Thursday, July 07, 2011

Tour de France!

NO, this post is not in reference to the epic bike race that just finished its 6th stage in Lisieux, France.

I'm talking about the amazing overhanging wall and boulder problem at Black Mountain.

Pic stolen form Alan Moore's blog and taken by someone long ago

Last Saturday (I know, I'm lagging the better part of a week for all of my updates lately) I headed out to this less-traveled part of the mountain with an excellent crew from the West LA gym. We headed up late, for the afternoon and evening session, and took our time warming up slowly before following the somewhat nondescript directions we had been given to the Tour de France and Future Walls. Having taken the wrong faint trail, we found ourselves first at the Future Wall, whose sloping rails were baking in the sun on the overhanging western face. It looked amazing though, and I look forward to getting to try its most obvious line, Hop Scotch (v9), at some point soon.

From here we headed up the hill to the east-facing Tour de France wall. Hiding in the shade, the diagonal rails and cracks were much more hospitable for hard bouldering. From what I gather, the original line on the wall is Tour de France, which starts standing (apparently people are referring to this stand start now as "Stage 1") and is considered V7. Four of us ran a send train on this puppy, after a few burns to figure out the beta, and it is pretty low in the grade for a 7 (like nowhere near as hard as Baby Face in Hueco), but I think that will stick.

After sending the stand I attempted the moves on the sit a few times, but I couldn't really figure out where it made the most sense to start or how. I think Alan's solution (click for video and context) seems logical, and I'll be trying it for sure next time we're up there. We also tried the amazing Raison d'Etre, on the left side of the wall, which we were starting without stacked pads (as seen in the vid) and with our left hand on an undercling/pinch lower on the wall. Both of these lines are absolute gems and I'd be really psyched to send them this season (or any!)
Unfortunately I forgot my camera last Saturday, so you'll have to wait for additional media. Alex Hoffman got lots of photos and even some video of the sendage, so I'll post that shit up as soon as it's available. (UPDATE: See below. All photos taken by Alex Hoffman)

Jeff Blum, mid-send on Tour de France (Stage 1)

Myself on the same

Jeff going for it on Raison d'Etre

Myself, mid footcut on Raison d'Etre

Always psyched!

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