Monday, September 19, 2011

Progress, Sends, and New Projects at Black Mt.

It was another great weekend at Black Mt. Friends were meeting up there from all over, and we were all ready for a mega couple of days of perfect granite bouldering. Max and Liberty  drove up from Vegas on Friday and reserved us the best campsite for the weekend, and on Saturday Brett, Marina, and I drove up to meet them. We were joined also by "Ninja" Kris and Sarah, Anthony Tarascio, Ian McIntosh and Bridget, and there were a couple of other rather large groups around the main areas near Boulder Basin as well.

When we arrived Saturday we decided to head over to Tour de France so that Marina and Brett could try to send their projects on the wall. For Marina this is the v7 Tour de France stand, which Ian informed me was first sent in 1973 and was probably one of the hardest problems around at the time, and Brett had been making excellent progress on the v10 sit.

Unfortunately, neither of them sent, but Marina matched her previous high point and Brett finally got the crux move of the sit start dialed. I thought he was going to send, but I'm sure he'll get it next time we're out there.

Brett styling the crux crossover on Tour de France sit start

I had pointed out Captain America (Itai's new v9) to another group that was heading to TdF, so that we could have our large posses at separate boulders, and apparently two members of their group were able to send it, making its 4th and 5th ascents. Our groups switched after working on our respective boulders, so that Max, Brett, Kris, and I could all try to do Captain. After finally figuring out how to shift my hip to levitate through the crux move last week, I was psyched to send it first try of the day. Max and Lib actually had video running for the next installment of their 5k miles series, and so I repeated the problem for them to get a second angle. Somehow I went from not being able to do the problem for a couple of weeks, to being able to run laps on it. It was a very satisfying feeling, to say the least.

Apparently the sending energy was high on this boulder, because Max, Kris, and Brett all managed ascents as well after a few tries.

Max sending Captain America in horrible lighting conditions

At this point it was too late to head all the way down to Where the Wild Things Are, so we decided instead to head down to the Visor and Ex-Patriot.
Liberty was able to send Center Visor second try and Max was able to flash every problem on the boulder, aside from Garret Gregor's nasty hard eliminate.

We then headed down to my nemesis from last season, Ex-Patriot. I had no expectations, but wanted to see how strong I would feel on it.

The stunning roof of Ex-Patriot

To my surprise, I felt pretty decent on it. On my third go, I was able to match on the block in the roof and almost get my right foot up for the crux move to the left gaston. I feel like Max and I could both send this sucker if we returned fresh!  Maybe some time within the next few weeks it will go down.

The second move of Ex-Patriot. Excuse the soft focus of these pictures, as the sun was going down and we were running low on light.

Using the left heal/right toehook combo to pull into the gaston in the roof.

Setting up for the bump around the block.

Flexing the abs so hard just to stay in this position.

Getting the right foot up in order to move to the next left gaston crimp, about a half second before I fell.

Sunset as seen from Ex-Patriot

So if you follow climbing blogs at all, perhaps you've heard of this awesome guy by the name of Anthony Tarascio. Well Anthony is a culinary student, and is pretty much the best when it comes to cooking on a camping trip. We've taken to calling him the Jetboil Gourmet. We were lucky enough to have him prepare some amazing gourmet burgers Saturday night back at camp. We're talking about deliciously seasoned lean beef infused with gruyere cheese, with sauteed apples and an amazing "apple ginger gastric sauce" on ciabatta bread. Basically, Anthony is the man.

Brett's hands enjoying his burger. Another satisfied customer.

We got a nice leisurely start again on Sunday morning, and were joined by our good friend Barry McWilliams from LA. Barry hasn't been out on rock much lately, so it was awesome to get him out to Black. We hope he can make more trips here in the future.

We decided that we would spend all of Sunday down towards the Where the Wild Things Are area, and made the long hike from the OK Corral, stopping a few times along the way.
Anthony came pretty close to grabbing the second ascent of the aesthetic and unrepeated Das Atrium (v9).

Anthony climbing into the hard bit of Das Atrium

The crew eyeing up the Buttermilks-esque bloc featuring Boobytrap (v6) and Tripwire (v9). L to R: Barry McWilliams, Max Moore, Anthony Tarascio.

We all took turns throwing down attempts on Where the Wild Things Are, which unfortunately only Anthony managed to (re)send from the stand. On my best attempt, I finally stuck the crux edge with my right hand, and got my left heel up into position to match and go to the finishing jug, but I felt my fingers slipping off the edge and again took the big fall that I'm becoming all too familiar with.

With Anthony's beta, I was able to work out the moves to the difficult sit start as well, so hopefully next time we get down to this beautiful boulder I'll be able to pull out sends of both the stand and the sit.

Max Moore getting into Where the Wild Things Are.

Max sticking the big  move.

Max, attempting to match the jug 

View of the Wild Things boulder from the Tripwire boulder

After everyone else lost interest in WTWTA, they turned their attention to Tripwire (v9). Anthony sent before I was able to get the camera out, but these images of Max and Kris's attempts give a nice perspective of the line.

Kris compressing on Tripwire
After the grueling hike out we were more than ready for some burritos, so we hit the road and headed home.  Looking forward to next weekend, when we'll pull on more granite boulders and hopefully send a few more problems in the company of good friends. Till then, keep up the psych everyone!


  1. Oh my gosh I wanna be in black mountainnnn!! When are you guys there til?

  2. Yo Garrett, we'll be climbing at Black until the snow prevents it. Haven't climbed with you in some time, so if you're headed back out to SoCal, let me know man!

  3. Really psyched to get back on EXPat and go look at Beowulf!

  4. You are going to love Beowulf so effing much!

  5. Fantastic photos, climbing and people. Can't wait to get back!