Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tempest Shrugged

Submitted by Ken.

Tim starting up the "new" Tempest.
The old hold is in the foreground.

Have you ever been climbing on your favorite trade route, the one that's seen thousands of ascents, the one you have so dialed you know every single hold, only to discover one of those holds is missing? "Whoa!" you say, "What happened here?"

That's likely to be the scenario for anyone heading up the Tempest on Kootenai's First Buttress following Saturday afternoon. Only this time around, I can answer the question of "what happened" along with who did it. Because I was there and it was me.

If you're familiar with the route, you know that at the beginning of the main crux section about halfway up, you're standing on a ledge and you have to work your feet up a little with your left hand on small chalked bulge and your right probably on a smooth sloping hold that you push on or use as a semi-gaston. Next you have to reach left or right hand up to a softball sized rounded chalked hold that's not too positive, work your feet a little higher, then go for a second, good chalked softball hold a half move higher. 

Saturday, all nice and relaxed, congratulating myself for how solid my feet felt, I reached my left hand up to the first softball hold and started to go for the good hold with my right.  Next thing I knew wind was whistling in my ears. I heard Tim, who was off to the side watching, cry out, "Rock!" and I had a vague awareness of my belayer, Kurt, ducking in toward the base of the wall. Then I came to a stop a couple of bolts lower (thanks Kurt!) and tried to process what had just happened.

And there you have it. With a gentle pull of my left hand, the intermediate softball hold at the start of the Tempest crux popped off and sent me airborne. In it's place is a shere vertical edge. The difficulty remains about the same, or maybe a tad easier.

I don't know why a hold that's been used thousands of times chose to detach right then. If I have to blame anything I'm going to say it's Freestone Gym's fault. I've been bouldering in there since winter and I guess I just didn't realize how much stronger it's made me.

Now if only that were true...


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kurt Reports In

Kurt sent in this report from climbing last weekend (April 14):

Without the newly named "Rain Boys" (Ken and Tim who went climbing on stormy Sunday instead of one of the perfect spring days Friday and Saturday) the rest of us made due at Mill Creek on Saturday. No new routes were done but major advances were completed by Kurt. With the "Big Science Area" using names derived from academia, he has come up with a name for his crack project in the dihedral: "Crack a Book." Also, Kurt completed the coveted 2nd ascent of the Tic or Treat crack on the far right side of the Tiger Stripe Wall. He said: "It helped that I also did the first ascent - all the pro and moves were known." He also mentioned someone "unknown" had started a route** to the right of Give and Take and it doesn’t look to be a crack like the rest of the climbs over there. "It wouldn't be that much work to drill 542 one-inch holes to make another crack," said Kurt. "Though that might cause some controversy."

**Ken's project "War Crazed Culprits." It's gonna be sick!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Little Heroes and Mighty Mouse

Bolting Mighty Mouse

Little Heroes is a short, steep, fun sector that lies up-slope from the Tick Farm and before the Big Science area. The longer routes Liger and Cougar Bait take off from the ground at the less featured orange rock just before Little Heroes.

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(click to enlarge)

Last week Dane and Ken finished bolting the second route on the Little Heroes wall. We named it Mighty Mouse and it goes at around 12a or 12b. It's five bolts worth of steep bouldery climbing with fairly big moves between positive holds. Mighty Mouse turned out to be a super fun route and we highly encourage everyone to check it out.

(click to enlarge)

Both Little Heroes, which is the original route the wall is named for, and Mighty Mouse give you a chance to climb quality, challenging terrain when you're in the mood for something short or feel like hanging out in a great setting between burns. Little Heroes also supports a couple of variations. Move right from the undercling at bolt two for a 10d variation. Climb straight up at bolts two and three for the original 11a/b line. Avoid the final jug at the top and climb left over the last bolt for a solid 5.12 variation --this was the way Dane first did it before Kurt found the bomber jug up and right.

Hope you enjoy these fun additions to the area!

Cole Little Heroes

Elliot Little Heroes

Olin - Early work on the wall.