Friday, November 6, 2015

Back in 'Merica and a Moab Drive By

Man it still feels great to be back in the USA.  We've been here for almost 2 weeks and I've got that hankering to move back.  Maybe some day......
The kids and I flew to NM and moved into the Motherload (our beloved van) to make the initial journey to Salt Lake City.  I've missed life on the road and while adding a couple kids to the mix certainly complicates things there is still nothing quite like the joy of van living and I'm glad I get to share it with my family.  Of course I'm not sure how much the kids appreciate the long drives as they can turn even the best behaved kids into grumpy little monsters.  Fortunately since arriving in SLC we've spent minimal time in the rig and the long drive up included occasional stops so the kids could stretch their legs and dad could climb some boulders.

Here are a few pictures from the start of the trip

My dad knows how to make the grand kids happy.  Fortunately this is a rarity but damn are donuts delicious.   

You got to love the Southwest.  Looking Glass Rock just a bit south of Moab. 

One of the quick stops on the trip North was in Moab.  I opted to check out an area I'd never seen that was a short walk and a nice place for the kids.  Zen Garden (aka Ninja Training Cave) is a pretty cool spot with a trickling waterfall feeding a little pond next to this amphitheater.  

My mom, who came along for the ride, helps Nalani wash her hands in the waterfall.

I believe this climb is called Shaolin Donkeypunch and is one of the two main lines in the cave.  I imagine there are tons of variations and links to be done if one is so inclined.  It's also worth noting that the climbs do topout but most folks seem to opt for dropping from the highest jugs as I did.  I'd love to go back with a spotter as the high dirty top just wasn't worth it this time around.

The crew at the Ninja Training Cave

I also stopped briefly in Price Canyon for a little sandstone.  I'd been to this small area about 11 years ago and it works great for a quick hit.  The Price is Right boulder provides several sweet lines but some of the holds can be a little tweeky. This problem is either called Off the Couch or is some variation of Showcase Showdown.  Regardless of name, it is a nice problem.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bouldering in Cornwall

When planning a trip to Cornwall it was difficult figuring out where to climb.  Like Devon, Cornwall's climbing areas tend to be small and spread out and this is less than ideal for our little family.  While the bouldering in Cornwall seems to cater most to a motivated climber hoping to cherry-pick there seem to be a few "larger" areas you could spend a day with a family.

I of course had consulted some friends and on-line sources before the trip and one boulder in particular stuck out, The Dreamboat Boulder.  While not to be miss the Dreamboat Boulder has some complications as it is all by itself with a not so family friendly approach, and to top it all off you need to time your visit with the tides and it can still be wet.  I had seen some pictures of this boulder and despite the difficulties I stubbornly drug my family down a treacherous slope in hopes of doing one of the best problems in Cornwall.

Unfortunately due to the boulder being in the shade and a lack of wind the Dreamboat boulder was rather damp.  While I managed to get the holds "dryish" and do a couple other problems, the main line in the middle proved elusive.  In this picture I'm gearing up for the crux move of Wonderland, which I'd love to go back too.

Here is another angle on Wonderland.  That left crimp is a bit sharp but that still doesn't take away from the quality of this problem.  It you're going to do some bouldering in Cornwall this boulder is highly recommended,  just not ideal for the family.

While there are plenty of areas in Cornwall that aren't on the coast we only checked out those by the water.  That means timing is everything as twice a day the boulders are soaked by waves and all signs of climbing are washed away.  The bad news is that these areas are notoriously hard to get good conditions and some of the more tucked away problems are almost never dry.  On the flip side, without the tidal bombardment most of the rock would be total choss.  The coastal areas also tend to provide cool features and the skin friendly nature of the climbing is a welcome respite from the sharp granite of the interior.  With this in mind we decided to check out what I've been told is Cornwall's best tidal area, Godrevy.

Regardless of climbing, Godrevy is a sweet spot.  There is a nice long beach and apparently a sweet break as dozens of surfers crowded the water and lounged in a cafe by the parking.  The approach to the climbing is short and easy and a maze-like formations of the rock provided a perfect place to run around with kids.  

Lina climbing a problem in one of the the corridors of the "maze".  Once again there is no chalk to guide you as it is washed away twice a day and keeping your eye on the tide is important as you head down the beach.  I've heard plenty of stories of climbers getting cut-out by the tide with outcomes included waiting for hours, a terrifying choss scramble, or a return the vehicle soaking wet.

Another problem in the "maze".
To be honest I was unimpressed with Godrevy and it has nothing to do with the lack of chalk and most things being damp when we were there.  Don't get me wrong it was a sweet place worth checking out in it's own right but the climbing is very underwhelming.  While the rock may be fun to climb on there are very few natural lines as you tend to just pick a spot on a wall and climb up.  It also didn't help that many of the "classics" were drop-offs.  

Providence was one of the better lines at Godrevy but proved to hard for me despite a great spot from my son.  

A shot of the coast as the tide comes in.  Lots of rock and so few king-lines.

I did try one problem in Cornwall that wasn't effected by tides.  The Weapon is a single problem located off the coastal path that is easy to fit into the schedule as you don't need to run from the waves.  Cool compression moves lead to a committing top-out.

The Weapon.  In the end I was too scared to commit of the final move but if I ever make it back to Cornwall this one will get another visit.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Some photos from Cornwall

Apologies for the lack of action on the blog.  My computer decided to tank on me and everything else seems to be keeping me busy.  Such is life.

Anyway, just in case anyone still follows this blog and to get things up and rolling again I'll post some pictures from a recent trip we took down to Cornwall.  Hope you enjoy.

The coastline for much of Cornwall is pretty dramatic as rugged walls rise abruptly from the sea.  The battering of waves and fluctuations in tide has created some pretty awesome formations and plenty to explore.

While Cornwall's natural beauty attracts plenty of tourists there is no shortage of cool historical spots to check out, like Restormel Castle. 

The remnants of Cornwall's ancient tin mining industry are hard to miss as many old smokestacks remain.  It's also good to know that plenty of mineshafts are also left behind so be careful when exploring the ruins.

There is also no shortage of lighthouses along the Cornish coast.  I reckon a good number of seamen are extremely glad for this.

A Cornish sunset.

I'll post a bit about the climbing we did in Cornwall in the next couple days.......

Friday, August 28, 2015

Can't get enough Bohuslän

It might have something to do with the crap weather in England but I still haven't fully transitioned back since our trip to Sweden. It's always a little unfortunate when your climbing psyche is for boulders that are a long way away.  Since returning I've found myself looking at old pictures/videos from Bohuslän and jonesing to be back.  Man I love that place.  Anyways, I thought I'd share a few pictures from Bohuslän to entice and motivate folks.  

And for those that don't know, every blogpost is labeled by country, city/town and region/area so if you want to see all the posts from Bohuslän (or somewhere else) just scroll to the very bottom and click on the appropriate label.  I wanted the blog to function like a climbing reference of sorts and at some point I'll make it more user friendly.  Hope you enjoy the little photo tour of Bohuslän  

Most of the areas in Bohuslän are small but the quality of problems are often exceptional.  This problem is located at an area consisting of only a few boulders but they are well worth the visit.  I can't remember the name of this problem Kim is doing but it is classic.

Sunshine Arete is a problem I miraculously managed to FA on a warm summer day and is located at the same area as the previous problem.

This granite cave has serious potential for some hard enduro lines.  Two of the three most obvious  straight-outs are done and here John works on the undone project.  We almost did all the moves that day but have never been back.

Another shot of John on the same project.  The next move is the one we never managed to do.

Abiyoyo is one of my all time favorite FAs and I even did a whole blogpost about it.  As far as I know it still hasn't seen a second ascent.

Sioux City Sarsparilla is one of my FAs that actually see lots of traffic as it is regarded as one of the best in Bohuslän.  This one also gets it's own blogpost and there is even a video of the FA.

 Yet another FA, Cuerop de Hombre can also be counted among the best in Bohuslän.  It is located in Häller, which is considered the epicenter of climbing in Bohuslän for both bouldering and trad-climbing. There is also an old video of the FA.

Hippopotamus is another classic problem in Häller.  This power-endurance problem has alluded me and is one of the established problems I'm most excited about getting back to.

Incredible rock, world-class bouldering and spectacular settings combine to make Bohuslän one of my favorite places in the world.

I tend to put an emphasis on harder problems as the sparsity of grips and general blankness that make climbs beautiful also tends to make them difficult.  Fortunately Bohuslän hold lots of amazing moderates as you don't have to be a crusher to enjoy the climbing.  Here Spang demonstrates how it's done on his classic problem Falsifierbarhet.

And for those of you that are crushers there are plenty of projects to be had.  This particular project will require strong fingers and a good head as the hold gradually get smaller the higher you get.

This project should have been done years ago but we've never been back to it as one needs a boat to reach the island.  One of these day.......can't wait to return to Bohuslän.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Home Sweet Hem: Bouldering in Bohuslän

It's funny how you sometimes have to leave a place before you can really appreciate it.  I always thought the climbing on Sweden's west coast was exceptional but it wasn't until it was no longer my backyard that I realized how incredibly good I had it.  We just arrived back in England after a whirlwind 3-week vacation in Sweden and I'm missing the place more than ever.  I wish I had more time to revisit all the places I love but instead I'll just have to look at pictures......  

Here are a few photos from the first week of our trip spent in the mecca of Swedish climbing that is Bohuslän.  It was awesome going back to some of my favorite areas and I even got to explore and put up a couple new problems.

Johan on the classic Beach Bum at South Beach.  South Beach is a small area that has several great problems right on the beach

Another shot of Beach Bum that shows the idyllic setting.

About 50 meters of water separates the sand of South Beach from a small island called Blåbergsholmen.  We spent an afternoon exploring and found quite a bit of climbing, with a couple walls that are well worth a return trip.  I only actually managed to do this one new problem as it took more time and effort than anticipated (and I was shut down on the other things I brushed up). 

The first move of North Beach is a dyno to the lip of the roof.  A lower start is possible for those with long arms and strong fingers.

The 2nd to last move is the crux, requiring a long reach from an odd "crimp-mantel".  Good times.

Another idyllic climbing area in Bohuslän is Ulorna.  While Ulorna is known primarily for its trad-climbing there is also some top-notch bouldering and an impressive amount of potential.  Of course if you're looking for fa's here you'll need to be bold, fix some landing or have plenty of pads as most of the boulders are located in a jumble at the base of the cliff.

Markus on Lego, one of the few problems in Ulorna I know the name of.

This hanging arete is rarely done despite having a decent landing.  Maybe it's the locker heel-hook and tenuous moves at the top that deters people.  

Not all the development in Ulorna requires lots of pads.  I brushed up this one because I could climb on it by myself.  I ended up figuring out all the moves but never pieced it together.  Here Jesper tries to find purchase in the summer heat.

This striking arete/dihedral has seen some attention in the past but to my knowledge it had never been done.  We spent about 3 hours figuring out some cryptic beta that leads to a committing windmill-dyno at the top.  I managed to send by the skin of my teeth and I'm calling it Apple Bomb.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Devon Sent: The Best Problem in Dartmoor?

I realize a post from England is long overdue as we've been here since March and while I've posted on Instagram I haven't put anything on the blog.  I've really got no excuses but until I put together something more substantial together this little video of two problems from my local area will have to do............

Before moving to England I saw a picture of Devon Sent and immediately knew there would be at least one problem in the area worth doing.  The line is striking as a pair of "veins" cut through the middle of a gently overhanging granite face and provide just enough holds to get to the top.  Finding a sequence proved the crux for me as the moves are technical and skin generally limits the number of attempts.  In the end I put a rope on to figure out the moves and later went back with my two kids in tow for the send.  It was well worth the effort and is still the best problem I've done in Dartmoor.

Now for those that find Devon Sent a little too much, Nether Edge is a sweet tick in it's own right as it tackles the prow on the same boulder.  It also serves as a nice consolation prize should you get bouted by Devon Sent.  Hope you enjoy the video.

The opening move of Devon Sent.  Wish there were more problems like this in Dartmoor

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Sunrise Boulder: Tuolumne's Best Boulder?

Of all the boulders I saw in Tuolumne the Sunrise Boulder was the one that really stood out.  This solitary boulder is circled with great problems of all grades and sits in a spectacular setting.  It doesn't need much selling and is not to be missed if visiting the area.

Blake on Solar Power, just one of the fine problems on this boulder. 

Deemsters was my favorite line on the boulder.  A pad stack or stone is required to reach the starting left hand, or you can add a couple levels of difficulty and start a bit lower.

Creg sticking the bad sloper on Deemsters.  This might not be the problem for a warm sunny day but Creg sent in miraculous fashion anyway.  

 The Sunrise Boulder.