Monday, February 16, 2015

2-16-15: Zephyr

Keenan Takahashi on the first ascent of Zephyr, v12 (photo: Spenser Tang-Smith of the RV Project)
Yosemite has been a place that people have been bouldering for more that 50 years.  How can it be that half a century later, world class boulder problems are still being established?  There are many factors, including the use of crash pads, but one factor may be that the older generation of enterprising climbers just weren't tilting their heads high enough.  

It seems that the new vanguard of boulders, with limber necks and unbridled enthusiasm, don't seem to mind topping out boulders with 30 feet of air between their heels and the crash pad "landing."  An example of this new Vanguard is Keenan Takahashi and his new skyscraper of a problem, Zephyr, v12. 

Located in the Crumbs, and just a stone's throw from highway 140, this problem starts at an obvious head-height rail.  The crux moves are right in the beginning, a v11 bulge on angled sloper rails.  Then comes a technical face, checking in at v9; but that just leads to the mental crux, a balancy and slopey v7 arete encounter with your heels easily 25 feet above the landing.  

For the record, Keenan didn't give the problem a grade, but in our discussions, v12 seemed to make sense to me. It will be interesting to see what other ascensionists feel.  

Keenan on the mental crux, a tricky v7 arete encounter

ALL PHOTOS: Spenser Tang-Smith of the RV Project

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1-21-15: The Rift

Lyn Barraza climbing The Rift, v8

Happy New Year, here is one of the better new problems put up in Yosemite recently.  Put up last year by Southern Nevada Bouldering guidebook author Tom Moulin, The Rift follows and obvious rib facing the road on one of the "Big Three" boulders at The Crumbs.  

It starts on an obvious square-cut jug in the low rail, climbs up to a tricky lip encounter, and then finishes on a balancy arete feature with great slopers.  To add a little spice, the last move is a committing reach to another square-cut jug.  Everyone I have seen do this climb, has done it slightly differently, and Lyn shows good shorty beta in the video.  

I also put up a right start, which starts sitting on the right arete and climbs into The Rift at the lip encounter.  I called it Schism and it seemed a shade harder (v9?) and while it is not as direct at the original problem, the start moves are fun none-the-less.

To find the problem, look to your left as you enter The Crumbs, the bouldering area below the Cookie Cliff.  The Rift will be plainly visible, just be careful as you walk in, as there may be a bit of poison oak surrounding the landing.