Monday, September 26, 2011

Some Highballs and Progress

Sunday was another day trip to Black Mountain with Brett and Marina, and what an inspiring day it was. The temps are starting to get really good, and the gate that allows access to the upper parts of the mountain is still open until the first big snow, so I recommend everyone getting up there as much as possible now that the season is in full effect!
We warmed up slowly and after laps on the usual suspects, Brett and Marina convinced me to head over to Big Greenie to put my granite slab nemesis to rest.

Brett out for a lap on the old school V2 classic, Pink Crack

No Big Greenie isn't super hard as far as numbers go. I've heard V1, 2, and 3, but most would probably stick with the old school V1. It's probably comparable to Joshua Tree 5.11 slab, if that means anything to you. While the crux is actually a weird smeary mantle at the very bottom, the mental crux is high, just below the lip, at approximately 20 feet off the ground.  You get to a point where you have to really commit to one right foot smear and stand up on it, and I've always gotten to there, said forget this, and climbed back down the slab. I've downclimbed from that high crux 5 times now!
Luckily, Brett ran a lap up the Greenie and inspired me to go for it! After downclimbing to the ground once, I decided to commit, knowing that the pads were good and that Brett would be able to keep me from getting hurt, in the unlikely event of a fall from high up on the slab.

Initiating the first crux mantle. All pics by Marina Campana

Chilling in the middle of Big Greenie

As I said, this high crux is purely the mental crux, and as soon as I actually committed to the foot and realized that I can 100% trust my amazing Evolv rubber and my new Kaos IIs, I rocked my hip over to the right, stood up on the foot and grabbed the top of the boulder! Maybe it's not a high number, but finally sending Big Greenie was a real mental milestone for me.

The "Oh, I can just stand up on this!" moment

Who looks more excited, Brett or me?
High from the send of the infamous Greenie, we moved not too far over to Ian's addition from earlier this summer, the DMMFP. This line climbs pretty much the exact opposite angle of Greenie. It's overhung and the holds are thin. After a few refresher attempts, I found myself flying out to the arete and actually hitting the hold (not pictured below). After hitting the arete, it's a matter of holding the swing, heel-hooking for a second, and bumping your hand to the juggy lip. It felt great to actually get my full palm around the arete, which on previous attempts I had merely felt "close" to hitting. Here are a few pics of various attempts.

In the middle of the move to the mini edge. Again all pics by Marina

Yes, that hold his small and sharp.

Toe-hooking to grab the miserable pinch.

The setup for the jump to the arete.

Mid-lunge, check out that war face.

A little below the good part on this attempt

From here we ducked just to the right around the corner. There is a super hard looking face that Alan Moore once told me Chris Lindner put up years back that is probably V11ish, on the boulder to the right of the DMMFP. We looked at its thin holds and bad landing (there's a rock right under what looks like the crux) and debated whether or not we should even try it.
Then we looked to our immediate left and saw a line we thought we could actually do, that was even slightly taller.  The line starts on a big horn sticking out of the right arete, pulls some bad flat edges before going left into slightly better incuts, and then straight up the face, to the right of the tree in the photo below. I didn't have the camera out for Brett's send or mine, but you can see the size in this picture. It climbs perfect patina and tops out on jugs over the top of the cap rock resting on top. It felt V6-ish, with the crux being the first few moves. Once you're in the danger zone the climbing backs off to 5.11 and then probably even 5.10 up at the very top. Luckily for me, Brett got really psyched, shoed up, and after a few tries to get through the lower crux, topped out way overhead. I put my shoes on next and after a couple of tries to figure out the second move, climbed all the way to the top as well. This was a super exhilarating send, and one that we highly recommend for the highball connoisseur. If you climb at Black Mountain long enough, you are bound to become one yourself. Anybody that knows the name of this climb and its given grade, please feel free to post in the comments! Anthony Tarascio has informed me that the line is called Caviar Face and was graded roughly V5 or 6. Thanks Anthony, what a line!

The crowd looking up at the unknown line Caviar Face, a minute or so after my send. Brett, who is well over 6 foot, is standing on a small pad on top of a rock at the base. Caleb is about to try the problem and is standing on two pads worth of foam. 
From this point it was time to head over to Tour de France so Marina and Brett could give good burns in the excellent afternoon temps.
Brett came SUPER DUPER close to sending this time, linking from the sit into the stand and falling hitting the jug! He then did the stand to jog his memory, so he's made overlapping linkage. Brett doesn't seem too concerned about the fact that it will be his hardest send to date, but the rest of us are super pumped for him! SEND IT DUDE!!

The crux of TdF again ... in case you haven't seen this exact shot on this blog a ton of times already.

On one of his best attempts, just before falling out of the jug!
Unfortunately, Marina was feeling a little under the weather and didn't surpass her previous highpoint, but she's making the first few moves of the stand look like cake now.

Brett and Marina convinced me that sunset at the Future Wall and the sticky temps would get me to finally send Hop Scotch, so we headed down as it was about to get dark.
While they were unfortunately off about me sending, I came super close. Like closer than ever close. I finally stuck the crux deadpoint for a moment and swung out on the hold before falling! Ahh!! Next time hopefully!
At least the lighting was perfect for the sickphotos.

Another  failed attempt on "Hop Scotch" on the Future Wall. .

The light was actually getting too low at this point, but here is the shot of me finally sticking the hold for a second.

As all days at Black seem to be, it was another exceedingly inspiring one, and with the fall temps starting to kick in, it seems like it is only going to continue to get better up there. Unfortunately, we didn't meet up with Anthony Tarascio this time, because he was off on another hill working the low start to an FA he got last week, so hopefully I can report back later that he sent that, which unfortunately he didn't send this time, but I have faith he will soon.
Stay psyched everyone and maybe we'll see you out at Black Mountain one of these days!

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