Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tough link-up by Jacob Padilla

I always thought that Cocktail Sauce(v10) on the Smooth Shrimp boulder, (Buttermilks Main Area, just uphill from Mandala) was a pretty stout problem in itself, but for those who like to up the level a little, how about traversing into it all the way from the left?

Jacob Padilla, a coach and route-setter for City Beach Rock Club, Fremont, wrote to me about this link-up, which he just completed, describing it as, "The ultimate butt-dragger!"

Here he is cruising it ... Nice climbing, Jacob!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Desert Stormer ... v1 ... Really?

So a couple weeks ago a friend here brought to my attention a "v1" in my guidebook that he could find "no holds" on. Page 320 of the 2nd Edition of Bishop Bouldering lists the problem Desert Stormer as problem #16, with the photo-diagram at bottom right on page 321. The problem is on the back side of the Secrets of the Beehive boulder. I listed the grade as "v1?" The question mark is there in the guide with the comment "Reportedly about v1, but it looks harder." My guess is that I found the problem listed in an old topo from Mick Ryan, but didn't climb it before my guide went to print so left the grade nebulous.

Well, curiosity got the better of us, so we arranged some pads under the line to give it a go ... It was a bit dirty at first and took a little cleaning, but after a couple forays and drops onto the pads, several of us climbed the wall, finding it to have some fun technical face climbing. The top remains a bit crusty and caution is needed in manteling over. You'll need three or four pads and a good spot on this, as the landing isn't the best.

We figured it goes around v4/5-ish, so check it out and see what you think! This may not be the original Desert Stormer, or perhaps v1 used to be a lot harder. Take care on the topout.

Lisa Bedient demonstrates some foot skills while climbing Desert Stormer -- Secrets of the Beehive Boulder.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mirko Caballero Adds Sit to Seven Spanish Angels

A low start had been added to Seven Spanish Angels on the Get Carter Boulder by Charlie Barrett back in 2010, but a true sit remained. This week Mirko Caballero started a little to the right and managed to get it done:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beautiful Gecko at Ice Caves Reclimbed

Well over a year ago now, some time in November 2011, a good sized hold at the right side of the Beef Cave at the Ice Caves, Sad Boulders, broke away to leave a smooth scar on the overhang where there once was a nice fingertip "jug."

The problem Beautiful Gecko immediately became a good bit harder. Previously, this hold had been the go-to starting point on the mid-level rail that leads left across the roof to form the line of Beautiful Gecko. It had also been useful for Aquatic Hitchhiker up the prow, and slightly more vitally, Windchill, up the face, but these two weren't so drastically affected as the former line, which may well have gone unclimbed since that break. Funny, because a couple other small pieces of the same rail had broken in the past, but this hold was solid. Never looked like it could go anywhere. Monolithic. Like rock, I mean, like a rock.

Anyway, this Wednesday, Ian Cotter-Brown completed the powerful new sequence of tricky cross-overs and tenuous heel- and toe-hook maneuvers across this line. After the awkward, high-tension set-up, a tough stab into the rail of Beefcake with a harrowing swing led to the relative ease of the exit. The line looks likely to hold its v12 grade quite comfortably now, or may even ... break it?

A short while ago Ian also added the link-up of Windchill into the end of Beefcake to produce Subzero, yet another astounding new line from the cave that just keeps on caving ... Oh yeah, and giving. This last also checks in around the v12 range perhaps.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Atari, The Right Way?

Atari, as many will know, is one of the most iconic lines on The Tableland and many people head up the rocky slopes there on the east side of the Happy Boulders Canyon to get to grips with this classic frightener. Requiring hands on each side of a smoothly tapering tower of tuff, Atari provides a unique and tricky challenge.

Recently I heard from Jordan Shackleford about an interesting option on the Atari block--the right side of Atari. As you can see from the picture, it looks pretty spectacular, though I haven't been on it! Jordan climbed the line and wondered if it had been done before. If anyone knows, please post a comment below.

Above: Benoit Bourassa of Montreal on perhaps the second ascent of the right side of Atari. Thanks to Jordan Shackleford for the image

Jordan writes:

There is a long reach up with either hand to a big hold at the broken section of the face in the middle of the route. From there we cranked up with left hand and heel on the arete to gain that really good pocket on the Atari route, with left mono or finger stack in the hole. Then its a high step and a reach for the top.

According to Jordan, the line checks in at a mere v2--not that hard, but the landing is, as he says, "heinous." A fall would be a bad idea from anywhere but the start of the problem! Jordan was with a group of friends who also climbed the line following his lead. "A fun, easy line, but tread with caution," he concludes.