Theater Of The Absurd

Theater Of The Absurd

My Dad often asks me why I don’t just use a ladder to get to the top of a boulder when I tell him about our various bouldering excursions.  That’s a valid question I suppose, but what he doesn’t understand is all the great aspects of climbing that go into a day at the boulders.  Things like beautiful weather, great surroundings and good friends all helping you push your physical limits to surmount that boulder combine to make climbing the great sport it is.  However, a day like yesterday makes me think my Dad might have a point.

After spending the better half of the week closely monitoring the forecast in the hopes that a) it would finally stop raining and b) the temperatures would climb above 35 degrees, I was pleased to see that Sunday’s forecast called for temps in the mid-30s with a minor chance for some snow.  On Sunday morning I set off on a solo mission for Governor Dodge by 6 am and arrived at the boulders around 8.  I had my sites set on completing a trifecta of harder (for me) problems that I hadn’t tried yet:  Alpine Bouldering Club (V6), Illusions Of Paradise (V7) and Flavor Savor (V5). 

After giving up on properly warming up due to how cold it was, I made my way into the woods in search of Alpine Bouldering Club (ABC).  ABC is a cool new problem that climbs a series of right facing crimpers out an overhanging prow to a slopey topout.  After being thwarted by the snowy topout (see below) on my flash attempt, I was able to put things together a couple of tries later.  While ABC doesn’t have the most interesting moves (I mainly just bumped my way up), it has incredibly good rock by Dodge standards which makes it very worthwhile to check out.  

When I arrived at the ABC boulder it had begun to snow which created a really cool scene.  However, it also created a sloppy mess whereby everything was getting wet.  If you want a good laugh, just picture a lone climber out in the woods struggling to get on top of a snow covered boulder with his feet only a few feet from the ground.  That pretty much sums up how I must have looked on this problem.  Back to the report…

With objective #1 in the bag and conditions deteriorating quickly, I made the short drive to check out IOP.  I was pleased to see that its horizontal nature was protecting all the holds from getting wet and quickly went through the beta in my mind.  I pulled on for my flash go and before I knew it I was standing on top of the problem.  It was one of those rare climbs where I was in the zone, and I couldn’t even remember how I had gotten to the top.  I was psyched to say the least (picture a great deal of fist pumping toward noone in particular).  While there are a lot of minor nitpicky negatives you could point out about this problem, its status as one of the only roof boulder problems in the state more than makes up for them.  My unnatural lankiness allowed me to span the roof more easily than shorter folks out there which might explain my feeling that IOP felt easy for V7.  Either way, props to Sweatpants for finding it, cleaning it and sending it.

Here’s footage of Mr. Sweatpants re-enacting my send of IOP 3 months before it happened (AKA him doing the FA):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTX-Zn0yWOk]

At this point in the day, it was snowing pretty good and it was getting treacherous to even walk around.  I slipped my way up the trail to check out Flavor Savor only to find that its entire right side was covered in snow.  It looks like an amazing line though so I hope to get back to try it before winter arrives in full force.

To summarize:

  • I woke up at 5 am
  • Drove 4 hours round trip
  • Was at various times either frozen, muddy, wet or a combination of all three
  • Climbed for only 2 hours, alone
  • Made it to the top of only 3 problems 
  • Had one of my favorite climbing days ever

I guess my Dad might have a point, but then again he spends hours on end freezing in the woods trying to kill animals so I have that on him.

Posted In: Bouldering, From The Narc
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13 Responses to Theater Of The Absurd

  1. sock hands November 17, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    laddering to the top is about as cool as a ninja relying on a gun… A WASTE OF MAD-SICK SKILLZ!

    if your dad’s dad lived through the depression, your dad would know that we should never waste anything, especially skillz.

    for SHAME!

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  2. Chris November 17, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Wow, first flash of Illusions, presumably. Nice work! That sucker is badass.

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  3. Narc November 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm #

    I forgot to mention this in the post but maybe you could help with this Chris. I hadn’t been to the illusions boulder since this summer so I remembered seeing some breakage in and around the crack. The last hold for your right hand in the crack, the one with the good edge, has a large break on it where you get a good thumb catch. It’s hard to tell from the video or photos if this has gotten bigger or if it was always this big. To me it looked bigger than I remembered but I didn’t spend much time looking on previous trips.

    Either way, I had a lot of fun climbing on it.

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  4. sweatpants November 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm #

    Yo man good stuff!!! congrats on the good day my friend. Glad you enjoyed the problem.

    As for that hold it always has been kind of cracked looking and very positive so i think it’s prolly the same still. plus i have not heard of any breakage. do you not have to cut feet at all with your kneebar things or how does that work for you tall people? I bet those hold feel so nice when its not 85 degrees huh? 🙂 you might have the FCA – first cold ascent

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  5. Chris November 17, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Narc- when I last was on this, August I believe, there already was a good thumb catch on the good edge that you mention (and yes, it looked like it had broken off as of then also). I would hit the lower, smaller edge first, move left hand, then bump right onto the good part. So it broke before that. Sweaty sent it maybe 7-10 days before me, he might know when it broke. I was kind of worried that that entire good hold would break off based on all the breakage and cracks: I kind of felt like it was flexing when I pulled on it and it might let go. Apparently not yet… Anyway nice send. Kind of humbling– that problem took me loads of tries…

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  6. Chris November 17, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    Oh, I see Sweaty jumped in there unbeknownst to me. Yup, that’s the first time I have used that word: unbeknownst. Cool.

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  7. Narc November 17, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    That sounds right then for the crimp.

    I’m honestly not really sure how I did it. I don’t remember my feet cutting at all. I believe from the start, I had left knee in a kneebar which allowed me to be able to reach all the way to the 2nd left hand hold. The kneebar wasn’t great or anything but it was good enough. Then switch knees and bump my right hand in the crack until I get all the way to the good crimp. Then some combination of toe hooks and what have you allowed me to bring my left heel into the heel hook statically then finish up the same way you did. Super fun! The holds felt GREAT in the cold…super grippy.

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  8. Narc November 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm #

    Worry not Chris, last time I tried SV (2 months ago) I couldn’t get past the first move. Hopefully I can get on it before winter sets in.

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  9. Chris November 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm #

    Impressive no foot cut. I was able to pull the move that way but was unable to link it. In the end, decided it was just easier to cut feet and stop messing around.

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  10. Chris November 17, 2008 at 6:49 pm #

    If we’re lucky perhaps another couple decent days… I hope… SteveZ and I went to the Qual wall last weekend and it was miserable, but I think at least with bouldering the tries are short enough. About 1/2 way up the routes we were on our hands were useless blocks of insensate ice… That’s what we get for roping up!

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  11. Narc November 17, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    That’s what you get for roping up at the Dodge!

    Low 30s yesterday. It was pretty cold warming up but I didn’t have any frozen hand issues during the (brief) remainder of the day.

    Wednesday looks very promising!

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  12. sweatpants November 17, 2008 at 7:33 pm #

    good you should go give a un-tired try at chaos so u can tell me how hard that thing is. I finally got the pics and put them up on M.P. yesterday. psyched.

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  13. Chris (other Chris) November 18, 2008 at 4:23 am #

    Somehow this reminds me a lot of my climbing experience this weekend. It wasn’t snowing (yet) and I even saw the sun for about 5mins but overall pretty similar (driving 3h, climbing only 2h, lots of hiking, freezing a lot, bouldering alone).
    I hate winter.

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