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'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.
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!