Monday, May 5, 2008

Bishop Bouldering! April Edition

In the middle of April a few of my friends from the East Coast flew out to LA to go sample the amazing bouldering of Bishop. Jackie, who I went to college at Bucknell, as well as her friends Joe and Bree from DC flew in on Thursday night so that we could have four days climbing before returning to LA on Monday night. Our group was joined my long time friend Jamie and his girl Nicole from Santa Barbara. Below Joe enjoys the view of the Buttermilks and the drifter boulder.
With all flights arriving more or less on time Lizzy and I packed up and met the east coast crew with their rental car at LAX. Leaving for bishop at 9pm is not really ideal but at least we missed traffic making it to the Pit just before 1:30 am. Jamie had reserved us a campsite so we quickly set up camp and passed out. The east coast crew woke us up early excited to go climbing and unable to sleep due to the time difference. Day one was to be at the buttermilks so we rolled out.
Above Lizzy warms up on the green wall. After paying our respects to the Mandala and we went to the Hunk and started warming up. The high boulder was a bit mental for a first climb so we hit up the beautiful but slick green wall. I quickly repeated green wall center and figured I was warm enough to start on my project for the day, High Plains Drifter.
I switched to taking photos and rested so I would be fresh for High Plains. Above Joe works on green wall center. The green wall is so glassy that it is nice place to warm up since it doesn’t hurt your skin. The only disadvantage is that it is really hard to make your feet to stick to anything. Excited to get back on High Plains I was nervous that my fitness had not increased enough for a send. The temps were pretty good and on my second attempt the top sloper felt perfect and I knew the send was going to be soon. Photo below is of me working on the start of High Plains Drifter.
The next try I hit the sloper and adjusted my feet and fired for the right knob. I had two spotters and a few more pads that allowed me to relax and commit. After the drifter move I set up and lunged right to the knob. Next I quickly got my feet back on the wall and fired left hand to the good knob. It was over and I climbed the positive crimps to the top of the boulder, relaxed now this classic was under my belt.
On the last trip I had run out of skin and energy before getting on Soul Slinger. Everyone seems to love this problem so I was eager to try it. Jamie had sent it on his previous trip and so I thought it was possible. I was able to sort an efficient sequence to get to the first bad pinch and was able to get to that high point a few times. Unfortunately the sun was beating down on the top holds and I was unable to move from them. Next time! (Photo below)

After spending some time down in the cave and at Ranger Rock we moved up to the Stained Glass area. Jamie and Nicole had met up with our crew and Jamie was excited to try Stained Glass. He was able to get the first move but I was unable to get off the ground. Around the corner was a super fun V1 that all of the girls flashed.
Jackie sending above and Nicole climbing below.

After almost everyone did this climb we headed over to the Ironman Traverse to finish off the day. There were many good efforts but no one sent. With tired arms and much less skin we all returned to the Pit for some burritos. (Joe sends below)
The next day Jamie and I were psyched to go out and work on Checkerboard which is supposed to be a classic and great for the grade. The boulder is all alone on a hill and does not offer any good problems to warm up on. The temps had dropped a little and it had become quite windy. My fingers were quite sore from the previous day and warming up on the steep crimps was painful.
Checkerboard offers a low start over an exciting landing that adds three or so moves making it a soft V8. The direct start, which goes at V7, avoids the bad landing but still goes through the same high crux. A difficult match on a gaston leads right to a small crimp and then a final hard stand up move to a high rail of crimps.
Jamie and I worked through the moves and I got shutdown by the match. My fingers were on fire and my feet seemed to be working against me. Jamie however was climbing very strong and after his second time matching the gaston he made the big move and topped it out.
Below Jamie presses out the move on Checkerboard!
After his send I gave it a few more tries but my fingers were done and Nicole and Lizzy had yet to climb. We met up with Jackie, Bree and Joe and headed over to the Pollen Grains. The wind had been picking up but the worst was yet to come. In the picture below Jamie is trying to show how windy it really was. We estimated that the gust were at least 40 MPH. Though evidently it was worse in the main buttermilk area.
We headed out to the Lidija Boulder and got blown around and worked by the problems. My tips were still quite sore and it was so windy that we had to tie down the pads and hold them while people would try to climb. Lizzy even started getting blown away while trying to keep the pad on the ground.
Above Nicole works on her project, Cindy Swank on the Honey Boulder. This problem was just her style and involved short throws between quite small holds. Jamie had sent this on his last trip and thought it was quite doable for Nicole and me. While Nicole was linking large sections of the problem I was struggling to get off the ground. The holds were very small and required precise body position. I was able to figure out some weird toe hook beta and was able to get through to the top crux. Both Nicole and I were unable to unlock the sequence through the top out slopers and went home without sending.
We spent the next day at the Happy boulders in an attempt to escape the wind. After falling off Toxic Avenger, Jamie made an impressive flash of Mr. Witty. I struggled with the small holds and was still unable to make the last move to the lip. Jamie and Nicole had to go back to SB so we bid them farewell and eventually made our way to Heavenly Path. This is one of the classic easy high balls at the Happy Boulders.

I was able to repeat the line and I convinced Lizzy that she had to try it. Evidently this was a good climb for Lizzy to push her limit and she calmly sent it first try! This was the first of a few easy highballs that Lizzy sent this trip. Notice the confidence below as she gets a no hands rest.

After a few more climbs and a bit of exploring we called it a day and headed back to camp to recover. The previous night had been so windy that Joe and Jackie's tents had blown away. Luckily some people had piled rocks on them to keep them from any further damage. We were anxious to return and were greeted by all of our tents still standing.

Jackie gets airborne after sending one of the mantle problems on the flying disc.

The next day we went to the Sad Boulders which I had never been to. The canyon at first seemed quite similar to the happies but lacked a central flat region. The sads were a jumble of stacked blocks and caves that made for exciting climbing over less than ideal landings. After a short warm-up we went to Rio's Crack, which Lizzy is trying in the photo below.
After struggling with the sequence for the first few moves I was able to find some workable beta and was able to stick to the bad feet and send. It was nice to have a bit more skin and energy and this was quite a fun problem.
Next we made our way through some caves and found Los Locos, which I had spotted on the way in. This problem is very pretty and has big moves on crazy features. The start is down in a cave which kept the holds nice and cool and it traverses left to exit over an exciting landing. The start sequence was technical and involved sweet body positions while using fairly big holds. We were struggling to unlock a sequence and I wasted a lot of energy going the wrong way.
After finding a way through the start of the problem I was unable to keep my tension and popped off. I was unable to regain my high point and we moved on to Molly. After a few tries each on Molly, Jackie Lizzy and I had to head back to LA so Jackie could make her flight back to DC. Joe and Bree spent a few more days in bishop with other friends before heading back home. It was an amazing trip and I am motivated to get a bit stronger and go back to the Sads to send Los Locos!



Climbing Narcissist said...

Very nice work on High Plains!

Peter Beal said...

Great photos! Sometime I want to go back