Tuesday, May 25, 2010

RMNP Update

Motivation has been very, very high for me lately.  And it shows no signs of backing down.  Even the 90 hours of route setting in the past two weeks hasn't been able to bring me down.  So this past Saturday, following roughly 4 hours of sleep (due to some serious partying in downtown Boulder), I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and made my second attempt (for the year) at climbing in RMNP.  Sticcs and I left Boulder a little late, 2 o'clock to be exact, with plans to climb at Emerald Lake with some friends.  I think we both had no real intentions to accomplish anything considering the previous nights adventures, and the serious lack of sleep.  But a day outside in the sunshine is too hard to pass up.  After I nearly fell asleep at the wheel on numerous occasions, we managed to make it to the Bear Lake parking lot and thus began the hike.  It was rough.  I am out of hiking shape.  At the Dream Lake fork, I was faced with a tough decision.  Head up the hill to Lower Chaos to check the snow levels, or continue on to the Emerald Lake boulders for a mellow session with some friends.  After little debate, I said fuck it, and strapped on the snow shoes.  Lower Chaos here I come.  Sticcs was without snow shoes and felt like doing some climbing, so we parted ways.  I was unfortunate enough not to find the trail between Dream and Lower, and instead headed straight up the very steep hill.  Midway up I encountered some very steep terrain with some dead trees and lots of ice:
Very fun maneuvering that steep slope.  3 steps up.  Slide 10 feet back down.  10 steps up.  Slide 3 feet back down.  Climb over rotten trees with snow shoes on.  Get a foot trapped in some branches and eat shit on your face.  Exciting stuff!  Finally, the actual trail came into view (really not sure how I missed it from the start).  However, as I attempted to pull myself onto the trail (kinda like manteling choss), two barren hands grasping some poor souls previous boot tracks, I happen to tip over backwards and tumble about 20 feet back down.  Awesome...  The 2nd attempt up the last slope proved successful and I continued along the sketchy trail:
 The rest of the hike to Lower Chaos proved fairly casual and soon I was staring into Chaos Canyon where the boulders should have been.  They weren't really there: 
Curiosity took hold and I ventured across the snow in search of the boulders.  Along the way I nearly tripped over the Warm-Up boulder that holds such classics as Potato Chip V7 and proceeded to stumble upon a 6-foot Centaur boulder: 
And just around the back, a short wheel-chair ramp that is the top-out to Nuthin' But Sunshine V13:
Unimpressed by the current conditions of Lower, curiosity once again got the best of me and I found myself hopping over the Gobot V11 and continuing, like some kind of Jesus, directly across Lake Haiyaha and up the hill to the Green 45.  What would normally be a maze of talus, was replaced by a thick layer of snow forming a giant sledding hill, formidable enough to make any 5 year old wet himself.  Without walking on a single piece of rock, I found myself beneath the great Green Giant:
Dry and perfect.  The whole boulder.  Very excited at this point, I immediately jumped on the stand start.  Climbed that 3 times all the way to the top of the wall.  The conditions were surprisingly warm and it would have been smart to wait awhile before attempting Jade from the start.  But hey, you can't stop psych!  I spent awhile brushing some chalk into the odd conglomeration of texture that forms the crux crimp: 
On my first attempt from the start I nearly did the crux move static before my foot picked.  9 more tries from the start, each try getting desperately close, and my ring and pinkie finally split:
It's frustrating considering that each attempt that I give could be the one that leads me to the top of the boulder.  But with every mistake (foot cut, fumbling the left hand, not grabbing the crimp right, etc.) you can literally watch your skin disappear.  It's such a finicky boulder problem.  It is certainly powerful and the holds are small, but the real crux of Jade relies upon executing everything perfectly at the right time.  You can't do the move completely static, but you have to be very controlled.  The perfect amount of push.  You can't fumble the left hand.  It's a good hold but you have to stick it perfectly right.  I've stuck the crux from the bottom a few times now with only two fingers, but the re-adjust to four continues to leave me on the ground.  Is this really what V15 comes down too?  This isn't crimp strength.  I know that, cause I have very little compared to my abilities on pinches and slopes.  Should things be graded harder because they are more condition dependent and harder to execute?  All I know is that for me, 4 hours of hiking for 10 tries (essentially 20 total movements on rock), is worth it to find out.  What are you willing to do to change your perspective?     


Mark said...

Did you happen to notice Skyscraper, and what that landing was like?

Matt said...


Adayak said...

I think conditions should play some factor into ratings. Some places are dry and holds are easier, while other places have moisture in the air making it more difficult.

Carlo Traversi said...

Skyscraper is about 10 feet tall right now, with a flat, snowy landing.

The Suspension video is almost DONE! It will be out very very soon. Psyched on it. It looks real nice...

wade david said...

Looks like the jade crux hold was comforted? I remember it looking much sharper.

Mark said...

Dang. You know, theres a fine line between Skyscraper safe, and not. I feel like, well... its kind of like you said, you do something in certain conditions and it changes the problem. I don't think I can truly say if its better or not that way, you just know how you feel and how hard something feels, and you gotta make a decision at the end of the day, as much as you might not like to, you probably do in the back of your head.