Just a note to say Portia Menlove, of Salt Lake City, climbed Beefy Gecko (v11) at the Sad Boulders which might be her first v11. Nice work Portia! She was able to do that one and Beefcake (v10) the same day. See also a report on Siemay Lee's ascent of Beefy Gecko earlier on the blog.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Today Charlie Barrett repeated Shawn Diamond's excellent super-highball Rise on the Luminance Block, in the deep gully near the Secrets of the Beehive area. Accidentally listed as v5 in my new guidebook, it is actually about v9/10! Ooops! (See the 2nd edition page 324-325; other than the mistake on the rating, resulting from a copy-and-paste from the first line listed there, the info is correct.) No doubt one look at the line is enough to clarify how serious it is, as it has about 40 feet of climbing on it, with the first 20 feet up an overhanging prow with some powerful moves, and the last section up an exposed and delicate slab. See the earlier report of Shawn Diamond's first ascent.
Taking a 50-foot section of rope out there to clean the line and feel it out, Charlie found that his rope, anchored to bolts across the far side of the boulder, didn't even reach to the slabby topout of the line, so he opted for a ground-up approach instead! That's the spirit!
There are still some first ascents to be had on this giant block ...
Posted by Wills Young at 9:46 PM
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Bishop Bouldering from Colin Delehanty on Vimeo.
Ever had that feeling that a day is just too short? You've only a quick trip to Bishop to make the most of, yet the 24 hours seems to fly by. You start to get a bit of climbing in, and just as you're beginning to get warmed up, it's time to head home!
This short, mostly timelapse, video made by Colin Delahanty pretty much sums up the experience!
Posted by Wills Young at 8:40 AM
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Posted by Wills Young at 10:05 PM
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Heard that Canadian Sonnie Trotter, of Squamish, BC, climbed Evilution Direct (super-highball v11) today. I'm pretty sure this was after rappel inspection on a previous day. They were not the greatest conditions out there, with a fair bit of moisture in the air compared to normal. But apparently after shaking out for a minute or so on the flake/patina at the lip he looked strong through the upper crux and topping out. Great to hear! Well done Sonnie.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:51 PM
Up at the Buttermilks today Ian Cotter-Brown showed me his sweet new line called Hideaway on the Upside Boulder, mentioned earlier on this blog. It turns out to be a really cool problem with some unusual moves for the Buttermilks, traversing across the underside of the Upside Boulder using cross-throughs and heel hooks.
That wall at right, Early Exit, and the central face Upside are well worth doing in their own right, either from a sit or a stand start.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:38 PM
Friday, November 19, 2010
Brian Hedrick completed Mandala Sit Start (v13) today via the new version, considered by most to be around v13. Tony Lamiche thought his original version was v13 when he did it in 2002, but others later suggested harder. The two versions climb almost like different problems. Anyway here's some video of Brian on the Mandala Sit and Gregor Peirce climbing Form Destroyer (v12):
WEEKEND WARRIORS from Gregor Peirce on Vimeo.
Posted by Wills Young at 10:25 PM
Monday, November 15, 2010
I have to report that Gregor Peirce climbed The Buttermilker (v13) yesterday, declaring, "I've become man enough for the real start."
Nice work Gregor! Charlie tells me you made it look easy, despite refining the beta on the fly! Hey, anyone who declare's Wills's Seam (at Way Lake) "the best boulder problem I have ever done," deserves a mention on here! Gregor, you are the best! Thanks for that, and good luck on your next projects! Hope you send everything!
Oh wait a minute ... now he's saying The Buttermilker is probably his favorite problem so far... Lame ...
Posted by Wills Young at 1:38 PM
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Posted by Wills Young at 10:35 AM
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Matt Arnold told me about this line at the Happy Boulders a while ago, but not soon enough for me to include it in the new guidebook. Matt named it Karma, and I went to check it out today with a few others. We found a striking line--an overhanging double arete--that is climbed using a bit of trickery, a bit of slapping, and some staying power to pull the lip. The moves are fun and the rock is solid, though a bit rough. Matt's original beta forced the line up the left arete, but a motivated crew today worked out a new sequence that goes at about v6/7, beginning at the obvious horizontal crack and topping out left. It's worth a look if you want something at about that grade--it could be a classic in the making...! Take three or four big pads. You can see the line up on the northeast rim (right side as you walk up canyon), a little beyond the Serengeti boulder.
Posted by Wills Young at 10:18 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Today Charlie Barrett sent his project at Rock Creek, the extremely hard sit start to the beautiful prow on the right side of the talus (across the river and up the hill from the Campground Boulder). The line has stood out as the "last great problem" at Rock Creek for several years, and Charlie put a dozen or more visits into it over the past year. He has named the line Lessons.
Charlie, who has been working his way through the eastside's hardest boulder problems (including ascents of Spectre, The Mandala Sit Start, Thunderbird inTuolumne, etc.) describes this as probably his hardest ascent to date! Lessons, which is a sit to Compression Session (v9) requires a huge amount of compression and body tension and some dynamic slaps to complete. The crux (the first few moves) requires squeezing between a good arete with the right hand, and some terrible glassy undercling/sidepulls with the left. The link for Charlie depended upon securing the left hand into the upper part of the key left sidepull with the second move--gaining the hold in the perfect position with the thumb on poor but crucial pinch. See the last paragraph of a previous post that also mentions this project.
Posted by Wills Young at 8:17 PM
Friday, October 8, 2010
Ian Cotter-Brown has reported a new line that traverses from left to right on the Upside Boulder before topping out. This boulder, which is located up past the Saigon Boulder about 200 yards or so, is newly included in the 2nd edition of the guide (page 299). The problem begins to left of the west face down low on a good hold and moves low right to top out on Early Exit (a v5 mentioned in the guide). The traverse could also potentially be linked into Upside (v8) to give a harder link. The problem done is somewhere around v8-v10, but needs confirmation.
Posted by Wills Young at 12:12 PM
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Interestingly, Isaac was able to make a direct start that had eluded Kevin Jorgeson, thereby straightening out this already fine line. He began with some intriguing technical moves to pull onto a good hueco about four feet off the ground. This quickly led to crimps and sidepulls and some more hard pulls and high-steps to gain good edges below the rest-point hueco a little below half-way. There, Isaac took a long rest as a buffeting wind threatened to blow his pads away. Then, using another original sequence, he pulled into an undercling in the top of the hueco and stretched up past the mid-point crux. Isaac's familiarity with the moves meant the top was more or less a formality for him, though the wind did its best to take the feeling out of his fingertips!
"The main attraction was that it's a huge obvious line on one of the most notorious boulders in America," says Isaac of Ambrosia. "I've been doing highballs for a long time and as soon as I heard Kevin had done the proudest line on the boulder I knew I had to check it out. Finally all the stars aligned and I was able to get out here and suss it out on a TR."
"Most highballs I've done have hard moves down low that lead to an easy top out, but this had small smears big moves and technical pulls all the way to the end. Right off the start I realized the seriousness of this particular line. For the most part it is super solid, but there are a couple of holds near the top that are definitely questionable. Usually when I think of soloing that high off the ground I wouldn't want to have any doubts about the rock at all, but I really wanted to do this line. It's a really, really cool boulder and to top out on the most highball line on it was really inspiring. I think doing the top several times was a lot about gaining confidence in the rock as much as my own ability."
Posted by Wills Young at 9:38 PM
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
However, the "Rasta Sit Project" rebuffed all-comers, and steadily began to take on mythic status as the hardest well-tried project in the West, turning away everyone that came knocking, including Matt Birch, and Paul Robinson two years running. To put things in perspective, in 2007, Paul checked off The Swarm and The Mandala Sit Original (both v14) on the same day without much pre-knowledge. He also added the sit to the Mandala Direct to give The Mandala Direct Assis (v14), repeated The Spectre (v13), A Scanner Darkly (v12), The Mystery (v12), Direction (v13), and A Maze of Death (v12) ALL in one short trip in March 2007--that's over two years ago. Those were just side dishes in between tentative first attempts at the Rasta Project.
Hooked, Paul came back to put some serious work into the Rastaman Sit Start in April 2008. He was close, and was hoping to return in the fall, but that fall/winter season of 2008/2009 was curtailed for him due to a bad ankle injury sustained in a short fall while in Switzerland. He waited and returned recently to spent several more days over about a week and a half to get it done! Paul's other hardest ascents include well over a dozen v14s and a couple of v15s (Jade at Rocky Mt Nat. Park, and the second ascent of Fred Nicole's Heuco Tanks testpiece Terremer).
Posted by Wills Young at 9:33 AM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Ian Cotter-Brown made an ascent of Fight Club Direct yesterday. It is unclear if there's just one way to make the direct exit, but Ian came down on a rope to clean and chalk the holds and work out the moves on TR. After finding himself slipping off the top section one in three attempts, he declared a ropeless ascent would be like "rolling the dice." Even so, with a slew of pads he made an ascent without the rope. Nice one Ian. While at the time he thought this might have been the second ascent, this is also unclear.
It's a sweet problem for sure, with a really tricky mantel, that feels both powerful and technical, followed by a delicate slab. Pretty much classic Buttermilking.
Here are a couple of shoddy pics I took of him on the ascent.
Posted by Wills Young at 7:11 PM
Friday, February 26, 2010
"Doing this problem feels like the first real step on the way back," said visiting Australian Chris Webb-Parsons on completing The Buttermilker (v13) at the Cave Boulder, the Buttermilks. A year since his severe shoulder dislocation, and a bit less since the ensuing surgery, Chris could barely hold the positions on the crux of the line when he arrived in Bishop this winter. But he kept at it, and saw steady improvements. After doing a standing start, he was convinced both his shoulders still needed strengthening before going after the full/true ascent. Taking a break, he headed over to the Bay Area to work out with weights in an effort to build up his shoulders. Returning with confidence and psyche renewed, he did the problem on his first morning back (today) and was clearly delighted.
Chris will soon be heading back to Australia and hopes to be at full strength by the summer, when he has plans for a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, a possible appearance at the Vail, Colorado, Bouldering World Cup, followed by further travels around the US.
Over the last few years, Chris rose to prominence in Australia with ascents of the hardest lines there including Dai Koyamada's 60-move monster "v16" Wheel of Life. He was fast moving through the hardest lines at Hueco last year when he ripped his shoulder.
While Chris recovered from surgery last year, he helped complete the huge task of writing a guidebook to the bouldering at the Grampians, Australia, with his fellow climber and guidebook author Dave Pearson. I've seen a copy of the guide and I can honestly say it is a work of art, beautifully laid out, with extraordinary detail. The images are excellent and enticing, and by all accounts the climbing there is phenomenal. Check out Chris and Dave's excellent new website Grampians Bouldering. You can also check out Chris' website.
Posted by Wills Young at 7:54 PM
Monday, February 22, 2010
Please enjoy this sweet montage of Charlie on This Side of Paradise (Bardini Boulders, v10).
Thanks to Matt Arnold for the images and Olivia Nguyen (Graphics and Design). Climber: Charlie Barrett.
Meanwhile, don't forget there are risks to highballing. No matter where you climb, rock can break! Check out this solid-looking well-weathered hold from one of the Buttermilk's most amazing highballs, The Beautiful and Damned (v13).
There used to be this perfect little horn that you could grab at a sort of half-way point on the line, just before the really heady slab moves begin. Well, it snapped off when the line was being worked on TR. Now this already desperate line will be a touch more sustained and a bit more of a stretch on that first slab move. With all the snow we've had this year dampening the rock, plus the freezing and thawing recently, you can't be too careful going high off the ground.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:55 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Ian Cotter-Brown made an ascent of the very rarely repeated Fight Club (v10/11?, on the Saigon Boulder) yesterday, making me realize I have to get out and do that line! It's kinda scary to top out up the slab leftward, but a direct has also been done. Here are a couple of shots of Ian from a couple days before his send, taped up and ready to rumble! Don't let that hippy tie-die fool you!
Posted by Wills Young at 10:06 PM
Sean McColl arrived here in Bishop about a week ago, down from Vancouver, Canada. After re-acquainting himself with the rock here (checking off a few classics including Stained Glass Sit), he went back to finish up the climb he came close to doing on his last visit a couple of years ago: Evilution Direct. A prior ground-up ascent had been made by Tobias Haller (all be it with a huge number of pads). Others had inspected the line on a rope.
Sean had attempted it ground-up a couple of years ago, locked off the crux and pulled up above the lip before backing down and dropping because the upper section was snowy/wet. Despite a small breakage a year ago, leaving the move past the lip a touch harder, Sean took just a couple more goes this visit to complete his ground-up ascent. No doubt there'll more to come from Sean if the weather holds!
Ethan Pringle also checked off Evilution Direct. He'd rapped the line to familiarize himself with it in the morning and did it in the cold after the sun dropped behind the mountains.
Sean also did a bizarre start to The Fall Guy/Haroun that begins up to the right of the normal Haroun start and leans into the start of Fall Guy using toe hooks. It sounds utterly crazy and if/when I get more info I'll add to this report.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:31 PM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Posted by Wills Young at 8:46 PM
Kevin Jorgeson who made the first ascent last winter was there with Alex, spotting him during the climb which was also watched by a group of onlookers who helped to pile a dozen or more pads at the base. Alex has suggested that the new method he figured out for the lower crux checks in around v10--a little easier than Kevin's method, due to the discovery of a wide pinch that helped him past the hardest sequence.
However the real meat of the climb comes committing to the next section of the line, beginning with an awkward few moves just above the rest that check in around v7, followed by sustained though relatively easy climbing all the way to the summit. Alex had top-roped this section before his solo, though he did get a bit confused near the top to find chalk from another climber who had also been working it by a different sequence! I took a few snapshots of the ascent.
Posted by Wills Young at 8:22 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Charlie Barrett, added a heinous squeeze line that climbs the right rib of the Sharma Scoop, beginning with a jump from the ground. You end up with the left hand in the right side of the "scoop" and grope powerfully up a very blunt prow. It looks good and was repeated today by Kevin Jorgeson. It checks in around v10 or v11. The Buttermilks needs more lines like this! The Sharma Scoop is at the Main Buttermilks area--out to the east of the Drifter Boulder for those who don't know this groping sloping classic.
Charlie, who repeated Spectre last year, has been on a tear the last few months with a slew of repeats covering the gamut from The Bubba Lobotomy and Kill On Sight (v12s at the Happies) to nasty crimpy traverses like La Belette and Baburre Short (v11s at the Buttermilks). Not to mention his ascents of harder Buttermilks lines Michael Caine Sit, A Scanner Darkly, and Form Destroyer (all v12) last year. All this down to his ascetic lifestyle, apparently, plus a diet of nearly pure sushi dinners, bacon-and-eggs breakfasts, and the occasional tennis biscuit.
Posted by Wills Young at 8:09 PM
Monday, February 15, 2010
"I first tried it in Spring nearly four years ago," says Andrew Stevens of Stained Glass: "I roughly calculated that I fell off the last move about 300 times!"
Andrew is a 47-year-old Bishop climber, RN and emergency department manager at the Northern Inyo Hospital, who has been climbing for about 30 years. A long-time trad climber who has spent many seasons in Yosemite, he is also a keen sport climber and turned to intensive bouldering relatively recently. Stained Glass was his first v10 ascent, and what a beauty! "It's the coolest thing I've ever done in climbing," says Andrew.
"I always felt strong enough," he adds. "For me it was all about the footwork."
Keeping Andrew motivated over nearly four years of effort were all the friends he met at the base of the line. What he's taken away from the experience, he says, more than anything, is the sense of camaraderie gained from days out, with locals and visitors alike constantly encouraging his effort.
Nice one Andrew! Hopefully I'll be able to post a photo or a link to a short video clip soon.
Posted by Wills Young at 12:01 PM
Sunday, February 14, 2010
It's great to report that Siemay Lee completed her 10-day project at the Sad Boulders, Beefy Gecko (v11) at the end of last week. She's been trying the problem on and off for a while (on perhaps 10 separate days), and finally put it all together for her first v11 send. Congrats Siemay!
Now, before anyone asks, she correctly avoided the large hold--which is off-limts for this problem--that sits above the constriction where the roof (capping boulder) meets the side boulder. Impressively, Siemay manages to balance work as an internal medicine doctor with her passion for climbing, often traveling with her equally motivated climbing partner and husband (and ER doc) Noah Kaufman.
There's a video on Noah's Blog.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:27 PM
Ryan Held wrote a bit ago about a right-to-left traverse into Seven Spanish Angels that he completed around mid-January. It starts on a low jug at the far right side of the east-facing wall. This was a project that had been tried a bit in the past by some locals. Ryan has named the line, Each One Teach One and reckons it checks in around v10/v11.
Each One Teach One and reckons it checks in around v10/v11.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:04 PM
It was great to see Chris Webb-Parson's smiling face in Bishop again. Around this time last year, just before arriving in California, he had been climbing at Hueco (Texas) when he dislocated his shoulder and had to return to his home in Australia to get surgery and recover. A year has gone by and he is back again, not as strong (yet) as he was before, but it seems like he's not wasting time trying to regain his former level.
Chris has succeeded on several problems in the v11 and v12 range here. At the Happy Boulders he did Kill On Sight (v12, the new sit-start on the arete right of Slow Dance) and Bubba Butt Buster (v11). At the Buttermilks, he did The Mystery (v11?) utilizing a better sequence at the end, and later adding the traverse into this, The Oracle (v12/13). He also did a high-start to The Buttermilker (from the underclings) and The Mandala. Hopefully Chris will bounce back to full strength and we'll have more to report soon!
As an aside, it is worth pointing out again, that Chris Sharma's problem The Mandala, as Sharma has mentioned to me himself recently, starts with the left hand on the low crimp, just his other landmark ascent The Buttermilker begins from the sit.
Posted by Wills Young at 12:42 PM
Well, I've been focusing on other things than writing this blog, but quite a lot of action has taken place here in Bishop that I need to catch up on. There have been yet more new lines reported to me and some impressive sends, plus a couple of ascents slipping under the radar that went unreported. In the latter category were Dan Beall's ascents of The Swarm (v14), Direction (v13), The Mandala (v12), and the rarely repeated Fight Club (v11), all of which he added to his impressive tick list here during a spell of visits from just after Thanksgiving to early January. He also climbed the world's hardest v9 (after breakages) in America's Fit Homeless (v9? Has anyone else climbed this lately?).
Posted by Wills Young at 9:51 AM
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Congrats to Carlo Traversi for making a rare ascent of The Buttermilker (v13)--the original line that begins at the sit, down and left. It is great to see that, rather than being satisfied with his prior ascent of the shortened version of the line from the underclings, which many people mistakenly list as "The Buttermilker," Carlo put in the extra days of work to check off this historic beauty. As many may know, The Buttermilker was first climbed back in 1999 by Chris Sharma.
For Carlo the spans on The Buttermilker are relatively big, so his ascent took a lot of determination and a very dynamic approach and he describes it as perhaps the hardest piece of rock he's climbed.
Posted by Wills Young at 1:41 PM
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Shawn Diamond has climbed a new line he has named Mordecai on the southeast side of the Drifter Boulder that was first cleaned by Matt Wilder last winter. It is in a kind of wide corridor between the Drifter Boulder and the Cosmonot Boulder lying downslope to its southeast.
This is how Shawn described it: "I named the problem Mordecai after the dwarf in the movie "High Plains Drifter" - keeping in the theme. It will most-likely be overlooked as compared with the most popular lines on the boulder, but it is actually quite a nice "near" highball kinda line - in the likes of the new Bish classic Heroun.
"I started with a very low right hand only a foot or so from the ground and a hueco-esque left hand pitch to make a hard first move to the right hand crimp. From there continue up and left and gain two small crimps to make a large crux deadpoint with the right hand to the very incut and positive rail -- Scary because it seems like you may hit the boulder behind, but I never came close. Exit right on the highly textured slopers/hueco."
Shawn suggests the line will likely clock in around v11 or v12, feeling "long and tiring," with a crux that stands out as a lot harder than the rest of the moves. I know it is definitely highball. As Shawn mentions, the rock behind does feel very close and will probably add to the fear factor on this.
Posted by Wills Young at 9:36 AM