Wednesday, December 09, 2009

12-14-09: Teenage Mutant Ninja Gerbils

Just up the hill from the big boulder at the Woodyard lays another big boulder. In addition to 'Chicken Nugget,' this boulder offers something most of the others at the Woodyard don't...warmups! Once warmed up one should try the new addition, 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Gerbils' [v8?]. Unfortunately the video was started a little too late to catch the first move. Its not very difficult so don't worry about it too much, but for clarity's sake, one begins crossed with a left hand on a good edge and a right hand on a smaller triangular shaped edge. Here's Raza making the first ascent courtesy of the very generous Rebecca Trafecanty.

Oh yeah, please ignore the guy stuffing his face while pretending to spot.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

10-29-09: 601

Paul Barraza on the FA of 601 [v8]

The El Cap Boulder is a solitary boulder found near the parking at the "Devil's Elbow" along Northside Drive. The established problems on this boulder are tall, crimpy, and of very high quality. This past weekend a new problem, which had somehow lain dormant all this time, was added to the boulder. Paul and I cleaned the obvious arete to the left of Zodiac [v10] thinking a compression problem would be a nice contrast to all of the crimping on the boulder. It turns out 601 is more of a complimentary piece than a contrast.

As usual these days, Paul was the first to make his way to the top with Scott and myself close on his heels. Thanks to Scott for providing the video. In regard to the grade, [v8] seems to be fair, though it may feel a touch easier or harder depending on your height (typical).


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10-17-09: Do-bop

Hey everyone! Do-bop is a great problem (one of the more interesting for the grade in the valley) located directly below Lower Cathedral Rock. This area doesn't get a lot of traffic but is easily accessible and has some very interesting rock. Check out pg. 38 of the Yosemite Bouldering guidebook for approach and problem description. There are several other lines in the immediate zone, the highlight of which is a hard to describe slopey lip traverse/ arete/ overhang called Squirrel [v6] that Jacob Copeland cleaned and climbed a couple years back. Stellar moves with amazing rock! Without further ado, here is a video of Natasha climbing Do-bop. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9-29-09 Nat's Traverse

Before the start of the fall season in Yosemite begins in earnest, I'd like to share a video I shot earlier today of Rebekah Taggart climbing Nat's Traverse at Mortar Rock in the Berkeley hills. Nat's is one of the most coveted problems at Mortar, requiring power, excellent technique and, what is often in short supply among boulderers, endurance. Many climbers work this problem for months just to fall demoralizingly close to the end (again and again). It was inspiring to see Rebekah send this impressive testpiece and witness her amazing positive attitude and perseverance.

- Lyn

Sunday, August 02, 2009

8-2-09: Leo the Lion

Randy Puro on the first ascent of Leo the Lion [v9]

Here is another cool line on the Orion Boulder. This is just on the left side of that same face. This post will be brief because I am in South Africa right now - enjoy the video!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

7-5-09: One Inch Punch

Randy Puro on the first ascent of One Inch Punch [v9]

Here is another cool problem near Orion on the Horse Trail. It is called One Inch Punch because the crux is a move where your hand only has to move a few inches! It is still the crux though.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

6-4-09: Orion

Cole Zuelke climbing Orion [v8]

Back in the beginning of the spring season when the snows were starting to melt - Scott Chandler took me out to a cool new boulder that he found right off of the Horse Trail to Mirror Lake. Although Scott got the first ascent by himself and only one pad, I would suggest bringing a few pads and a few friends. The top isn't hard, but you are pretty high up by then.


P.S. My original video of Scott Chandler was so terrible, I had to change it out.  I hope Cole doesn't mind!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

5-23-09: Kudra

Lyn Verinsky on Kudra [v6]

It is Memorial Day weekend and the hordes have invaded Yosemite Valley. No, not just the hordes of tourists, but the hordes of mosquitoes as well! It is time to catch up on some posts from the spring valley season - so stay tuned!

Kudra is a cool arete up in Candyland that Matt Wilder put up a few years back. It has a scary tiered landing, but that is more of a mental crux than anything else since I have never seen anyone land on the upper tier of the landing. The climb culminates with a commiting move to a good jug a few feet below the lip.


Monday, May 18, 2009

5-16-09: Orange Face- Revisited

Randy Puro nabs the second ascent of the Orange Face [v10] at the Bridalveil boulders. Nice job Randy! See a previous post on Orange Face.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

5-6-09: Fluffy White Clouds

Justin Alarcon on the FA of Fluffy White Clouds, v6

Not a highball? Some Yosemite regulars would call this blasphemy. Others point to such fine problems as 'Tap Dance' [v10], 'Chocolate Bunny' [v6], and the 'Bear-Hug Mantel' [v4] as examples of how pleasant a little lowball action can be. To this end, I submit 'Fluffy White Clouds' [v5-7] for the community's approval. While it may not be as classic as the previously mentioned lines, it should be a nice addition to the Yosemite lowball circuit.

This problem is located on the small boulder adjacent to the 'Panic Room'[v9] boulder.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4-15-09: Supervillain

Last fall I cleaned a project on the same big boulder that hosts 'Diesel Power' [v10] in the Crystals area. I was able to manage a high start off of the adjacent boulder, which became 'Villain' [v4], but the full line remained a project. Yesterday, amidst some random April snow flurries, Randy established the full line in a last-go-of-the-day effort. Serious kudos!

Disclaimer: I am not a professional film maker and I didn't behave like one while recording the ascent, so please forgive the language, unnecessary commentary, and shaky footage.

In case you can't tell from the video, the landing on this problem leaves much to be desired. The most difficult part can be made reasonably safe with several pads but a fall from the upper section would result in hitting the granite slab and then tumbling into the log filled moat below.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

4-9-09: Skelton Problem

Randy wondering, "what are we doing?"

Kind of a misnomer really, it should be 'Skelton Solo'. This problem was rediscovered, so to speak, on a pleasant morning last fall.

While a group of us were descending from soloing the classic 'Oak Tree Flake' [5.6] I mentioned to the group that there was a problem nearby listed in the old Don Reid guidebook as a [v8 X]. I was curious about the problem but I couldn't remember much of the details. I mistakenly thought it was called the 'Skeleton Problem' or 'Skull Problem,' but I new it was on the western end of the Swan Slabs. Unfortunately, the Swan Slabs area was omitted from the newest bouldering guide to Yosemite. Fortunately, there are a lot of fun warm-ups and technical faces to play on there so its worth a visit.

When the group returned to the base Tim and Randy returned to a tall slab that they'd been eyeing prior to my arrival. When I saw it I was certain that it was the enigmatic problem we'd discussed only minutes before. Clearly this wasn't a problem that saw regular traffic, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it hadn't had a second ascent. Moss and lichen had grown over many of the holds (and non-holds) but there was clearly a line to be climbed.

The 'Skelton Problem' is basically three boulder problems in one. The first obstacle to overcome is establishing on the climb. The first "hold" is approximately 9 feet up the slab and once reached must be mantled without the assistance of any other holds. This is solved with a run-up-the-wall and jump method followed by a bit of grunting. The second mini-problem is a difficult slab section to another knob, this is probably the crux. The final bit isn't as difficult, but it is quite insecure and one finds their self quite height at this point, this is the mental crux.

Randy was the first to stick the jump and commit to the territory above. I think he chalked and re-chalked for a good five minutes contemplating the final slab while Tim frantically cleaned holds from above with a long bubba brush. Tim, Kevin, and I followed suit each managing to scare ourselves a bit despite the security of Randy's coattails.

Yours truly, preparing for the mental crux.

Randy executing, Tim cleaning.

The problem is named after a long time local climber by the name of Ron Skelton, 67. Ron and his wife Liz operate the Blue Butterfly Inn in El Portal, just outside the park. He was recently featured in Climbing Magazine No. 272 for being a cancer survivor with aspirations to climb 'Astroman' on the Rostrum this spring or summer. I recently asked Ron about the history of this climb and here's what he had to say:

"...a number of people had worked on that problem before I tried it, Dale Bard, Ron Kauk, and several others come to mind. No one was willing to go for it! They would do the mantle and look at the face and jump off. I had to clean it as I climbed, also I remember several loose edges that broke off as well. The hardest part for me was the mantle as I am 6'4" the face was in the 5.11 range I thought, but I don't know what others might think. I don't know much about the new rating system for bouldering."

His height would explain how he managed to reach the start of this problem with just a cheater stone. Of course Ron's height wouldn't have helped him much in the event of a fall from the top. I wouldn't want to take that fall with a stack of bouldering pads, he didn't have a single one!

As to the grade of this one...its a little irrelevant if you ask me. Its not [v8]. I think a Yosemite grade of [5.11 R/X] is probably more appropriate, but I wouldn't try this if you can't do 'Blue Sued Shoes' [v5]. The bottom line is; if you are looking for something a little more obscure and a lot spicy, check this one out. Just don't blame Betabase if you hurt yourself.

Photos courtesy of John Vallejo


Monday, March 23, 2009

3-23-09: Raising Arizona

Lyn Verinsky on Raising Arizona [v8]

A couple of weekends ago we had really good temps in the valley. The snow had mostly melted out, but it hadn't gotten hot yet either.

I climbed at the Arizona Avenue boulder in Camp 4 for the first time and put up a sit start to Spanish Flies,v3. It starts squeezing a slopey arete and transitions into the spicy top out of Spanish Flies. Scott Chandler and Lyn Verinsky got quick ascents right afterward, check out the video of Lyn's send above.


Monday, March 16, 2009

3-16-09: Two Bolts or Not to Be

Randy Puro on Two Bolts or Not to Be [v10]

There are a few lines in the valley that we have found that would be under the "maybe someday" category. A line that you think about, but seems too out of reach to actually drag a crew down to try. Two Sundays agoand two years after first cleaning and scoping the line, we headed down to attempt to boulder a short Ron Kauk route down by the highway 140 entrance. I believe he did the first ascent in the mid-nineties, long before the era of big pads, but exact details are unclear.

The first part of the climb is a very technical arete which leads into a steep roof, the crux being sticking a dyno to a sloper and crossing to a good pinch. The last move wouldn't be very hard if the move was a few feet off the ground, but becomes very committing when when you have to heel hook at hand height (making you totally horizontal). At that point your back is about 18 feet above the pads.

The climb was still a little wet from the melting snow, but Randy stuck with it and by the end of the day it had pretty much dried out. More impressive, his heel flew out at the crux and he took a screamer of a fall, but he kept trying, culminating with the send captured above.


Monday, March 09, 2009

3-9-09: Secrets of the Beehive

Lyn Verinsky on Secrets of the Beehive [v6]

During the rain & snow of winter we make the trek out to Bishop to get our bouldering fix. In January we headed out the Secrets of the Beehive area to try the classic of the area: Secrets of the Beehive. A flake has broken off in the middle of the climb, raising the grade a notch, but the mental crux is still at the top!


Monday, March 02, 2009

3-2-09: Montezuma's Revenge

Scott Chandler on Montezuma's Revenge [v9]

We just ran a poll to name the problem left of Montezuma's Revenge, but after a quick search I realized there is no post for Montezuma's Revenge! This problem is one of the coolest sloper problems in the valley. The lower sequence is quite intricate and not that obvious, so study the video closely!

Montezuma's is basically a low start to Rubik's Revenge [v7], and diverges left along the slopey lip. The stand up problem goes at v8 and the low start adds a grade for both problems. The low start into Rubik's has been done since Montezuma's, but was never named as far as I know.

To do the problem, start on the crimps at the top of an obvious flake (not a true sit start), climb up and right to the blocky sidepull start for Rubik's, climb up to the lip and finish left.


Monday, February 09, 2009

2-9-09: Name this v4 (The Payback)

Andrew Descalso on the The Payback [v4]

A new president was recently inaugurated and in the spirit of democracy, I thought it would be cool to have the people vote on the name of a boulder problem. The arete to the left of Montezuma's Revenge was put up in the same time frame, but we failed to name it even though it is a worthy problem in its own right.

The other two problems on the boulder are Rubik's Revenge and Montezuma's Revenge.

Register your vote on the poll to the right. Let your voice be heard! If you think of one of your own, click 'other' and add a comment to this post. The polls will close February 23rd; don't be disenfranchised.


Update: 3-2-09
Polls closed and 'The Payback was the winner. Below are the results.

Friday, January 23, 2009

1-23-09: Spiceberg

Raza on Spiceberg [v5]

Another cool line that went up this fall was Spiceberg. Ingar Shu, flashed the First Ascent which was not only pretty cool, but very prudent since falling at at the crux would most likely be bad for your health. The crux being some barn-door side pulls right below the good ledge. After getting on the classic Bishop highball Secrets of the Beehive, I realized that this thing is just as tall - if not taller. But the big difference on Spiceberg, is that you don't have to do that commiting heel hook by your head!

Spiceberg is on left side of the Curry Village tents. In that zone there is a huge boulder right next to the tents (where starfish is) and from that boulder you can see the Spiceberg boulder.


Monday, January 05, 2009

1-5-09: Barrel of Laughs

Scott Chandler on Barrel of Laughs [v6]

Here's another cool problem to check out after the snows melt and things dry up. Barrel of Laughs is up the hill from the main Bridalveil boulder and was put up by Noah Kaufman last spring.

Also Happy New Years from BetaBase. Let's hope that 2009 is a great year for climbing. May everyone send their projects!