Spring in Colorado

Well hello from a snowy Colorado.

Spring weather is in full effect here and has been since we’ve arrived. What does that consist of? Lots of bad weather and occasionally a good spell. We’re working with it as best we can.
We both have jobs, which is a very good thing since being in Las Vegas for the winter and not working was taxing on the pocket book. We’ve been exploring the early-season areas around the small town of Estes Park. There are a lot of them. There is a ton of low lying rock in the area… Potentially a lot of new boulders! We’ll get into that at a later time.
So what are the haps you wonder?
Erin has some good projects. She took down the local and tricky classic Gold Diggaz. It’s a sweet overhanging dihedral problem, it climbs really well and checks in around the V10 range. I managed to take a really nice photo of her on it that was featured on the Rock and Ice instagram page.—>https://www.instagram.com/p/BDquzn0JcP6/?taken-by=rockandicemag
We’ve been touring around areas such as Big Elk Meadows, Wild Basin, Elkland, Lumpy Ridge, and of course the one and only RMNP proper, on the easy to access boulders though.
The reality though is our most frequented area is a Moon Board, and we’re both starting to feel pretty snappy on it. Here’s a vid of me doing the V10 on it with the set we are working with—->https://www.instagram.com/p/BDHFu6ulBh_/?taken-by=iancotterb
The Moon Board is really fun and undoubtedly will get you strong, at least on that style of climbing (fingery and 40 degrees or so).
On another note, I have been trying some really hard boulders. Harder than I’ve tried before probably. Due to that I haven’t been sending a ton of things, though I have had some success.
Some classics I’ve managed to tick:
Desperate Houseboys Traverse (V10)—>https://www.instagram.com/p/BCwHGDhlBhX/?taken-by=iancotterb
Get Over It (V10)—->https://www.instagram.com/p/BDrRg6YlBqj/?taken-by=iancotterb
Right Angry Man aka Livid Man (V10) and Gold Diggaz.

I’ve also done a couple memorable first ascents. The first was at Wild Basin. It climbs out a steep roof and the crux move is a funky dyno out of a delicate knee bar. Holding the swing is quite difficult. I thought it was V11 or so and dubbed it Ludacris to stick with the “thug” theme of the roof.——->https://www.instagram.com/p/BC0NqiNlBh5/?taken-by=iancotterb
The other is a sweet, airy and somewhat technical V6 on the roadside Donut Thief Boulder on Bear Lake Road in RMNP. I hung a rope off it and made sure to clean it well. With the quality and easy access I think this thing should get some action.—–>https://www.instagram.com/p/BDg-YClFBm9/?taken-by=iancotterb
We’ve been climbing and hanging out with Paul Robinson and his lovely fiance Alex Kahn. It has been a good time. Paul is an impressive climber to say the least. The same day I did Ludacris, Paul established a new classic V12 (thanks to the folks that prepped the line!) next to Ludacris now dubbed No Heaven for a Thug. I have tried it a lot to no avail.. It’s hard! A friend of ours Sam Weir did it. Here’s the crux—–>https://www.instagram.com/p/BD3PvMGl2kH/?taken-by=sam__weir
Paul went back a week later and hooked up what we were calling “The Wheel of the Basin Proj” and linked Ludacris into No Heaven for a Thug. He dubbed it The Third Wheel and reckons it checks in around V13. I fortunately had my camera out that day and captured footage of the ascent!—->http://www.rockandice.com/video-gallery/paul-robinson-sends-the-third-wheel-v13-first-ascent
Also. Paul is really close to pulling Hynotized Minds. Any try now. We are rooting for him and hopefully the weather gives him a fair shot!

Erin and I put together a video of a few problems… Check it out!  We creatively called Estes Park Early Season —>http://www.dpmclimbing.com/climbing-videos/watch/estes-park-early-season

A couple more random thoughts..
Here’s a photo I took of Erin climbing a fun V8 at Elkland, Smile for the Blade—>https://www.instagram.com/p/BCl5-IjlBmv/?taken-by=iancotterb
Also Sam Weir is damn close to climbing the mega line, Memory is Parallax (V14). Here’s a shot of him on that—–>https://www.instagram.com/p/BCl6ltTlBn4/?taken-by=iancotterb

Hopefully the spring finds you all well. Until next time!

A Final Recap: Vegas

And finally for the last recap post, then we will be in present time!

Erin and I spent most of January and February in Las Vegas. I had wanted to spend some time there for years exploring Red Rocks National Conservation Area because it looked like there were tons of world class boulders to check out.

It did not disappoint!

The climbing did end up being fairly scattered and there was a substantial amount of hiking involved. This was something we were accustomed to though after having spent a lot of time in Rocky Mountain National Park and we weren’t bothered by it in the slightest. The desert landscape in Red Rocks has a very diverse fauna and the many drastic rock formations are vibrant with various colors making it an absurdly beautiful area to spend time in.https://www.instagram.com/p/BBKyRZ9FBpE/?taken-by=iancotterb

Our main goal for our time there was just to get to know the area and climb on as many sick boulders as possible. We definitely did that! We also climbed with a ton of friends, old and new, which made for an unforgettable and very enjoyable experience.

While we didn’t project anything more than a few quick sessions we still had quite a bit of success and we climbed in most of the canyons the area had to offer. That being said there is still so much we didn’t see. We are undoubtedly looking forward to a return trip, and next time we will surely buckle down and siege more of the harder, and super inspiring lines.https://www.instagram.com/p/BCRlCRElBvi/?taken-by=iancotterb

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BB6RejrlBoK/?taken-by=iancotterbhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BB6QrtvFBmz/?taken-by=iancotterb

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https://vimeo.com/153375892

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The season unfortunately ended for us more abruptly than we would have liked, with uncomfortably warm temperatures rolling in consistently by the end of February.

The cooler Colorado weather and the prospect of working and saving up some cash was too much for us to resist and we made a move.

Happy Easter everyone and next post expect to hear about some haps in Colorado.

Recapping: Bishop 2015/16

And now we continue on with our recapping, to catch up to where we currently are, in Estes Park reeling from a spring snow storm.  It has stopped snowing and the next few days look promising.

Note: The wordpress site doesn’t really work right (aka sucks to use), so I apologize that you have to click on the link text to see a photo or video.

I stopped in Bishop for a few weeks in mid-December with the main intention of helping Charlie Barrett with the new comprehensive guide book to Bishop bouldering.  I did quite a bit of leg work this past spring, finding and documenting around two or three hundred new problems to add to the new book.  Charlie is doing the lion’s share of the work, but regardless it is nice to be part of a project that has significance to me.  Bishop is the place that really ignited the bouldering bug for me.https://www.instagram.com/p/_ZvzxkFBrY

I was out there for a few weeks.  Charlie and I would meet up regularily and we got some stuff done.  I would expect the final product to be out there in a few months or so, but don’t hold me to that.

I did do some climbing indeed.  I had a few problems, all in the Buttermilks I wanted to get done.  Sadly I would walk away with only having done one, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

This time around it was cold! Perhaps too cold at times.  I was car camping and there were several nights where the car would get started a few times to heat things up.  The first hard one I got on was the Michael Caine Sit, a tricky V12 put up by Matt Birch.  I didn’t do it right off the bat but did all the moves.  I was psyched.  https://www.instagram.com/p/_cSUA6lBnh/?taken-by=iancotterbThe second was the Mandala.  It felt hideously sharp and quite hard.  Really just as it had in the past.  Fortunately I managed to escape with no skin damage the first day on these things.

Then I started trying a hard Chris Schulte problem, Constellation, that at the time I thought perhaps was unrepeated.  I was wrong about that, as it turns out it had gotten a couple more sends.  After several days of effort I did manage to desperately send this sweet line, which I was super psyched about.  https://www.instagram.com/p/_0d1vElBni/?taken-by=iancotterbIt is a fairly heady and sustained, with a delicate mantle right at the end (at least the way I did it).  Full package I would say.  I thought it checked in around solid V11 or so.https://www.instagram.com/p/_163_UlBu9/?taken-by=iancotterb

The next day I went back to the one I really wanted, The Mandala.  Sadly after a few goes I sheared the entire pad off my middle finger.  It was deep and bloody.  It became very apparent that I would not be able to do The Mandala or Michael Caine Sit with this wound, due to both having very sharp left hand holds.  It was a psych killer.https://www.instagram.com/p/_2pcyWlBqf/?taken-by=iancotterb

I changed my focus to the Tablelands.  The Sad Boulders in specific.  I knew of a few potentially undone lines there I was interested in that weren’t so left hand intensive.  I worked a super proud and potentially classic project out there that would maybe be a scary V10 or 11 that I never summoned the courage or pads to give a proper send.  Next time…  I then went to a line Charlie and I thought had perhaps not been done that seemed quite hard.  I surprised myself by climbing it quite quickly and dubbed it Resurgence (V9ish).  It was a good one.  I have learned since then that perhaps it had been done in the past and was called Mad Cow, but hey that’s how it goes sometimes.  I suspect holds have since gone missing since it was previously done, but that is just my suspicion.https://vimeo.com/150926693

It was nice being in Bishop.  It was also nice heading to the next destination, Las Vegas, where I would pick Erin up and we would explore the beautiful, and new to us area, Red Rocks.  Stay tuned for a recap of that, and then we will step into the present.  Hope all is well with everyone and Happy upcoming Easter!

 

A recap: Fall of 2015 at Devil’s Lake

Hold onto your hats because we’re going to get this blog thing going again.  As I write this we are in Colorado. The weather has been incredible for climbing though we are expecting to get nailed by a nasty winter storm right about now.  It has been so long since our last post so I figure some recapping is in order.  We will pick up where we left off, last fall.

Erin and I found ourselves in Wisconsin, and while hanging out with our families we were spending a ton of time at Devil’s Lake. I was mainly focused on finding new boulders, and Erin on taking down the old school classics along with putting up a few climbs of her own. Erin did great on the notoriously tricky quartzite, climbing plenty of excellent things. She was also heartbreakingly close to several difficult and proud ones.

I had a lot of success. I established many new lines of all sorts, some of them being very good and quite hard. A couple highballs really stood out in terms of quality and intimidation factor as well.

So that’s about that for words here. Enjoy the photos and videos!

Note: WordPress has changed their blog format and I am unable to directly upload photos so I have to link to our instagram accounts..  Bear with me here while I get this new format dialed in!

Another note: The Devil’s Lake Guidebook is actually going to get done.  The finishing touches are being put on it and advertisers are getting wrangled up, so get psyched.

Erin eyes Big Bud, moments before her send. #bouldering #climbing #highball #big #purplequartzite

A photo posted by Ian Cotter-Brown (@iancotterb) on

Erin fired the beautiful arête proj today for it's probable fa.

A photo posted by Ian Cotter-Brown (@iancotterb) on

 

Wisconsin, untouched territory.

I have been lagging with my posts, which I apologize about!  This will be short and sweet.

After Colorado we made a whirlwind tour through Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Washington.  Now we find ourselves in Wisconsin.  I am really psyched to show Erin around an area I love so much, Devil’s Lake.

Erin claimed the first female ascent of the historic and proud, Zipper.  It was sick.  Here is a video..

We also found a tight knit cluster of high quality, unclimbed problems and began whittling through them.  We managed to film some of our effort..  Check it out..

We will be hopefully putting up many more new problems this fall in Wisconsin.  We’re also going to try and save up some money for a trip to South Africa next summer.  Hopefully you all are well!

The End is Near, Classics of the Park

The summer has flown by. Where did it all go? Our time here is limited now. We both put in our two weeks notice for our jobs yesterday.
Things have been the same here for the most part. I acquired a new sponsor, Asana, which I’m super psyched about, since they make high quality crash pads and I was in need of some new ones. This in turn inspired me to start busting out the camera more.
We’ve began filming an open ended series, dubbed classics of the park. The first one we put together was for Wildcat, a bad ass 11 or 12 I climbed a bit a go, here is the vid for that one..

The next one was for Skipper D, maybe the best 8 in the park?, which Erin sent a couple weeks back. Here is the vid for that…

And finally, Lost in Space, an incredible V12 I climbed in the late spring/early summer…

We’ve been climbing an okay amount. Balancing work, dealing with the tourists, walking to the boulders, and finding problems that I’m actually psyched to project is somewhat challenging. I am looking for something incredible to try that will push me… It’s hot too. Honestly, I’m battling with some psyche issues, but I’m pushing through.
Erin sent her first RMNP V9 the other day, Otech Direct. It’s a pretty cool one. Nice moves, some sharp holds, and not the greatest landing are factors involved in this one.

Erin on Otech Direct

Erin on Otech Direct

I also probably put up a new V10 at the bottom of Upper Chaos. It’s dubbed Inconceivable. Kind of a dumb name but it’s a reference from a movie.. do you know which one?
Inconceivable is 40 yards east of Triple Threat Arete and faces down hill. Really, it’s very close to the main trail that most folks take to get to Upper Chaos.. Why not check it out… Here’s video of the problem..

Besides that, I made a short few day jaunt to Wisconsin to visit family. We visited our grandma a couple of times, then hung out at the family cottage in Northern Wisconsin for a few days. It was a relaxing change of pace.

Cruising around the lake

Cruising around the lake

I also scrambled up Longs Peak in the moonlight this past friday, and topped out just before sunrise.  We opted for the classic Keyhole route (class 3), and it really was a lot of fun.

Watching the sun rise from the top of Longs

Watching the sun rise from the top of Longs

The shadow of Longs below the full moon at sunrise.

The shadow of Longs below the full moon at sunrise.

We have both enjoyed our time in Estes Park, and the remaining two or three weeks here are bound to be a fun, and busy time. More friends will be coming through, so there will be plenty of good company.
I do look forward to seeing Washington though.. I’ve been wanting to check out the bouldering up there for years and it just hasn’t happened. Soon.

Summer Sending

Summer is slipping by in Estes Park. We’re in the tiring routine of going up to Chaos Canyon, usually upper chaos, 5 to 6 days a week. With the commute and having to deal with the large volume of tourists in town and up in the parking lot it is quite energy consuming, and on top of that we’re working around our work schedules… Sometimes that means making it down early, others it means heading up to climb afterwards.
I’ve had a lot of success this past week or so.
First, I managed to climb Blood Money (V12). I had hurt my shoulder on it this past August so it felt great to do it. I did it my second session on it this time around, falling at the very end the two goes before my send, slipping off the slopey lip.

Rolling through Blood Money

Rolling through Blood Money

On the send go it went flawlessly. Funny enough I tweaked my shoulder again on it, but this time it was surely worth it right? After a couple days off and some lighter climbing it feels one hundred percent again. Blood Money has a shoulder intensive red point crux near the end and I guess my body just really doesn’t like doing it.  No matter, that’s the past now!
I also did a rarely done highball in Upper Chaos, Skipping on the Roof (V9). It’s probably 25-30 feet tall, and has a rock slab that follows it up. The crux is near the top and needless to say, it would suck to skitter down the slab and into a the pit that it climbs out of. Conor Barthel and I worked it out one afternoon while it was in the sun and figured out a somewhat safe way to try the crux. The crux revolves around a long double bump off two small and insecure holds. We figured as long as your feet didn’t pop, you would just sit back against the slab and not take the imposing slide. Neither of us committed to the send that day. I ended up back there a couple days later and the rock felt good. First go I climbed into the crux, committed and exploded off the wall. My foot stayed and I harmlessly sat back against the slab. Whew! Our theory was right! The next go I pulled through to the top, though I did crumble an edge while I was doing it.. Pretty exciting. Conor also did it later that day.

Mid-crux on my send of Skipping on the Roof.

Mid-crux on my send of Skipping on the Roof.

We had a few painful days of waiting out rain. It was productive though and we got a lot of things done we had been meaning to.
The rain broke a couple days ago, and we decided an early morning start was the way to go.  We headed back up to Upper Chaos. I wanted to try Wildcat (seems like V12 for sure), an incredible, and very tricky line in Upper Chaos that I’d put a considerable amount of effort into. After warming up and fumbling the first part of it once, I managed to pull through the delicate and powerful sequence and fought my way through the final slopey holds to the top. Wild Cat is my new favorite problem in Chaos, I think. It’s really precise the way I climb it, has all the tricks in the book, it’s long.. And fun.

Moving through Wildcat

Moving through Wildcat

A delicate and powerful move out right on Wild Cat.  I couldn't get my my feet way right like most people, and figured out a faint knee scum that didn't like to stay most of the time.

A delicate and powerful move out right on Wild Cat. I couldn’t get my my feet way right like most people, and figured out a faint knee scum that didn’t like to stay most of the time.

Yesterday the conditions were very good. We went up to Lower Chaos and I put a good session in on Nuthin’ But Sunshine (V13). It went pretty well and I’m headed back tomorrow to try it again.  In the middle of the day we went over to a thorn in my side, Element of Surprise (V12). I had done the right exit, Running Scared previously, and had tinkered around with the direct finish (Element of Surprise) more than I wanted to. I finally refined my beta, and with the good conditions on my side managed to climb from the bottom and finish it. After more flailing we called it a day.
Erin has a bunch of great projects she’s close on, we have some good friends in town, and the weather is looking pretty darn good.
The summer will keep slipping by…