Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving In Joe's Valley

Last Sunday, I took off in the later morning for a Thanksgiving trip to Joe's Valley. I was traveling with my girlfriend Alex and my good friend Connor Griffith. Joe's Valley ranks as one of my favorite places to climb that I've been to so far. Needless to say, I was psyched to return again to polish off some old projects and hop on some new lines. My goal for the trip was make progress on Black Lung V13 and to climb the amazing Wind Below V8 which I checked out on a previous trip. Here is a rundown of the trip and some videos of a couple sends:

Sunday Night:

We arrived just after sundown to our camping area in the Right Fork. We met up with friends Andre Di Felice, Cameron Maier, Dallas, and their friends Mark, and Beau, whom I hadn't met before. The Fort Collins crew is extremely fun to climb and hang with. Their particularly advanced form of humor is not to be missed and it certainly added to my overall enjoyment of the trip. We hung around the campfire talking for awhile until our psych got the best of us and we found ourselves chalking up at the Man Size Area in the middle of the night. I repeated Fingerhut V10 once and decided to call it a night to save my skin for the following day. Alex got close, but after watching Andre epic through an inebriated ascent, she decided to wait for the daylight hours.

Day 1 - Monday:

We headed up Right Fork after a quick breakfast of eggs and bread (Yeah! Breakfast Of Champions.) We stopped at Maxipad for a quick repeat for me, and a new send for Connor.

After some warming up we walked across the street to the No Substance Area. I threw myself at No Additives V11 for awhile before I deemed it impossible. No, not really. I got close to the move, and it will probably be possible for me in the near future, but it is definitely one of the hardest V11's I've ever tried. Joe's Valley V12? After flailing for what seemed like forever, we decided to head to New Joe's for some Area 51 action. I continued with my daylong warm-up by repeating Big Boy v7, Two- Finger Variation V9, Freak V10, and Stand Up V8. Not that they were really warm-ups, more like it was cold and I was bored. I tried Black Lung V13 twice, but it felt like shit and I gave up real fast. Alex finished off Resident Evil V10 in quick fashion and Connor ripped his fingers apart on it in one of the most impressive displays of determination I've seen in awhile. It was nice to return to the beautiful sandstone of the high Utah desert and I was psyched for what the rest of the week held in store.

Day 2 - Tuesday:

Alex, Andre, and pretty much everyone else convinced me that a rest day was in order. I agreed for a bit, then realized my stupidity and found myself shortly after at the base of Prince Of Thieves V12(?) with Connor and a few pads. At about 20 feet tall, with a 30 foot top out slab, the line was impressive to say the least. On about the second burn I found myself attempting to pull the lip onto the slab, but the problem wasn't about to go that easy. I dropped off and proceeded to do the same for three or four goes. Unfortunately, I had to rappel in to the lip to figure out the moves. It went down smoothly on the next go from the ground. I encourage everybody to try this boulder problem as it is one of the best in Joe's Valley. However, it certainly isn't V12 (as earlier proposed) in difficulty in my opinion and it is definitely on the soft end of V11. It surprises me that with the caliber of climbers that have topped out this boulder, the grade would be confirmed at v12.

Here's a quick video of the send:

Later on that day, I managed to gather the whole crew together for a session on the Wind Below V8. When we got to the boulder with all four of my pads it became apparent that I was to be the only one climbing on it. For anyone who hasn't seen the problem, it's about 25 feet of gently overhung perfection. And for anyone strong enough to climb it, it's a must do boulder problem in the United States if not the World. I polished it off in around 3 goes, after deciphering the slightly odd stab to a pinch at the top. It now sits in my top 5 best boulder problems I have ever climbed.

I climbed it a second time for the camera:

Day 3 - Wednesday:

We woke up semi early at around 10 a.m. We headed immediately to Area 51 so Alex could finish up Freak V10. I was also psyched to give a last ditch effort on Black Lung V13. It was a very cold day which was great for friction, but we were all pretty tired after dealing with an intense snow/dust storm in the middle of the night. Alex fussed around on Freak for awhile dealing with some slickness of feet issues, then turned on the power for an impressive send burn. I walked around the boulder to Black Lung, not knowing what to expect. Despite flailing miserably on this boulder for the last couple of trips, as I pulled into the start holds today, something felt different. I snagged the first hold unexpectedly and quickly realized that I had no idea what to do. I backstepped my right foot below my left and easily fell into the pinch. Then, I campused my feet up and jumped for the last hold. I snagged it and then quickly ripped out of it as my greasy fingers couldn't take any more. Shit! I fell off the last move from the ground about 5 or 6 times over the course of the afternoon and finally called it a day. I had other problems to try and Black Lung would have to wait for another trip. Andre also got super close to finishing the boulder, but succumbed to the warm afternoon temps as well. Andre and I had both expressed interest in attempting Gentleman Jack and Blackout in the Left Fork. Some folks had said the Left Fork was extremely cold and probably in the teens, so we decided to leave Area 51 and head there. Andre and I gave Blackout a few goes, until we both deemed it the hardest v12 ever. Props to P-Rob for the FA on that beast. How could Blackout and Prince Of Thieves both receive the same grade? Grades amaze me sometimes. Gentleman Jack fell in a few goes after I figured out how to properly torque on my heel. Andre got extremely close. His best go was a fall after the crux. I'm sure he'll finish it up in due time.

Day 4 - Turkeyday:

Alex finished off Fingerhut V10 on her first try in the morning. An impressive effort considering the Screaming Barfees that ensued at the top of the boulder. Good thing there was no barfing though, only crying. I ended up flashing Kinda Brawny V8 and an unknown V9 to the right of it in my tennis shoes. We then headed to left fork where I grabbed another V9 flash with an ascent of the high quality Worst-Case Scenario. That was pretty much it for my day. We ate Thanksgiving dinner at a BJ's in Price and called it a night after a particularly heated game of Hearts.

Day 5 - Friday (the drive home):

Don't ever get pulled over in a state that you don't live in. I learned this the hard way by getting a speeding ticket almost 2 hours from Joe's Valley and at the request of the cop having to drive all the way back to Orangeville (the town right outside Joe's) to pay the fine. Other than that the trip went great and I look forward to returning at some point in the upcoming weeks.


chuffer said...

nice trip report. bummer about the ticket. I've heard worse Utah Highway Patrol stories though.

sock hands said...

yesh, great spray down!

- no additives: broke a while back and is considered much harder than the original v11 it was given.

- wind below: if you get a crimp out left of the high crimp rail, you can heel-hand match on the rail and lock off statically to the juggy pocket right hand, which is WAY more secure than stabbing to it left... just good to know to spray down friends if you happen to return for 'man from the past' around the corner left of wind below, or the project immediately left of wind belw.