Byron Bouldering Update #3

Sore from the “No Strings Attached” competition on Saturday, I missed a sunny Sunday of bouldering in favor of sleep and nursing my tired body back to health; a day that I regret missing. Although I was still tired on Monday, the end of the week looked bleak for climbing, so I forced myself to go after work. As I made the hike to boulders the sunlight was already climbing up the east face of the valley leaving the rest in state of early dusk that would allow about three hours of climbing. I was surprised to run into Tyler, the very same who we climbed with a  few weeks before (subsequently ripping the skin off his hand leading to the Bloody Tourist V1. He had just bought a new crash pad and was out with a friend trying his luck, again on the Tourist Boulder. Having no other plans I joined him in developing this. Tyler had already done a climb that he called Toe Trust V0 and I quickly ran up three boulder problems on the easiest face, two v1’s  that I have not named and a v3/4 mantle problem.

The south side of the boulder gave me trouble. On the right side the bottom of the boulder scoops back beneath a flat face necessitating a mantle move and despite trying it backwards and forwards I could not unlock the secret beta or muster up enough reach to do the problem.  On the left, Tyler and I trundled some boulders beneath beneath a huge, beautiful bulge of rock that opened up the base of the problem. Trying to do this problem was like trying to hug a VW with my hands and feet at a 35 degree angle. In short, it did not go. I had one good attempt moving to a very positive crimp on the face until it exploded, hitting me in forehead and ripping the tip of my middle finger. Unfortunately the remainder of the positive rail also flexes and will need to be cleaned, lest someone else be hit in the face with rock shrapnel. If it can be done the problem would be awesome.

South side of the Tourist Boulder and two projects

I gave up on the south face and went back to a  project on the north face that I had worked on the very first day that I came here. It starts on a very sharp right hand and a minimal left hand crimp with thin feet on the face. The first move fires out to the arete followed by the left heel hook that allowed me to bump my left hand up. The crux was moving the right hand off of the start hold and very dynamically catching a good opposing hand. With the advantage of having an extra pad and a spotter I sent it fairly easily. Bleed Them Dry goes at around V5.


Start to "Bleed Them Dry" V5

Tyler and I then went to find something new that he and I could both work on at the same time. There are still enough undeveloped boulders here that this was relatively easy to do. We passed a small boulder with a very distinct overhang between two streams and I decided that this would be fun to play around on. While Tyler worked the stand start to a short vertical face I checked out the overhang and was surprised to find numerous underclings. After playing around with the start I eventually sent Beached As V4, as seen below. There were two more problems on this little boulder, one starting on the corner called Chip or a Chop V4 that turned out to be very interesting, and one that started low on the face (Hey Bru V2) that turned out to be less than interesting.

Heaps Beached

I decided to call this the Kiwi Boulder. This link should explain the naming a bit.

Tyler and I did one more quality V2 elsewhere before leaving in the dark.


On Tuesday I awoke feeling a little off. As I worked through the day I felt sicker and sicker, but knowing that Chris was heading down, I convinced myself to go and take it easy. As we walked back to the boulders I perked up and by the time we got to climbing I felt almost normal. Must have been the the last minute doses of OJ and hot chocolate. We decided to go back to the Satellite Area, the last group of boulders in the field. Originally we had only climbed the main boulder here and wanted to try our outstanding project, but since I was not feeling great and Chris had just gotten over being sick as well we turned our attention to a smaller boulder.

The Pluto Boulder

The Pluto Boulder yielded five fun short problems and one not-so-fun problem. All of them range from V1 to V3 and typically had good holds on the face to easy, but tricky mantle moves over the lip. It is a very good warm-up for the area or a good “girlfriend-esque”  boulder for those who are familiar with Hatchers pass.

Chris Barnett on a the right arete of Pluto

We turned our attention to the south side of the main boulder. This is a great face studded with large holds that we had not gotten on during our previous session. The only downside is that the face needs a lot of cleaning before it will be good for climbing. We brushed dirt out of the holds, broke off a few large loose blocks, flattened the landings, and cleared scree from the top of the boulder. I managed to send one problem that I think is about v4 and Chris also sent a problem before it got too dark.

South side of the Aurora Boulder

Having not named anything on the boulder we contemplated what we would call it while hiking to the car until we noticed a light flaring up over the mountains. The northern lights presented itself in spectacular fashion (see the previous post) at times creating a silhouette of the mountains and leading us to the name, the Aurora Boulder. It was a great end to a good day of bouldering.

Between the two days, 17 new problems were added to the area and more will be added on the next time the valley is dry.