A Close Call

I’m a lucky man.
Yesterday, it was a cold and cloudy morning.  Perfect for climbing. So cloudy that it looked like the higher elevation areas were not going to be good. So, naturally, we headed to the Veritas boulder. It was roadside and if it started raining there was no commitment.
Erin and I both have hard projects on it. The conditions were great. I decided I would try to do Mendax, a V12 or 13 line that involves a terrible sloper pinch.
I had put a considerable amount of effort into it, and the slopey non-hold was feeling more and more like a hold. I gave it a few tries and fell on the crux sequence.
Then I had a good go.

Mendax.  The terrible sloper is in in my right hand, then you bust up to another sloper with the left hand.

Mendax. The terrible sloper is in in my right hand, then you bust up to another sloper with the left hand.

The sloper felt better than it ever had, I walked my feet through, and reached up to the next sloper. I was through the hardest moves. I walked my feet up to prepare for the last harder move, a small jump to a good edge. I could tell I didn’t have either of the slopers one hundred percent perfectly, but that wasn’t too surprising… I thought I probably had them good enough.  I jumped at the edge and swung out from the wall. My left hand popped off the sloper and I found myself falling. After a moment, my old gymnastics background kicked in, and I knew something wasn’t right, I was in the air a little too long. I knew was going to miss the landing.

I came down belly first first onto a slanting boulder, and as I impacted I felt a crack in my chest. I bounced up to my feet off the boulder and continued careening down the hill. After thirty feet or so I found myself sitting, stunned. It was a scary moment. I tried to carefully breathe and waited to see what kind of pain would surface. After a few breathes I was relieved to be able to breathe without any extreme, sharp pains.  My worst fear was breaking a rib and puncturing a lung or something else very important. After a few minutes I got to my feet. I managed to walk back up to the boulder and sat down. My chest hurt like hell, and I could see a big blood splotch on my knee. I pulled up my pant leg and saw that I had a very deep puncture, all the way down to the bone. My chest was bloodied from the belly flop too and the stinging sensation began to set in. It was apparent I was probably going to be hurting a lot very soon.

Battle Wounds

Battle Wounds

No techy kneebars for a little while..

No techy kneebars for a little while..

Besides all that, nothing major was wrong. After waiting for half an hour or so I had the silly idea of trying to do the problem. I figured I was alive after all, and I should see how things felt. After five more minutes my shoes were back on and I pulled onto the top and figured out a slightly better, and hopefully safer sequence. A few minutes later I went from the bottom. Going through the tension-filled moves I felt a painful tightness in my chest. I grabbed the first bad sloper and got it perfectly. Soon I was at the spot I had taken the horrible fall at, and I kept my composure and finished it out.
Now, a day later, I’m glad I gave it that hail mary go.  It would have been easy not to…

I hurt worse. I definitely have to take a little time off. But that’s alright, I got lucky.

Estes Park, Best days ever?

It has been awhile since my last post!
A lot has happened.
So much it will be impossible to say everything here.. So I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.
Erin and I are going to be based out of Estes Park Colorado for the summer. I’ve been here going on a month now. Erin about two weeks. We’ve both managed to score jobs at the local Estes Park Brewery. It’s not a bad place, the beer is good, and best of all, the schedule for climbing is as perfect as possible. We hopefully will even save some money and pay the bills. There’s some issues that need to be worked out.. but that’s a whole different story..

When we're bored at work there's usually some Elk roaming nearby to keep us entertained..

When we’re bored at work there’s usually some Elk roaming nearby to keep us entertained..

I’ve never been to Colorado in the spring before. One thing is for sure, the weather is VERY spotty!
I’ve experienced a major snow storm that shut climbing down for a week and a week long spell of rain. Fortunately there’s a little gym in town, and Boulder is close by…

I also had some car troubles.. Fortunately Drew saved the day..

I also had some car troubles.. Fortunately Drew saved the day..

Despite all that, there has been some good climbing going on, including two of my best bouldering days ever.. at least as far as climbing cool, hard problems is concerned.
Erin is psyched and getting in the flow. Her big send so far is a notoriously reachy V7 on the Veritas boulder, called Menwax (I think that’s the name)…
We’ve been climbing at a lot of lower areas.

Erin on Road Pocket, a mega V6 at Endovalley.

Erin on Road Pocket, a mega V6 at Endovalley.

What I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on is a circuit of boulders just off Bear Lake Road. There’s a load of harder problems on them and they’re all in season RIGHT now.
So.. best bouldering days ever. What does that mean? In this case it means a couple good, hard sends.
First best day ever was a work day. I had to go in from 12 to 5. We got up early and started the day off on the Veritas Boulder. I managed to fire Veritas Low Left (V12) first go that day. I was a bit pumped at the top but it felt great. Then I went to work… Then we went back out at 5:30 for an evening session on the elusive white boulder to try Achromatic. Achromatic sort of has controversey surrounding it, or maybe more just a story. It was put up by Dave Graham and seconded by Daniel Woods at V13. Paul Robinson and Jimmy Webb did it and said V12. Maybe a month or so ago it got a handful of ascents, though most if not all didn’t start sitting as it was put up, or possibly even on the correct starting holds. The crux is low, so in this case it does probably make a difference.. perhaps a big one.  Some new beta was figured and it was suggested to be easier.
Well I did it after work that day. I had tried it a number of times previously. It was desperate. I think I probably did it a way nobody had done. I bet easy V12 is reasonable if you climb like me.
So that was the first best day ever.
Now the second.
We started on The Veritas Boulder. Erin fired Menwax. I didn’t send Bear Toss or Mendax (both v13ish).. but I am making headway even though Bear Toss is not feeling good on the shoulder..
From there we headed up to the Lonestar Boulder. There’s a funny story behind this one too. Tommy Caldwell did the first ascent of the best and most obvious line and named it Lonestar (V10). Somehow it acquired the name Stink Bug over the years and now that’s what most people call it. WHY? Mr. Caldwell did the first ascent and called it LONESTAR! LONESTAR is the name! Stop calling it Stink Bug already!
So moving on from that, Our buddy Tyler Thurmes fired it first, and I followed suit ten minutes later. Tyler did another variation and we moved on. Erin had to go to work, so me and Tyler continued on to one of my main projects, Lost in Space (V12).
Lost in Space is really, really cool. It’s on a huge, striking boulder, is a very obvious line, and the movement is amazing. Lots of toe hooks, friendly holds, a dyno, then a super hero don’t fall highball top out. It’s the whole package.
In a magic moment I fired it first go. It’s surely one of my all time favorites.

In the Nitty Gritty of it on Lost in Space.  Photo Tyler Thurmes.

In the Nitty Gritty of it on Lost in Space. Photo Tyler Thurmes.

Erin and I are both really excited for this summer…. There’s tons of inspiring boulders here.