Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Little Cottonwood Adventures

Little Cottonwood Adventures

Prime Rib V9
After Joe's Valley we headed up to Little Cottonwood and Salt Lake City. We were desperate for the comforts of the city and some awesome granite climbing. It was great to also see Ben's best friend Kenny who came out climbing with us a few times. By this point in the trip Roxana and I were feeling pretty tired and warn down. I just felt like climbing easier lines and trying to get some endurance back up. On our rest days we would go into town to hang out with Kenny. We would skateboard a lot since the skate parks in Salt Lake were pretty cool. Ben and Kenny got some cool clips and reminisced about their childhood days.
 On climbing days, Ben, of course, wanted to try hard projects and seemed to be rejuvenated once we got to Salt Lake. The first order of business was Prime Rib V9. This is a highball beautiful line up that sits up a steep hill on the south side of the canyon. It is one of the most beautiful lines I have seen. Luckily we had Kenny to help up spot on this day because it would have been a sketchy fall otherwise. Ben then continued to tick off some other pretty sweet lines like Gerbils V9. This is a super technical line that required very intricate foot placement. Ben tried it for about 45 minutes and then figured out he needed to move his foot an inch to the right and sent it first go with the new beta. Little Cottonwood is similar to Squamish in this way because the beta is so precise. Unless you have everything just right you won't send.
Gerbils V9
While Ben was working Gerbils I sent a couple cool V3's and V4's in the area and then tried a sweet lowball called Squeeze It V5. This line was perfect after injuring my finger on Chips V7 in Joe's Valley because the holds were all pretty big slopers and underclings. It was hard to pull my butt off the ground because it started on the underclings and then made a big move up left to a sloper. This line is super cool for how low to the ground it is. It required power and compression and I was psyched to send it. It brought some confidence back since I was feeling weak after Joe's.
Squeeze It V5 
Another way in which Little Cottonwood is similar to Squamish is that the grades feel stiff. There was one line in particular that felt super hard for the grade. It was this famous V3 called Fat Albert Gang in a pretty popular road side area. It had the most slippery feet and required you to lie back this arĂȘte and slowly walk your feet up the arĂȘte in order to reach the top. I slipped off that thing for almost an hour before I sent it. This is a frustrating but important part about climbing. I felt that I should have sent this line much earlier than I did and I started to get fed up with it. I had to remind myself that my ego and the grade shouldn't get in the way of me trying hard on the line and enjoying it. It is important to not let the grade become more important than the climbing. If its hard its hard and no matter what the grade its worth trying.
Twisted V4
Fat Albert Gang V3
I think realizing this and being willing to try lines of all grades and project them is essential for improving. It creates patience and perseverance in a way I didn't understand before. I really took this to heart for the rest of the trip and started to enjoy working all the lines I tried. Two of the cooler V4's that took me some effort were Twisted and Surf Board. Twisted had some pretty interesting foot beta that I couldn't have figured out without Ben's help. Surf Board was another super intricate and delicate line that required lots of core tension and 2 good sessions to make the send. They were super cool lines and I was psyched to send them. Definitely classics of the area.
Surf Board V4

Bronson V8
     Ben continued his streak of sending by ticking off Bronson V8 which looked super cool while Roxana worked the V4 next to it. He then flashed the Buzz V8, second goed the V9 low start and sent Flip SDS V10 next to it pretty quickly. Despite the warmer temps, it was awesome to see Ben still psyched and able to send hard. He ticked off two V11's Maische Roof and Baggins. Both are steep lines that come out caves. Baggins was such a cool line because it had all these rail features through the bottom. It is hard to find roof granite lines with lots of features because they tend to be pretty blank. Ben was psyched. Ben then closed in on his main projects which were Dominatrix V12 and Ezekiel V12. Unfortunately the weather was too warm to finish off Dominatrix, which would have been the real prize. That line is sick. It is not that tall but has this wild jump/swing out in the middle of it. Super cool overhang climbing. He sadly left that one behind. We ended up staying a couple extra days to get some semi cool weather for Ezekiel. Even on our last day, it felt warm and greasy but luckily Ben powered through and was still able to put it down. It was a nice way to end our trip. Little Cottonwood was meant to be our last stop on our big adventure and from there we headed home. We had just one final stop to make in Spokane to visit my family and of course test out the boulder there :)

Flash of the Buzz then second goed the sit v9

Flip SDS V10

Baggins V11

Bell Canyon waterfall 

Ezekiel V12

Maische Roof V11

Big move on Maishe Roof

Monday, September 14, 2015

                         Joe's Valley FA's

Road Trip Joe's First Ascents from Ben Herrington on Vimeo.

The Cosmos Boulder is above the Man Size area. Past the Triangle boulder walk up hill following the wash to your left. After about 5-10 min the wash will bend to the left. The Cosmos boulder is in the middle of the wash and is very obvious.

Innagada Davita v7/8ish is in Left Fork at mile marker 7 just past the pullout for the Blackout boulder. There is an obvious big arete on the up hill side of the road. About 100ft left of the arete is a little black roof Davita put up called Oblivious v5. Walk up the easier but steep wash to Oblivious from there head up canyon out of the boulders then strait up hill a 100yds. It sits on high ground between the washes. You can see the top of the boulder from the road.

Propaganda v10- From the Mine Cart boulder look at the river slightly down canyon. It is on the right side of the giant boulder in the river. I also put up a line on the left side of the face starting matched on a right facing crimp rail leading to some hard moves on cool holds Called Road Trip v?ish.

Catalina Wine Mixer v4ish is in Left Fork. From are campsite which was the last big pull out (it has a boulder in the pull out) before the National park sign/gate. Walk up the road between 100-200yds the top of the boulder can be seen on the north side of the road. It's about 30ft from the road.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Joe's Valley Adventures

Beyond Life Sit V12
We had high hopes for Joe's Valley weather after leaving the blazing heat of Moe's. Luckily, the weather was cooler, windier, and there were so many cool lines to climb. One of the first boulder's Ben ticked off was one he had almost sent a couple years ago but left empty handed. He took Beyond Life Sit V12 down quickly this time around. While he relaxed after his send, I got to work on my project, Will's of Fire, which sits just on the opposite end of the Beyond Life wall. Both lines, sit on the prettiest wall in Joe's with the cleanest rock. Will's of Fire V6 was one of my biggest sends on our whole trip.
I worked on just the finger lock crux for two full sessions, until I figured out how
Will's of Fire V6
to position my figures so that I could bust to the really good edge at the top. I originally thought that stretching to the pocket (shown in the picture) would be the crux, but I was able to do that move almost every time. Finally on my third sessions, I put it down. This ended up being an amazing day for me. I started out by first going two V3's that the year before had taken me some work, I send my project Will's, and went on to flash Mono E Mono V5. This is the best day of climbing I have probably ever had. Days like these are always so unexpected and surprising, but extremely rewarding at the same time. I find its usually about the mindset. Having a clear mind, being prepared to try hard, and having that be the primary goal of the day really helps me to focus and sometimes meet huge goals like sending Will's.
Mono E Mono V5 Flash
After about two weeks, we were getting a little worn out. Joe's is are hard place to stay for long stretches because the towns around the climbing area are so small. Ben was also getting a little frustrated because he couldn't do the main lines he wanted to do due to his injured finger. He was super psyched on Slasher V13 and Blackout V13. Instead of putting in painful efforts on these lines, he decided to do some developing. On our rest days we would hike around the hill sides searching for untouched lines and we actually found a handful of cool first ascents. I helped clean and work on this awesome climb called Inagaada Davita V7ish, which I originally thought I would be able to climb, but it ended up being harder than expected. Ben was so sweet and ended up naming it after me. It has this crazy pocket on it that goes at least 2 feet into the rock. It then has a huge move to a good edge. It is a beautiful boulder that sits just up the hill from mile marker 7 heading up left fork. You park at mile marker 7 and there will be a wash on the right hand side with a little boulder I put up called Oblivious. Its a little roof boulder. Once you hit that boulder you go up and slightly to the left until you See Inagaada Davita.
Inagaada Davita 
The next boulder we developed Ben actually found last year. It is now called the Cosmos Boulder and has three perfect hard lines on it. We went to work cleaning this boulder which took a lot of effort because the whole top was covered in ice. Roxana did a lot of work smashing the ice and Ben and I would peel it off and toss it over the side. Once all the cleaning was done, it was time for projecting and sending. The Cosomos V9ish went down first. It has big holds and a difficult dyno at the top to a slopy hold. It is a sick looking problem.

Cleaning Inagaada Davita 
Next Ben went to work on Champagne Supernova V9ish and Interstellar V11ish. These lines are both different styles. Champagne Supernova starts on a rounded jug and consists of tension climbing out a steep bulge. Interstellar starts on a jug to the right of Champagne Supernova and climbs through some bigger moves on smaller incut crimps. This boulder sits up the wash from the Man Size area in Right Fork. You walk up the wash or right next to the wash for about 10 minutes from the triangle boulder at the back of the Man Size area until you come across the Cosmos. It sits right in the wash.
Roxana removing ice off  the Cosmos Boulder
Interstellar V11ish

Cosmos V9ish

Big move on Interstellar 
Champagne Supernova V9ish
Cleaning up Interstellar 
Ben was wandering around the camp sight and found Catalina Wine Mixer V4ish
Catalina Wine Mixer
As awesome as the lines are in Joe's, it can be super draining. The food choices are few and far between and there really isn't much to do on rest days. Ben especially struggled with the lack of food choices and was itching to leave. We stuck around for another week and a half so I could send Chips V7 which was my other major project in New Joe's. Sadly, I left this one empty handed. I ended up hurting another finger on it (previously having 2 finger injuries) as well as getting a huge flapper. I fell off going for the jug. It was extremely disappointing. I had worked on this line for 6 days. But, thats the way it goes with bouldering. There is so much patience involved and learning how to deal with failure. In these moments it is so important to stay positive and not get too discouraged. I struggled with this a lot, but the confidence comes back slowly and you move on to try other hard and awesome lines.
Wrecking Ball V8
On a positive note, during our last week Roxana was able to send another V4, which was her second V4 ever so that was pretty awesome and Ben took down multiple 10's and 11's. He also sent this super cool V8 called Wrecking Ball that sits in a new area called the Dam Boulder's. This is a super scary climb because its a huge horizontal dyno and if you swing out and fall you can fall straight down this steep hill. Luckily there was a nice landing built and we had a lot of pads that day so Ben as well as our friend David sent back to back. As scary as it is, it is one of the cooler lines in Joe's I think. Ben then went on to send the two V10's on the Smiley boulder that he had not already done as well as sending Trent's Mom V11 and Simple Twist of Fait V10. On our second to last day he sent Death Scream V9/10, TNA a hard V9 and Eye of the Beholder V10 and got close on Barley Legal V11. All and all, Joe's had better weather, cool climbs, and plenty of sends. I was disappointed to leave Chips behind, but I was also feeling exhausted.  By the time we left for Salt Lake and Little Cottonwood, we were all ready for the comforts of the city.  I am definitely planning on going back to Joe's to send Chips, hopefully in the next year. It is always on the back of my mind.

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Apple Bottom Jeans V10

Trent's Mom V11

Simple Twist of Fait V10 

Death Scream V9/10

Pimper's Paradise V5

Eye of the Beholder V10

Monday, August 31, 2015

Road Trip Moe's Valley

Moe's was a battle to say the least. The weather so far on the trip was way to hot, but the day we show up in Moe's we woke up to a foot of snow. We chilled in a hotel room for two days to get some much needed R&R. While waiting for Moe's to dry out we tried to go sport climbing at Hurricave. After driving around for awhile, we finally saw it and we where underwhelmed to say the least, chosspile. So we headed to the Cathedral. The directions were horrible, never trust Mountain Project for anything that website is a waste of time. We found the parking area then walked up the wash way to far and had to cut across the hill side to what I thought looked like the right place. We got lucky and found it and boy is that sport cliff amazing. Golden stands out on the cliff as one of the best sport lines I have ever seen. As soon as we started to climb we realized that the rock was way to cold, numbing out ten moves in. I only managed to climb the warm up before we threw in the towel.
Back in Moe's the weather had jumped from freezing to 75 so shade was a must. First on the list was Crusaders for Justice v12/13. I had gotten close on it two years ago but got shut down by hot weather. This time the weather wasn't much better but I guess I had gotten better as a climber and managed to squeeze it out one morning before the sun hit the problem, making the slopers impossible to hold.  Another amazing problem, Show of Hands v11,  always stood out to me as one of the best lines, so I was really happy to put that one down as well. The toe hook on that thing is deceiving. It looks like a jug toe hook but the rock is slippery on that part of the problem making that the crux for me. I really wanted to try Booka Booka Booka v13. It looks awesome, but after trying it a couple times I realized I could not hold the three finger pocket with my injured finger.
After a couple days of bouldering it decided to rain for seven days strait. On semi dry days we past the time climbing at the VRG. The girls are not fond of ropes and they let me know it. I climbed a couple ok routes nothing that stood out to me but I didn't get to try the cool looking harder routes because the girls were not down with belaying on the ledge.
After what felt like forever Moe's finally dried out. Davita crushed her project Israil v6 and Roxana climbed a v4. I tried Meatbag v12/13 a sweet roof with big moves on perfect edges. I got really close but decided to come back. The next session the weather had jumped to 85, I tried to get on Meatbag before it got too hot with no avail. I flopped all over that thing making no headway. The weather was getting to all of us so we decided to head for greener pastures. Meatbag will have to wait until next time. Joe's Valley here we come.
The Goose v4
Fun v3
Sichuan Peppercorn v5
Davita trying the best line in Moe's
Gription v9 

                     Road Trip more Red Rocks

Reflecting Pool V13

Stand and Deliver V11
 Taking it easy is not my cup of tea. With this in mind, Nick and I spent a lot of time shredding the skateparks and we tried to take it easy by sport climbing. Most of the walls we roped up at the group was not to psyched on. Once I saw Monster Skank 5.13b it changed everything. Every line on that wall is amazing. Despite these beautiful lines, the girls where done after a week of sport and wanted to boulder. All I could think about was the lines I wanted to finish before I left, but I will be back for Monster Skank, it's to good not to do.
    Because I hurt my finger in the palm on an open hand three finger, I couldn't three finger anything, but if I backed it up with my pinky it wasn't so bad. Also the crimp position felt better as long as I wasn't yarding on it. The three lines I really wanted to do before I left were Hungry Hungry Hippos v12, Reflecting Pool v13, and Siren's Call v11/12. It was getting even hotter so we headed to Willow Springs. The area is mostly in the shade the second half of the day. I had a really good day where I managed to flash Ride the White Horse v10. I finally didn't botch my flash. Davita climbed Little Pony v5/6 on the backside then I climbed Stampede v7 and started trying to add a direct. When complete, it will be a very reachy tension filled line.
I then worked out the beta on Reflecting Pool. The crux for me became changing my heel hook to a toe. A couple days later I had a heart breaker where I hit the final jug, I had it in the bag, when my left hand fired off sending me screaming and running around. Thankfully I sent next go or I would have been furious. Because of the heat, we where searching out lines deep in the shade of the canyons. We made the 45 min trek out to Juniper Canyon where Davita and I sent 25 cent v4/5 which is maybe the best line in Red Rocks and Stand and Deliver v11 also a definite contender. I had spent a couple days trying Siren's Call and Hungry Hippos but they both sit in the sun all day. On our last day the weather dropped to 65 degrees and cloudy with some wind. I waited for Siren's to go in the shade in the evening. I finally stuck the precision move to the left hand crimp only to blow the dyno. A couple tries later I stuck the crimp again but my foot blew. I was surprised to hold it and stick the dyno. That deadpoint ended up being the hardest move I did on the trip.  Last up was Hungry, we made the trek up the hill. I wasn't felling great having tweaked my index finger on my right hand on Siren's but it was the last day. I surprised myself by putting it down in a couple trie. Boy the wind and clouds made a huge difference making it feel significantly easier. It was the best finish to a trip I have had in a long time. Rarely do things work out so well.
Dyno on Siren's Call v11/12
We Need Ice V11 
Davita on 25 Cent v5 the most perfect boulder
40 foot highball V2 in Windy Canyon
Hungry Hungry Hippos v12
Stampede Direct Project
Little Pony V5/6
Flash of Ride the White Horse V10