Thursday, May 19, 2016

Snowy Mountain Session with Friends

  Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have a Friday off of work and was able to meet up with some good friends at the Snowy Mountain Boulders in Indian Lake, New York.  I hadn't been back to this area since last fall (November 9, 2015) to be exact when I had an epic session and was able to top out both of the V11 problems on the Never Boulder; Salamander Slayer (V11) and There Are no Salamanders in Hueco (V11).  Needless to say, I  was super excited to get back up there to spend the day with Murph, Strazza and Sada.

  Murphy hadn't been to Snowy Mountain in a couple of years and set his sights on finally sticking the dyno move on Never Left Hueco (V8).  The move itself is not difficult for someone who has a decent wingspan; however for a shorter climber like Murph this move could feel nearly impossible or double-digits in comparison.  He wasn't able to stick the move but with a power spot we were able to finally determine that he can make the huge move and his psych for the problem was at an all time high.  I took a screen shot from a video showing one of his attempts on the dyno and if you look closely, he in nearly on the hold!  So pumped for the little guy!!!  Strazza and his girlfriend Sada have both recently returned home from a lengthy climbing trip and they looked fit as ever.  Being able to climb on real rock for an extended period of time definitely helps with technique, strength and power and it was pretty evident watching the two of them climb.

  I am looking forward to our next session together, but not looking forward to the flying insect invasion!  It was unbearable at times up there in the forest.

Media Update:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Another Nine Corner First Ascent

  Somehow, someway the cresting wave feature on the Wave Boulder at Nine Corner Lake has finally seen an ascent, actually back-to-back ascents recently.  On April 20th I took my puppy for a hike up to the boulders and decided to spend some time properly cleaning the slab beneath the wave feature so it could be attempted properly.  After an hour or so of cleaning and inspecting the upper holds to make sure they were solid I left for the day confident that the problem was possible and was totally psyched to try it.

  I returned the following day with a bunch of the crew and after warming up in the first set, Zone A I was easily able to convince everyone to head back to the Wave Boulder with me so we could try the new problem out.  After a half dozen or so bailed attempts high off of the deck and a wavering psych level, everyone convinced me that I had enough reach to stick the lip hold that had given me trouble on every previous attempt.  After a short rest and a "screw it, here I go" mentality I found myself back on the large sidepulls at the base of the cresting wave feature, some 12-15ft. off of the ground.  With a solid confidence in my spotters and myself I finally fully committed to the scary move to the lip and somehow stuck it for the first time.  The compression from the left hand sidepull down low under the wave feature and the right hand on the lip was super solid, but I was completely sprawled out and felt like I couldn't move.  One last jump move, left hand to the flat part of the boulder on the top of the wave made my feet cut wildly and my body felt like it went parallel to the ground.  I had stuck the last hard/scary move and the problem had seen a long awaited first ascent.  This wasn't nearly my most difficult boulder problem ever done, but I can say that it was probably the most committing.  Needless to say, the crew and I were extremely enthralled!

  Mitch Hoffman's good climbing friend from Texas and newest SAC crew member, J.P. Cashiola used that energy to make a quick second ascent of the problem.  He also agreed that the finished move was super committing and scary.  Good on ya mate!

Thanks to Keith Banta for some more excellent photographs from the afternoon/evening session.

Media Update: 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

State Brook Mountain Development

  Recently there has been a development furry at the State Brook Mountain Boulders which are about 10 miles north of Nine Corner Lake in Arietta, New York.  Anyone who currently owns a copy of my bouldering guidebook; New York:  Adirondack Park Bouldering has probably glanced at some of the images of the boulders found there and maybe has read a bit about the area and the history behind the discovery of the massive blocks.

  A couple of weeks ago, close friend Keith Banta made the first known bouldering development trip into these boulders to see for himself what they had to offer.  On his initial visit, Banta was blown away by one boulder in particular because of its' steep wall aspect and the fact that the boulder had a plethora of handholds.  He unfortunately was limited on time on his first visit so his development efforts were cut short.  

  Two weeks after that first visit, Ken Murphy ventured back to the set of boulders with local strongmen Evan Race and Daniel Pinto.  All three of them were able to successfully climb the boulder problem that Keith Banta had envisioned and the birth of the State Brook Mountains Boulders had officially commenced with the establishment of a very powerful V7/8.  I made a solo trip in shortly thereafter and began "preparing" more boulders for future climbing efforts and (4) moderate problems (V0-V4) were added to the established problem list.  To be completely honest, it is daunting how much potential this small cluster of boulders holds for quality boulder problems.  

  Ken Murphy and I returned last Friday to continue development efforts and again an additional (2) boulder problems were established on the steep boulder, these falling at V5 and V3 but are extremely good, high quality boulder problems.  I am anxious to see what else will come from this area in the future.  A word of caution...the bugs are already becoming very distracting in the southern portion of the Adirondack Park!  

Media Update:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Green Lake Boulders

  Here is a nice little video compilation from a recent solo bouldering session at the Green Lake Boulders in Caroga Lake, New York.  The easy accessibility of these boulders and the high concentration of problems make it an ideal stop for a short climbing session and an excellent workout.  I hope you enjoy the video edit!

  Boulder problems include:  Lock, Stock and Barrel (V6), an attempt of Bullseye, Stand (V9), Pistol Grip (V6), Knee Deep (V8) and Live Free or Die (V6).

Media Update:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Some History Behind Nine Corner Lake

  A couple of weeks ago, I received a paypal payment notification for a copy of the New York:  Adirondack Park Bouldering guidebook.  When I logged in to see the buyers address so I could print a shipping label, the name sounded extremely familiar.  After thinking about it for a while, I remembered that I had seen the name on an old guidebook draft that Arien Cartrette (aka Groover) had done back in the early 2000's for Nine Corner Lake.  Jay Shultis was credited for some first ascents on the Lost Dog Boulder in Zone A at Nine Corner Lake.

  Jay's guidebook purchase was extremely ironic because I had just recently devoted some time to "reclaiming" one of his boulder problems, Survivor (V4) which was an attractive arete climb that always caught my attention but was completely grown in and dirty.  In addition to needing some TLC, I also wasn't quite sure how the problem started or finished for that matter so this was a perfect time to reach out to the first ascentionist himself.  Within an hour or so of sending out my first email to Jay Shultis, I had a very nice detailed response and even a handful of his personal pictures (see below) from back on May 30, 2004 when he and friends put up some new climbs on the Lost Dog Boulder.  The pictures of the climb and the confirmation of the start/finish points fueled my psych to finally try the problem; but I think the most interesting part of Jay's email was the story behind the name of both the boulder and the boulder problem.

  Back on May 30, 2004 while climbing at Nine Corner Lake and developing new problems; Jay's dog somehow managed to get separated from the climbing group.  They looked all over for the dog but were unable to locate it.  Nervous and concerned for the worse, Jay was forced to leave with the fading light.  He returned everyday for the next week trying to find his dog...he check with local homeowners and stores, asked hikers, anyone who might be able to help.  Nine days after the dog's disappearance, Jay received a call from someone in Caroga Lake who had found his dog.  When the dog got separated from the group, it had a dog harness on which was attached to a rope.  It is assumed that these items got tangled somewhere in the forest stranding the dog.  When the dog was discovered by a local from Caroga Lake, it had apparently chewed through it's harness and ended up making a full recovery from the whole ordeal.  Now that is an awesome story!

  Below are Jay's pictures from "back in the day" at Nine Corner Lake.  Also, the two problems depicted in Jay's photos that he established; Survivor (V4) and The Banana (V5) are the first two boulder problems in my short video.  Also it is worth noting that the original Survivor problem started higher that I did in the video, with left hand on the sloper sidepull and right hand on the jug.  Enjoy!

Media Update:  

The Banana (V5)

The Banana (V5)

Survivor (V4)

Jay Shultis on the first ascent of Survivor (V4)- circa 2004

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Recent Adirondack First Ascent

  As some of you may already know...Ken Murphy has recently moved back home and is already actively pursuing new boulders and boulder problems in the Adirondack Park.  I had a chance to catch up with Murph last week after I received a handful of text messages and pictures showcasing a stunning arete that he cleaned in the southern portion of The Park.  The new problem appeared to be 20-25 feet tall, was slightly overhanging, had good looking holds, and offered a relatively flat landing.  All of these qualities and a stern confidence in Murph's credibility for good rock climbs got me extremely excited/psyched to get on the problem.

  We headed back to the undone problem together a couple of days after his initial cleaning and projecting session and I was immediately blown away. The arete looked incredible from the ground and a really efficient climbing sequence had already been discovered.  Murph sent the problem on his first attempt of the day and I quickly repeated this classic climb for the second ascent.  The problem, known now as Geometric Quagmire (V5) ended up being a bit easier than initially expected, but the movement and exposure on the upper moves make up for the lack in difficulty.  This could very well be one of the best moderate boulder problems in the Adirondacks!

Media Update:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Little Rock City, TN (aka Stone Fort)

  I recently returned from a very quick climbing trip down to one of the southeast's popular bouldering destinations...Little Rock City (aka Stone Fort).  This extensive collection of sandstone boulders lie in the woods adjacent to a golf country club called Montlake Country Club in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee.  The bouldering there is extremely good with high quality rock, a good concentration of varying difficulty, massive boulders, and for the most part a pretty laid-back southeast atmosphere.  A climbing day use fee ($8/pp) is paid right at the golf clubhouse and from there it is only a short 5-10 minute walk to the boulders, depending on which area you want to start climbing.  

  Leading up to this much anticipated trip I had scoured the internet for bouldering videos in an attempt to compile a reasonable list of problems that I at least wanted to try while I was there.  A handful of these problems appeared to be my "style" of boulder problems and I had very high expectations to successfully climb some of them.  We were in Tennessee for 4 days and climbed 3 full days at LRC.  At the end of it all, the tick list was pretty extensive and I was more than pleased with the overall outcome on the trip.  A unsuccessful problem that I still can't shake from my memory is a climb called Deception (V7).  Out of everything on my list, this problem was the one that definitely meant the most to me and unfortunately I had to head back to New York without topping it out.  I made a pivotal  mistake and did not try Deception until our last day and at the end of that was literally the last boulder problem that I tried to climb while down at Little Rock City.  I already have plans to revisit this area in October/November to give myself another chance on some of the problems that I had to walk away from.  

FIRST DAY SENDS (** flash)

  • Fire Cracker Flake (V1) **
  • Seam Eliminate (V3) **
  • Needless Things (V0) **
  • Aneardon (V6)
  • Genghis Khan (V5)
  • Manute Bol (V6)
  • Keel Hauled (V3) **
  • Dragon Lady (V4) *
  • Tristar (V4)
  • Latin for a Dagger (V5)
  • The Wave (V6)
  • Art of the Vogi (V4) **
  • Spit Shine (V0) **
  • Rail Rider (V4) **
  • Pleidas (V4)
  • Super Mario (V4) **
  • Super Mario Extension (V6)
  • These Feel Like Your Sisters (V3)
  • Uncle Punchy (V1)
  • Drag Me Down (V1)
  • Art of the Vogi (V4)- repeat
  • Art of the Vogi, Left (V6)
THIRD DAY SENDS (** flash)
  • Shaggy (V1) **
  • Incredarete (V1) **
  • The Eliminator (V7)
  • Two Can Sam (V3) **
  • Slice (V4) **
  • Green Machine (V4) **
  • Face in the Crowd (V7)
  • Grimace (V8)
  • Heroin (V7)
  • White Trash (V5) 
Media Update:  

(a majority of these photos were taken by my good friend and extremely talented photographer Keith Banta.  Check out some more of his work here: )

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nine Corner Lake: Point Break (V7)

  Last Saturday on March 26, 2016 we had an absolutely beautiful spring day at Nine Corner Lake. The dry conditions were about a month ahead of last year (snow lingered at Nine Corner last year into the third week of April!), the sun was abundant, the boulders were completely clear and dry, and everyone was very anxious to jump start the 2016 outdoor climbing season.

  I couldn't wait to join up with everyone in the afternoon once I completed work for the day especially since a handful of the climbers that I was meeting up with had requested that I bring a copy of the new bouldering guidebook so they could buy a copy for themselves.  Everyone seemed more than impressed with the final product which was a huge relief and I could literally feel the weight of the guidebook project being lifted off of my shoulders!  After a good warm up at the first set (Zone A) and getting shut down on a repeat send of One Might Think (V6), I convinced everyone to venture back to Zone E where there were some remote problems that I established in the previous years that I thought deserved some climbing attention.  Everyone seemed eager to get on some new stuff so we traveled back to the Wave, Tsunami, and Paradise Boulders.

  The boulder problem that I was most interested to see everyone try was a line that I established back in 2011 on the backside of the Tsunami Boulder.  Point Break (V7) is a dead vertical face climb on small crimps and sidepulls with some tricky footwork and body positions and ends with a long reach to the top of the boulder.  I was able to successfully repeat both the stand and sit starts to the climb but to my knowledge, nobody else has repeated this problem.  Some of the crew on Saturday made some excellent progress and a majority of the guys were getting into the crux sequence.  I am confident that it will see some more action this spring and some much needed repeat ascents.

  Other boulder problems that everyone got on were Rip Curl (V8) and a long slopping arete problem called Hawaii 5.0 (V5).  The latter is a line that needs to be climbed by more people because the movement is so much fun and I think it saw a half dozen or so repeats that day.  We ended on the Cave Wall as the sun was setting and everyone's bodies were starting to shut down.  It is always a great feeling when you can no longer hold your body weight due to complete exhaustion and fatigue.

  Saturday was an epic session for sure and one hell of a way to start off the spring season for 2016!!!  Let's stay psyched guys, this could be a year of epic proportions...

Media Update:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Putnam County Gneiss: Ice Pond Preserve, Spring 2016

Last weekend we headed south of New Paltz with some of the locals to sample some of the Putnam County Gneiss.  I had been to the Ice Pond Preserve once before, back in 2007 and was pretty excited to get back there with some good friends to get in an early spring bouldering session.

Here are some pictures compliments of Keith Banta and a short video that I put together from the outing.  As usual, I did not document enough throughout the day because we were all too busy having fun!

Media Update:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

New York: Adirondack Park Bouldering Guidebook

Shipment of the guidebooks will not commence until the week of March 14th.  Thanks in advance for your patience!

The guidebooks have finally arrived.  I will be ready to ship within the next week of so...feel free to order a copy for yourself if you are interested!  They will also be available at The Edge climbing gym in Halfmoon, New York starting the week of March 14th if you wanted to avoid the shipping costs.  Thanks in advance and happy training and climbing.

Friends and family:

Just shoot me an email or post a comment here if you are interested in securing a copy of the guidebook and we can work out a time to meet up to avoid the shipping costs.  Thanks again!