Sunday, February 23, 2014

 The Method v12


In January there was a week window of nice weather. I headed back up for a two day trip with the goal of finishing off The Method v12. The winter weather wasn't as good as I was hoping for. During the night, everything had frost on it and the chief blocked the sun until noon making for a short climbing window. Once the sun hit me, I started warming up and I decided to climb Baba Hari Dass v7, which happens to be the most contrived and popular line. You can do a easy topout anywhere as you climb up this arĂȘte but you are supposed to topout at the most awkward point making it kind of stout. For some reason, against my good judgement, I felt the obligation to complete it. Once I start trying something it is hard for me to walk away. After sending it, I headed strait to The Method. I found a way to climb strait up the face instead of traversing in from the right like I had done before.
The Crux breaks down into two moves, finding the body position to slap a right hand slippery sloper then squeezing to bring your left hand to a undercling. I fell on the undercling move repeatedly. The next day I warmed up quickly not wanting my day to be cut short again. First go, I slapped the undercling and felt a little edge I powered up on it and did the next couple of moves to the good edge out left, which was slightly wet. I stared at the lip not sure were to grab and insecure on the wet hold I lunged for a chalked up spot . It turned out to be non-existent. After that I ran around top, chalked a better hold, then rested. I knew I didn't have too many goes in me. Next go I climbed perfectly threw the crux to the wet left hand, I made the move to the newly chalked up sloper on the lip. As I started to weigh it to make the next crossover move, my left hand fired off the wet hold almost knocking me off. The rest of the topout was sketchy. I was pumped and I was trying to hold on to slippery slopers with a wet hand, but I managed to pull it off. It felt good to stand on top off such a technical test piece. It climbs very similar to Angelina Jolie v11/12 in Leavenworth. I have always really liked to climb lines of all styles. This is definitely one of the hardest slab/vert lines I have climbed. Now, on to the next one. 

                        Back to Squamish

Frontside so cool
I headed back up to Squamish in October. The weather was a perfect 40 degrees with a nice breeze. It was awesome. Squamish is a really hard place to travel to, it is either to hot or raining. It is safe to say Squamish is sandbagged but in these little weather windows that only the locals get to enjoy, the grades suddenly feel right. My goal for the trip was the three v12's on the top 100 list--Summoning, Frontside, and The Method. First off I went to Murrin Park to finish the Summoning v12, a line I had greased off of on my summer trip. It felt great in the cold and after figuring out the transitions, I managed to send it--only after blowing the move to the lip when my left hand dry fired off of a crimp. Feeling really good about the send, I headed over to the grand wall to meet up with Jesse Warren who wanted to try Room Service v12. When I got there Jesse, Paul Nadler, and Carlo Traversi where sessioning. I threw down my pad and started trying. Room Service is a burly compression line on little edges with precise thumb catches. It kind of starts in the middle of the true line which has an obvious start hold but it looks real hard so it got climbed from the middle. Jesse had worked the line prevously and was psyched. Right after I got there he climbed it. Carlo started trying dreamcatcher 5.14d when his girlfriend fed him to much slack and he almost decked on the boulder it climbs over. I tried Room Service for a bit but I was more psyched to climb on Frontside. I figured I would come back after and give it more serious attempts.
Encore un Fois v11
Shots Fired
 The next morning I ran over to Frontside to try and climb it before the sun hit it. I warmed up on Shots Fired a fantastic v4 that sits on the boulder next to Frontside. I felt really good and after
rehearsing the crux move it was game on. The crux revolves around taking a slopy right hand divot and lock it off to your side and make a big crossover move to a good edge. You can't lose to much tension because of the boulder behind you. The first time I did the crux move to quickly my head tilted back to far and I dabbed on the boulder behind me. I like that aspect of outdoor climbing the variables make things more interesting. After falling a few time on the crux from the beginning, I managed to pull it off. Frontside has to be the most inspiring line I have done in Squamish.  Paul said he was going to session Room Service that day so I headed over there. I figured I would take advantage, the climb requires a lot of pads. I figured out all the moves but I was to spent to send such a powerful line.  Paul got insanely close falling after the crux. Feeling worked, we called it a day.
 The next morning I warmed up on some really good classics on the carpet ride boulder I hadn't done. I stopped at Killa' Gorilla v8 on the way out. It looked fun but contrived. I got to work, and it was a lot more powerful then I was expecting. I finally mustered up enough strength to pull it out. I looked at the variation King Kong v10 and thought what the hell. After a couple goes I was on top. It felt substantially easier. Right above it sits The Serpent v10, and it looks awesome. I gave it a flash burn falling about half way up. Twenty minutes later I hadn't gotten a single move higher. I decided I should come back and session it with friends that could maybe throw some beta my way because I wasn't getting anywhere. I was tired so I headed to the Method v12 it is mostly a technical line with not to much burl. I had tried it in the middle of the summer and I couldn't get off the ground. I figured out the beginning and was feeling good on the crux when it started to rain. It wasn't letting up so I called it a trip and headed home.

                                              

Friday, November 15, 2013

                           Summer 2011

Some older footage I finally got around to editing. I have about forty older clips I need to put together but for now enjoy some of the best climbs Washington has to offer. Including Beautifucation, the best line in Leavenworth in my opinion. I have been climbing like crazy lately ticking of most of the best hard lines in Washington and Squamish. So lookout for good quality videos I will be putting out when my girl gets back from France (she has the only labtop that can process my camera).  Good Times.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dave's masterpiece 

The Teacup v13





Dave Thompson made the first ascent of The Teacup. Around these parts it is rare to climb a hard line that was not put up by Johnny G. As it turns out Dave also put up God is in the Details v13 before all the knee bars brought it down to soft v12, 101 Ways to Fling Poo v12 before a hold crumbled and got bigger now v10, Beautification v11 best climb in Leavenworth in my opinion, but his crown jewel is definitely The Teacup v13. I first meet Dave at Stone Gardens. He was the crusher, I was the noob trying to work my way up the ladder. Over time I became good enough to climb on the same lines as him and we became friends. We have very similar styles. I learned learned a lot by watching him climb.
        The Teacup is definitely a classic perfect hard line that everyone knows about and not meany have done. Dave, Johnny, Joel, and Cole have really paved the way for Washington bouldering. I made a goal to repeat there lines and get a good foundation for future first ascents. Last fall I had cleaned up on most of the hard lines so I tried The Teacup and it felt surprisingly doable. Then came the rain. First good day that following spring 2013 I was right back at it. I had a lot of psych after thinking about it all winter. I soon found out that it sits in the sun all day. I opt for a night session. Great temps made the holds fill so crisp. I fired the crux move first go, I knew it was on. After fumbling the first move a couple times (it has a crappy heel hook that doesn't like to stay) I was on top finishing my first v13 and adding my name to the elite list of ascentists. That line is a great mile stone in my climbing, now on to bigger and better objectives.
That following fall  I watched Carlo Traverse also repeat the line with some crazy short guy beta. More impressive was his take down of the infamous Latter proj naming it The Penrose Step v14. I can't wait to try. A couple of weeks later Jimmy Webb made the first flash of The Teacup, very impressive. I am not as big of a fan of flashes as I am limit pushing fa's or repeats. I hope that both of them add more hard perfect lines for me to test myself on.     
Proj by The Teacup



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Squamish

Right after I first started climbing I moved to Washington. Thinking there wasn't anything to climb on in my new home, at least there was Squamish a mire three and a half hours away. I had watched Sharma tear up Squamish (in Rampage) hundreds of times and The Egg being one of my favorite lines in the movie. My friend Kenny and I decided to make the pilgrimage to check it out, only needing my id to cross the border. At the time I was a v4 climber at best, so after seeing the lines in person I could only fantasize about a time when I was good enough to climb them especially The Egg. Right before I moved to Washington my dad had died unexpectedly. I was in a bad place and I was self medicating. The trip was a disaster. It was a hazy two days of climbing poorly but seeing those lines motivated me to become a better climber. I know its cheesy to say this but climbing gave me something to LIVE for, a reason to get healthy. 
Fast forward five clean years. The rules had changed, you needed a passport to cross the border. I couldn't justify paying for a passport when the climbing in Washington is so good (better then Squamish in my opinion) but this summer I was getting bummed by the heat and was thinking maybe Squamish would be a cooler option. So I shelled out the money for the passport and made my way through the interrogation that is the border crossing.
That first real trip was awesome! I felt like a kid in a candy store running around climbing loads of classics. Myles and I decided to stayed for a week. Finding out quickly that the camping situation in Squamish sucks. The campsites are outrages, eight dollars per person per night and it was full. The other campsite thirty bucks a night. So we decided to stay at the north walls. Are first hole in the wall camp got pounded with dust by the endless supply of construction trucks speeding recklessly down the road. One even peeled out to kick up dirt on us as we stood on the side of the road. So we moved camp way down the road to a lonely site. Camp 2, was eerily silent (no wind), as it got dark we started to hear noises of animals move around camp. Myles's imagination got the best of him with worst case scenarios. So then of course I got nervous. I brushed it off as field mice and went to sleep. That night Myles woke up to a deep breathing sound. Fearing it was a bear and paralyzed by fear, he plotted his escape for the next half hour. Finally realizing the breathing was coming from me in the other tent. Needless to say Myles wanted to move camp the next day. Camp 3, a beautiful spot right by the river were we managed to stay three days. The first day a hiker passively told us that people get kick out of that spot (with a dick undertone).
River next to Camp 3
On the third morning at that camp 3, that snooty hiker past by with a smirk on his face. Ten minutes later the rangers were kicking us out. Camp 4 this time we decided to find a spot so hidden as to not be bothered. This was a harder task then expected. Every spot that looked good we would wander back into the woods there were tents already there. We found small cities hidden everywhere.The last two nights we had to bushwhack deep in to the woods to get to are tent every night and we had neighbors.

Back to the climbing, my favorite send of the week was managing to get my butt up The Egg v11 after a extremely humid night session ended poorly making me doubt myself. The next day was hot as I was warming up but as I made my way to The Egg I got some cloud coverage and a send breeze kicked up. The stars had a lined and after a short session I had ticked it off my life list.
The video has a lot of my favorite sends from the trip but vimeo will only let upload about six minutes of footage. There are about ten more good lines from that first trip. I will put them in a extra video.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trespass Boulders, Morpheus, and Five Star 


Morpheus, is one of the many new areas that keep popping up all around Washington. Miles, Jesse, and Pablo are responsible for most of the development of this area. Early last fall Mike May showed Santo, Corey, Kris, and I around. Its about twenty minutes past Index on highway 2. We stopped at the first boulder we came to and warmed up on all the lines on it. I was antsy to try some of the cooler hard lines that I had heard of. The first boulder is not that inspiring. So near by on the river sits another boulder with a good vertical moderate. After I climbed it I looked to the left noticing a perfect slopey rail then some barely there holds, but it looked like it might be climbable. I was surprised this perfect line on one of the first boulders you come across hadn't been climbed. Turns out the water level is to high almost all year. Apparently I came at the perfect time. I started cleaning it up and feeling out the holds. The others caught wind and joined in thinking we might snag the fa of such an awesome line. The climb revolves around a left hand slopey edge with a good thumb catch. At first I was thinking I would gaston the thumb catch because it looks like a decent vertical edge but after trying the first move I decided I needed a down pulling hold. The wall is about 30 degrees overhanging and the rails are extremely slopey. There is a good foot out left taking some of the much needed weight off your hands. After figuring out the first move I was trying to jump off the left hand to a grippy but bad slopey divot near the lip. I could get my hand on it but I couldn't hold it. The rest of the guys were discouraged because they were not able to stick the first move. They decided to move on.  I decided to walk up with them and check out the main area.

Log crossing


Follow the White Rabbit v10ish 
About a ten minute walk with a couple boulders on the trail (including an amazing proj) we crossed a big log over the river then up a steep little hill to get to the talus. I ran off scoping all the boulders and caves. Nothing got me as psyched as the proj by the river. The boulders in the talus were a little underwhelming. They were one and two mover problems. I was told later the good stuff was up the hill and there were pictures to back it up. After running around the talus for a half hour I came back down to see Corey getting close on a pull your butt of the ground one mover v8 that looked ok. So I headed back down to the proj where I had left my things. That time spent running around gave my arms a good rest. I got back to work finding a way to bring my right hand up to a none existent sloper with a one finger microscopic divot then jumping to the better divot. I had just purchased a canon t3i and was happy to get some quality video of the first ascent (at the time I did not realize if you shot vertical it would not fill the screen).  After I set up the camera I started making attempts from the start. After falling on the jump move repeatedly, I finally snagged it perfectly and got the fa of Follow the White Rabbit v10. As I started to mantle over on the topout jug a piece broke off in my hand almost sending me backwards into the river. Feeling good about the fa I walked up stream to try another good looking line Miles had put up called Landjager v9. One solid go later I was on top, flashing the problem and thinking it was more like v8. Grades aside there both great lines worth a trip up to Morpheus to do. Next time I want to see the rest of the area. Pablo has made a topo to the area at expouldering.com
Amazing proj


Lower roof Rebel v8ish 

Trespasser v8ish










I found the Trespass boulders trying to find the Glena boulders. As you drive into Index instead of turning left on the bridge to Index you go straight for a while. You will see a little boulder right off the road on the left side. Right after that you will see the boulders on the hillside in a clear cut past a no trespassers sign. There are two boulders. Both have great roof climbing on granite. The lower roof has three awesome lines. All starting on a blocky hold with two good edges on it. The main line Rebel v8, busting out right to a big rail then up the arete using a perfect three finger pocket edge in the middle of the blank face.  Trespasser v8 exits right out a hole with cool slopers. The second boulder is right above it jutting over the hill side and hosts the awesome problem Rise Against v11 (in the video). It starts on a low left hand jug and a small incut right hand edge. It climbs out the middle of the roof and tops out to the right. Private Property v7 climbs the arete just right of Rise Against. All the climbs are gym style roofs with big moves on incut holds with decent feet. After reading this, I hope more people get out and try these great problems.

Five star is one of the best boulders in the world and, in my opinion, Toebriosity/Ebriosity are the best lines on it. The first time I acknowledged that Toebriosity was a line of its own I was at Five Star, and Dave Thompson was working the line. After trying the line with him I realized how good it was. You do the first couple hard moves on Ebriosity into a much harder ending on slopey holds with crazy tension which all leads up to the crux move for the slopey lip with a hard to snag thumb catch.  In the guide book it says that if you climb the direct its about the same in difficulty. No way! Ebriosity was my first v11 and it took me a long time to get another one. Safe to say its soft for the grade and Toe is solid v12. They felt miles apart to me. I would literally warm up on Ebriosity for Toe. It took me three good sessions to get Toebriosity (named after the first ascentist's funky toe, Joal Campbell). None the less, both are amazing problems not to be missed.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Joe's Valley March 2012


My friend Rachel said that her and her boyfriend Tom were going to Joe's for spring break. I instantly said yes. A ride to Joe's, sign me up. Although the trip was short, I had a blast. I have been to Joe's a couple other times. Over the previous two years I have spent a little over a month there. I feel like I have really gotten to know the area and have slowly ticked off most of my favorite lines.

On this trip I wanted to check out some new areas. The new guide book came out with some cool new lines I didn't know about and some I had over looked.  First we headed to Dairy Canyon.  Going strait to the Lactation Station boulder where Tom and I went to town flashing a tricky Vertical Ice v6 on the boulder below. The wall is awesome, starting as a roof then rounding the bulge to slopey top-out.  The holds mostly consist of friendly pockets and slopers. I worked my way across the boulder climbing most of the lines.  First, I flashed Rabbit Fur v6, Dyno v7, and Baldwin Bash v7. Tom also climbed them. I climbed Cow Bell v8 after some deciphering. Then a cool guy named Jess showed up. Jess his friend and I started to session Lactation Station v10. After some work we climbed it back to back.
Feeling good about the day already we headed down to Stir the Pie v9 thinking it looked flashable. Once again me and him flashed it back to back followed by his friend after a few tries. We were thinking more like v7/8 for the grade. It's days like this I climb for, sweet new lines, beautiful area, and good people.

The last day of the trip turned out to be the best. Feeling like I wasn't living up to my expectations I needed to climb some hard lines before I left. So we headed up to the Raiden boulder. Were we warmed up and I climbed Raiden v6  and a perfect underrated line called Reduced Fat Milk v8 on the back side. I looked at Dunkin Donuts v8/9 (given v10 in the book) and thought it looked flashable. One solid try and I was standing on top. Though it is clearly not v10, the line is still really fun. While Tom and I where climbing Rachel was climbing on a small boulder just east of us. I wondered over there and found a good little line with surprisingly fun moves, so I cleaned and climbed the first ascent of Tom Likes Hairy Men v6/7ish (video of climb after the credits). I named it after a conversation Tom and I had.  We then bickered over where to climb next. I had given them the last two days to do whatever they wanted in exchange for me being able to climb on my projects the last day. So after climbing on the Raiden boulder they had decided that was enough of my time. I had been wanting to get on Beyond Life sit all week and I needed there pads but they were unwilling (They had also left me at a boulder I was trying a couple of days before, luckily a guy I was climbing with gave me a ride so I didn't have to walk the mile back). So I told them just to drop me off at camp so I didn't have to worry about being left behind. That act probably made my trip.

The day before, I was hanging out at camp at the Halloween Town parking lot when Scott Hall and Chad Parkinson showed up and disappeared up hill. I went wandering after them, they were trying this perfect line. They told me Isaac Caldiero had climbed it a week earlier. I was a little bummed because I had spent hours hiking the hillside looking for a line this good coming up empty handed. So I watched them try the first move, the crux (a drop knee big move off good holds to a slot micro crimp, a very precise move which required bearing down on the micro crimp, and then jumping to a sloper). After I got dropped off at camp I figured I could at leased climb this beautiful little line. So I got to work falling repeatedly on the first move but I felt close, I surprised myself by climbing it in about twenty-five minutes. Happy with the fact that it went down so fast, I crossed the hillside hoping I might also bag an ascent of The Scull v11. Such a fun burly three mover. Once you pull your butt off the ground it is on you until you are on top. After about the same amount of work I was sitting on top of the boulder, bagging another sweet line.  Both lines are perfect little overhangs on black rock,  pure lines with great movement. The top sloper on The Scull is perfectly sculpted for your hand. People over look these problems because they are small, but the lines are to good to be missed.  Later, I stumbled in to camp feeling great about my last day best day.

The ride home sucked, they stopped to tour the temple (amen) for two hours. Tom then blew up on me saying that they had been taking care of me the whole trip but when I gave a rebuttal the only thing he could come up with was he bought me a dollar McMuffin. All that for a dollar. It was awkward to say the least. Note to self, don't go on trips with people you barely know.

When I got home I contacted Scott about the name of the line that I had climbed. He informed me that I had actually made the first ascent. I was ecstatic. I had just put up Inception v12 in Little Cottenwood Canyon the birth place of my climbing and now this. A little after that I saw a video of another guy climbing the line about three weeks after me thinking he had gotten the first ascent and calling it Lost and Found v12. I decided to change the name to The Curious Case of Benjamin Herrington to clear up any confusion about the fa. As for the grade, it feels in the same ball park as The Scull but I could see it being v12 so I left it were he graded it. The climb also suited me perfectly so it's hard to say.

All in all it was a fun trip minus the drive home.  Im really excited I left my mark with such a good line. Joe's never lets me down, I always have a good time.