11 From ’11

That time of year again.  Time for the 2nd Annual Bouldering Montana Best of list.  The best problems/routes that I climbed in 2011.  Since this blog does have BOULDERING in the title I’ll keep to mostly boulder problems, not that I climbed that many routes…  Without further ado:

1)  SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS V6, Bishop, CA –  Up until I’d done this problem, I didn’t have an all time favorite boulder.  But, I can say without a doubt this is the best boulder problem I’ve ever climbed.  Perfect rock, unique, flowing moves and a dyno finish to a monster jug hueco.

2)  HOORAY FOR BOOBIES V6, Lolo, MT – The best dyno I’ve ever done and one of the best problems in Montana.  Start in a hueco and launch up 5 feet to another hueco, finish it off with a cool mantel.  Might have to go back for the SDS…

Brandon Rennie catching air on Hooray for Boobies

3)  THE PUNISHER V3/4?, FA, Hollowtop Valley, Tobacco Root Mountains, MT – This one falls into all categories of amazing.  Amazing problem in an amazing setting.  To get to this problem from Bozeman it’s about an 1.5hr’s driving (half 4WD road) and a two hour hike.  But, I decided to take a detour to check out some other rock and the 2 hour hike turned into 4 hours.  I made it and fought through the painful crack to top’er out.

the Punisher

Hollowtop Valley

4)  the Training Wall Trifecta – FRIGHT TRAIN 11b, BLACK RUSSIAN 11d & CHINA CRISIS 12a, Bozeman Pass, MT – Got into sport climbing mode for a few months over the summer and these were pretty memorable climbs for me.  All Bozeman classics.  All three made me realize how bad of a roped climber I am.  I got loads better on endurance and the mental side, but I suck at finding the easiest sequence.  I wasted a lot of effort on all three of these trying bad beta.  The most memorable was taking a 25 footer off the top of China Crisis the first time I made it through the crux, because I didn’t know what I was doing on the 5.10 finish.

Me on Black Russian (cell phone photo by Sarah Ho)

5)  COPA DE ORO 11a/b, FA, Hyalite Canyon, MT – It might be FA bias, but I really enjoyed this route.  I finished up cleaning it and sunk the last couple bolts by myself in the afternoon, then Sarah and I came back out in the evening and we both sent it.  It’s only four five bolts, but it’s got three completely different sections on terrific rock.  Only time will tell if it’s as good as I think.

the almighty Bosch hanging above Copa de Oro

6)  Lava Lunge SDS V6, Cascade Creek, MT – This problem marked the start of my fall sending spree.  It also made me realize I had to set my sights a little higher… and it’s wicked good.

7)  Fear is Your Only God V3, FA, Cascade Creek, MT – There’s always got to be one problem on the list that makes me contemplate my sanity and it’s usually the same story.  I’m out, by myself, 45 minutes from the nearest road staring down a new classic highball with a terrible landing.  This one has the crux right off the ground with a good landing and finishes with a committing V1-ish lie-back at 15 feet over a terrible no fall zone talus landing.  Oh, the lure of the FA…

8)  THE RAIL V4, Lost Horse, MT – Another one of the best problems in Montana and a bit of a frightener.  Just had to commit to the last hard move and keep it together for the easy mantel.  A perfect feature for rock climbing.

Sarah Ho on the Rail

9)  WRESTLING WITH A BUFFALO V5, Old Baldy, SD – I didn’t make it to the South this year, but I think this granite problem is as close as you can get to southern sandstone around here.  Perfect granite sloper slapping.  First problem in the vid below.

10)  THE POPE’S PENIS V7, Whiskey Gulch, MT – Whiskey classic, ’nuff said.

11)  WILLS A FIRE V6, Joe’s Valley, UT – Second best problem I’ve done, right behind Seven Spanish Angels.  While Seven Spanish Angels is amazing for every move, Will A Fire start off just OK then gets better and better with each move finishing with the coolest mantel ever at a perfect height.  Just tall enough to keep you honest, but nothing too crazy.  I’d tried this about every trip I’ve made to Joe’s and was never impressed/psyched.  But, I realized it was because I never made it to the best part of the climb, which is the upper ten feet.

Right where it start to get good... (photo by Kevin Macartney)

Hopefully I’ll get around to 12 for ’12 sometime, but I’m not going to guarantee anything.  Hope y’all are getting out while you can.  This weather can’t last forever!


2 responses to “11 From ’11

  1. great stuff erik! a few corrections, i believe Copa de Oro is more than 4 bolts, more like 6 or 7? you ,may also want to mention that the 25′ whipper on China Crisis was due to our 75# weight difference, not poor belaying 🙂 haha! can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

  2. I double checked my notes and Copa de Oro is a little longer than I thought – 5 bolts. Definitely wasn’t bad belaying on China Crisis either. I’d say the biggest factor was having an unclipped bolt below my waist when I fell! That and the weight difference makes for some long airtime – long enough to scream a choice word…


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