Friday, December 23, 2011
Annual Winter Portland Bouldering aka Climbing On Snot
The annual voyage out to Portland Oregon to spend time with my wife's family is in full swing...but this year has been sunnier than any of the previous, giving me hope of finding some dry boulders to pull down on. I made my way 30 minutes outside of Portland to the local boulderfield at Carver today (you can see the main Carver cliff in the background of the above picture), expecting to find at least a few routes to climb. I was treated to...the usual snotty conditions.
Most of the holds on most of the routes were still pretty slippery and especially on the footholds, it felt like I was trying to get friction on a wad of snot. I looked around and found a few climbs that had dry enough holds to pull on and ended up sending more than I thought I would.
I started out sending Left Arete, seen above on the Super Cool boulder, a V0 that felt more like a V2 with the slippery conditions.
From there I went around the corner to the Columbia boulder and sent another V0, Jugs, seen climbing the arete on the bigger boulder on the right side of the picture below.
After that I was feeling somewhat warmed up and hit the Carver Classic boulder and sent Go Again V1, and followed that up with a surprise send of Even More Classic V3. Go Again follows the chalked holds on the boulder to the left in the above picture and Even More Classic starts on the boulder just to the right of Go Again and moves low into the start of Go Again and climbs that same route. Both were good routes, but once again, the snotty rock conditions made these routes feel much harder than their ratings.
Almost dejected and thinking about heading out of the boulders, I decided to check out a few chalked up routes around the corner on the Dig Out boulder. I climbed the fun V0 Maintenance Men and then climbed the V1 traversing extension called Rally On Traverse.
On my way to the Dig Out boulder, I caught a glimpse of a sweet looking route on the Wrecker Anchor boulder that seemed to have perfectly dry feet (at least until the upper section) and was begging to be climbed. So I went back to the route and thumbed through the guide to find out it was Barfly Betty, one of the classic V3's at Carver. After pulling onto the starting moves and seeing that I could make my way past what seemed to be the crux, I loaded up for the send. After moving off of a low jug under a slight overhang, I matched on a sloping and slippery lip and made my way out to fall into some big sidepulls/pinches. At this point, I thought the route was over, but found myself towards the top of the route cruxing hard on some slimy holds...but I focused on a single small mushroom growing near the top out and pushed for the send. I barely snatched the top before I almost slipped off and onto a bad landing (I only have a 2'x1'x.5" start pad out here, so I really didn't want to fall). I truly enjoyed this exhilarating route and was psyched for the send...especially in such bad conditions. You can see the whole route in the above picture and the top section of sidepulls/pinches and the little shroom in the picture below.
Despite the off conditions, I really enjoyed today's session and climbing some new routes I hadnt done before. I love spending time out here with family, but it always makes me thankful for the perfect wintertime sending conditions we have in the southeast, and the plethora of great boulders we have to climb on!