Friday, August 12, 2011

Rattler Update


Posted by Ken Turley

Over the last several years, a few of us who put up routes at Mill have also added some climbs to Rattler. Here’s a look at five new lines and one rebolted at the Shredder Wall area, including the story of AOB, which a lot of people have asked me about. Also, check out the brand new Style Wall at the end of this post.

Shredder Wall

Green Bay 11c. Bolts. June 2009.

Green Bay
Starts just past the upper tree.

Begin up the slot past the big tree to the left of Shredder. Crux involves a hard couple of moves off a hollow flake at the 2nd bolt. Pull this and arrive on the ledge. Move left to steep buttress. Follow bolts up through surprisingly pumpy and somewhat awkward climbing. Clip bolt on top of buttress then diagonal up and right to join Shredder for its upper crux.

This route is named in honor of Wisconsin native and Green Bay Packer fan (goes without saying) Kurt Krueger. It was actually my early introduction to a Kurt “concept route.” (see this post for another example) At the very beginning of a road trip, Kurt joined me and our friend Steve at Rattler. As he lowered from the Shredder anchors, he suddenly called, “Stop!” He swung over to the lefthand buttress and did a few moves. He then lowered to beneath the ledge. “Stop!” he said again. “There are climbable holds here.” He lowered the rest of the way and untied.

“Okay,” Kurt said. “There’s a route you can put up while I’m gone.” Then he walked down to his car and drove off to Colorado, leaving us to consider the holds he’d just declared “climbable.”

Chumley Wall

Chumley Leftmost route on the small lower wall. Not new of course, but upgraded April, 2011 with new bolts and hangers by permission of Gray Thompson, the first ascentionist. Hopefully everyone knows by now that Chumley is not 11- as the Falcon guide lists. Entries here and here suggest 11c, though if this climb were any longer, 11d wouldn’t be unreasonable.

AOB 12c/d. 4 bolts. Sport anchors (shared with Chumley). May 2008.

Eric on AOB

Right of Chumley. Start in a shallow weakness and crank continuous, hard moves all the way to the top. Trends left at the 3rd bolt. Technical and powerful.

The Name. AOB stands for Andy O’Brien. I got to know Andy when he worked at the Missoula Rock Garden. He was ever-psyched and equally adept at bouldering and sport climbing. Andy coached the Rock Garden’s junior team for 2 years and took kids to the junior sport climbing nationals both seasons. He worked the kids hard, cut them no slack, and they loved him. Once I found the line that would become AOB, I told Andy I had this great climb he should check out with me -- crimpy, powerful and bouldery. Perfect for him. He moved to Colorado before he had a chance to check it out. But I always felt the climb had his name on it, so to speak. I also thought he deserved recognition for the great coaching he did with the junior team. So I named the climb after him.

The First Bolt. I’ve been asked why the first bolt is so high. Reason is that I used to go out to the wall and traverse along the base, then try the opening moves on AOB to see if they’d go. I eventually bouldered up to the good horizontal you can clip the first bolt from. I figured if I bouldered to there and jumped down with no pad, then there was no need to put the first bolt any lower. In practice, most people, including me, stick clip the first bolt when leading it. But that high placement has gone on to set the style of the other three new routes on the wall.

The Sends.I opened this climb May 26, 2008, and as far as I know only three of us have sent it as of this posting. If you’ve done it, or know of someone who has, I’d love to hear about it. Here's the redpoint record I have:

Kyle Neeley. Sept 19, 2008.
Ken Turley. August 5, 2009.
Scott Parker. Fall, 2009.

Puppy Teeth 12a. 4 bolts. Sport anchors. August 2009.

Rope is on Puppy Teeth
Draws above climbers are on Vicious Little Dog

Right of AOB. Start left of the small aspen. Climb short flake and crack system to sequential crux, then crank through the headwall to the anchors. Fingery and powerful.

Dane and I first put anchors above this line in July 2009. Dane then bolted it right after I sent AOB, on the same day. No rest for the weary! Following an early session working out the moves, Dane lowered to the ground clutching his fingers. “The holds up there are like grabbing puppy teeth!” he said. And so the climb was named.

Puppy Teeth has emerged as the favorite on this wall. It’s a stout climb that packs a lot of density for what looks from the ground to be a short jaunt. It makes for a great 12a project, and a proud send.

Vicious Little Dog 12a/b. 5 bolts. Chain anchors (shares with Ankle Biter). July, 2011.

Vicious Little Dog
Dane getting ready to start cranking

Vicious Little Dog is the most recent addition to the wall. The climb is located right of Puppy Teeth and has a unique character that differs from the other Chumley wall climbs. The climb is more bouldery, with bigger moves. The crux is thuggish with some key foot beta that can be frustratingly hard to figure out given a ton of options and the subtle effects each has on body position.

Vicious Little Dog was named third after Puppy Teeth and Ankle Biter. The name has no significance other than by the time we bolted it, we were set on a small dog theme, with this climb being the most vicious of the three.

Ankle Biter 11b. 1 bolt, gear (cam or two to 1-1/2”, wires). Chain anchors. June, 2011.

Ankle Biter

We used to look at this line and think it would be a little 5.10- warmup. Our eyes were opened the first time we pulled on to the boulder problem opening. Though it eases above, it remains surprisingly sustained and a bit awkward. Add in the need to stop and place a cam or two and a stopper and you have a good, full value route.

This route was named for Max (I think that was his name) the Min-Pin who took us under his watchful eye one day while the group he was with climbed on the Shredder Wall. Just like Max, it looks short and harmless. But relax your guard too much and you might get bit.

Style Wall

Style Wall
Photo:Conor D./Mtn Project

This is a brand new wall a little ways up the road that not many people know about. Dane just happened upon it at Mountain Project. None of us in the Mill Creek group had anything to do with putting up the routes, but it’s certainly worth mentioning here. Although I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, Kurt went up recently and pronounced it a great new sector with good routes. There are 10 in all from 5.9+ to 5.12c including some gear lines. Thanks go to Conor for getting it on Mountain Project and co-authoring most of the routes (as well as listing Green Bay and Puppy Teeth while he was at it).

Check out the whole wall here and then go up and climb on it!