Bonamici pulls huge East Bluff Circuit, FA’s, Repeats and a rant.

Fall is quickly moving past us in central Wisconsin. The cold crisp air we crave so much for bouldering is abundant.. So much so that it almost feels like it will never end. But it will. The winter is coming. Get out there now while the getting is good.
First of all, props to Travis Keaney for establishing what looks to be a classic V6, Wildwood. It’s in the Mirror Talus Field, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out.
Nice work!
One person who has been taking full advantage of the good weather is Peter Bonamici. Peter says, “I’ve always been a fan of big circuits – you get to push yourself physically and mentally, all while climbing a ton of amazing problems. I started thinking about one on the East Bluff over the summer and, still unable to get it out of my head, attempted it on Sunday.”  During the day he climbed 20 problems that are V7 or harder… He made them all look piss easy too (okay, okay, Perfect Medium looked a little desperate:).  Impressive right? What’s even cooler is that he filmed the whole thing and now we get to enjoy it. He shot it with his I phone for the sake of being light since he walked around quite a bit, and he did a damn good job at shooting it. For the record this is surely the sickest one day bouldering circuit ever done in Wisconsin (or midwest?) bouldering history. Check it out, it’s a must watch for anyone that is interested in bouldering at the lake..

Besides the circuit, Peter has been sending other stuff. He fired off the second ascents of The Fukness and The False respectively. I thought the False was a hard one and rated it a V11. It’s weird tech climbing with a kinda funky landing in the talus. It’s a nice looking line on a stand alone block too. Fukness took a few sessions for me, but it definitely felt easier than The False.  I guessed 10 or 11.  Peter says 9/10 for False, and 8 for Fukness. People should get on these and add their two cents. They are both fun and worthy.
Peter also put up a couple lines worth mentioning. He did a V8ish problem on the Treehugger boulder next to the Tumbled Rocks Trail on the West Bluff that apparently climbs through a “sick” pinch. It’s called Clear Cut. He also sent the Crimp Toehook proj in Loompa land on the West Bluff and dubbed it Animated Hands. He says V8 on that one too. We had tried this a couple years previous in hotter weather and a hold broke, discouraging us. Peter went back and got redemption, apparently sending it in only a couple tries.

An couple year old screen capture image of Peter trying Animated Hands before he did the FA just this past week.

An couple year old screen capture image of Peter trying what would become Animated Hands.

I’m going to mention one more thing.  When Peter climbed Dagger of the Lake on his circuit he started with his hands on opposite start holds. His low hand was a little high on the arete too.  It looks like it makes it a hell of a lot easier. I’m not taking anything away from Peter, I just want the information to be out there since I spent four days on it to establish it.  If you want to compare the way it climbs starting it this way here is video of me on the FA..

So is it okay to do that you wonder? That is up to you. I personally dislike like the “sherrif” mentality. Climbing is a game with rules that we make up and it is purely personal. I have skipped a starting move because it’s dumb or dabbed and called it good, or started with my hands switched up like Peter and been totally been okay with it. I just note to myself that I did not do it the way it was put up, or yeah, I dabbed even if I don’t think it helped.  There are however a few rules that all climbers should abide by I think, and here they are:
1. Don’t chip holds.
2. Treat the Environment with respect
3. Treat people with respect and be encouraging.

Unfortunately I have to report that certain climber(s) in the midwest have violated that third one, some time and time again.  What’s annoying and frustrating about it to me is that some of these people are role models for kids or “leaders” in the community.
For example, if climber A takes the time to add a climb or fun variation to Mountain Project for other people to enjoy, should you comment and chime in “That’s looks super lame. You suck.”?
The answer is no. You shouldn’t.  Especially if you are one of the “role model” or “leader” people.

I think people that write “hater” comments are enemies to the climbing community.  And I’m not talking about some friendly smack talking either.

If people become discouraged to spread information due to fear of having others slandering them we will no longer see information being shared, and that would be a real shame, especially since there are so many climbs being rediscovered or established in the midwest.

Think twice before you post up negative things. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Okay, that’s my rant. Also I would appreciate it if people wouldn’t create 2 different facebook accounts and slander me on my Facebook wall for putting up new climbs (Actually happened like last week). That’s some weird sh– right?
For the record too, it is important for people to speak up and say how hard they think new climbs are. If you think something is easier do not feel bad about saying saying so. If you think it’s harder, swallow your pride and say so too. The first ascensionist will not always guess the grade right or use the best beta. And Gosh Darnit, I want the grades to be consistent and make sense around here. With the guidebook going to print in the near future, getting consensus grades would be great.
This past week I had the good fortune of climbing in Boone, North Carolina. The weather was good, though still a touch hot. I managed to send the Ominous Roof, a rad V9. I got close on a couple of awesome 11’s, Sunday Service and Roadside Distraction, and tried an epic V10 The Masochist but didn’t manage to send. I’m definitely going back some day to try and finish these things off. Here are a few videos out there of Boone if you want to check them out.

Happy climbing everyone, the weather looks absolutely outstanding this week.


Fall colors are going off! And some good sends…

The fall colors are really starting to shine at Devil’s Lake.  Get out there now while it’s happening!
Erin Ayla has climbed Alpine Club (V9) and in very good form. She almost flashed the problem but the slippery rock got the best of her.

Erin Ayla eyes down Alpine Club.

Erin Ayla eyes down Alpine Club.

A handful of goes and twenty minutes later she fired off a send of the not often climbed problem. Impressive to say the least. She thought it was a really good line. If you haven’t been on this one go try it. Be warned though, it has a reputation. A number of reputable local climbers have tried it for many, many days (and years), and still not managed to squeak out a send. It will be interesting to see what else Erin can get done now that she is getting healthy.
Peter Bonamici has done the second ascent of Born in Blood. I spent 8 sessions on the line before I managed to do the FA. I thought it may check in around V12. Peter says V10. I gotta say I think he is off on this one in my opinion. Regardless, congrats to Peter and another one is off the B3 list. If you’re not familiar with the line, it’s a low start to Tipping Point, and involves a sequence with many toe hooking maneuvers. It’s also pretty much a horizontal roof. If hard roof climbing is up your alley go check it out.

Moving through the opening sequence of Born in Blood while it was still a project.  photo Peter Bonamici

Moving through the opening sequence of Born in Blood while it was still a project. photo Peter Bonamici

I have been trying projects and spotting people of late. I haven’t put up anything ground breaking in the past few days, but I have managed to do a couple new ones. On the Shredder Wall, up the CCC Trail, I did a drop off problem, Splinter, that is V9ish. It starts on double underclings in the middle of the wall and climbs straight up to a good jug. It’s actually less than vertical… Power Slab! Kinda unique for the area. Then out at Governor Dodge I did a V7ish linkup starting on Sandstone Violence and finishing up Nameless Arete. It’s actually quite good, there’s a fun long pop move to gain Nameless. It’s called Popolicious.. Go try it.
Besides all that I managed to upload the video of a good, hard and scary climb I did this past week, Levitation. Levitation was the Office Project and maybe is V10 or 11. It’s a gem I think. Check out the video.. Have a great week and happy climbing!

Perfect weather, Projects are going down.

There has been mass amounts of sending in the past week. The weather has been stunningly good and I really just blew off work and climbed the whole week with a rest day mixed in there.
I went to Governor Dodge with friends and my lovely girlfriend Erin Ayla. I fired the mega line Sandstone Violence (V8, FA Jason Huston), flashed maybe the 4th ascent of the awesome and frightening Product of the Southwest (V6, FA Travis Melin), and added a problem of my own, Battle of the Midwest. Battle of the Midwest starts as for Battle of the Bulge and does a low traverse into Product of the Southwest. It checks in at about V8 and is a really fun problem. It’s cool because it is very long, and transfers from steep roof climbing into the techy headwall of Product of the Southwest. It feels like a voyage when you climb it. Here’s video..

At the lake new lines have been going up left and right, along with plenty of notable sends.
A series of boulders just above the railroad tracks got some action. Skyler Frickleton put up a heady V3 slab on ancient ocean bottom rock that climbs really well and is frankly quite sketchy feeling. He dubbed it Riptide. It’s good. On the same boulder I put up a cool V7 or 8 called Dolphin Fingers that has a couple solid moves on it. We put up a couple other moderates on that same boulder as well.
Next door on the Ice Queen boulder I managed to do the FA of Feature Presentation. It is a low start to Ice Queen and it felt burly. The moves are fun and I barely did it in two sessions. I bet it’s around V10 or so. That same day I headed over to Burma with Travis Kaney to try a very heady and tall vertical face I had roped down a couple times before. It isn’t necessarily the height that makes it scary, it’s the landing. There’s a sloping ledge right at the base of the problem, followed by a 5 foot drop after that. The landing does suck. I hung the rope once again and with the stellar conditions I unlocked it. I pulled the rope, and walked back to the car and got the rest of my pads. After stacking some logs, and with all of our pads underneath it, I gave it a send burn. I fell at the top and the fall ended up being totally fine. I fell a couple more times, then finally got my game together and fired it. The face is now Mad Cow, and is probably V9 and high quality. It’s the scary looking wall to the right of Hard Arete if you know that problem. We had 6 or 7 pads and it was somewhat safe feeling if you want to give it a try. Here’s a video of Feature Presentation and Mad Cow..

I also revisited the Office Project with Kevin Baker. We were much more successful than either of us would have guessed. I ended up unlocking and desperately sending the main project, dubbing it Levitation… It felt tough. It has some desperado balance moves on thin holds. It’s hard to say, but I would guess it is a V10 or 11, and a good one. It has a heady factor to it as well. The landing is a boulder platform, and needless to say if you somehow didn’t land on it you would surely get injured. Baker added a terrifying left version that climbs into the no fall zone at V5 and called it Not Your Grandma’s Boulder Problem. It looked like it climbed very well and now is surely one of the most serious boulder problems at the lake. We got footage of both, but the Levitation footage is not uploading. For now you’ll have to settle for Not Your Grandma’s Boulder Problem.

Some other updates..
Kevin Baker fired the proud Sex and Chocolate with a Cherry on Top in ground up style. It was exciting to see. This line has been getting some traffic as of late, and for good reason.. It’s a world class and terrifying highball!

Minnesota climbing legend Randy Baum on his way to the first ground up ascent of Sex and Chocolate with a Cherry on Top.

Minnesota climbing legend Randy Baum on his way to the first ground up ascent of Sex and Chocolate with a Cherry on Top.

Kevin Baker and Chris Eggert also did the third and fourth ascents of the intimidating Drunk and Disorderly (V4).

Chris Eggert committed to the upper moves of Drunk and Disorderly

Chris Eggert committed to the upper moves of Drunk and Disorderly

Chris Eggert fired The Haunting (V8) and did the 3rd ascent of Green Fire (V8) in the Ghost Talus Field. My problem up there, Full Sail (V10?), is still awaiting a second ascent.. Who’s gonna do it?
Veering away from the lake, I took a side trip to the quaint and not often visited Rattlesnake Mound, just north of the Wisconsin Dells, to give an unrepeated line, Hocus Pocus, some burns. Hocus Pocus was put up a couple years ago by dark horse Minnesota crusher “Pi”. If you don’t know Pi he is a soft spoken cranker, and he’s good company. About a year ago I went to try Hocus Pocus and got fully shut down. It felt damn near impossible. This time around was a different story. After a couple hours of thrashing around I found my self desperately sticking the massive crux dyno, and on top of the boulder. It felt maybe V10, and for the record it’s a SICK problem. Here’s video…

Also, more great news, my partner in crime, Erin Ayla is back climbing again, though carefully. She fractured her ankle dropping off the top of a V3 onto a crappy pad about 6 weeks ago on a greasy day. She is looking around for hard projects and is looking strong. If you don’t know Erin here is a little background…
We went to Colorado for 5 weeks mid-July to mid-August or so. After a week of alpine climbing we made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park, and we stayed and bouldered there for the rest of the trip. We were in good company, as Minnesota friends Tyler Thurmes and Caius Nighthawk were summering there and were more than down to hang and climb with us. Before Colorado Erin had climbed a V3 outside. After a week or so she sent her first V6, quickly and easily I might add. Soon after she cruised up Potato Chip, a kinda heady V7. The next week she fired a V10, Child of God. Holy Sh– right?! To me Child of God felt harder than just about every other climb of the grade I did during the trip. On top of that it was hot. And it appears she has the first female ascent of the line. I was impressed to say the least.

Erin Ayla locks off hard on Child off God.

Erin Ayla locks off hard on Child off God.

So, that gets me thinking.. Has a woman climbed V10 in Wisconsin, or the Midwest for that matter? Does anybody know? Maybe not?
The weather looks great. Fall is the best. Happy climbing everyone!

Updated B3 Boulders list

The B3 list quickly became out of date due to Peter sending a bunch of stuff.  On top of that I forgot to put quite a few problems on it… So here is the current list! (I think)  If you want directions to anything I would be happy to provide them, just contact me one way or another.

Current B3 Boulder Problems at Devil’s Lake State Park
Problems are organized by the date they were established. Ratings are unconfirmed, since the problems have probably only seen one ascent. The area they are located is listed along with the possible first ascenionist. PB is Peter Bonamici, ICB is myself, Ian Cotter-Brown. For our list we’ll only include problems initially graded V7 or harder.

Pi’s Problem, V9? (ungraded), Alpine Club Area, Date?, Pi

Ejaculator Right, V7, Ejaculator Area, Fall 2000? Jim Maierhofer

Black Sheep, V7, Midforest Circuit, October 2009, Nic Oklobzija

Grasping at Something, V8, Anchorpoint Area, June 2011, ICB

Falling to Pieces, V10, Super Slab Area, September 2011, ICB

The Ivory Face, V11 or 12?, Flatiron Area, November 2011, ICB

Wafflehouse, V8 or 9, Burma, April 2012, ICB, possible earlier ascent
by Mike Gasch.

Burmese Python, V11, Burma, April 2012, ICB

Catch Me If You Can, V7, Smooth Operator Area, December 2012, ICB

Funeral Service, V8, CCC Trail Upper Talus, March 2013, ICB

Snuggle Bunny, V9, Grotos Trailside, March 2013, ICB

Tree Hugger Direct, V7, Dog Walk Area, March 2013, ICB

SPF40, V7, Block Party Boulders, April 2014, ICB

Butter Burger, V10, Block Party Boulders, April 2013, ICB

I am NOT a Princess, Battle Wound Area, April 2013, ICB

Cherry Underneath, V9, Monolith, April 2013, PB

Purple Moj, V9, Super Slab Area, April 2013, ICB

The Irregular Route, V9, Midforest Circuit, April 2013 PB

Lippenstein Direct, V8, Lower CCC Trail Talus, May 2013, ICB

Dark Knight, V8, Ghost Talus Field, May 2013, ICB

Stand Tall, V7, Happy Go Highball Area, May 2013

Nebulous Dyno, V7, Bulbous Area, ICB, June 2013

The Piano, V8, CCC Trail Upper Talus, September 2013, ICB

Circus World, V11, Greatest Show Boulders, October 2013, PB

The False, V11, Block Party Boulders, November 2013, ICB

Nerd, V8, Ghost Talus Field, November 2013, Tyler Thurmes

Drunchies, V11, Fat Raccoon Area, November 2013, ICB

Full Sail, V10, Ghost Talus Field, November 2013, ICB

Lake Boulder Lunge Sit, V9, The Reserve, November 2013, ICB?

Astroidea, V10/11, The Reserve, November 2013, PB

The Winter Booze, V8, East Bluff North Talus Field, November 2013, ICB

Big Foot Arete, V8, Birthday Rocks, November 2013, ICB

The Fukness, V10/11, Birthday Rocks, November 2013, ICB

Reverse Traverse, V8, The Reserve, November 2013, ICB?

Battle Cry, V10, East Bluff North Talus Field, March 2014, ICB

Fukness Direct, V10/11, Birthday Rocks, March 2014, ICB

Criminal Activity, V8, Cabins Area, March 2014, ICB

The Awakening, V11 or 12, East Bluff North Talus Field, April 2014, PB

Twerk Life, V8, Peaches Area, April 2014, ICB

Trouser Snaker, V8, Peaches Area, April 2014, ICB

Shredder, V10, April 2014, CCC Trail Upper Talus, ICB

Puke Masterflash, V7, Massive Vertigo Area, April 2014, Aaron Wait

Born in Blood, V12?, Monolith, May 2014, ICB

Cock Block, V9?, Anchorpoint Area, May 2014, Pi

Angry Squirrel Sit, V9, Fat Raccoon Area, August 2014, PB

Tyranny in Heaven, V11, Monolith Talus Field, September 2014, PB

Haunted Castle, V9, Peaches Area, September 2014, ICB

Midwest Dream, V8 or 9, Fat Raccoon Area, September 2014, ICB

Precision is Power, V9, Fat Raccoon Area, September 2014, ICB

All the Girls Say, V7, Anchorpoint Area, ICB

Bananarama, V7, Burma, ICB

Purple Gold, V9, Burma, September 2014, ICB? or Mike Gasch

Purple Gold and More

Canadian Geese 2 copyThe leaves are starting to change right now and it is a welcome sight. To most Wisconsin boulderers fall is the best time of year. Why? Good temps. Or there should be. The weather has been funky the past couple weeks, varying from hot and humid, lots of rain, and the occasional perfect day. On the good days, or at least climbable days, some stuff has been getting done.
I went out on my birthday (September 17th) with the intent of trying to put up a cool new line. I succeeded, kind of, and along with Mike Lohre and Zach Moe for company (coincidently the same crew from last year), I managed to put up a decent V7, All the Girls Say. The name stems from graffiti on the boulder in case your wondering. It starts low in a roof and climbs along the lip on fun pinches and slopers. It’s above the Anchorpoint Area on the West Bluff and is worth checking out.

All the Girls say starts low and right and climbs along the lip, finishing left of the patch of ferns.

All the Girls say starts low and right and climbs along the lip, finishing left of the patch of ferns.

There’s also more boulders there that we didn’t climb on, and it looks like they haven’t been touched.
Later that week I went out to Burma to scope a few potential projects. I had done a problem dubbed Wafflehouse (V8) a couple years back and knew there was a potential direct line up the face… and it looked good. After giving it a little brush with Matt Satermo, I tried the moves even though it was wet and managed to do them all on a rope. I was psyched. Unfortunately I was unable to link it that day due to the wetness.
I went back out with Mike Lohre to try and send, and it was dryer, but still a little damp. No send. For consolation though, I think I managed to do the FA of a cool arete climb dubbed Bananarama. It is probably at least V7. The first move is a long and delicate reach to a mediocre sloper, then it’s probably V4 after that with a long move to a good hold.
I returned again a couple days later by myself, and it was bone dry to my surprise. It had rained the night before, but I figured I would check it out anyways… I’m glad I did.
I did two trips back and forth to my car for my 4 pads. After setting them up I did a quick warmup, then went back over to the project. I did a couple of the moves in isolation and got the pad set up dialed. One of the upper moves definitely feels committing and I wanted to make sure I would hit foam if I blew it. After setting up the camera, I pressed record, walked down to the problem, and fired it first go. The rock felt perfect and it was one of those moments where the climbing felt fairly effortless. I was psyched. I dubbed it Purple Gold and I bet it checks in around easy V9. I think it is definitely one of the best of the grade in the park.

Purple Gold has a little bit of history to it. It has definitely at least been tried in the past, and it’s possible that it was climbed. Rumors have floated around that a strong Milwaukee climber, Mike Gasch may have done it in about 1999. I have asked around and haven’t talked to anyone that witnessed it or knew entirely sure if he did it or not. I have also talked to the prolific lake climbing pioneer Eric Zschiesche, and he didn’t climb it. This is a mystery that will hopefully be solved one of these days… or will it? Either way, Purple Gold is an excellent climb and I recommend it to anyone looking for a great problem in the V8-9 range.
After Purple Gold I went and hung a rope on a very tall and intimidating highball near the Monolith area. I did all the moves and it is going to be real scary. There is a V7 or 8 move way off the deck.. I haven’t bouldered it out yet.. We will see how that one plays out. On a good day with a ton of pads it might just happen.
From there I headed over to the Ghost Talus and met up with Chris Eggert, Matt Satermo and Kevin Baker. Baker fired of There is No White Knight (V7) for the first time to warm up, Eggert threw a lap, Matt climbed some of the easier lines, and I tried a sharp project on the prow. I almost did it, but had to stop trying after a few goes due to the sharpness.

Kevin Baker send There is No White Knight (photo Chris Eggert)

Kevin Baker send There is No White Knight (photo Chris Eggert)

We headed over to the Green Fire boulder. Eggert and Baker took down Sail Away (V7 I think) for its fourth and fifth ascents respectively. Here’s a vid of Eggert sending..

Matt almost did Green Fire (V6) and Eggert and Baker were heart breakingly close to Green Haze, a cool V8 I put up last year. I managed to run a lap on Green Fire and surprisingly, Full Sail. I thought Full Sail was probably a V11 when I put it up, and it has not been repeated. I have to say it felt easier this time around so its coming down to a 10. Go climb it and see what you think! I tried a couple projects on the Green Fire Boulder, and we called it a day. That was a long one.. my skin still hurts.
That’s about it for my side of things.
I got word that Katie Schultz has done the first female, and third or fourth ascent of The Haunting, a V8 Peter and I put up at Monolith last year. I punted on the easier finishing moves and Peter narrowly snaked the first ascent from me by one go. He knew it would haunt me, thus the name. Next time Peter.. next time..
Also on the Espionage boulder Martin Tikusis put up a fun and safe V5 dubbed Incognito Speedo. It starts just right of Espionage on two down pulling slimpers. It’s five moves or so and worth checking out. The rock on this boulder is really freakin’ good.

The unassuming Espionage boulder.

The unassuming Espionage boulder.

The forecast looks great starting on sunday. Get out there and get after it, this is the time of year we’ve been waiting for.