Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paul Robinson suggests v16 for Rastaman Vibration Sit, naming it Lucid Dreaming

Paul Robinson has climbed the Buttermilks long-standing project the Rastaman Vibration Sit Start this morning. While working this problem just left of Evilution, on the Grandpa Peabody Boulder, Paul described it as much harder than anything he had done before. This extreme problem with a crux move to gain and dyno from a small left-hand pinch at standing height, was disregarded as near-impossible by many top climbers--with only a handful ever sticking the dyno. The line, in full is thought to be at least v15 and Paul has suggested v16. Not only is the start extremely physical, but the topout up the slab left of Evilution adds a good deal of highballing spice to top it off! Certainly one of the most amazing ascents at the Buttermilks ever, and one of the world's hardest problems. He has named the line Lucid Dreaming.

This line is the bafflingly hard sit start to Jared Roth's 2002 highball, Rastaman Vibration (v12) on the left side of the Grandpa Peabody's south face. Roth began his original problem at a high pinch, setting feet on the rock before making a desperate dyno to snag a fingertip edge. The crux over, v6-ish moves then led to the highball finish that he described as an epic hair-raiser. Sticking that first move alone though, was hard enough that only three or four people have ever done it. But not one had felt the urge to repeat the original line, by continuing on to the finish, perhaps feeling that the high topout was too sketchy to be worth the effort for a second ascent while the obvious and tantalizing sit-start was so nearly within grasp.

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).

All photos above are of Paul on the crux.

 Paul, after the ascent. He described a dream he had that morning in which he was climbing out an overhang on miserable pinches before awaking and feeling ready to go! Hence the name he gave the line: Lucid Dreaming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fight Club Direct

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.

Ian beginning the highball section of Fight Club Direct

Ian making the dicey step up.