The Lion Head #2

Let’s start by saying that the Lion Head boulders are hard to get to. Hunter and I spent 90 minutes clearing nearly a half mile of overgrown trail, in the end making a path wide enough to squeeze a crash pad through. We were content with our solid first effort, so we jumped up onto the loose talus cone and finished the last 30 minutes of the approach to the boulders. We must have done a good job because as we reached the area, Nate unexpectedly caught up with us.

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The approach is much longer than most boulder-ers are used to and we all felt a little tired, but we soon mustered the energy to send a new problem, Lopped Off V4. Hunter was able to snag the second ascent of Mane Event V5, as well. Then we all began to work a project that I was stoked on, until I realized the crimp I was using flexed under my body weight. It was kind of a buzzkill for me, but Hunter kept working the crimp and Nate figured out how to bypass the hold using a huge throw to a ledge at the lip. None of us were able to send it, although Nate was the closest, trying to figure out how to top out the problem.

Nate on Lopped Off V4

Nate on Lopped Off V4

Hunter on Lopped Off

Hunter on Lopped Off V4

 

Hunter on the top out

Hunter on the top out

Lounging

Lounging

We packed up and went to another section, but energy and morale were waning fast. The debate began as to whether the climbing is reward enough for the effort involved to get there. I had had similar thoughts. In reality, the Lion Head will never become a real bouldering crag for most people. It is far away from Anchorage. It is a long hike. The rock is in Alaska, which inherently assumes a certain level of choss. Having said that, I also think that this is a place is worth exploring, cleaning, and climbing for a certain type of person. There is a lot of work involved in development, but there are fun problems to do and adventure to be had. Speaking of…

The No Man's Land slab

The No Man’s Land slab

Doomsday Device 2

Doomsday Device V5 (advanced stand start)

 

While the others were lounging on the pads, I began to work the incredible slab that I had scouted out on my previous foray. The three positive holds at the sit start of the problem allowed me to access the incredible sloping rails on the face. I never felt as if I was truly stable as I slapped and smeared my way across the rock, which is the mark of a truly good slab problem. Eventually I topped out for the FA of No Man’s Land V5. Then I moved over and cleaned the overhung feature that had really inspired me to come back to the boulder. The obvious start off of the low jug looked and felt impossible, so I tried a variation on the stand start, also incredibly hard. I still felt that I must climb the face so I stepped onto a starter rock at the base and felt the opposing pressure of the side pull and the arete. This lead to the advanced stand start (or A.S.S.) variation of Doomsday Device V5. It definitely felt harder, but I think I was already wasted, over gripping the holds and making simple mistakes.

 

Finally satisfied, we began the hike, deciding to try the west slope of the mountain. 80 minutes and several hundred vertical feet later we emerged from the brush at the base of the communications tower, scratched up and ornery, after crawling up a 45 degree mud and boulder slope. We agreed, it was the wrong way to go.

On another note, I hope you all have a great, long weekend of climbing ahead of you. Crags like Chickaloon, Wiener Lake, and Long Lake should be good to go. No news on the other areas yet, but stay tuned, its finally summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers!