The French Tickler is one of the best lines in the Tanks. It is a bit intimidating and when I went there to support some friends I opted not to repeat this great problem. Here are a couple pictures of the Tickler
Antonio wishing he had a little more foam. It's hard to see but the landing is slanted and sky-hooks are used to keep the pads from sliding.
Anyone who follows the blog knows I like to develop. The excitement of exploration and creating something from nothing is a major draw for me and even when I'm in well established areas I find myself scrabbling around looking for something new. Fortunately Hueco Tanks has any number of nooks and crannies and some of the climbs waiting to be found are high quality.
Last season I brushed up and worked a cool roof climb on West Mountain and this year I made a point of going back to finish it off. After a couple days of effort Wobbly Pop was born. Of the 20 or so problems I've established at Hueco I think this one is the best. It involves all you'd expect from a cryptic Hueco problem, toe/heel-hooks, a knee-bar and some power endurance to finish it off.
Here are a couple pictures.
Keith Allen sticks the first move of Wobbly Pop
The crux sequence revolves around a small crimp/pinch. We discovered a knee-bar that helps you easily get the crimp but you then have to make a long pull off it to the lip. Here Byron reaches for the crimp.
Keith Allen gearing up for the big move to the lip
It's not over when you hit the lip as you still have to core up and pull a toe-hook.
It's normal to make new friends on climbing trips as there are plenty of good folks in the climbing community but sometimes I meet a special climber that endures themselves to me. It wasn't Bryan "Hand-job" Smith's climbing skills that sets him apart but rather his blatant disregard for proper etiquette and his lack of shame. When I saw him back-up dancing for a friend singing karaoke I new I make a new friend for life (you hear that Bryan, for life....). Thanks Cal for introducing us.
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures documenting Bryan's dancing skills but here are a couple of him climbing.
I've been down in the Tanks for a couple weeks now and things are pretty good. There are the constants that make this place special to me (friends, weather, rocks) but I never know season to season how psyched I'm going to be on the climbing. Last year was pretty productive for me as I was in good shape and a fair number of projects went down. This year I assumed it would be slim pickings as I'm not in the best shape but I've been scraping my way up some new problems and even ticked a couple old projects. I've got roughly a week left and if my elbow doesn't flair up I might even manage a few more.
There is also a Swedish invasion in the Tanks this year. My girls arrived recently and I've ran into several other Scandinavian comrades and there are more on the way. Looks like I'm not the only one wise enough to leave the darkness.
Here are a few pictures from a West Mountain tour with a couple friends.
Andrew cruising Disposable Heroes. This is a classic Hueco highball that doesn't get that many ascents. The lack of traffic is partly due to it being in the back country but has more to do with the height and the terrifying rock in your back.
Bryan on the Well-site Dyno. According to the two spectators in the photo this is an easy tick if you know how to dyno. I unfortunately do not.
Andrew on the Bathtub. The giant "bathtub" feature is pretty cool and makes this a traverse that is actually worth climbing.
Andrew sticking the first sloper on Scream. This short power problem is no gimme and was the only problem of the day that bouted Andrew.
I'm currently in Hueco Tanks but in all honesty I wish I was somewhere else. Don't get me wrong, Hueco is great but if the weather was better I'd be heading North to sample more of Northern New Mexico's mostly unknown sandstone boulders.
Ryan contemplates the possibilities at World Wide Wall
The blog has been neglected as of late due to a number of factors ranging from reaching a photo limit to just being lazy. Essentially I've been climbing myself ragged and just haven't gotten it together. That will all change pretty soon as I'll start uploading photos/video and giving updates in the very near future. I'n the mean time here is a sample of some of the awesome quinine I've been consuming on a fairly regular basis. God bless America!
Double meat, green chili, bacon and cheese. I can feel my arteries clogging just thinking about it
I'm leaving cold dark Sweden behind and hopping on a plane for the USA in a few hours. Will be great seeing everyone back home and I can't wait to bask in the sun and actually climb rocks. It's a shame these winter trip always have to begin with getting back in shape but I'll be State side until mid February so maybe I'll get a couple things done. First stop is a pseudo-secret sandstone area in NM and if it's good enough I might be there for a week or two. I'm hoping for the best but worse-case-scenario I head down to the Tanks. Win-win.
Also, as Movember comes to a close I thought I'd post a little video experiment of mine. Here was my first attempt at a stop motion of sorts. I just wish my mustache wasn't so weak
One of Solkintens more popular problems recently lost a very key hold. Puddles is now a shadow of it's former self, no longer a moderate test piece but instead a heinous crimp project. It came as a surprise as the broken crimp seemed totally solid and when it broke it left nothing. I'm sure the problem still goes but it will require long pulls on sharp little crimps and doesn't seem very appealing.
Bummel mourns the loss of a good problem
Examining the crimp he just ripped off
Imagine how good this crimp must have felt
Stella and Albin were shoeing up when the hold broke. Take my word for it,it was a fantastic problem
The new beta will require plenty of this
Glue the hold back? Bummel states what we think about gluing
The blog has been a bit slow lately. It is partly due to Sweden entering the oppressive time of year when out-door climbing become less frequent but mostly it's because I've been busy/lazy. Fortunately that is all about to change as I'll be making my annual trip to the States on November 27th. I'm looking forward to basking in the sun and shredding my tips. Until then I'm hoping to get a few more crisp days here in Sweden to tick off some projects.
Speaking of projects, a couple weeks ago I made it back to a good one I've been very excited about. The Landvetter project has been high on my list since first laying eyes on it but it took awhile to get back to. When Antonio was here he was psyched (when the weather was good and he wasn't sick) and we brought a rope to brush the top-out and suss out the the finishing moves. I was excited when I realized it could go down and elated when I stuck the crux and climbed to the top. It's a great problem and I hope folks come check it out, but I recommend bringing a rope to clean the top. It's easy up there (relatively speaking) but a fall from the lip might send you tumbling down the hill. Dirty holds are not our friend.
I'm calling the problem "Catan" after my favorite board game. Here are a couple pictures
A view of the boulder. The arete and the steep face to the right will be good climbs if they get properly brushed.
Antonio gunning for the big crux move.
Antonio working the post-crux moves. None of these moves are gimmes but are considerably easier than the crux. It also feels pretty exposed as the ground abruptly slopes away just outside the fall zone
I recently put up two new problems near the Golf Wall just south of Gothenburg. The area now holds about a half dozen difficult(ish) problems along with some easier problems and warm-ups.
Double Boogy is one of the new problems I put up and required a couple days to suss out and complete. It climbs out a steep face using an awesome sloper and some trickery before some big moves at the top. I needed a colder day and some try-hard to send this one.
The other problem is a fun roof I'm calling Back Swing that uses some cool holds and requires some body tension.
Here are a couple pictures.
Milking the sloper on Double Boogy and trying to find balance to reach the crimp/pinch
Gearing for the third bump on the arete to gain a good hold. This is the last "hard" move.
After a very rainy start Sweden did show it's softer side to Antonio and blessed him with some sunny days and crisp conditions. Antonio has a new lease on life and can once again be in the presence of sharp objects without an urge to stab himself. Crazy what happens to desert folk when they are deprived of sunshine.
Here are a few picture of Antonio not sulking in the rain.
"I love Sweden......when it's not raining"
A new line we brushed up. Unfortunately the tree interferes with the top-out. Can't win them all
So the epic weather has only recently let up and I hope this means the weather gods have changed their tune. This should mean that we will be getting out more and the blog will explode with photos of a smiling Antonio. It's not too lake for Sweden to show it's softer side as Antonio got a pretty bad first impression.
Here is a little video from Antonio's first couple days in Sweden (and a little old footage). I'm lucky enough to have found, brushed and FAed all four problems in the video. When it's not raining Sweden is pretty sweet.
I've been back in Sweden for 10 days and I think it has rained everyday. The weather is so bad that even Swedes are commenting on the dreary conditions and unfortunately the forecast calls for more of the same. This weather weighs on my soul and it is doubly disconcerting because I coaxed my good friend Antonio to come for an extended visit. I just hope the weather gods smile on us before Antonio loses all hope and starts hitting the booze.
Despite the horrible weather we have made it out a couple times. There are a few problems that tend to stay dry(ish) and the brief windows of opportunity has enabled us to compile several hours on real rock over a week. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Antonio on the verge of insanity
Steep equals dry (sometimes). Antonio on Henry Lee
The first move of Henry Lee
Antonio trying a new problem I put up called Salsa.
Working Bro-Down, a sweet new problem we brushed up
So I'm back in Sweden and the weather Gods are already mocking me. I've been looking forward to fall temps and even convinced my good friend Antonio to come for a visit but thus far we've only been rained out. Such is the nature of Sweden. One perk the bad weather has afforded me is time to sort some pictures and videos from the trip to the States. Not sure if looking at footage from drier climates is the way to calm my nerves but it certainly keeps the motivation high. Here are some pictures from Pie Town.
Matt, a toe-hook master, on an awesome new roof. I somehow overlooked this one for year and have Ryan Silven to thank for having the vision. He did all the work of brushing and finding the beta but barely missed sending before he left. I went back a couple days later and nabbed the fa but acknowledge that Ryan should get most credit for this one. I called the problem Cookie Monster to appease an adorable 2 year old.
Matt got close and helped refine the beta on Cookie Monster
Antonio on Christian Therapy (better know as Prince of Pie Town), an obscure problem that sits off by itself.
No sense in going to Pie Town if you're not going to stuff your face
Alderfer/ Three Sisters Park is an area a little outside Denver. We stopped there briefly to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. I only saw a small fraction of the bouldering but I'll make a point to go back and check out the rest. Here is a picture of my favorite problem from the area
Prince Charles climbs out a steep prow and alone would be worth a quick stop in Alderfer/ Three Sisters Park
I've emerged from an internet free week in Pie Town refreshed and a few pounds heavier. Man I love pie. It's been a great trip but all good things must end as I've only got a few day left in the States before I return to Sweden. Until I sort through more recent photos, here are a few from a day spent at Emerald Lake earlier in the trip.
Emerald Lake is a small area in RMNP that shares much of the approach with the larger and more popular Chaos Canyon. While Emerald doesn't have all that many problems the ones that are there are top notch. I was very impressed with what I saw and will hopefully be going back next year to finish off the ones-that-got-away.
Antonio on The Kind, an amazing problem at Emerald Lake
Keith Allen on Whispers of Wisdom. Also at Emeral Lake, this is one of the best problems in Colorado and Keith came heartbreakingly close. I'm sure he went back to finish it off.