31 March 2013

Neverland Season Again

And so it begins, another season in the vastness of Neverland. Yesterday was my first visit to Neverland for the new season of bouldering. What was a mild winter that would have allowed for year round bouldering, was replaced with insane amount of school work. So, I climbed inside, then sat at a desk, then climbed inside. Excitement for the day was high and the conditions looked amazing. Julian and I rolled away from Coal Creek Coffee at 8:30 or so and headed to hills. We initially talked in a frenzy about a project in the gym that we had both been working on. A traverse of epic and legend. I was apparently not the only one stuck on plastic for too long this past year. When we turned onto the dirt our conversation flew to the other side of the spectrum, quickly going to real rock. Julian has a project in the Grove Sector of Neverland, so we went there. Knowing I am not yet ready for my old projects, I was happy to climb on anything. The Grove is a perfect place for anything, as it has almost endless boulders.
After a quick warmup and the obligatory wander through new boulders to start the day, we went straight to Julian's project. As he re-cleaned it and rehearsed the sequence I finally, after two years, crow-barred the "x-block" out of the roof next to Julian's line. The x-block had always wiggled, but in years past would not completely detach. It is however a 300lb beast, and was far too intimidating to climb on. It now rests in soil defeated while a huge new roof is open for business. I briefly spent a few goes on the roof, wisely leaving it for another day or another climber. It should be V10/11 or so, and of supreme quality. The focus was Julian's roof, so we put the energy there.
Julian contemplating his project. The x-block still in the roof to the right (x of chalk on it)
In a monumental effort Julian put in three very strong attempts. He fell off the top out, worn and tired from his huge roof problem. He was defeated, then excited that he had made such progress on the beast. No doubt he will finish it on the next trip, he was so very close. It was really good to see him turn failure into a strong motivation for the rest of the day and for future Neverland trips. I cleaned and climbed a nice V4 around the bend from Julian's line adding a good warmup for future trips to his project (Rabbit Hole V4)
Rabbit Hole V4
We walked to a new wall, found during our morning roaming and warming up. It is very reminiscent of Hueco in a perched amphitheater between boulders. The climbing was interesting and tricky. Compression on a clean  and flat wall. The holds are like Chablanke in Hueco, but the problem came in around V6/7. I named it How Now Brown Cow, and Julian quickly repeated it even agreeing on the stupid name. It tore at my winter skin, baby soft and pink, but the day was still young. Julian had not seen any of the new area (in the Grove) from last season, so we went there.
How Now Brown Cow V6/7. Starts in the hole down right. Julian is 6'4"ish, so always makes things look small
Julian set his motivation on Down Town Stickworm Town V6/7, but we had to walk first. We made a huge loop through boulders and crags. I felt tired by the end of it. Mostly mental from realizing how many things we have not yet climbed in just one area, in one sector, in one side of Neverland. Way too much!
Julian repeated Down Town Stickworm Town with a solid effort. I was cold by then and felt like we should just go back to the vehicle. Some sun and calm suggested otherwise, so I jumping-jacked back into semi-warmth. While Julian had been working the previous problem, I notice the project prow next to us had been tried incorrectly the past season. I had tried it from a strange start into a contrived line. The obvious and proud line was a direct prow attack. I cleaned the few holds that exist on the prow and went to work. The line could be a 4.5star! It is like bear hugging the bow of a Viking long ship, reaching as far as you can around each side for barnacles so far apart you're not sure they can be reached by any man. It overhangs steeply. Holds are widely spaced, small and perfect. The rock is outstanding! I almost cried it was so good, or because it worked me over so thoroughly. It is a wild beast that holds my gaze!
Down Town Stickworm Town V6/7 is behind the two aspen. The prow is obvious
It is a young season for sure, but one that will surely be memorable. Just have to finish this school work.

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