Monday, September 12, 2011

Black Mt, and the Day of the Neverending Psych!

Saturday was one of the best days of bouldering I've ever experienced, and I can probably say that for the rest of the crew that went up to Black Mt as well. Not necessarily in terms of sending for everyone, but the temps were finally starting to feel good and the psych was HUGE.

Marina, Brett and I were joined by Charlie Andrews, who, along with his older sister, actually used to be on the old Beach City Rocks (now Hanger 18) Stone Monkeys climbing team with me like 10 years ago.
We met Anthony Tarascio up on the mountain to round out the crew.

We started on Hop Scotch, which I came painfully close to sticking the crux big move on again, but it's obvious that I need to work on my explosive power.  Good news is as the temps get better, so do Hop Scotch's horrible sloping crimps. Anthony and Brett played around on a strange traverse into a topout with a painful looking horizontal finger lock on the right side of the boulder, and we eventually decided to cut our losses and hike up to Tour de France so everyone else (other than me that is) could work either of its starts.

Myself, looking solid on "Hop Scotch," seconds before attempting the deadpoint, getting two fingers on the hold, and falling for the umpteenth time  
Brett Gottdener attempting some line on the right of the Future Wall

Anthony Tarascio attempting the same
Marina made awesome progress on the stand start to Tour, coming so so close to sticking its tricky last move (before a jug and an awkward topout.)

Marina Campaña on her best burn yet on Tour de France

Marina juust coming up short on the jug. High point!

Similarly, Brett made awesome progress on the sit and almost sent! One more move and he'll be patting himself on the back for his first double digit boulder problem. Come on Brett, get some!

I was convinced Brett was about to send TdF sit until about half a second after this photo of the crux was taken.

Apparently Anthony trundles stuff when he's bored
Charlie pulled off an impressive third try ascent of TdF stand as well.

Charlie sending Tour de France stand

Same move, different angle

Sticking the jug

Charlie trying hard during that awkward moment between knowing you're going to send and actually standing up to top out.
Mr Andrews topping out TdF stage 1
We then took Anthony over to Itai Axelrad's recent addition to the mountain, Captain America. Unfortunately we didn't bust out the cameras, but we should have been taking video or something because after a full beta spray down Anthony FLASHED it for its third ascent and his second ever v9 flash. Nice work, dude!
Charlie, Brett and I all gave a few good burns, and I actually came super close on one go, grabbing the left hand jug just in time for my right hand to dry-fire off the crimp and punch myself in the chest as I fell. Next time!

You might think from my last few posts that we only visit this one corner of the mountain. While it's true that we've been going back to this same series of boulders lately, due to that nasty habit of getting sucked into projects, there is a million times more rock at Black, and I was looking forward to Anthony finally showing us an area that I've been hearing about for the last two years, Where the Wild Things Are. It is at a slightly lower elevation, approached by a long hike from the OK Corral, so it was nice to go check it out in the evening of one of the coolest days up there so far this year.

Anthony Tarascio sharing the psych and the boulders, pointing out the "Lion's Mane."
We passed many amazing boulders on the way, but "Little T" kept ensuring us, "yeah, this stuff is all really great, but it's nothing compared to the Wild Things boulder." We were anxious to see if this would hold true.

By the time we finally made it over to the Wild Things boulder the sun was hanging low in the sky, but the temps were perfect and we didn't mind much knowing that we'd be hiking out in the dark. Anthony was kind enough to chalk up all the holds for us and give the beta rundown so we could all give a couple of burns on the stand start to WTWTA. At v8 it's the easiest line on the boulder, with the sit going at hard 11, the stand start to the left, Beware the Jabberwocky, going at 10, and the sit to that being Alex Savage's unrepeated Vorpal Blade v12/13.

Seriously, this boulder is one of the most impressive I've ever seen. The rock is perfectly bullet hard and the holds are sculpted just perfectly to be climbed on.

Anthony doing some community service and getting the super high holds ready for us.

Charlie, sticking the first big move on Where the Wild Things Are

Anthony's spotting skills about to slam Brett into the foam pit

Going for it
Brett aaalmost sticking the crux edge
Unfortunately, none of us actually sent, but we all had excellent flash burns and equally strong second attempts. I actually felt the good crystals on the crux edge, the move Brett is shown almost sticking above. For a split second I thought I was sending, but then I found myself crashing back into the foam pit. 
We were so psyched we kept babbling like children about the boulder and this part of the mountain during the entire hike out and the drive back to LA. 

It was a mind opening day, proving to me once again that Black Mt is a world class highball bouldering destination. Thanks to the whole crew for bringing the positive vibes and let's all get psyched for the crushing season, as Fall temps are arriving finally!!!

Epic finish to an epic day


  1. Sounds like a good day, but "knowing your going to send"?
    Didn't they lern you grammar in that fancy skool o' yours, boy?

  2. So beautiful and interesting picture..... I like very much.