Recent Developments

Been developing like crazy lately.  Too much stone to climb.  Made two trips out to the Tobacco Roots – one to Lower Mason Lake and the other to Hollowtop Valley.  The day trip to Hollowtop Valley ended up being a full value day of bouldering.  I decided to check out some potential on the way to the Valley, which made the 2-2.5 hour hike into a 4.5 hour hike, but I did see some cool rock on the way.  There was some bouldering that probably wasn’t worth the hike, but there were some really cool looking cliffs:

Looked like a few potential splitters, but I didn’t get close enough to gurantee quality.  Any traddies out there up for some hiking?

I finally made it to Hollowtop Valley and warmed up on large boulder with a cool section of crystally rock:

From there I went to the main event – a perfect 30-40 degree overhanging finger crack that I found last year – the Punisher.  I got semi-shutdown on this when I tried it last year and I knew I wouldn’t have too many trys because of the painful nature of it.  The problem is basically two super painful finger locks, a really tight/insecure hand jam and a dyno – not long by any means, but not short either.  I quickly made sure I could do each move individually, then gave it all I had and sent!  I have no idea on the grade, mostly because cracks are my biggest weakness, but this is definitely one of the best problems I’ve done and one of my proudest FAs.

The Punisher:

I finished up the day by doing a cool lip traverse near the Punisher and started the long 2 hour hike back.  Luckily it’s a little quicker heading back because it’s downhill, but it was still the most tired I’ve been in about 5 year.  I was just about falling asleep while hiking.  I managed to find the same cool tree that I found on my way out last year:


After getting my Tobacco Root fix, I turned my attention to Yankee Jim, more specifically the Hidden Valley – a new area Ho and I found a couple months ago.  This small area is starting to become chock full of great easy to moderate problems.  Last trip out I was lucky to put up one of the best V1’s I’ve done – the Ram’s Horn.  It’s a perfect line of crimps and slopers up the back side of the largest and most aesthetic block in the whole area.

The Ram's Horn (chalk line on the right)

Lodged in the talus at the base of the Ram's Horn

Starting hold on the Ram's Horn

The next photo is the front side of the Ram’s Horn boulder.  It’s hard to tell the scale of the boulder from the photo but it’s about 35 feet from the top of the boulder to the jumbled talus below.  I wouldn’t even call these highballs, maybe deathballs?  They look fantastic though and I may put in a top rope anchor sometime.

Frontside of the Ram's Horn boulder

Here’s another video of some of the best problems I’ve put up at the Hidden Valley:


Last, but not least, make sure you’ve got your calendar free on Saturday, August 27th – it’s the return of the Butte Bouldering Bash!  Last year was a blast and it sounds like this year should be even better.  Hope to see you at the Northern Bourbons!  For more info check out Bouldering the Backwaters.




4 responses to “Recent Developments

  1. Good stuff Erik! That finger crack is a beaut!

  2. Check out those muscles!

  3. damn you and all your pretty granite stash piles you know about!!!

    also, i realize it’s just you out there, but it mighta been cool to (somehow) get a close up shot of those insecure jams for the vid. Either way, looks awesome!

  4. Nice Eric, way tog et savage on that crack boulder. Also, possibly the best double-press beached whale I have ever seen. I am being totally serious. Strong work!

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