Saturday, January 14, 2012

Alex Honnold tops out Beefy Gecko and Aquatic Hitchhiker

The problems in the Beef Cave at the Sad Boulders are a lot of fun, but until now, only a few of them had been "topped out." Though some of the lines move left and out to daylight, other problems like Windchill (v9), Feel Like a Barnacle (v7), Beefy Gecko (v10/11) and Aquatic Hitchhiker (v10) while having great moves, end at a good jug at the upper right side of the roof. This jug is the starting point for Jeff Sillcox's visionary and scary addition from March 2009, Light at the End of the Tunnel (v8). To link any of the shorter lines into this latter topout would add considerable spice and complete the problems in the traditional way--putting the climber on top of the boulder.

Alex Honnold who is in Bishop for a couple of months, completed the hardest of these link-ups with Aquatic Hitchhiker and Beefy Gecko, to produce two outstanding problems that he named The Chunnel  and Beef at the End of the Tunnel, both at about the same grade as the originals. The upper section made use of a flexy flake above a pit that put most people off the idea of going for the send. However after stuffing a trio of pads into the rocky gap below and another across the top, he went for top section and broke the flake, taking what turned out, fortunately, to be an uneventful fall. Later after cleaning the upper section, he made the ascents of the two new lines

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