New Problems with an Old Friend in Hatcher Pass

On Sunday, I had the chance to get out with one of my first climbing partners, Dan Kryger.  Dan moved out-of-state about 8-9 years ago, but he  was a major contributor to my view of development and opened the door for me to look at every piece of rock as a possibility.  Going out with him re-sparked this view and we were able to combine to put up 10 new problems on Sunday in an area I’ve walked right by hundreds of times.

Looking out over Hatcher Pass from above the IndianHead Boulders

Looking out of Hatcher Pass from above the IndianHead Boulders

First up was a bit of hike and exploration above and to the left of the Indianhead Boulders.  As we were driving by, Dan pointed out a really nice looking boulder high on the hillside.  I’ve looked at this boulder for years, as have David, Drew, and others.  I didn’t know anyone who had been up there though, so Dan and I decided to go check it out.   When we got  to it, we found a beautiful tall overhung wall with unfortunately no holds.  Around the corner though were a couple of nice easier lines, and just uphill was a tall wall that blurs the line between highballing and soloing.  We checked this out and there are a handful of lines to be done on this wall, that need a bit of cleaning, and a big set of cajones.  In particular, there is a line on the right side that needs a good cleaning and will make a stellar highball.

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Dan working out the lower section of a possible new highball above the Indianhead Boulders

Dan did step up and do one line on the left side of the wall, that really crossed the line from bouldering into soloing as he got to the upper wall.  I couldn’t bring myself to commit to it though, as my risk tolerance just wasn’t there.

Next up was going to meet with the youth climbing team from ARG.  Ted and Keenen had brought out a pretty good group of the kids to check out the bouldering at the base of the Diamond.  Dan and I met them just as they were leaving though., so we decided to explore a bit around there and see what we could find.  We started off warming up at Captain Jack, and then heading downhill to a small boulder just below it.  We did a small mantel problem there, which had probably been done before.  Next up was a slab problem on the tall East face of the Captain Jack Boulder.  We worked on cleaning two lines up this boulder, but without ropes and a better stick brush, we were only able to get the left hand line cleaned.  The taller line up the main face of the boulder will be a serious proposition, but looks quite good if it gets cleaned.  Dan and I worked on the left line getting quite high, but getting stumped on a seriously committing rockover move which had my heart pounding.

Dan high up on a new problem on the Captain Jack Boulder

Dan high up on a new problem near Captain Jack

After getting stumped for a bit, I started cleaning a small cave nearby while dan went off exploring a climbing more of the nearby problems.  House Bitters -v7 starts on a low detached boulder in the cave that you mantel onto.  Then reach over your head into a small undercling crimp and reach out to slopers under the lip.  Work your way out the lip with some serious body tension, top out onto the slab and continue up the arête to the top.

House Bitters - v7

House Bitters – v7

By this time, Dan had come back down and started doing more exploring in the area and cleaned a new slab line due south of the Captain Jack Boulder.

Dan topping out on a Highball v1

Then he headed up to David’s Cave Boulder and started cleaning two tall slab lines on the northeast face of the boulder.  I came up to meet him as he finished climbing the first one, and started cleaning the second one.  Both of these were climbed, but could certainly use a bit more cleaning.  After these we headed around the corner to the southeast face of the boulder and added two new lines here.  The right side of the face has a nice v0 following good ledges  and good feet to the top.  The left side of the face has a nice v2 sit start on a big undercling flake and a low rail for the left hand.

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Dan climbing one of the new slab lines on the David’s Cave Boulder

At the end of the day we headed back to the tall slab problem on the Captain Jack Boulder and I finally committed to the hard rockover move and was able to top out on Alaskan Amber – v6.

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Just after pulling over the roof on Alaskan Amber – v7