the Mason Boulders

Since the last post on the alpine blocs, I’ve made it up to the Mason Boulders three times. While they aren’t going to be the mecca I was hoping for, they will definitely be a lot of fun for a long time. Last weekend Joe and I went to the Lower Mason Boulders. Unfortunately, it was pretty hot, so we avoided the talus and stayed in the trees developing a large boulder, the Mosquito Boulder. We put up about 8 new problems from V1 to about V5, with most being average quality. The one standout was “Deet” a V4 that Joe did. Dead vertical with good hand holds and poor feet. I got video of Joe doing it, see below.
I made two more solo trips since then. I went exploring at Upper Mason Lake with my light pad, since I wasn’t sure what I was going to find. I would say there isn’t as much potential in the Upper Mason talus as the Lower Mason talus, but I did find some good looking boulders below the lake on the way out. Because I was alone with a smaller pad, I had a hard time finding anything worth climbing that had a decent landing. I got lucky and found a sweet, steep compression problem on nearly perfect rock. It went at about V3 and there is an even lower start about five feet down that I didn’t try b/c of the pad situation. I called it “A River Runs Through It” (I could hear a stream running underneath it) and it’s also in the vid below. Here’s a pic of the talus and cliffs above Upper Mason Lake. I don’t care what kind of climbing you like, if you can’t find something to climb here, you’re not trying.

Lastly, I made a trip up into the Lower Mason talus the other day to check out the upper cluster. I ended up doing one of the best problems I’ve ever done. It’s slightly overhanging moves on perfect rock to a terrific (terrifying?) mantle on good slopers. If the landing were perfect, it might not be an issue, but its pretty uneven with a large rock, snow, and a fallen tree underneath it. Anticipating the snow, I brought a shovel and was able to fill in a lot of the gaps, but I still didn’t want to test an uncontrolled fall. After a few tries I made it to the lip, committed to the mantle, and topped it out “One Way Ticket to Midnight”. Although it was one of my proudest moments bouldering, it may not have been the smartest thing, considering the somewhat remote location. It’s about V3, but I think it would be at least a grade harder for anyone shorter than me. I also did a cool little arete on the same boulder that it pretty much a slab dyno. I wanted to do another problem before I headed back and it was the only thing with a good landing. Luckily, it ended up being a lot better than I thought it would be. Both are included in the vid:

Although the temps were much better the last two trips, I’m might hold off on the next trip for a couple weeks for even better conditions. There’s definitely some hard-man potential in the cluster with “OWTTM” Here’s a couple more photos from the last few weeks.
My new truck at the parking area for the Mason Boulders:

Cataract Reservoir and the road to the Mason Boulders:

Also, I hope everyone is planning on going to the Butte Bouldering Bash next Saturday, August 14 at the Northern Bourbons. Even if you aren’t big on comps, it should be a fun time with lots of terrific people. Hope to see you there!

One response to “the Mason Boulders

  1. Hey Erik,
    I got a new blog up for my training program @ spire. . I stole one of your videos of me climbing at Whiskey. I presumed that you would not mind. Check it out! I will buy you a beer for stealing the video, don’t worry!

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