Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Charlie Barrett, Luminance 4th

Charlie Barrett climbed Luminance (v10?) for it's fourth ascent on Tuesday. He top-roped it and said it felt good in the cold windy conditions, so quickly did it solo, with a spotter tied in on the ledge as for the first two ascents. This line is a beauty for sure, on immaculate rock, and certainly deserves the attention after all these years! Soon we'll all be doing it.

Well, maybe not ... Charlie said the swing after the short left-to-right traverse was the hardest part of the problem, with potential to spin off, and fly down the rocky ravine. He was able to keep his feet on and lock off solidly at the big scary move to the jug, but felt he could blow that move and probably get away with a long drop into the crevasse, which he filled with a few pads. Of course he's not going to blow it, so he can say that, can't he?

Charlie wrapped up the day with an ascent of Michael Caine Sit (v12), which is now officially "hard" as determined by none other than the man himself, Fred Nicole, who also climbed it recently (it had a couple minor breaks earlier this year). A good day for climbing after all.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fred Nicole, The Swarm (v14)

Another early-season ascent has come from 39-year-old Swiss master Fred Nicole, who climbed The Swarm (v14), taking advantage of the cool temps on Monday 19th.

Fred had tried the problem about four years ago, but was on a very short visit then and didn't have time to get the line done before a heavy dump of snow shut down the area! This year, he and his wife decided to spend about a week in Bishop. He went up and impressively did the line on his first day. Fred used a similar method to that which Matt Birch used on the first ascent, matching close on the crimp for the third move, before the shouldery move right, saying it felt less powerful that way.

See also: Wilder and Clifford's ascents of The Swarm

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Luminance Video

This is a pretty sweet little video shot by Jonathan Deguzman of Dan Beall making the third ascent, first ground-up ascent, of Luminance:

While the problem is listed as v11 here, I believe Dan feels it is more like v10. Great effort ground up, that's for sure. See the previous post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rock Creek Prow and Charlie's Prow Proj.

The prow in the talus, by the tree, at Rock Creek was climbed from a standing start by Charlie Barrett a couple of weeks ago. I believe this was the first ascent, though if I'm wrong about that, let me know. The way he climbed it was to pull on using a very glassy undercling/sidepull for the left hand, and a pinch on the arete for the right. The first move involves putting a right heel high on the arete and making a huge slap up. It's a hard and intimidating move where your left hand is liable to spit off to send you spiralling down the talus:

Charlie on the Prow (stand), first move.

The next move involves a similarly intimidating dyno for a decent high-friction wrapper that is impossible to see exactly, but is good if you hit it--so I'm told! It needs a tick mark a foot long... though of course we don't use tick marks, and even if we did, we'd brush them off later, or at the very least photoshop them out!

Charlie on the Prow (stand), second move.

After this, the problem is as good as over: there's not a lot to it but those two hard moves. Adam Thomason repeated it, after taking a little while to psyche up. Supposedly the problem is in the v8 or v9 range, but I confess I found both those two moves super-hard, and didn't do either of them, as being shorter seemed to make them exponentially more difficult and intimidating for me. Plus, I suck!

I found an entirely different problem that climbs the same feature, but stays on the right of the arete. I began with my right hand on the pinch on the arete, but used a small crimp next to it for my left hand. From there, I could throw a heel and roll to a tiny crimp on the right side of the arete and again up the arete to another hidden crimp, which I shared before pulling through for a jug. This also felt about v8 or v9 and is a little highball.

It is clear that the big prize is a sit-start to Charlie's version, which he worked on a couple trips. It has big squeezing dynamic moves on poor holds out a very steep piece of rock. It will be one of the hardest problems in the Bishop area when it goes.

Charlie on the third move of the sit-start proj #1.

Luminance (v10?) Ground-Up by Dan Beall

As hoped, I have more info on this remarkable ascent of the superhighball Luminance by Dan Beall. Dan, who is a Junior at the University of California San Diego, had gone out to the Secrets area to try The Swarm. He moved over to look at Luminance, which his friend Tim Wilkens was playing around on (figuring out the moves, but finding the temps less than perfect). They had a couple of "mondos," a Mad Rock pad and a MOON Saturn pad but no rope, so started working the line ground up!

Even the start of the climb is a bit frightening: "I was really nervous going into it," says Dan.

But with no particular expectations, Dan gave it a go. After several forays across the scary lower moves, he soon found himself looking at the meat of the climb--a huge pull from one good edge to another with the terrifying drop zone into a ravine enough to make him second guess the outcome. However, after sitting down for a while, "until I stopped shaking," he says, Dan pulled on once more and this time committed to the throw.

"Even though you feel like you're going to die, I think that the climb is actually fairly safe with just a few pads because of how positive the holds are and how relatively controlled the falls should be. The only place where you could get really hurt I think is the move to the lip, but if you can get there, you really shouldn't fall, it's probably the easiest move on the climb."

I think basically what he's saying is that the holds are pretty positive at the big move, so if you have a positive attitude, and a lot of power, you know if you are going to stick it. A fall could certainly be very serious, though ...

Let's see if others will step up: it is unquestionably one of Bishop's most incredible pieces of rock, and Dan's ascent one of the most impressive achievements so far! Wow, the season has barely begun...

Dan's friend shot video, so hopefully we'll be able to see that shortly. [Video here]

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Luminance... 3rd Ascent

Dan Beall has reported his third ascent of Luminance (v10?) today. I'll try to get more info about this, but Dan says it's "really spectacular."

See also: Luminance FA.