Monday, November 18, 2013

Projecting to Completion

Triumph shall give way,
 and unto the dying fearless
strength will externalize its certainty

Going on 8 years of climbing now. 2009 was the discovery of a project that would have my soul anchored for nearly 5 years. Challenged by every move on such a minuscule short climb. I could have swore this climb did not exit after the first two years of failed attempts. 2012/13 became the realization of a new view on projecting hard routes. Every year I would return and not only find a solid sequence through the next brave move, but would also have developed a clearer vision on it's potential for completion.

Throw Back 2009
Surrender proj, completely out of sequence!

Footage 2013 of a multi year project come to completion. Its a silly edit, but glad to try shooting the footage myself. It was super fun. :) Hope you enjoy!!!

Dome Rock bouldering from Danny Baker on Vimeo.

The rise of 2013 is when the image of climbing at my full potential would awaken. Throughout the previous 8 years I accumulated  6 of the most challenging projects I had ever faced.
1. Snow Bound Patriot- first ascent 2010 Dome Rock, Wy
2. Surrender- first ascent 2013 Dome Rock, Wy
3. World View- first ascent 2013 Pathfinder, Wy
4. Cloud Nine- first ascent 2013 Alcova, Wy
5. Rain Dancer- Project... Medicine Bow National Forest, Wy
6. Devil Ray- Project... Devils Gate, Wy
(More on the rise in the Alcova Boulder, Wy)
The last two stand still as proud unclimbed projects awaiting a First Ascent. I have sent hundreds and hundreds of routes both first ascent and repeat problems, but none compare to the 6 climbs mentioned above. Something in each climb that bonds with my soul... so personal this quest to ascend. This year unlike so many others has proven to be the year of strength, source, sensitivity and vibrance. Unlike each year I spent this year dedicated to each project, scrubbing, preping, cleaning from bare ground to the very tip top of the boulders highest point. Like caring for a baby these boulders come down to a very scientific approach for breaching certainty.

Devil Ray- Proj...
Rain Dancer Proj...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Never Stop Trying!

I have been climbing for 8 years now. With my mind fixed on boulders, and my heart sold to the land of the rock. No amount of effort can guarantee that I reach the summit of any given problem. Days and months and YEARS spent trying single projects... and single moves on those single projects, and no real assurance that I will ever reach the top, yet like so many other people we just keep trying. The answers are different for many people out there, but our primal nature, that blood born drug infused inside us says to push. Some deep entanglement of consciousness steps out of the shadows, and it is revealed. It doesn't matter how difficult a single project stands to the world of climbers... it's how demanding that single project is to that single climber. And my body has been rocked time and time again. My muscles tense, pulsating with blood under the beat of my own heart.

This video is simple, nothing fancy... but documents an ascent of so much importance to my soul. It is because this project was finally finished that I can get off this god forsaken rock. Lured in by beauty and captivated as by some wild Orchid. This stone I would come to know was a lesson of patience, persistence, consciousness, hatred, flaws, lies in disbelief, morals and suffering. Throw away the idea that it was about skill or pain management. This was no fucking temptress to my existence. Fallen over and over, bloodied hands and feet, lost in the music blasting from my head phones. I promise every moment on that stone was a fight for my life, inside. From the moment my feet left the ground I had forgotten all about you, all about my family, the jobs and bills stacking up. Free, sure! Happy... eventually. I didn't come to be happy, I came to be challenged... and that is why the next project awaits. I am Happy knowing there is a challenge out there.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Climbing into Realization!

  Bouldering grades... a number or series of numbers given to a boulder problem to define it's level of difficulty for the second ascentionists and beyond. As for the First Ascentionist, it is a grade mostly defined "easy", "moderate", "hard" or "hardest" climb they have attempted or have ascended. The number grade is not for the first person to climb the problem. It is a number left behind for those who are seeking to improve ones own physical and metal capabilities, based on a chart analysis. Or at least this is how I would define the Boulder Grade Scale.

  The controversy of  what one problem is rated over another is a continual battle for the climbing generations. Getting the point across that our genetic body features and physical capabilities do in fact limit us from climbing with the exact same strengths. We are all slightly altered in such a way that the grade scale will never be perfect. V1 to V2 is just as diverse as V1 to V1a+. And V1a+ does exist as long as you don't try to explain this to some "grade chasing gumby".  Can you imagine trying to get the boulder grade dialed down to such a degree that it suited every body style... How? What would it look like? How many years of training would you need to be a Grand Master of grade scale numbers?    Oh wait! that problem is called "Severe Overload, V8b+(-1x77).074" Totally flashed that dude!!!

  The subject matter of this blog post is...not to raise hell but,  as I reach a more mature state in my climbing lifestyle boulders that I personally develop will no longer have a grade. I will continue to find and properly clean as many boulders as I possibly can. The aesthetics of a clean problem and majestic setting of the landscape are far more crucial than the subjective difficulties of the climb... written down in numbers. I would rather find myself in a peaceful setting at the end of a challenging climb than sitting atop a boulder trying to fashion a number that will never satisfy the masses. I did not develop the grade system, I am not the pioneer of such. I am a rock climber who is passionate and growing deeper into that passion. In no way do I feel I belong to a pro or attempted pro status of climbers. But, I will do everything in my power to be involved in the community, helping innovate and progress the sport, clean the landings, clean the rock, pick up the trash, seek new areas in the vastness of  Wyoming, logging the history and bringing to everyone a multitude of photographs, maybe even videos. I encourage all the ones who read this to value your sport/art as a passion and invest it into your life with creativity. Pushing yourself in this way pushes others as well. Bring positivity into the crowd!

  In a further note, this post came about when I made the recent first ascent of a boulder that captivated me entirely for almost 2 years. I named this boulder The Jurassic, though it does not have T-Rex bones calcified anywhere on the rock. Many fossils are found solidified into the roof of the boulder. Wyoming rock shows so much history sometimes. Many friends have joined me to attempt and even make ascents on this boulder. Ace Ashurst is the first to make an ascent on this wild boulder when we attempted the easiest route we could find. His problem starts low in the roof and climbs directly left, traversing through the inside of the boulder. Ace named this line Jurassic Classic. It is a fair climb for the beginner and advanced climber. As time went on I put up another line to the low right of the boulder using the inside of the roof. I named it Genesis and it is an advanced route requiring crimp strength. The 3rd and final line was a project only days ago I was calling Jurassic Cadillac.

 This is the problem that remained a powerful project for the months and months I had attempted. It starts on a low basketball like bubble of rock and climbs through the center of the boulder and up an arete over the face of the boulder. It is near horizontal, loaded with pinches, pockets, crimps, sloppers and even a few jugs. It is 17+ moves long and centered more for the expert climbers. When trial and error finally came to a halt on the new line, I found myself at the top of the boulder watching a beautiful sunset and the rainfall that had past only minutes before. It was falling from the sky in slow motion. Fremont Canyon was in the distance getting a short period of sun, and to my surprise, the recent wind was silenced. It was perfect! When the ascent was made I was in complete shock and also excited to my core. When I got over the roof and transitioned in to the face of the climb I was exhausted. Never in my climbing years have I felt so destroyed. My last move to a sharp crimp on the left face of the boulder was the hardest thing to reach I had ever felt. I had 1% of all my  power left in my entire arm and I felt my right hand cradling a two finger pocket slowly creeping out of the hold as I reached further and further, just tickling the crimp with my finger tips. I yelled at the top of my lungs and with some strange burst of energy clamped down on the last hold. I immediately started smiling and breathing heavy. I shouted again and again with the feeling I had just conquered a dragon. I had to rest just below the topout because my hands would not allow me to let go or re-grip the holds. They seized up and froze in place. I was scared I'd fall but knew the climb was complete now.  Eventually I flopped over the top of the boulder with my forearms in absolute agony. It was so much pain I had to get it out with some more shouting. I laughed over and over rocking myself back and forth and I continued to roll my arms up and down my shins in an attempt to draw back some new blood into my veins. The pain was well worth it. I sat for about ten minutes smiling and gazing at the sun with accomplishment.  I felt freedom, joy, solitude. For the first time in years I felt satisfied and completed. Not a worry about my jobs, my bills, may friends and family along with any bull sh*t that followed. I found a piece of me that I was long in search of. The name of this problem has been changed to match my moment of happiness. It is called Cloud Nine, and It is the hardest climb I have ever ascended.
When I can I will get photos of the whole thing and some directions for access. Hope you enjoy the newest post, and good weekend to you all.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The beginning of my obsession.

  It has been 4 years sense my first outdoor boulder problem was established... with a V grade. Before this it was merely plundering into an unknown abyss of endless Wyoming rock. So, invited by Jesse Brown, Micah Rush, Colby Frontiero to climb and develop new boulders in Wyoming at an area called Sweetwater Rocks was an experience brought into reality. Along with us was friends Andrew Ellbogen, a.k.a. Chuck,  Zac Rudy who was at the time my closest competition in climbing, and my good friend Cory Cummings a.k.a. Red Bearded Slothimal.

  It was 2009 and I had just completed my first WBS boulder competition in Casper Wyoming. We set out early the morning after the competition to the Sweetwater Rocks in Jesse Brown's "Total Recall" Van. After an hour and a half drive on smooth highways and relatively groomed dirt roads we stopped the van. Parked at a boulder spot known as the Pirates Of The Carribean. We then began warming up on whatever we could find. Everyone was having a successful run on problems both new, and old. Finally after a few good burns Colby and Micah went home and the rest of us launched on foot across the desert lands to seek out new and fresh areas of rock. Zac and I stayed pretty close hunting rock while the others spread out hungry for perfectly sculpted lines. When Zac spotted the first piece of untouched stone that he was drawn to we immediately opened up the crash pad. I however did not have a form of climbing protection until later that year. So one pad was good enough. Zac gave the line a first burn, bailing at the top he took a short break. I asked if I could give it a shot as it was my first attempt at an unsent line. He said sure, and immediately I saw the moves in my mind and cracked a smile. It wasn't sinister by any means, but I was aware that I could possibly climb it smoothly based on the size of the holds. I managed to Flash Zac's project making it my First Ascent ever. Though I felt stupid about it, Zac had a great head on his shoulders and congratulated me, then he also sent the problem. The name of the problem is Baker's  Dihedral, and I believe it was V1 or 2. Jesse was the man to help name this line because I wasn't sure how names of problems were brought up. It stuck, and the problem was sent once more that day by Jesse. Here is one of several remaining images of the problem and other routes climbed that day. Note: images are tiny because I could only find them on the website.

Jesse topping out Baker's Dihedral

The dihedral to the right of the image below with a crack is Baker's Dihedral
 Working a fun problem Jesse put up to the left of Baker's.

 This was a challenging topout.

 Colby Frontiero working a large boulder.
 Jesse Brown on the "Black Pearl"?
 Micah Rush taking claim to this tall line.
 Another angle of the "Black Pearl"?  problem...

This was a grand day never to forget, the beginning of my climbing obsession. Marking the day I began developing as many problems as I could find.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Browns Park Boulders, Alcova Wyoming. Rediscovered!

  Welcome to my first journal entry. Here I will be posting about my expeditions all across Wyoming, where I will try to cover every inch of ground. The plan is to explore the state of Wyoming from corner to corner looking for the Best rock in the state. This will include varieties for the Traditional, Sport, Soloists and Boulder seeking climbers, both in the state and outside it. Alpine Climbing and Aid Climbing may become a  part of the blog over time, though I would like to make my focus centered around a strict style REQUIRING both Hands and Feet to make an Ascent. This to me is the form of climbing that feels the purest... and that is subject to change as I try more traditional styles.

 To start my first blog I would like to focus on the one thing that has led me to this blog, Developing new climbs for the future ascentionists.

  For the past 2 weeks a number of local boulderers have taken part in the development of a "fresh" valley of rock... dried river bed to be specific. Rediscovered as of recent by friend Freddy Gossman, this place as well as many others in the state have exploded... with curiosity. Freddy has the perfect lifestyle for this particular sport/passion. He hunts wild game, mountain bikes, fishes, skies and he hikes. It's these things that has led him to the best short climbs in proximity to our hometown, Casper Wyoming. Myself in particular only hunts fish... and Rock! so the diversity that would led me somewhere might be limited to what I "think" I see using a map, or just my own eyes. Also evaluating the quality of rock would possibly tell me the worth of whats ahead.

 Getting back to this dried river bed of boulders. A rough number of 60+ boulders have been found and rising. There is however a limit to the canyon of rock as the google maps have shown. It is about 2 miles long with exceptional access on foot and even more exceptional access by car. From Casper Wyoming it is 25mins without road construction to the parking lot, 5/10 minutes of hiking to the best known boulders. When you are done bouldering you can walk down the parking area to a grand view of Alcova Lake for some swimming, dinning and drinking at the Marina or camp and have a fire with friends. 

 This Valley was found originally by Heath Brown back in 2001. I have little information on the area though he has made some ascents here and possible traces left behind mark his ascents. The valley is known by Heath's last name Brown and is called Brown's Park.

 Problems of high quality rock are fairly concentrated to the center of the river bed. Photos of these problems are listed below. These boulders are highly recommended if you are passing by or in the area of Casper and looking for some fun or even challenging climbs. However other locations for this style of climbing are more suitable for those traveling from a far, elsewhere in Wyoming.  

This problem is known as Dragons Scale V3-4 with two variations to make the ascent.


 Anna Junker and Devlin Junker came to help send and develop in the lower sector.
Devlin sending Dragons Scale shortly before Anna.

The Landing is completely groomed. Protection needed is 1 CrashPad, no need for a spotter. Makes for a great climb with limited equipment. You can clean the boulder from top to bottom without a ladder or harness. :)

This waving Black wall is very accessible from the top of the trail with slightly secure landing space. 2/3 CrashPads recommended and 1 spotter. Here several routes exist and even projects to be cleaned and climbed, ranging from V1 to V7+. It's about 20 feet to the highest point with crimps, pockets and gently slopping holds.

Problem in this photo I put up is called BlackMagic subjective in its grade.
To the left of  the photos above is a new climb put up by a Lander Local, Jesse Brown. This climb has decent development on the starting holds under the roof and sold sandstone edges leading out. It can be as dynamic as you want it to be. :) Recommended 2 Pads 1 spotter!
 Jesse making a first scent on Devil's Wishes.

Next Up! a series of projects and some newly established fun problems recommended within the river bed.
 Above Is the Nautilus project, somewhere between V9/V10+ from the sit down start. I have groomed the landings of the photo above and below and both can be protected with 2 CrashPads and no spotter. Access for cleaning, may want ladder/harness or stickbrush.
  Mike Bockino working the Titanic proj below.
The Problem above is known as the Titanic project for the general shape of the boulder and rusted look of the side walls. Falls into the V10/or harder range thus far.
 This Problem is called Electric Rupture V6 from the beginning of the Crack. Not shown in photo is a Fist and Hand Jam roof that start on the low roof. It is also a great clean climb with diversity in styles. Recommended 2 pads and no spotter. Landing was recently groomed by me a few days ago. The top is easy to reach and does degrade in quality where climbing ends.
 The Problem below was climbed by Freddy Gossman. Needs some tuning for safety reasons. To be cleaned this weekend. Sits around V2/3 recommended 1/2 CrashPads 1 Spotter. A beautiful challenging line was found to the right about 15 feet on the other end of this boulder by Jesse Brown out of Lander... To Be Continued! :)
The line below I named Rain Roof  for the recent waves of rain that came through while making trails in this area. I found several boulder roofs in excess of 15+ feet long for shelter. This one has a wild visionary look. Only until I scrubbed the moss off did I see the texture and holds come alive. V2, very challenging mantle topout. 1 Crashpad no spotters needed.

 Both Mike and Kaiya Bockino came up to make some ascents on the newly developed boulders.

 Above Mike makes the first ascent of Rain Roof!
Mike also contributed to the area with two of his own lines he found and cleaned up. Photos of this to come.

Shortly after Jesse made a clean ascent of his 2nd line he named Bones, Katie Dooling and I scrambled our way to the top. Amy Crawford made a strong effort to send, though I believe another day and she will have this dialed. 

  Here is a look at one of the more trafficked routes, FLY BOY. I put this one up originally to draw out a younger novice crowd, but found it so fun that most climbers have repeated this many times over. It starts low and traverses left through a roof of jug holds, mantling out over a hueco.
 Cari Faye Antonovich makes some very static moves through the roof of FLY BOY.

Both Anna and Devlin became really psyched to clean and climb this new problem just right of Fly Boy. Devlin making the first ascent named this one Sight For Sore Eyes as his view was restricted when a lichen particle fell into his eye. Following the ascent was me then Anna. It was her first mantle topout and she was extremely happy to learn 12 feet off the deck. 
 Starting on the seem and traverses left over the roof. A crux low start was recently put up by another local Wyoming climber a few weeks after Devlin.
Last but never the least... The Gill wall after Jesse Brown named the first ascent Gill Dyno which we both made short work in hiking shoes. V0 beautiful wall with black, blue and yellow streaks. Several routes and extended starts to be made. The landing is superb and covered with moss. Gathers shade all morning and at sunset. Recommended 1CrashPad or even a Towel will do and no spotter. Can be cleaned top to bottom on foot. I made a trail at the top and bottom for best access and one rock stack at topout. V0- V8 projects.
Below Is Cory Cummings working an unfinished line traversing through several hard moves from left to right of this wall. 

Mike Bockino made an impressive ascent of a new line on the near center right of this boulder just at sundown. I was to follow with a second ascent days later. I am calling this Twilight until I have a name from mike. It is a definite crimp line from a low sit down start. Photos to come. The images below are the final images of ascents made and random photos later in the season as development continued. Hope you enjoy the fresh rock.