30 December 2011

Hueco 1

  Finally escaped work for a few weeks.

The kitchen at The Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar in Denver, CO is my new home away from home. At least for around 40 hours a week. Serving global comfort food, I get the chance to work first hand with a lot of great food and chefs who have been in the industry for a long time..

Enough kitchen talk for now though.

On Tuesday I met up with Brion Voges and we began the 20+ hour drive from Chattanooga, TN to Hueco Tanks. Driving for a long period of time is something I have gotten used to over the last few years, and it's not so bad once you just get in the car and go..

View of Juarez, Mexico from I-10; driving through El Paso, TX
After driving through the night we pulled up to the gate at Hueco around 8am and found ourselves waiting in line for a couple of hours until we got access into the park and to North Mountain!! With only a few hours of sleep in the last 30, needless to say we were both tired. We decided to climb anyway. I'll save the details of our short session, by just saying that not much went down. That didn't matter though; psyche was and is high.

We will be here for another 10 days and both of us have new camera gear.. keep an eye out for plenty of pictures here and at Brion's page (brionvoges.tumblr.com)

Video coming out in the next month or so.

A few screen shots : : :

More on the way..

07 September 2011

Alpine Update from CO

Not sure if anyone else noticed, but the weather this past weekend was amazing in the alpine areas. I took advantage of the long weekend and got three days of great climbing in.

Upper Chaos (RMNP) > Area B (Evans) > Lincoln Lake (Evans)


Conditions were great all weekend and we took advantage. Had a great session at the Mirkwood cave in Upper Chaos, with a hang-on-for-dear-life last attempt that ended with a successful ascent of Mirkwood v10. Alex Kordick, Ivo Penchev and Mark Avery all put in good efforts with ascents of the stand also and followed with strong climbing on the sit. The sit, I Comb My Hair Like God v11, starts three moves lower than Mirkwood with toe hooks and slaps on bad holds ... very cool rock climb.

Sunday, I headed to Area B with Ivo Penchev to check out some climbs we hadn't seen before. With the weather close to perfect, we headed straight to an amazing CO test piece, Gorillas in the Mist v11. Unlike the infamous Dali boulder, Gorillas is almost perfectly smooth granite, with compression being the main way to unlock the movements. Ivo came stupid close to flashing the boulder, falling at the lip on the first effort. The boulder went unclimbed that day, no doubt we will head back there soon ...

Monday was third day on. 3rd day in the alpine!! I think I made it 6 days on at Lincoln once earlier this summer, safe to say not much was going down ... So Lincoln Lake seemed the obvious choice. A slow, relaxed start to the morning got us down to the boulders around 2pm and once again we headed in the direction of a few boulders I hadn't seen before.

We met up with Zack Sticcs and others from B-Town at an amazing boulder, Front Range on Fire v7/8 (FA : Greedy). After some warm-up attempts figuring out the beta, I climbed the boulder to the top. Another awesome boulder at Lincoln that I had known about for a while, but never seen. Connor Griffith added a lower start to the boulder; by starting on the right facing gaston and an undercling before pulling on and doing a move to the right start hold of the boulder. Nice one!

Connor Griffith climbing Front Range on Fire low v8
Ivo Penchev on the first move of F. R. O. F. v7/8
Next was a problem that had recently been established by Justin Jaeger and Ivo. Now dubbed Twisting the Knife, this one is in the upper talus field above Mote in God's Eye.

Twisting the Knife v8
 Starting on two underclings, the problem shoots right immediately with your feet staying near the starting holds the entire problem. After the third move, the body position is more or less horizontal and the last move is a flying, swinging move to a huge jug! Another brilliant line in the boulder field. GO DO IT !!

Although it is awesome beyond belief that I get to go climbing at areas like Mt Evans and RMNP, I am welcoming the cooler weather with open arms. Can't wait to get back to life on the front range. With the changing of seasons, new motivation builds to go to areas I haven't been in months. Just a few on the list are Poudre Canyon, Newlin Creek, EndoValley, Boulder Canyon, etc.... the list continues. Each of these areas are home to countless classic boulder problems with many more to be developed. Looking forward to hiking around in the mountains this fall / winter.... hopefully to find some nice new boulders !!

Until then ...

29 August 2011

Recent FA's from Lincoln Lake, Colorado

The last few weeks have been flying by. Lots of climbing, hiking, falling, shooting video, taking pictures and good times in the mountains with cool people. Can't go wrong.

Lincoln Lake has continued to be my destination of choice, with tons and TONS of possibility for new boulder problems. Ivo Penchev wondered into a cave a few weeks ago and found some AMAZING new lines. After brushing up holds, I was able to climb Life of Arete v8 (video of Patrick Fitts climbing the third ascent) and The Odyssey v9 for their first ascents. Ivo followed in suit with second ascents of each. Great new additions to the bouldering area!!

I was also able to climb a nice new slab line just up the talus from The Mothman Prophecies. It is now dubbed The EZ Slab v5. Located on the right side of a HUGE slab boulder, this one starts in between two chest-high boulders and climbs small holds for about 12 feet.. then exits right up an easy (walkable) slab dihedral. Go do it!!!
 The incredible / unpredictable days spent in the mountains (most of the time above 10K feet) are slowly coming to an end. As usual the August weather has been tough to negotiate; checking and double checking weather forecasts, humidity percents, wind direction and speed. Rain is almost an every day occurrence. BUT it's all good.

So much goes into bouldering here and it is truly amazing to be a part of the experience that is CO during the summer!!

Here's some pictures to recap the last few weeks : : :

Ivo Penchev climbing The Mothman Prophecies v4
Patrick Fitts on the 2nd ascent of The EZ Slab v5

Ivo Penchev climbing the 2nd ascent of The Odyssey v9

Resetting the Denver Bouldering Club (DBC)

Amazing end to a rainy day at Lincoln Lake, CO

 Until next time... keep the PSYCHE!!!
--- JG

08 August 2011

Alpine Areas

Had a goodie!! Went hard in the paint!! Tried hard...

Over the weekend, I got out to a few bouldering areas outside Denver. The plan was to hit Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, then (if not too wrecked from the long day) head to a few remote boulders at Mt. Evans the next day.

The day at RMNP was good. I drove to Golden to meet up with Ivo Penchev and Thomas Betterton (part owner of the DBC). The now very familiar drive through Boulder, Lyons and Estes Park went by quick as did the 45 minute hike into the Upper Chaos boulders. Got on Silven's boulder, The Seeping, which Thomas was able to hook up after an hour or so. Awesome roof boulder, but damn tough!!

Then it was off to try Riddles in the Park. After a while working out the moves, I was able to climb into the stand from the beginning. Definitely sparked some psyche! This one has two difficult opening moves which lead to around 10 more sustained movements on ok holds. ENDURO-FEST!!

Ivo Penchev on Riddles in the Park v12

After a quick stop at the infamous crimper-dyno problem, Friday the 13th, we decided to call it a day. A long hike, followed by a long drive and milkshakes at Mcdonald's made climbing the next day seem like some cruel joke.

Mt. Evans, CO (photo: Ivo Penchev)

On Sunday, after relaying some less than motivated messages to Ivo, I was forced to go climbing at Mt. Evans. Not really forced, let's just say energy was low starting out the day. I parked at Summit Lake on Mt. Evans and began the long hike down into the canyon, towards the Area D boulders.

I got there right around 3pm, just as the sun was starting to hit two out of the four main boulder problems in the area. After a quick warm-up on the much hyped but now broken Equitas (the left start hold of the sit is broken, the stand is still climbable at around v7) we headed over to THE highball in Colorado, The Nothing.

Ivo Penchev on The Nothing v8

Jeff Silcox entering the crux of The Nothing v8

Topping out at 30ft on The Nothing v8

The Nothing v8 is an amazing line. Perfect through and through. Jug start hold, difficult crux on perfect holds at 17ft, then an amazing diagonal break to the top with perfect bucket-sized hand holds.

 One of my favorite styles of climbing is trying hard on that first effort. You only get to try a boulder for the first time ONCE so why not make it worth while. One try, all your effort, climbing into unknown and sometimes uncomfortable territory.

I watched Ivo, Jaeger and Jeff climb on it for a bit then decided it was time to give a solid first effort. I pulled on and every movement continued to click until I was at the top of the boulder.

Climbing over the water on Slander v11 (photo: Ivo Penchev)
 We hung out at Slander v11 for the rest of the day.... another one of the best boulder problems in Colorado. Bad holds lead to a crux dyno off two quarter pad crimps. I surprised myself and was able to climb into the dyno from the start then somehow stick the dyno!! I fell on the next move, but it was amazing to do the dyno and see the realm of possibility opening!

Keep the pysche, until next time...

10 July 2011

RMNP - 2011 Season - Day 1

 Yesterday was a good one!

First day back in CHAOS CANYON (Rocky Mountain National Park) for the season. Snow finally melted out from a late snow in May so Ivo, Rob, CookDog and I headed straight to the Upper Chaos boulders to get down to business.

Clouds rolling in over Longs Peak, RMNP

As usual during the summer months, weather plays a role in every Chaos day. Despite on and off rain, we were all able to try hard and got a good day of climbing in.

After a good session at the El Jorge boulder where Rob and Cook hooked up both the Right and Lefter versions, we headed to the Pterodactyl boulder. Another amazing boulder in Chaos! After some figurin' I was able to climb the boulder from the "stand."  I also was able to figure out the bottom moves and am looking forward to more attempts on that this season.

Ivo Penchev on Pterodactyl Stand V9

Ivo Penchev on A Thousand Shades of Green V9

Just got out of class and am looking forward to a much needed rest day.
More on the way...

15 June 2011

Update from Mt. Evans

Things have been rolling along here in CO. Finally got used to the constant hiking necessary to get to some of the amazing boulders in the mountains. Still pretty worn out and in much need of a few rest days.

Well, word got out that the snow melted at Lincoln Lake and the crowds are starting to arrive. Those first two weeks after Memorial Day weekend were super nice and low key, a lot like the climbing I am used to doing in the Southeast.

Its all good though. Here are a few pictures to keep the psych!!

Voges working out the moves on Big Worm
Vanilla Sky
If you are at the Evil Backwards boulder, turn around and check out this tall arete Ryan Silven and I cleaned. Ryan grabbed the first ascent and named it Thermopylae.
A new line that I cleaned up and climbed, now dubbed The Iron Mask.

06 June 2011

Lincoln Lake

AHHH, finally a much needed rest day.

I have spent the last four days obsessing over the Lincoln Lake sector of Mt. Evans. Waking up at 9am every morning and heading out to the boulders. Cleaning and climbing until 8pm then hiking out, feeling overwhelmed by the fact that I get to climb at an area like this.

Voges and Webb searching for new boulders

The initial few days of the season have been productive in the sense that many new boulders have been added already. Because the majority of climbers began going there after the snow melted last season, there are many boulders that are climbable in their current condition (lots of snow, making for mostly flat landings) that were not climbed last season. This is another detail unique to the area... Some boulders will be climbable only in the early season, some only in the late season!!

Endgame v7
First Day, First Minute - v6
War of the Insects - v9

Beggers and Doers - v6

Above picture : This small area is home to some of the recent development. A boulder that I cleaned and Tom Camillieri was able to climb sits on the left side. This one is named "Beggers and Doers" and sits at around v6. Jamie Emerson cleaned up a nice roof on the opposite side of the large boulder on the right. The right line is now called "War of the Insects" and registers in at v9.

Possible new problem, up the talus from Tangerine Man

Four months out of the year, the snow melts off and we climbers are allowed access to this unique place. In a world where we humans are considered "outsiders," bouldering brings on a new meaning altogether. Every trip down into the boulders is more like an adventure, not knowing exactly what you're getting yourself into.

It seems that after the harsh winter, many of the climbs need a bit of "re-cleaning." That being said, a large majority of the opened boulders are ready to go!! Only a few remain unclimbable due to snow, but I'm sure these will clear out in the next few weeks.

Along with a few others, I will be shooting video along the way and hopefully we can collaborate and release a nice Alpine summer bouldering short in the future. In the meantime, get out there and do a bit of searching!!!

More on the way.....