Monday, September 13, 2010


As I have been since returning from Colorado and starting school, I again hiked up to the boulders out of Grandjean on Saturday to try and send my project. Monday, Jeff and I went up and I came really close, or so I thought, and needed a rope to finish cleaning the 20 feet of slab that accompanied sending the "Sawtooth Super Project". I have a habit of wearing my running shoes to clean techy slabs and figure out the beta, hoping it will feel easier in climbing shoes. Here I am on a rope, 20 feet up trying to suss out the beta for the slab section.

Over the course of the four other days that I had worked the problem, I had never been able to stick jump move, something that was troubling me. I don't care how hard moves are, as long as I have done them one time, I know it is possible and can do it on the go. This move involved holding a swing with the right hand on a good pinch and the left essentially on nothing but a flat wall. As you swing out, the right becomes good and the left bad, and on the in-swing I was falling as the right hand becomes a nothing and the left good again. Probably tried that one move almost 100 times and had not done it.

You can see how poor the left hand is before the throw is over, and as I swung out to the left it got worse. I tried the move over and over again, coming really close to sticking it but always falling on the in swing, finally deciding to look for some different beta. Jeff had been pointing out this "pinch" which was really no more than a spike for your thumb and the flat wall. I tried the move to the jug from that and decided after only one try it was the way I would have to do the climb. To get to the pinch was the issue. It added 3 moves at the end of the hardest part of the problem, and then the 5.13- slab that I would have to climb. I managed to do all of the moves, and ran out of energy, already talking about "next time I will bring another pad...". Jeff wanted to work the Prow, a very nice V10 that Mike McClure established earlier this summer. We went down there and he tried moves and linked most of them together over the course of an hour or so.

I thought about it and decided to walk up the hill and give the thing one more good attempt for the day. I was tired, there was a hole in my ring finger from the newly discovered beta sequence and I really didn't think I could do it. With the added moves I was starting to question if it was possible for me to send this thing. Laced up my Dragons, took off the sweater and shirt and pulled on, promptly falling 2 moves in. The temps had dropped to around 50, and the holds felt as good as they ever had. I chalked, got psyched and pulled on again. Everything clicked, all the heel placements for the right foot were good and held, and I trusted my left toe hook and bumped my left hand up the arete all the way to the top. Pasted the left foot and jumped, catching the spike perfectly. For just an instant, I thought I was going to fall, so I yelled louder, got my feet up and held the swing. A few hard moves to get around the corner onto the slab and I had done it! I quickly traversed the slab and it was done, I had finally sent. I had just made the first ascent of Crossing the Boundary. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. Not only is it the hardest moves, but I hiked roughly 75 miles over 5 days in the process. It is 5.5 miles from the car to the boulders, making it even more of a mental battle than anything else.

I have some other shots of the climb, in somewhat of the order they go in. Enjoy!