As I mentioned, I had a chance to run up to the Highcountry this weekend. Friday, after wrestling with a stomach bug all night and morning, I headed up to Grandmothers boulders to meet up with George, Doug & Adam. (...check out their trip report and pictures here) One of my main focuses was to climb a few of the routes on the Chainsaw Boulder that thwarted me last time I was here. By the time I finally got to Granny's, the rest of the crew was already at a different set of boulders, so I decided to just climb the Chainsaw routes by myself and catch up with the afterwards. I started out by repeating The Pocket Problem V1 and then moved on to work a couple of other warm up variations towards the left of the boulder. After that, I wanted to focus on one of the harder (at least for me) routes on the boulder and started working Big Guns V5...why Big Guns, I don't know, it was just the first one I thought I might could send.
I have seen this problem in a video and knew that it was a big throw/dyno out to the nice pocket...and I knew I didn't have that throw in me. So I started working the lower part of the problem backwards from the pocket to see if I could send it static. After figuring out a sequence that might work, I pulled off of the big starting jug and crammed myself up into the overhang, grabbed a hold of a few crimps (the underclinging crimp under the overhang being the most crucial!), got some better feet out wide and barely caught the pocket and doubled on it before I lost all of my core strength. Looking on RC.com, I guess that I did it using the "rose" hold, but I am so unfamiliar with the place, I don't know for sure. Soon after sending Big Guns, I realized that I had done more damage to my body than just the usual torture of bouldering. I was feeling a pain in my collarbone, which still has a steel plate in it from a bad car wreck almost 10 years ago, along with a tight back from contorting too much. So I thought I should take it easy and make sure I hadn't really torn something. Then I met up with George and the crew at the Collective Boulder and we headed down to the Mad Skills Wall.
George's most recent video has a clip of him sending Cock and Balls V3, but when he made the video, he thought he was on a different route. He had been talking up this route and really enjoyed climbing it, so of course I wanted to see what he was talking about. When we got down to Mad Skills, Caleb, a local boulderer, pointed out that indeed the route in question was Cock and Balls...George was stoked, because that was one of the classics he had been told to try and he was happy to have sent it last time. I gave it a few tries, but I was feeling some acute pain and didn't want to push myself too hard yet. The rest of the crew worked a variety of problems, including Zen Master V8, Commando Crack V3, Center Crack V2 and Toxic Box V6. After Mad Skills, we headed down towards the Third Rail and Long Wall. I checked out a few problems with the guys and then decided that I was in enough pain to call it quits for the day. On my way back to the car though, I couldn't go by Cock and Balls, seen in the above picture, and not give it one more try. After a quick warm up try, I sent the route with little difficulty, and minimal pain. I thought about hanging around and catching back up with the guys, but decided I didn't want to push an injury and make it worse...so I headed on to Table Rock to set up camp and wait for the trad climbing crew to get there.
After setting up camp and catching a nap to try to regain some strength, I had a session on the Parking Lot boulders at the Table Rock Picnic area. I've climbed around on these guys for years but I wanted to climb some of the tougher lines this time instead of just goofing off after doing some multi-pitch.
If you haven't seen these boulders before, there are tons of flakes and cracks to come up with plenty of different variations and problems. I started out by sending a sweet V2-ish route, seen above, that sit started on a low jug, went up to the left facing flake and then to the top.
From there I went to another section of the wall and sent an easier V1-ish problem, which can be seen to the right of the above picture. It starts with hands matched, double gastoning in the dark vertical pocket, and then goes up through a series of slopers and flakes to the tricky top out...a fun classic for the area. After the V1, I started to work on a V4 deadpoint problem from some crappy crimps, which can be seen to the left of the above picture. The problem starts doubled on the low crimps and throws up to a deep sidepull pocket and a fun slopey mantle halfway up is the last hard move. I've worked this problem every time I come to Table Rock, but this is the first time I've actually sent it. It felt great to send and I was super stoked! Saturday I woke up feeling so sore...am I really getting that old?...and thought about roping up for a bit before I took off early to try to recuperate from the pain. After making it to the crag and seeing how slow things were going, I realized it would take at least another hour or so before I could get even 1 pitch in...so I decided to just pack it up and whimper home like a beat dog. I felt a little defeated, because I didn't cram as much into the trip as I wanted to, but I took solace in the fact that I had ticked a few great routes this weekend...better than if I had just stayed on the couch!