Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rock Creek Action--River Face Arete

The River Face Arete (v10+?) has seen two repeats in the last two days. First by Ryan Olson, during a short visit (he's on his way back to college in Vancouver, BC), and then today by Adam Thomason, Crowley Lake local at present. This line is the left side of the well-known Campground Arete (v9/10), starting and finishing on the left side. Both climbers considered it quite a bit harder than the original version and made very long stretches to gain the top. This line is a really sweet, technical problem, with the upper hold being in just the right place--a shallow divot in the sloping lip: perfect.

Ryan going for the lip on the River Face Arete

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Super-Highball Slab Lines

There are many beautiful glassy pieces of rock around the Buttermilks, but few are as near-perfect as this tall white granite slab at the Pollen Grains.

Kevin at the easy ground high on the white slab

The boulder, that I simply named the White Slab Boulder is up hill above the Timothy Leary Presents Boulder (aka The Hive). The slab is low angle but extremely tall and intimidating and no walk-up. I listed a couple of projects on this in my guide. Starting from the northeast facet, a couple of days ago, Kevin Daniels led the way, climbing up rightward to the blunt arete and following this to the top at about v1.

Mike Brady climbing Kevin's line on the big white slab

It's a heady climb because you have to make a move high up with a big drop over a sloping slab of rock. You definitely don't want to take a fall, so it's essentially a solo. I began further left and climbed up the left side of the slab, with a trickier start at about v2 or 3 and then similar climbing on perfect rock and plenty of air again. I also climbed another line that begins below the north-facing facet and joins Kevin's line, with a more direct start waiting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FA on Timothy Leary Boulder by Kevin Daniels

Kevin Daniels made the first ascent of this pretty line today, KD Presents, just left of Timothy Leary Presents. It's a bit grainy but will probably clean up with some traffic. It has some really cool moves including this high-step onto the xenolith with a blank wall above. Only the tall will make it through the groping finish on appalling slopers that steadily improve the higher you stretch. Kevin barely made it up and was pretty terrified in the process. Shorter folk may have to improvise another method or perhaps launch a terrifying jump ...? More pics below.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pollen Grains: a World of Projects

I went up to the Pollen Grains a couple evenings ago to check out a new line that Kevin Daniels climbed on the Hive Boulder, called The KD Factor. Turns out to be a pretty nice and sustained climb that begins down and right from the terrifying On the Cusp. You can begin with either a low (almost sit) start, or from a good jug at head height. I opted for the latter because I didn't feel like dragging a pad in there, though the low start could maybe push the grade a notch just for the hard first move. Anyway, the climb moves up and left passing between the wall and a boulder leaning up against it (kinda tight squeeze through there), which is probably the physical crux (hard roll through) and comes right at the start. From there, you climb up and left to good holds below a giant inclusion and move up and further left to join Timothy Leary Presents with an excellent but scary move on a slopey rail. I'm guessing the climb goes at about v3, and with a low start (at a large slopey pocket) would likely be a v4.

Kevin repeats The KD Factor.

Interestingly, we all then noticed the wall lef of Timothy Leary Presents which looks excellent, with positive pockets (a very rare feature at the Buttermilks) leading to another giant xenolith:

Kevin moving to the xenolith on the project

I climbed the line going right from the xenolith to join TLP at about v4, naming it Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out, but the direct finish straight up from that large inclusion thwarted our best efforts.

Kevin attempting the direct finish.

This direct finish not only totally lacks holds, but is made all the more tricky by the fact the rock is super crusty at the moment. A good cleaning will no doubt help. Stay tuned for further developments.

Topping out on Timothy Leary Presents (v3).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mandala first July ascent? Chris Sharma

It is late July, and thundery clouds roll close above in hot humid air. The Buttermilks are pretty deserted other than a group of youths from the Yo! Basecamp summer bouldering class, all having an amazing time climbing with one of their heroes, Chris Sharma.

These kids are psyched. I mean psyched! What would they like to see? The Mandala ... ? Well, sure... But in this heat ...?

"I'll give it a go," says Chris, as a few heavy rain drops hit the ground.

Chris pulls on and, despite almost no warm up (one time up Saigon a half hour prior), he fires off The Mandala first go while the group of youngsters and some not so young look on in wonder!

Chris made the first ascent of The Mandala in Feb 2000. He has focused mainly on sport climbing for the last few years, establishing and repeating several 5.15 climbs.

Bishop: the land at the end of the rainbow!