Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ethan Pringle, Flight of the Bumblebee

Today Ethan Pringle repeated Flight of the Bumblebee (v8? superhighball) at the Secrets of the Beehive Area, making the third ascent of this intimidating line (after Kevin Jorgeson, FA, and Kevin Daniels). The problem begins with a leap to a good hold and then follows a flake and rising seam up and right on good crimps to a small overlap. Getting established above the overlap is the crux. Ethan rapped the line to brush and feel the holds before climbing it second try. The landing is bad, with big boulders, and the climbing is insecure. Overall, Ethan felt it was more scary than This Side of Paradise but not so scary as The Beautiful and Damned. Here is a cool video of Kevin Daniels doing the second ascent.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jeremy Smith says "This climb needs YOU!"

While climbing This Side of Paradise (a v9/10 superhighball at the Bardini Boulders) Canadian Jeremy Smith felt the uncontrollable urge to send a message to our readers ...

Jeremy climbed the line ground up, ticking it on his second attempt, taking perhaps the 6th ascent (there could have been others). The problem was made famous in the video The Sharp End in which Lisa Rands makes the fourth ascent. Jeremy is the second person I know, after Charlie Barrett to climb "Paradise" without checking it out on a rope and he was quick to call this spectacular prow, "The best line in Bishop." Big praise from the big man who has made short work of many of the area's finest climbs.

Jeremy is here making a long-overdue pilgrimage to Bishop from Squamish, British Columbia, the town where he has spent the past eight years or so, and where he shares management duties at the local climbing store Climb On -- see the lovely pic of him on their website. An early claim to fame is Jeremy's likely third ascent of The Buttermilker during his previous trip to Bishop back in 1999! At 6-foot-2 and with a booming voice to match his personality Jeremy is hard to miss.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Evilution Direct Video

Tobias "Zlu" Haller has a little video of his ground up ascent of Evilution Direct you can find at his photo site along with some interesting and artistic photos on the site too. Great work Zlu!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Line on Solitaire Boulder

I climbed a really steep and spectacular line today on the north side of the Solitaire Boulder (it's the side you see as you approach from the Checkerboard area or from the Painted Cave boulder) and faces in the opposite direction to the classic Solitaire. I was wondering if anyone had done this before and maybe given it a name. It's an amazing-looking overhanging wall that's pretty high, but unfortunately the rock is really crusty. There was chalk on the first holds. I climbed it by a big drive-by dyno and then some crimps on iffy rock and biggish pulls to buckets over the lip up and right. It seems about v9/10? Could be easier but feels hard as committing to the upper moves is a bit frightening. It's actually pretty good fun despite the crumbly rock. Anyone have info? Please let me know!
UPDATE: Been suggested at v7 by some (see comments below).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jeff Sillcox, The Buttermilker

Oh yeah ... and Jeff finally did The Buttermilker (v13), getting a now rare ascent of this line. Recently most people have been climbing a shorter version of this problem by starting on underclings, rather than the original problem, which involves a sit-down start at the lower left--it could make a grade of difference ... The higher start seems to be winning out for popularity, but is it right to re-describe a long-standing testpiece with new starting holds? Should the high start be called The Buttermilker, or should that name be used only to describe the problem from its original starting point?

Alex Johnson, The Mystery (v12)

Alex climbing The Mystery (Photo: Jeff Sillcox)

Alex Johnson has had an amazing day at the Buttermilks today, which included her ascent of The Mystery (v12), a sustained problem involving big moves and a lot of body tension... "Super core-intensive," says Alex.

"It's definitely the hardest thing I've ever climbed," says Alex, who has rarely had to go back a second day on a problem before. She was close the first day she tried The Mystery, but ended up taking a couple of returns to it on other days before getting it done.

The same morning, she also flashed The Fall Guy (v9). Alex has spent about two weeks in the Bishop area, acquainting herself with the rock, and climbing some classics at the 'Milks like Evilution to the Lip (v10), The Checkerboard (v8), Soul Slinger (v9), and flashing Moonraker (v9), and High Plains Drifter (v7).

"I love it!" says Alex, of Bishop. "I like that it's crimpy and that there's no hike... I also really like the highball aspect. The weather was awesome. It was gorgeous! I'm definitely coming back. "

[Thanks to Jeff Sillcox for the photo!]

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Giovanni Traversi, Evilution Ground Up

G on Evilution

Giovanni "G" Traversi today succeeded in his quest to follow in the footsteps of his brother Carlo with a ground up ascent of Evilution (original version, v12). G took a dozen or more(?) falls pulling around the lip before finally unlocking a sequence and finding the reserves to get the line done! Congrats for sticking with it G!

Jorgeson steps up to another level ...

Kevin Jorgeson has taken headpointing to a new level at the Buttermilks with his first ascent, solo (after TR practice), of a line dubbed years ago "Ambrosia." The climb, on the east wall of the Grandpa Peabody, begins with v12 bouldering to gain a shallow hueco at the point most would consider the highballing limit. This is followed by a bold v7/8 sequence of huge moves between good edges that quickly covers about another 15 feet and takes the climber through that blurrred line between highballing and soloing. After that, and without significant rest, comes a strenuous section of what Kevin suggests is probably mid-5.12 climbing past pretty patina to the top of the wall, about 45 feet up.

This spectacular gold-and-black-streaked face had once been a top-rope project of Tom Herbert, back in the early 1990s. Herbert had been able to do many, if not all, of the moves, but abandoned the line, imagining it to be in the 5.14 range. He figured he'd take his climbing elsewhere: The Buttermilks, at that time were such a backwater, he told me, that he found it hard to justify dedicating so much time to a TR project no-one else would ever see, or ever be interested in! Nevertheless, he had named the line Ambrosia (food of the immortals) fitting with the Buttermilk theme, and connoting (as the quality and beauty of the line deserves) the very pinnacle of Buttermilk climbing-- More info about this and Kevin's same-day repeat of Luminance at the Big Up Blog.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tobias Haller, Evilution Direct (ground up)

Austrian Tobias Haller has made the 6th ascent of Evilution Direct (v11) in a proud effort at the end of the day today. After slipping at the last hard moves with his foot skating from the edge of the boulder's lip and taking a frightening fall, he was able to summon just enough energy to get the problem done a short while later. Interestingly he is the first person (as far as I'm aware) to climb the line with no prior inspection from a rope, preferring to watch, learn from others, and go for the boulder ground up. No doubt he was helped in his goal by the recent popularity of the line--plenty of beta, well-chalked holds--and the enormous numbers of pads being brought daily to the base of the Grandpa Peabody. Three-deep is now standard for pads below this face it seems! So why not go for it ground up? Great ascent from Tobias!

Tobias climbing the lower section of Evilution

Tobias climbing Haroun and the Sea of Stories (v11/12)

Matt Wilder, Mandala Sit and Evilution (Original)

Matt Wilder has had an extraordinary trip so far, climbing Evilution Direct (v11) and The Swarm (v14), and following those up just yesterday with The Mandala Sit-start (v14) and Evilution (original version, v12). Matt climbed The Swarm, Mandala Sit, and Evilution in a two-day spell that he describes as, "My best two days ever." It feels all the more satisfying for Matt as he'd taken something of a break from hard bouldering over the last several months in favor of pursuing some trad ascents (e.g. FA of Viceroy, 5.14 in Boulder Canyon), and a bit of endurance training, getting back into the bouldering fairly recently. If that's not over-achieving enough, Matt just finished a Masters degree in computer science and is now moving on toward a PhD. How do these people do it?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tim Clifford, Matt Wilder, The Swarm (v14)

The Swarm (v14) has had a couple of new ascents in the last few days, first from Tim Clifford (an ex-Brit now living in Squamish, British Columbia), and then today from Matt Wilder (of Boulder, Colorado). "It best represents the hard Bishop crimpy problem," says Tim. "I was really psyched to climb it. I knew I only had a few tries, due to my skin, so had to dig deep."

Tim suggested that the line may not involve such hard moves as the grade implies, but also noted that because of the tiny holds, it requires a patient technique of "waiting and making each go really count."

In case you don't know Tim, he's the climber who made the first ascent of The Singularity, an incredible, and incredibly hard, unrepeated problem in Squamish, once known as The Room Project.

Here is a short slideshow of Tim Clifford climbing The Swarm (the 9th ascent I believe) during his recent trip here. Thanks to Georg from Squamish for the photos!

Tim Clifford climbing The Swarm (v14); photos by Georg

I also shot some pics of Matt Wilder climbing The Swarm today (10th ascent). Check these out:

Matt Wilder climbing The Swarm (v14); photos by Wills Young

Friday, January 2, 2009

Got Pads...? Matt Wilder climbs Evilution Direct

Matt Wilder 20ft/6m up on Evilution Direct (v11), Friday Jan 2.

Matt Wilder has made the fifth ascent of the phenomenal Evilution Direct (v11), calling it, "One of the best boulder problems I've ever climbed." The hold he's reaching for in the above image broke about a month ago making the top part of the line slightly harder and more sustained than previously.

Matt on the penultimate hard move.