"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.