Ok time for one of those self-conscious, self-aggrandizing posts, the type which almost always appear after the 3rd or 4th year of keeping a blog. What is this blog anyway? Where did it start? Where did it go? Who am I? I strongly recommend you skip this and wait for the next post if you just want to see pics of cool new boulders.
This blog has always been about the very esoteric activity of discovering and developing new rock climbs - specifically, boulders - seen through my eyes, a weekend warrior, an aspirational but decidedly average climber. Usually the areas I have developed have been more for pragmatic reasons than any - convenient locations that offer high quality but also good accessibility for quick trips out. And also I have an obsession with cleaning and documenting things, particularly rocky things.
Along the way we have discovered some real gems, and that certainly has been part of the thrill of development. But since living in NM the development game has changed a bit - we've been re-discovering areas that pioneers before us have established (namely, William Penner, Tom Ellis and company), but are off the radar, and some of these areas - Roy, Ortegas - are pretty damn amazing. The blog has veered from personal project discovery towards spotlighting the treasures of middle-of-nowhere NM destinations. And along the way become more of a news site too. My interests in the face of all this unclimbed/unknown rock have switched more to documentation - I am in the very final stages of writing a guidebook to New Mexico bouldering. Will be wrapped up by early summer and headed off to the printers.
I am as psyched as ever for finding the perfect unclimbed line - but now we find ourselves finding "mega projects" almost every time we head out. Roy and the Ortegas just keep delivering - I am still as excited as ever but dont necessarily post about it anymore. Instagram seems to be a better medium for that kind of thing anyway - check out #roybouldering, #lamaderabouldering, #pososbouldering, #ortegabouldering.
Ok hopefully a couple new posts about Roy and Posos will be following shortly!
I could write plenty, but I won't - just keep it short and sweet. My friends Eric Bissell and Keenan Takahashi are visiting from California, a much-awaited return especially for Mr Bissell! We had an especially great weekend as my Canadian friends Kasper and Meghan were also staying with us. Been plenty fun having them out here, and in newsworthy events, both the Nosos summit dyno ("The Odyssey") and the infamous Ripple Project have been sent at their hands! Expect a video in due course. These two hard problems are up there with the best in the state, and to be honest, the best in the country. In less newsworthy events I sent a couple of my V7 personal projects up there too! woop. Slowly but surely the Nosos ticklist is getting done. Next stop for their month-long crushfest is Roy, expect another post soon!
Managed to get out to Roy and Nosos the last month, despite having to roll with some pretty variable weather. Snow storms one week, hot and sunny the next. Rinse, repeat. In a sense this is pretty typical NM, but wild variability seems more like a function of spring more than winter.
Anyway, we could climb outside, so that's all that counts right?
Got a tour from William & Tom of El Ranchero, another drainage out in Roy. The area is probably less than 50% developed, and only the warmups and hard moderates were really evident, but it quite clearly has huge potential for upper-end hard climbing. Projected a face of one perfect boulder that had a merlot patina riddled with Font-esque hexagonal seams. But climbs were out of my league... I estimate this one wall could have 4 or 5 back-to-back double digit independent lines, mostly up thin rounded seams, but one problem goes out of a roof with a huge deadpoint move, very cool. Some of the rock here was outstanding, reminiscent of the iron rock at red rocks. The area is definitely worth going back to, but I'd like to sniff out the un-done moderate circuit that surely exists.
I convinced Tyler Green - a photographer from Albuquerque who's into climbing and the outdoors - to come meet us and get some professional-level photos of the climbing out there. Tyler's a great guy and was happy to drag around a bunch of heavy photo equipment to capture some of rock grappling shenanigans. Hopefully we'll get him out again, his photos were awesome and it's always good to show someone a new piece of NM climbing. He has a blog, go check out his shots from the weekend here.
Noah was back in town the following weekend and naturally amped for Nosos AKA the most beautiful rock in the world. With his signature enthusiasm he blazed a trail of new problems, some of which had been ignored - or at least put on the back-burner - due to bad landings, which didn't really phase him! The most dramatic is a new roof called The Horribleness Below, basically an easy but thrilling campus problem out of a horizontal roof on the biggest jugs you've ever seen. Every hold makes you want to grab the next despite the death landing below.
But Noah cleaned up some less scary stuff too and the gem was the new Dream Boat boulder, which looks a bit like a ship thats been grounded after a flood. The best straight-up has a no-fall landing situation, but the traverse is very manageable with a few pads, and climbs really well. Some nice dynamic up moves punctuated the long upwards traverse on superb incuts. Very pumpy, and a nice contrast to the typical wavy straight-up Nosos highball problems. Once we refined the beta, we settled on v6. Definitely a nice addition to the Nosos circuit. Eric Natzke and Noah gave the dyno some good burns, got close but a misjudged throw can cost skin... Great seeing Noah, Siemay and Zun, hope to see you guys again soon!
Alright I think those are enough words for this post, here's some pics. Next month Eric Bissell, fresh out of the Venezuelean jungle, and Keenan Takahashi, on a hot streak in the Yosemitean jungle, come to town on a mission to bring Nosos into the world of the double digit boulderer. Can't wait to see my friends and have some grand adventures out here in NM!
Will the ripple project get sent? Will the dyno get snatched? Will Eric punt from even higher than he did before? Stay tuned for the next edition of Bowlder Huntin!
Life in the Fast Lane v5
Siemay on a new one
Amazing sloper of Baby's Butt v5. Photo by Gary Parker