Last Saturday, we headed up to the wonderland talus to continue development. Before I got there, David had cleaned a couple of new lines that we both climbed, while I did some landing work and cleaning on a nice overhung face that we’ll need to go back to that should be v6-v9ish.
Then we headed down to a tall arête jutting out over a pit that David had cleaned last weekend before we got rained out. He quickly ran up the problem from starting right hand pinched high on the arête, and left hand on a small crimp. I decided for some reason that I wanted to do a lower start, so I threw myself at it for a while before finally managing to climb it from a few moves lower on the roof without dabbing. From David’s start(which is the natural place to start) this is a fantastic addition in the v4ish range. From the lower start, this is a crappy start to a good problem in the v9-10 range. Don’t do my start, it’s really not worth it…..
We then headed toward an old problem Jeff Cleason and I put up in 2004 or 2005 called Humpty Dumpty-v4, that takes a beautiful dihedral up to a high jug before pulling a lip. Drew and Will found it last year and climbed it calling it Top Gun not knowing we had been on it before, and David really wanted to get on it. As soon as we got the pads there it started to rain on us. At first it seemed like it would pass over us, but then it just got heavier and heavier. We quickly hunkered down in a nearby cave and put on some music and relaxed. While Keenen went exploring down in a pit, I got to work fine cleaning a line out of the cave that Jamie had scoped out (the first pic of a boulder), and Jeff and I had also looked at but written off as too hard back in 2004. Eventually the rain stopped, but everything was drenched. We decided to go do some exploring and wandered through a large area of the talus field. Unfortunately none of us brought out cameras so no pics, but there are definitely some problems we want to go back and develop.
After a bit we came back down to the cave, and a motivated to at least try the problem to see how it felt. I’m not sure if Jamie got on the problem, but he was guessing in the v12 range and with how wet and humid it was I didn’t really expect to get very far. Amazingly, only the very top of the problem was at all wet, as all of the drainage went just left of the problem. Keenen joined me in working it (which was in invaluable) and we quickly figured out most of the beta. A hard opening move was followed by some tiki-taki compression moves to get your body reset for a big move out left. Then a couple of hand and foot adjustments and a couple of big hard moves for the top. After figuring out the beta I gave it a go from the start and surprised myself by getting fairly high. We kept refining the beta, making little tweaks here and there, and we kept getting just a bit higher. Finally, I had a go where I came off on the last move and it was game on, I might be able to get this in a day….. But the last move was really low percentage and I needed a better sequence. I tweaked my beta a bit more, and found a much more solid way to make the last move. I cleaned the heck out of the top, which we hadn’t really cleaned because we didn’t really expect to get there, and gave it one last go. I felt strong right from the start, and made every move went almost perfect. I stayed focused, and when I latched the jug at the lip I was ecstatic. A few more moves(which were surprisingly hard as I was completely worked) and I was done.
I couldn’t believe it. I remember looking at this almost 10 years ago, and writing off as too hard. To be able to come back to it at 36 years old and send it in a day completely blew my mind. For all of you guys getting older: With hard work and dedication, you can continue to improve.