28 November 2012

Utah Update - New Boulders in Joe's

Just got back from a nice stay in Joe's. With several miles of canyons littered with black sandstone boulders, Joe's Valley is a climber's playground. Along on the trip were good friends Sarah and Ivo Penchev.

The plan was general: get away from the city, climb a few old projects, check out some new one's.

Going into the trip I felt like I was in decent shape and looked forward to climbing a couple problems I had tried and failed on in the past. Of those old projects, the one that stands out is Beyond Life. At v10, the "stand" has become my nemesis over the years. For the longest time I thought that the boulder was very height dependent. I think the key here is body positioning and contact strength. After sticking the difficult crux move to the left hand edge for the first time, I was able to climb this one to the top.
I have a lot of video to sort through from the trip and will be putting up a short clip sometime in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out!
Another goal was to check out a boulder across the creek, early on in Left Fork. Established by Anthony Chertudi, Zodiac v11 climbs the left side of a huge black boulder via pockets and edges. I tried it for a bit, figured out some beta that worked for me, and made a good link into the middle of the boulder. Unfortunately the end requires more pads than we had and I was done for the day. This one is still waiting for a 2nd ascent, though it was getting some traffic later in the week from Mina L-W and Nick O.

Ivo cleaning up the top. The finish goes around right into the crack.
Zodiac v11
A lot of the trip was spent looking for and trying some of the new problems that had been established in the area. Most of the new problems at Joe's were put up by the Scott, Joe, Griffin crew. Check out Scott's blog, ClimbingCollective.com, for more info on the new boulders. 

Ivo Penchev climbing on Dark Matter v12

Balls to the Wall v8 (photo: Griffin W)

Superman v10
Amazing new line. Sounds like it was a group effort to clean this one up and build a massive landing underneath it. No doubt it will be a contender for the best boulder in Joe's, in my mind it's right there with Black Dahlia in terms of quality.

- JG

05 November 2012

Growing Up in the Climbing Gym, Completely Obsessed

I walked into the Tennessee Bouldering Authority in the summer of 2000. A smaller scale bouldering gym, TBA became my home for many years. With small walls that focus on training power, the thing that I like a lot about TBA is the really great focus on community. The owners would coach us in the gym during the week and take us out bouldering to LRC, Rocktown and HP40 on the weekends. 

Hats off to Luis Rodriguez, Eric Pittman and others for building the base that really lead to the growth of climbing, especially bouldering, in Chattanooga. Luis, you set the bar high man! I hear news of a sick new steep wall just built by the guys at TBA. Go check it out!

When I moved to Denver, I quickly became an active member at the Denver Bouldering Club (DBC.) This gym has many similarities to TBA. Abbreviated title. Cool bouldering walls. Sense of community. I think of it as TBA, but a little bigger.

A few weeks ago I accepted a position working for Thomas Betterton, owner of the DBC. This will include many odd jobs around the gym, cleaning, front desk work, etc... The time I have on my hands is allowing me to fully embrace aspects of the climbing world that I only had small amounts of time for in the past. Along with the other small jobs, I am very excited to continue working as a route setter.

I have been spending as much time possible learning how to set different styles of moves. Analyzing different body positions, compressing, opposing, balancing. Once I started to do some research I got really excited about the endless possibilities I have as a setter. 

Check out this site for lots of helpful insights and tips to use while setting.

Excited to start working on a couple other projects also, especially a climbing video focused on climbers that fly under the radar here in CO. Making plans for traveling to Joe's Valley, the Southeast, and Hueco over the next 6 months or so. Psyched!!

Another reset on the 45 wall at the DBC

Setting at the DBC (photo: Betterton)

More on the way!
- JG