Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pollen Grains Update

December 11, 1pm

I was just in communication with my friend Buck Branson down in Garden Grove. It sounds like his crew was the one that broke the hold on Suspended in Silence. He said it still goes, but it is definitely a little harder. He said that his crew (I'm not exactly sure who), also did the Drone Militia/S in S linkup. I asked him if he thought the "Droning Silence" name apt. He also mentioned that he worked Return Jedi as well. It sounds like he came very close, suffering the same sort of heart break I did near Thanksgiving (sticking the first really hard move and then popping off, and being unable to repeat the first move after that). It amazes me that that line had not been done earlier...


December 11, 12:30pm

Hi Wills,

I hope you and Lisa are doing well. I've been wrapping up my time in law school, and finding a lot more time to get out buttermilking. Tim recommended I should give you an update.

Back in October a group of us were at Jedi Mind Tricks and we began to look at the obvious, beautiful arete to its left. Peter Dixon and I tried the most aesthetic start, on two right slanting edges just right of the arete, for a while but did not make much progress. Then he noticed a flake system about 5 feet to the left. After some tries I climbed it and then Peter repeated it quickly. We began standing up with our hands in the flake, firing up to an edge left hand, and then worked up the arete. While there are some loose looking flakes, it was not difficult to stay on good rock the whole way. We dubbed it Massage from Below inspired by the local hotsprings. Difficulty wise, the first few moves down low are the business, and it is probably somewhere between V7-V9.

Just after Thanksgiving, a group of us returned to the Pollen Grains, noticing that one of the "key" low sidepulls on Suspended in Silence was gone. For some reason, I had never noticed the prospect of linking Drone Militia into Suspended in Silence. It follows a very pretty line. I managed to do this problem in a few tries, with the business coming at a hard move that involved getting your left hand on the high edge of Drone Militia you usually use with your right hand to reach to the cobbles. I don't know if this has been done before. We dubbed it Droning Silence, and it is probably between V6-V8. Also managed to do a direct exit to Drone Militia - Drone Direct. I started as for Drone Militia, but from the pocket and the jug a few moves up went straight into a hueco with my right hand, grabbed a bad sloper with my left, and launched up to a patina jug a few feet left of the cobbles. Fun problem probably about V8-V10.

On the Thanksgiving trip I came close to doing the line left of Jedi Mind Tricks, starting off the perfect right leaning crimps and climbing up and right, staying just right of the arete. After concerted effort I managed to stick the first move, a painfully long lock off to a small right hand sidepull, but then had my hand pop off for the next move to a good patina edge. I must have tried the first move 30 more times to no avail.

Last week, between finals, I drove back down to Bishop to go try the problem. Suffice to say it had been on my mind for a couple of weeks. On Thursday I went out there by myself, spent the morning hiking around, and by the time I warmed up the storm began to approach. I tried the line for about 90 minutes in the rain, until the wall and all of my stuff was soaked, but could not manage to do the first move. I gave up and retreated into town, expecting the storm to prevent anymore climbing. I spent the night in town with a friend who had to be out early the next morning. When I awoke at sunrise, the sky was clear and the sun was out. I raged out to the Pollen Grains, and the boulders had a dusting of snow on them, and the north sides were damp and cold. But the Jedi Mind Tricks face was perfect. After scarily topping out Jedi Mind Tricks by myself (I did not want to hobble out of there!), I moved on to my project.

On my second go that day I stuck the first lock off. I got all nervous, like "don't blow this next part again." I worked my way up the left facing patina, to the big ramp, and to a creaky jug at its top. One move off a small crimp brought me to the top. I yelled for what felt like 20 minutes. I am really psyched on this line. I think it is one of the ones. If it has not yet been done, I would want to call it Return Jedi. It is a weird sort of difficult, being an awkward, balancy static lock off. It's probably somewhere between V9-V11.

Hope to see you down there soon!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see back at your old stomping ground Vic.

Mick Ryan
in rainy Sheffield