. It's hard to miss if you walk around that area a bit. It's on the upside of a ground level boulder.

The other news from my Hueco trip is that I got to climb a bunch with the ABC kids team from the Boulder Rock Club. I also got some cool footage of their amazing accomplishments and hopefully will be posting some videos here soon.

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