Sunday, December 08, 2013

On the Road and Back ... Thanksgiving in Bishop and three days in Flagstaff.

As I have done many years in the past, I spent this Thanksgiving up in Bishop, climbing on boulders and camping with some of my favorite people.
Alexandra, Kristiana, Culin, and I left LA on Wednesday before Thanksgiving and unfortunately got in so late that we had hardly an hour to climb before darkness.

Thanksgiving Day saw us running around The Buttermilks at full speed. After a quick warmup around the Birthday Boulders, we headed over to the Cave Boulder for Alexandra and Culin to try the "Cave Problem" (v6).

Alexandra working the "Cave Problem" (v6)
Next we zipped over to the Drifter Boulder, for Culin to try "High Plains Drifter," a classic V7 that he nearly sent last December. After a few attempts, Culin was grabbing the topout jugs and running up the glory slab.

Culin topping out after his send of "High Plains Drifter" (v7),

 Anthony and I tried "Plain High Drifter" a few times, and we both came agonizingly close to sticking the crux move, a lurpy deadpoint from a left hand micro-crimp to a bad right hand crimp

Anthony Tarascio attempting "Plain High Drifter" (v12). That left hand crimp is horrendous.
Lastly, I started a tradition of attempting "Center Direct" in the afternoon/evening of every day. I punted off the last move of this one several times last year, so I had hoped to send it quickly this trip. Unfortunately, the crux undercling deadpoint to the slopey crimp proved just as difficult as last season. I did finally stick it from the ground on Saturday, but slipped out of the finishing jug and fell. Talk about punting!

Devlin Gandy attempting to repeat "Center Direct."
 Friday was somewhat more of the same. We cruised around The Buttermilks and finished the day at the Grandma Peabody, after a few very close attempts on "Plain High" by Anthony and me.

 At the end of the day, having rallied a sea of foam, the young Mirko Caballero pulled off an incredible ascent of "Evilution Direct," one of the most inspiring sends I've witnessed in a while! Thankfully, Mirko just cruised through the headwall and walked the upper slab with ease.

Mirko Caballero sending "Evilution Direct" (v11) on Friday.

Mirko Caballero topping out "Evilution Direct."

 Satuday was so eventful that I didn't end up taking a single picture. Joking aside, after Culin tried "Soul Slinger" for a bit and a quick session on "Plain High," our crew went behind the Drifter to try the problems on the Lower Smoking Boulder. I didn't score any flashes, but sent the "Croft Problem" (v8) and the unnamed, though unique and cool v7, both second try. Of course, punting off of "Center Direct" at the end of the day was in obligatory, as described above.

Sunday was a short one, and not too eventful. Culin came very close to "Soul Slinger" and I somehow flashed "One Mule Wonder" (v10/9?) in my approach shoes. Not that that was a good omen of things to come. I failed to stick the deadpoint on "Center Direct" even once, and we packed the car up early and hit the road for LA.

Culin Li working "Soul Slinger" (v9).
Culin coming oh so close on "Soul Slinger" (v9).
Morgan Roth waves from atop the Green Wall Boulder
Alexandra and I weren't back in LA for very long before before we headed to Flagstaff this past Wednesday to set for Beta Bouldering gym's "Swole Bowl" competition.
Luckily, some friends who live in Flag took us out to an incredible area with limitless potential. Maybe one day we'll be able to give more explicit directions, because there is a lifetime of perfect rock there.

Thomas demonstrates that there are FAs for days.
Matt climbing on the Debt Ceiling.
Friday was a routesetting day of epic proportions. With every wall in Beta Bouldering stripped, we went to town and set 60 boulder problems between the redpoint round and the finals.
I was really psyched on the angles, hold selection, and volume placement, and set five of what I would say are some of the coolest problems I've ever set.

Setting madness in preparation for the "Swole Bowl."
Climb-It tufas inspired a very cool V8/9 that incorporated two knee-bars.

Unfortunately, we couldn't stick around to watch the competition on Saturday, because I had to be in San Diego to coach at ABS Youth Regional Championships. We left Flagstaff late and drove 8 hours through the night and stayed with a friend not far from the gym in SD.
As expected, Regionals was a great event! The setting seemed well spread, and the problems looked both challenging and fun. Team Anonymous represented with Culin taking 3rd place in Male A and Natalie taking 2nd in Female A, after a super-final with Sara Pearce.

Now that we're back in LA, it's back to the routesetting grind until a New Year's trip to Las Vegas and Red Rocks. Stay tuned ...  and climb safe!

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