Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fontaine Red

Two days ago I decided to go for a day-long adventure. I hopped in the camry and drove the 100 miles by myself to Fontaine Red, which is located near Deer, Arkansas. Shortly after leaving Fayetteville it began to rain and I was worried about driving so far and all the rocks being wet. However, I thought of the Hospital boulders in AL, where it never rains even if it's raining everywhere else. Maybe Font will be like this I thought to myself. As luck would have it, it was!

First, the acess to Font would no longer be possible if it were for the people who cleaned it. I was told by Patrick Weldon that he and several others spent a whole day cleaning the road to the main area. Thankyou and awesomeness. So, take you time, clean a bit as you go, and you can still enjoy Arkansas's first bouldering destination. The purpose of the day was for 3 things.
1. Center Splooge: AR's first v10
2. Broken Earth
3. Fred's Roof
I warmed up on Mills Lane v7. This is a great moderate on the Center Splooge boulder and has some super textured sandstone. Finishing this, I moved to Center Splooge. I had worked it twice in the past and was hoping this would be the day. After an hour of solid work and some beta refinement, I managed to finally stick and hold the light, dynamic crux. It was quite satisfying to do a problem that had eluded me and had such history.
Center Splooge follows the huecos with crimps up the middle of the wall.

Next, I tried a roof project which I thought would be a lot easier than what it was. Couldn't even get off the ground. Then it was off to Broken Earth. Jeremy recently got the second ascent of this problem, and I was hoping it would also go for me. The problem features a starting sidepull and undercling jug feature and then 5 crimps of varying terribleness. I quickly figured out my beta, which was almost exactly the same as Jeremy's, but my hips are tighter than White House security so a minor tweak there. About an hour and a half into the problem, I realized I was going to have to bare down extra hard to get a to the top. This resulted in several dry-fires and lots of breathless minutes to follow. One of the last goes that I would've had for the day, I managed to keep everything together just enough to squeak out a send. I have never sent anything so desperate and by what felt like the narrowest of margins in my life. So pleased.

Broken Earth follows crimps up the middle of the picture.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pre Valetine's Day Massacre

As I mentioned in the previous post, on Friday Jason completed his first v10 and followed it up with a 7 and an 8. Most likely his best outing to date. Earlier that day, I traveled to Area 74 by my lonesome to see if I could do anything new or just get a workout since Jeremy was donating plasma. As it turned ou I had a pretty good day myself. I put up two new moderates on the shortest part of the main wall and a fairly difficult climb across the road next to Jeremy's Messy Bear. I then proceeded to finally complete From Darkness Comes Light v10. This was probably my proudest moment of the day as I have worked it for quite some time over several years, and have fallen on the last move about a dozen too many times.

Messy Bear v8 starts on the low slope on the left side of the picture and moves up the faint crack and then right for a move to topout. High Maintenance v10 start on a pinch to the right of the tree in the picture and traverses left into the feature that is heavily chalked. The problem has quality movement, but is unfortunately north-facing. It is almost always wet, sandy, or dirty in general, but the rock cleans well. The grade may change with more ascents and depending on its evolving condition. If you find yourself running out of problems, wanting to topout, or wanting to clean something to warm-up, this climb is an excellent choice.

Dreams and Realities v6 begins on a right facing sidepull and a left hand crimp just to the left of the rock in the bottom right of the picture. It makes one move left and then backwards to the right facing jug before topping out left of the tree.

Self service begins 15 feet to the left of Dreams and Realities and as around a v7. It begins right hand in the heavily chalked slot and left hand on a crimp. It makes one large move to a jug straight out and then finishes straight over the lip. Both of these moderates previously had chalk on some of the holds, so I am probably not the first to do them. However, they are not in the guide book, so this is what I am calling them. Both are nice problems for their difficulty.

Scott Fitzgerald on From Darkness Comes Light v10 in the fall of '07 courtesy of Matt Hagler.

Little Mexico

VD? "Yep, that's some good stuff" is what you should say.

So, there has been some serious, recent, throw down fistacuffs domination at Lutz Rd. (Springdale). Last Thursday Jeremy and I visited to get some exercise. We both quickly put away an old problem which lies just left of the Muffin and climbs into it. It doesn't have a name, but this one might stick; Squealing for Butter v8. It was a nice little roof climb. Next I tried to complete A Perfect 10 v10, but could only muster a little progress and threw in the towel after a few goes. Jeremy, on the other hand, was trying a direct line out of that problem on small crimps up the face and underclings in the roof. Super cool-looking movement and fairly tough as he was suggesting somwhere in the 12 or 13 range. Last, we both repeated the Dirt Merchant Direct Dyno v10. I had "established" it a year an a half ago and wanted to see what it felt like again. Jeremy clapped it up and I was not too far behind him. The next day Jason came out for a similar workout and followed suit on all those mentioned. He also did Billy Ray Cyrus v7 to finish off the day. Nice work on the first 10 son!

JTW's project starts on the lowest right chalked hold, traverse left several moves and then heads out the blank section. Burly and super technical.
Dirt Merchant Direct starts on a right facing rail, moves to two crimps, and makes a big move to a jug. Holding the swing can take some practice.

Jason making the third move on Squealing for Butter v8.

Jason in the middle of the long twisting lock-offs of Billy Ray Cyrus v7.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lazy Sunday

It's not actually Sunday, but it sure feels like it. Jeremy and I tried to go climbing earlier today at Area 74 and Split Rocks. Rain was in the forecast, but the air was so warm it caused the rocks to sweat. I guess the rocks knew we were coming. Anyway, today is another rest day. Rest day activities include lifting weights, reading books, posting on blogs, editing pictures, talking smack, watching indoor climbing, or eating cake. Maybe Jeremy won't do anything else crazy to Simon's hair.

Hot garbage:

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm an Escalade

The setting was perfect! The rocks were sandy and wet, the ground was mushy soft, and there was the other man. Keep reading; this is still about climbing. On Saturday, Jeremy accomplished what is very likely the second ascent of Justin Wood's Ruthless Arete v11 <-- he ghostrode both of the climbs in this one. He flashed it in the aforementioned setting and proceed to knock it down to nine points. That was the first climb of the day and the highlight. We both came relatively close on Kneeling Before Power but couldn't seem to muster enough skin and will power. I stomped Orbital Mechanics to the right of it, and almost manged the send by doing a 180. Not so, but the the next time I skipped holds and dynoed. It is raining here and everyone is unsure of themselves since we should be climbing today.

Side note #1: Simon received a haircut yesterday. He is either an eight pound lion or wearing tights and a cropped fur coat. Hilarious and spot on. Pictures soon on here or

Side note #2: I have a handlebar mustache and I operated a chainsaw yesterday. Put two checks for me in the badass column.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Ranch

Yesterday Jeremy and I decided to take a day trip to Horseshoe Canyon. We were told there were many down trees and lots of brush to impede all sorts of activities. Unfortunately we weren't disappointed. The hiking was laborous to say the least, but the weather was prime so we had a good day. After warming up, we went to look at a possible sit start to an existing problem called Come O Long. I thought it might be possible; however, after some attempts by both of us to get off the ground in a productive such thing. We left there for a Daniel Woods problem called Wrong Turn v9. This roof climbs through 6 huecos and is not too bad if your jug calluses are thick. Mine were not and thought I might lose some fingers. Jeremy said "excuse" and whistled his way through the jug haul. Classic.

Next stop for the day was the Knuckles boulder. I wanted to get up any line on it and JTW wanted to be done with Bloddy Knuckles v11. Unfortunately, Jesus Watch Oh Nine blessed the landing with a huge downed tree perfect for breaking backs, ankles, and legs so all the climbs are moving up in the "E" grading. Anyway, Jeremy ran out of gas for the crux move of Bloody, so no send there. Heartbreakingly close. In the mean time I had begun work on Knuckle Sandwich v9. I did all the moves quickly and gave a few goes from the beginning, but seemed to be lacking the endurance. JT came to the rescue with a swift kick in my britches to get me going. I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed beta from all angles, which resulted in a flash for him. He was grateful for my motorboating and I followed suit with a send right after him. Next I practiced my beta spraying skills on Swollen Knuckles v10. This year-old Blakes Strickland problem climbs crimps striaght up the wall. Jeremy pranced it and avoided the potential death fall on the fallen tree.

The Knuckles Boulder

The last hour of the day was spent next door at Ty Landman's Typhoon v11. Jeremy had already done it and I was still working on the stand, coming in around v10 and known as Harricane by Harry Robertson. I finally stuck the single move, but could not do the sit start. Having spent around 125 tries on the stand start over several seasons, I'm excited to have done the move and enjoy the contentment from not feeling a desire to do the sit start.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doin Work

So as of late, I've finally decided to get back on the proverbial horse. My climbing has been experience a slow decline over the previous two months, but hopefully there will be no more unmotivation. It was brought to my attention that I was not climbing enough to "do work" on meaningful rock climbs. Since returning to Arkansas, I've climbed several times in the gym, done a few sit-ups, and tried to climb at least four times a week.

Monday we went to DeSoto. Jeremy was going to clean a project and attempt some of the higher moves on top-rope, and I was going to try to do anything. Turns out Jeremy's project is a lot harder than he thought; maybe he will find enough in himself to claw to the top of it before he leaves the state. I started the day off by warming up on a classic problem called Zen in a Blender v6. I would strongly reccomend this one to anyone who enjoys climbs at this grade or is trying to do a climb around this grade. After getting warm I proceeded plow through problems. I'm unaware what the names of some of these problems are, but I managed to luck out and do Buddha v10. I was informed recently that this was an old Micah Scott problem. It is a one move problem for the grade on a 40 degree wall with essentially no feet. After several dozen attempts at getting off the ground, I succeeded and realized the climb. Success by way of perserverance is one of the principals reasons why I continue to climb. I love that feeling.

Today, I made a quick trip to Lake Lincoln to take a look at a possible unrepeated Barret Tilley problem known as Superfly v10. I did the problem with several bumps, but it is a two move problem for the most part. After guaging the first long move and trying each move in isolation, I put the whole problem together in a few hours of work. I wish the problem would've gone a bit quicker, but the cold weather made for a nice session.