Adventures at Wild Basin

This past Saturday, we went to Wild Basin for the first time this fall.  Typically, for me, Wild Basin has been a great place to catch up on my reading and freeze my tail off as in the past - Wild Basin was and is still pretty new to be developed so the amount of things to climb at my level are limited.  On this trip we (David and I) along with Brian Harrington, started out some of the WB classics, warming up while we waited for the rest of the crew.  We'd walked pass these boulders dozens of times to get to harder projects, but with time to kill, gave them the attention they deserved, but it was a bit warm for the slopey greasy granite boulders.  Nonetheless, I watched David take down one after another, sending Garfield V7, Odie V5, and Left V5 (I think that's the one left of Odie).  He also managed to repeat Macho Man again in 70 degree weather, deeming him the "strongest man in the world", according to Brian, that day.

For me, I couldn't start Odie for the life of me.  I don't know if I should blame it on my udder distrust of my $16 Testarossas I bought at the Boulder Sports Recycler on those scummy feet or I'm just weak, but I couldn't pull off the ground.  Instead, I did the "stand start" of Free Basin, starting on the front jugs outside of the cave.  It's a pretty fun problem in my opinion, deserved of its own name.  It's got a really neat almost gaston pinch with solid feet to a shallow undercling lip and then a grovelling top out avoiding moss and tree fall.  I had a small panic attack as I apparently forgot how to top out a sloping boulder.  Colorado has been to kind to me on its top outs - a trip to the South is needed soon.

We eventually moved on to the Brown Wall Project/Toilet area, or that's what I'm deeming it because, yes, there is a toilet in the woods.  Here to the left of that and Mini Dagger, is Dave Graham's Tail of the Dragon, a winding boulder problem that starts off with some fun gym moves to small crimps and a burly left traverse on even smaller crimps.  To left, Brian was focused on what is apparently still a project featuring a distinct left handed dead point to a big hold and slapping heel hook moves in the beginning.  We were eventually joined by Wes Walker and Jeff Barnard, some of my favorite climbing peoples.  By this time, I was knee deep in my Southern Tier Pumking Ale and delicious ham and kale sandwich thinking my time for climbing was done today while the boys played on their hard projects.  But Brian suggested I climb the beginning of Tail of the Dragon, and that if I liked gym climbing, that had great movement.  Typically, I am reluctant to try things that I don't have much intentions on sending - you don't want to waste skin that isn't going to result in any victory.

I think I was wrong.  I managed to get to the small crimps and hold them more easily than I expected.  I mean the first crimp around the corner is less than a quarter inch thick and your next hold is an odd ring finger meat hook crimp to stand you up on a decent right foot and left heel hook.  The part I'm now stuck on is finding out how to transition to the next better holds.  I'm not really all that worried about it.  I mean, do I think I'm going to actually send that thing?  Maybe someday?  It seems to fit my size, which at that grade, you have to take every advantage of.

David ended up doing every individual move but was burnt out when trying to put it all together.  Jeff stuck the cruxy gaston first try, which always happens and makes everyone's eyes fall out of their head.   Wes and Brian will have easy sends on this as well.   Wouldn't that be a fun day?

David and I headed out early, while those cats went on to check out the work that Brian had been doing, establishing new climbs on some pretty sweet looking boulders.  You can check out all his new sends on his Vimeo page.

Here's one of the new ones:

Butterface FA / Wild Basin from Brian Harrington on Vimeo.

On to more adventures....


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The Road Ahead.... Divisionals in January

I could not be more excited and elated to announce that I will be adding another big check mark on my routesetting resume with my first ABS Divisionals at The Front in Salt Lake City!

To me, The Front is synonymous with PCA, or the Professional Climbers Association, and some of the first competition climbing that I had ever seen.  I started climbing in 2006 and when I started working at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center the next summer, I would watch PCA on VHS tape on a busted VCR where it would discolor and warp, but was still enthralled with watching what I thought was the good ole days of comps when everyone hit the top and screamed like apes and were forced to make deadpoints to the smallest of screw ones.  I didn't even have setting on my mind at this point, and now going back, you respect the classics... you get psyched to see old Teknik white bottomed Fat Pinches and when Egrips most used sloper was Ty's Big One.  Even a young Sharma next to Obe, before owning a gym was even an inkling of an idea.

Now, with a beautiful new bouldering cave, I find myself staring at images and videos of The Front's walls, trying to begin to envision what possibilities might form.

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