Monday, September 15, 2014


I climbed up a hard (for me) boulder!

"Carnage" is a really cool line that Daniel Woods put up at Guanella Pass on the Ice Knife boulder. It starts on a sweet side-pull pinch for the right hand and a good flat edge for the left. Tristan and Rowland found a way to start on a slightly lower undercling for the left hand and started with their left foot hight on the flat edge instead. It is a totally legit start and is probably good beta for the shorter folks, but didn't work for my long legs.

Anyway...The first day I tried this I fell going for the dyno bump, which is essentially the last hard move. It's a doozie. Even though you are going for a full-pad-3-finger-incut (what you would call a "jug" on a boulder this hard I suppose) I only stuck the move once, it was on the send, and I yelled really loud (rare for me). The move might not be that bad, but I had a hard time committing to actually grabbing the hold because it is pretty sharp and most of your body weight swings off of it, while you try to stay on a 3-finger 1/5pad edge near your belly button.

I'm happy I got it done when I did and it was cool to get the 2nd ascent of such a nice line. Unfortunately it probably marks the end of my outside climbing in Colorado until I get back from my honeymoon at the end of October. Hopefully everything won't be snowed in!

I didn't get video, but here is a sequence of shots from the first day I worked on it that shows all the moves.

Move-by-move of Carnage

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Love Mattress

2 Realizations:

-My climbing ability/psych fluctuates in 4 month cycles.

-I climb better when I'm having fun with my friends and I don't care if I send or not.

Tyler on Bessie

We rolled up to Guanella Pass yesterday despite the terrible weather forecast...and had perfect weather the whole time! Plus we had the whole area to ourselves. It was a great day. Geoff sent his first V10-in-a-day with Crimping Matters, Tyler FLASHED Dark Horse (V10), Paul had his first alpine bouldering day after driving in from PA, and I sent Bessie (V10), Crimping Matters (V10), Earth Matters (V10), Life Matters (V7/8), Love Matters (V6/7), Beyond Matters (V8), and a new line that we are calling Love Mattress (V11).

Geoff sending Crimping Matters


Love Mattress starts on Love Matters, but instead of making the move to the left hand side pull to finish straight up the arete, it climbs into the start crimps of Earth Matters and finishes that. The moves on Love Matters aren't hard so they don't really affect the grade, but the transition into the crimps and gaining the position to make the first move on Earth Matters is probably V9+ by itself. Then you have to actually do the 3 move V10 that is Earth Matters. I think V11 is a fair grade since I think it is harder than all the other V10s at Guanella and similar in difficulty to Mind Matters which is considered V11/12.

Finishing the second crux on the FA of Love Mattress

The bad news is that the boulder was severely dug out by Brian, which I consider to be an ethical no-no. I almost didn't go to the boulder because of this, but I got sucked in by the quality of the rock. I understand the need to groom certain landings to make for a more enjoyable experience, but I also think there is a line that should not be crossed. In this case the ground is soft and has already begun eroding beyond the initial excavation/landscaping. Is the boulder going to fall over? No. After a couple of decades could it slide into the trail? Probably. In the grand scheme of things I guess it isn't a big deal and I did enjoy climbing on the boulder. All I know is it makes me feel bad when I see stuff like that and I hope people will make better decisions and think about the long term impact of what they do and how their actions could influence the actions of others. Rant over.

EDIT 9/8/14:

I received a great response this morning from Brian K. Though we still disagree a bit, I have a lot of respect for his willingness to discuss the situation in a really constructive way. It should be noted that he did not act unilaterally in this situation and had the support of much of the Guanella bouldering community.

Whether a person agrees or disagrees with the decision to move this much dirt, what's done is done, and we all may as well enjoy it without too much grumbling. It is just a boulder after all!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lincoln Lake!

I have been spending most of my bouldering time at Lincoln Lake recently. While it isn't the best rock around, It really is a cool place. The boulders are very striking, with a minimal amount of holds. The granite has a pretty large grain compared to Area A at Evans. It reminds me of Taylor Canyon outside of Gunnison, so even though it can be a bit sharp and sometimes chossy, there is a nostalgia component for me and I love the climbing style.

The other cool thing about Lincoln is the high concentration of hard boulders. I love going out there and getting thoroughly shut down. Right now I am getting destroyed by The Great War For Civilization, a really powerful compression climb with a bunch of slopers for the right hand. Definitely not my style at all. I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull it off this season, but if I do it will be a big step up in my pursuit of being well-rounded.

Here is a video of some sends I was able to film:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Grade

The only grades that matter:

1: Did it!

2: Tried it and haven't done it.

3: Haven't tried it.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Digging out and chipping boulders seems commonplace in many bouldering areas in Colorado. It seems like most people know exactly who is doing it, but nobody says anything and the community seems content on allowing it to continue. Yet we completely ostracized Ivan Greene for doing the same thing? This seems extraordinarily hypocritical.

Here, the rock behind the flake was chipped away to create this starting jug.

Much chipping sneaks by under the guise of "cleaning" and these people are quick to defend their actions by stating that their critics don't understand what it takes to clean and develop boulder problems. I have cleaned and developed over 100 boulder problems and a few sport climbs and I understand that there can be a grey area when cleaning a new line, but some of the things I have seen out here are outrageous and blatant manufacturing. 



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Brain vs. Body

Everyone wants to be better...I guess some people don't, but that seems terribly boring so lets pretend that doesn't happen.

Everyone wants to be better.

Less people have the fortitude to push themselves to be better.

Less people have the knowledge to take full advantage of that fortitude.

Less people have the patience to hone their knowledge and fortitude into actual results.

Sure, some people are born with more advantageous biomechanics or muscle fiber composition, but there are plenty of people with mutant physiology who grossly underperform because they can't get their heads on straight.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Two Dayz


I was able to get out and climb two days in a row this week. Which is about two days more than I've been able to get out recently.

Geoff and I started out Tuesday morning with a trip to Guanella Pass where I was able to send Mind Matters and Darkhorse.

Mind Matters has broken twice in the past few years. The first break made it a lot easier, while the most recent break has restored the boulder to its original state. While the line has been traditionally called V12, I think V11 is a more realistic grade. If you were a seriously short person (like really short), I could see how it would be harder, but whatever. It isn't the prettiest line, but it climbs really well (this seems to be a trend in Colorado).

Darkhorse (V10) is a big steep arete, with a very manageable 90sec approach off the road. This problem is the opposite of Mind Matters in that it is a beautiful line, that doesn't climb as good as it looks. Geoff was really close to the send, falling off the last move twice!

After Darkhorse I worked on Double Dutchez, a short and powerful V12 crimp problem courtesy Dave Graham. I did all the moves and almost sent, but my fingers couldn't handle anymore brutalization. This boulder is WAY harder than Mind Matters and feels like spot on V12. This is the main reason I don't think Mind Matters is V12.

EDIT: I went back today (Wed. 6/25) and did Double Dutchez in 2 tries after switching my foot beta. It didn't feel that hard, but nothing does when you send. It could be easy 12 or solid 11.

Playing with some fun beta after sending Stinkbug

We rolled back to Golden, I went to the dentist, and then we headed straight for RMNP. After camping at Moraine Park we unnecessarily bushwhacked our way to the Stinkbug boulder. I flashed Finite Endeavors (V9), did Stinkbug (V10) in a few tries, and then Stinkbug Variation (V9) first try (not a flash because it shares the first 3 moves with Stinkbug). I worked Power of Ten (V12), but couldn't put the brutal first 3 moves together. I am psyched to come back with some cooler weather!

Geoff on Finite Endeavors

I can't wait to go bouldering again!