Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back to the South

Well our time here in Colorado is coming to a close.  On Sunday John, Preston, and I went back down to Lincoln Lake for a final session in the area.  It was quite warm but I managed to make a flash ascent of the INCREDIBLE Honey Badger V10 and I was also able to hook up Unshackled Sit V10 with the quickness.  I have to say that Honey Badger is amazing and if you are ever at Lincoln Lake you need to at least look at this problem. 

Unshackled Sit V10 - Photo: Allen Chaney

Honey Badger V10 - Photo: Preston Alexander

Our last climbing day was Monday and we went back out to Area A to try and finish up some unfinished business. Long story short, none of us were able to pull anything off!  Oh well!  NEXT YEAR! Although I would have liked to finish off Ode, failing to do it gives me the the extra drive to get back to the gym to train harder in order to accomplish future goals. I am psyched to get back into Stone Summit and train for the remainder of the summer with goals and projects in mind for the fall and winter season.  I've seen huge gains from our training sessions at the gym and I truly believe that this is the best gym I've ever been to! 

Today we will be spending our time packing, sitting by the pool, and eating more ice cream.  Tomorrow we make the long 23 hour journey back to Atlanta.  Thanks to everybody for the encouragement while I've been out here.  Much appreciated!  That means YOU, Jonathan Brandt!

Ladies and gentlemen, Jonathan Brandt.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Area A

After 2 days of rest we decided to head out to Area A in Mt. Evans.  The snow situation in the park is keeping us from heading up there and a break was needed from Lincoln Lake.

My goal for the day was to try and do No More Greener Grasses V12 on the Dali boulder.  After a quick warmup I scoped the holds and laid pads down underneath NMGG.  I knew if I made it through the hard second move that I had a really good chance at flashing the boulder.  After the hard second move there are only a few more crimp moves and a committing jump to the lip before you top out.  I pulled off the ground, got the right hand just right and was able to snag the good left hand edge.  Once I hit the next good right hand edge I prepared to give 100% on the big move to the lip.  Luckily, I was able to snag the lip and was able to top out first try!  SO psyched to be able to do this boulder quickly.  I've wanted to try it for the longest time and flashing it was a dream come true.

No More Greener Grasses V12 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

No More Greener Grasses V12 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

No More Greener Grasses V12 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Another goal of mine for the day was to try and work out the moves on Ode to the Modern Man V14.  I surprised myself by falling off the jump move to the sloper on my third try.  This happened a couple more times before I put a hole in my finger and was forced to tape up.  Things didn't go quite so well after the tape went on and I only made the difficult match move a couple more times before calling it a day.  I'm really psyched to get back out to this one and hopefully we can catch some cooler temps in the morning sometime next week. 

Ode to the Modern Man V14 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Ode to the Modern Man V14 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Ode to the Modern Man V14 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Ode to the Modern Man V14 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Ode to the Modern Man V14 - Photo: Nathan Drolet

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lincoln Lake Update #2

Thursday was another great day at Lincoln Lake in Mt Evans.  After a quick warmup Preston, Nate Draughn, and I went over to The Great War for Civilisation V13 to try and finish it off.  It was Nate's first day on the problem and he was able to make some nice links and work out some good beta.  I'm sure he'll be back for this one!

On Preston's second go of the day he managed to do the boulder!  So sick.  He fell off the last move again on his first go and absolutely killed it on his second try.  Impressive!  It took me a while but I also managed to put the boulder together and topped out with a cheer.

I spent the next couple hours hanging out spotting and enjoying the scenery of Lincoln Lake.  Near the end of the day I met up with Brion at Little House on the Prairie V12.  After figuring out some nice beta I was able to do this one as well!  I really enjoyed Little House and I don't think I could find a boulder problem that suited me better.

Little House on the Prairie V12 - Photo: Nate Drolet

Friday John Gass, Preston, Voges, and I went out to Lincoln again.  We had the craziest weather I've ever seen.  Sun, wind, rain, sun, snow, sun, wind, rainbows, sun, more snow, etc.  It made it quite a challenge to climb because by the time the holds had dried out and you had pads down and your shoes on it would start to rain or snow again.  We had one or two goes each between storms so we had to make every effort count.

Rainbow over Lincoln Lake

Storm moving in

Terrible conditions

Voges and I were psyched to try the slopey, technical  The Mote in God's Eye V13.  We arrived with shovels and were prepared to dig out the boulder.  Luckily it didn't take too long to uncover this gem and within about an hour pads were down and we starting working. We were able to figure out a good method and we both topped out relatively quickly.

Voges digging out The Mote in God's Eye

The Mote in God's Eye V13 - Photo: Brion Voges

We hiked out to encounter a crazy wind storm at the top of the hill and we decided that we deserved some delicious Beau Jo's pizza and Little Man ice cream for our efforts...
Little Man Ice Cream

Beau Jo's!

Unfortunately, I went back to John's spot that night and watched the video of Dave Graham doing the first ascent and realized that we had started with our left hand on the wrong start hold.  We were planning on resting yesterday but when we woke up in the morning and looked at the weather we saw it was going to be kinda sketchy the next couple of days so we made the quick decision to head back out to repeat the boulder with the original start method.  We were both able to repeat it with the original start and Voges was also able to make a quick ascent of Stuntin' Season V12.  

The Mote in God's Eye V13 - Photo: Brion Voges

Since the weather is going to be bad for the next couple of days we will be resting, playing Mario, and eating ice cream.  On Tuesday the plan is to head up to RMNP to see what conditions are like and hopefully do some climbing on the green 45.  PSYCHED!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lincoln Lake update and Sportiva LIVE article

First off, check out this Sportiva LIVE article for 10 tips to keep yourself psyched through the summer months! I was stuck in HOTlanta last summer and I wrote a little writeup on some ways that I was able to keep myself motivated throughout the grueling summer months, so I figured I'd share it with everybody.  If you are stuck somewhere hot this summer I hope it helps!

Fortunately, this year I'm in Colorado for my first alpine bouldering season.  I have three weeks here and its not even close to enough time to try all the boulder problems on my list.  My buddy John Gass picked me up from the airport on Sunday afternoon and a bunch of us from the south spent Monday and Tuesday at Lincoln Lake in Mt. Evans.

Lincoln Lake

Lincoln Lake's elevation is around 11,000 ft, close to 10,000 feet higher than what I'm used to.  Needless to say a bit of acclimation was necessary.  The approach to the boulders is a steep downhill 15 minute hike and the hike out is around 45 minutes straight uphill.  I don't think my legs have ever been this sore and I am happy to be sitting on the couch today.

Lincoln Lake

On Monday my goal was to just try and get used to the altitude and to do some moves on some harder boulder problems.  After a long warm up some of us decided to try Phobos V10.  The forced moves on this boulder are really fun and it was awesome to finally try it after seeing it in several videos.  Nate Draughn and I were able to piece it together with some effort and I think it was a nice introduction to alpine bouldering.

Phobos V10  -  Photo: Brion Voges 

Afterwards my buddy Preston and I moved over to Evil Backwards V13 with the goal of trying to do all the moves.   At first it felt difficult but after a while I worked out some nice beta and had done all but the big crux move out left.  I felt tired but really wanted to do all the moves that day so I rested for a while before giving it another attempt.  The sun had started to go down and the temps dropped significantly, so I figured it was a good time to give it one last go.  I pulled on and made my way to the crux move and somehow managed to stick the good left hand edge.  From there my body kind of took over and before I knew what had happened I was topping out the boulder!  Evil Backwards was my number one goal for the trip and I am super psyched to have done it on the first day.

Yesterday we went back out so we could try The Great War for Civilsation V13.  Once again, the goal was to try and work out all the moves and to come up with some good beta.  Preston and I both worked out our own methods due to our difference in height and even though our methods are quite different, it's pretty interesting that it still boils down to the same breakdown in difficulty for the two sections of the problem.  It's around V7 or so to get to a good left hand sidepull and then it comes down to three hard moves in a row before you are topping out.  For me, I grab a bad right hand pinch (one of the worst holds I've ever had to move off of), get a high left foot, make a hard bump move up with my left hand to a crimp, and then do a hard lurpy move up to a good rail. 

Bad right hand pinch method on The Great War for Civilisation V13  -  Photo: Brion Voges

Preston has to do a large, difficult move out right to a sloper, do the same high left foot and bump move with his left hand, then do another large, difficult move to a bad sloper with his right before reaching the good rail. 
Preston on the last hard move of The Great War for Civilisation V13  -  Photo: Brion Voges

We were both close yesterday, falling off the last move.  This is one of the best boulder problems that I've ever seen and I feel fortunate to be able to climb on it.  The holds are amazing, the moves are unique, and  I can't wait to get back tomorrow to try and finish it off!