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.


  1. climbjtree10:26 PM

    Hey Isaac just saw your post, awesome work!!! I was wondering if you could help me locate where Idols is? I'll be heading up for the first time. Dirt road 1 mile after BM trail and then as far as the car can go and then keep hiking?
    Any info would be great!

  2. Nice work, Isaac! So psyched for you!