Monday, January 30, 2012

Twilight of the Idols! and other boulders

Well I logged a lot of time outdoors this weekend! 
After spending Saturday coaching at my old stomping grounds of Malibu Creek with young comp crusher Natalie Josefsberg and her father Ken (who was a very good sport about having to traverse 5.8 terrain over water when he'd never done any technical climbing before), I was psyched to cruise with Brett up to Black Mountain on Sunday to try to put an end to my saga with Twilight of the  Idols, a problem that since its first ascent by Ian McIntosh a few years ago has quickly become known as "the best  v10 in California."

Talking strategy for "Hole Patrol" at Malibu Creek on Saturday
14-year-old competition climber Natalie Josefsberg breezing through the crux on "Hole Patrol" (5.12b). 

Brett has just recently finished a series of repairs on his badass old Range Rover, so on Sunday we were able to cruise right up to The Republic sector of Black Mt in style. 

"Where's the hard part of the road?" Parked just above The Republic, and just below the trail to the Twilight Ridge. 
After the always long and steep approach, we warmed up at a leisurely pace in the early afternoon sun.

Brett brushing the "holds" on this technical yet burly v6.
Brett standing up with slopey pinches.
Once we felt warm, we headed over to the object of my desire, Twilight of the Idols. The line climbs using perfectly sculpted sloping huecos with your left hand on an overhanging face and compression on the right arete. A big move off of a heel hook in the middle of the problem and a powerful move to a jug up high guard the completely flat topout, where I admittedly almost lost it and fell. 
Though I matched last week's high point on my second try, it wasn't until several attempts later that I finally stuck the last hard move and then battled my way through the topout. I am SO PSYCHED to have done this boulder. It is for sure among the top five problems I've ever done.

Here is a low-quality video of one of my pre-send attempts. Unfortunately my cell phone stops recording video after 60 seconds and my SLR doesn't shoot video, so you can't see the last crux move. Lame sauce, I know.

Psych was super high at this point, so we hurried down the ridge to the overhanging crimp line Ian and I tried last week. On my first attempt, I cruised up to the topout to find out quickly why Ian had dropped off last week. After snagging the crimp on the lip with your right hand, you must get your left hand up to a bad sloper and then it gets committing. I dropped off and ran around the back to brush and chalk the topout and tick key holds. 
The power crux of the crimp project.
This wall is covered in perfect patina edges

After getting to the sloping lip, you must somehow manage to get your right foot super high on a good foothold to press out the mantle. Committing and scary, but it will be a classic when it goes! I couldn't close the deal this time, so it looks like I've got something to play on next time somebody wants to go up to the Twilight area.

We hiked out at dusk and watched the sunset's oranges and pinks streak across the landscape. There is always something magical about the end of the climbing day at Black Mountain.

The mountains colored gold at sunset. The nearest hillside is unexplored, and the discerning eye can actually pick out the "Where the Wild Things Are" boulder at the base of the second. The mountain in the far distance is Marion Mountain, where only a few problems have been established and a whole new world of granite waits to be explored.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great Twilight Video from Scientia Climbing

Brought to you by the folks over at Scientia Climbing comes this great video of Twilight of the Idols.

Looks like they were there the day two days before our crew went up this weekend. It's actually odd for two groups of climbers to visit this part of the mountain in such close succession. This is not an area where you typically run into other climbers!
Check out their awesome video of this world class line:

Twilight of the Idols from scientia on Vimeo.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Twilight Ridge

Don't let my last post fool you. Training does not exclude climbing on real rock. I have spent five of the last seven days climbing and training, but in spite of the nagging soreness from Saturday's bouldering session at Hangar 18 in Riverside, I couldn't say no when Ian McIntosh shot me a text asking if I wanted to head up to Black Mt on Sunday. Ian, Bridget, Diego and I headed up to the Republic area and hiked up to Twilight of the Idols and explored what other boulders lay strewn about what Ian is referring to as the "Twilight Ridge."

After a prolonged warm up, culminating with a surprisingly classic, golden, vertical v5ish face climb, we headed back over to Twilight of the Idols. Ian repeated the 4 star line on his first try, and inspired Diego and I to give it 100% on our own attempts. 

Ian getting into the business on "Twilight of the Idols" (v10)
The setup for the crux deadpoint
Ian about to breeze through the redpoint crux. This was my highpoint on my best attempt.

I think Ian deserves extra style points for this awesome topout!

I was super psyched to make it past the big crux move that had stumped me on my previous day on this boulder, so I wasn't too disappointed that I fell off the slightly higher second crux move. Diego pieced the bottom together fairly quickly, so hopefully these guys will be psyched to go back up there so we can both send some time soon! 

From Twilight we headed over to another cluster of scantly developed boulders on the ridge. One particular bloc has at least three 3-star lines on it. Ian worked one project while I worked another and Diego and Bridget both came close to repeating the established v7 face.

Bridget attempting the only line we know to have been sent on this bloc, v7ish.
Ian attempting a project
Just another unexplored hillside of boulders
The project I was trying is a full-value crimp line on solid, sharp patina edges. It starts sitting with an obvious jug and climbs straight up with a couple of powerful moves on small holds. Looks like the Buttermilks, don't you think?  After a while of working a project around the corner on the same bloc, Ian came over to try to his hand at nabbing the (likely) FA of the line I was trying, only to come off the topout after a few tries. I did all the moves and linked through the crux from the bottom, but couldn't hold it together to the top. We don't think it will end up being any harder than v8 or 9, but we'll have to wait for an ascent to really tell, so it looks like we'll have to return for this one too!

Ian, two moves in from the sit start
just after the most powerful move on the line
Lock off and pull through (from this horrible left hand edge, left hand goes to the big edge above his right hand, as pictured below.)

and then a big pull to the top
Ian, moments before deciding to save the sketchy topout for  next time.

Of course the sunsets at Black Mt never disappoint. 
That's it for this week's installment. Hopefully there will be news of some new sends to report next week. Stay psyched everyone and see you at the boulders!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Training training training

So I'm SUPER motivated right now. My trip to London provided a nice rest from climbing, allowing my body to heal from the usual three to four days of climbing I do each week. Reading Max's frequent updates and watching the kids crush at ABS Youth Divisionals in Tucson this past weekend have been good motivators to train extra hard for a while to see if I can muster a little new strength and send some projects. There are a few climbs up at Black Mt, Red Rocks, and Bishop that I'd like to do over the next couple of months before temps warm up too much, and I'm going back into full on training mode for a while to make the necessary gains.

Speaking of crushing, check out these videos of Natalie and Charlie crushing at ABS 13 Divisionals at The Bloc in Tucson last weekend:

Stay psyched and climb hard! See ya out there!