Thursday, January 12, 2012

Alex Johnson, Golden Age (2nd?) and More

Alex Johnson is back in Bishop for a while and loving the bouldering here as much as ever. On this trip she has taken things to a new height by getting off the deck on some of the area's taller problems. It impresses to hear of her ascents of Mesothelioma (v7), Golden Shower (v10) and The Ninth (v6), all at The Pollen Grains (a.k.a. Lydija Boulders) in a day.

But, I was most pleased to hear she had gone out and repeated Golden Age (v8?) out at Dale's Camp. "I thought there was just Xavier's Roof. I didn't realize there were so many great lines there," she said of the area. Perhaps inspired by the three-star rating I gave the problem Golden Age she actually took the trouble to try to figure out where it went. I did this line a couple of years ago and was truly amazed to be making FAs of such quality in the area. Obviously I gave the line three stars, as that's just a rule for first ascents by guidebook writers.

The route to the right, In The Bank (v5) is another one that is well worth the trip for highball aficionados! See this earlier blog post which should give a pretty clear idea of where these lines go. Both of them begin on some sharp and granular rock, but quickly progress into some really beautiful glassy patina.

 Alex on the crux sequence at the start of Golden Age. Photo: Sasha Turrentine.

When I did the problem, it really did seem like we had been experiencing the golden age of Bishop Bouldering, with a slew of amazing highballs getting done all across the Buttermilks. However, I have not heard of anyone else repeating this striking line and Alex may well have made the second ascent! She seemed to think it was pretty hard and certainly well worth doing. Just make sure to climb directly up the blunt arete at the start with some harsh pulls on some sharpish rock, and don't come into it from the crusty holds on the right.

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