Category Archives: Northern Bourbons

Epic Showdown at the Northern Bourbons

The 2nd annual Butte Bouldering Bash was held last weekend at the Northern Bourbons and it was a battle royale – EC vs. the Ho-Master aka David vs. Goliath.  What possible chance could I have against this guy:

The Ho-Master in all of his glory

Most everyone started off the comp near the tents, including Ho on Dim Sum at the On-On Tea Room.  He was giving good burns while it baked directly in the sun.  Not looking good for EC…

Ho-Master on Dim Sum...

Some creepy guy


Creepy guy - "I found a crack."

I was given a glimmer of hope when I found out that the comp was best ten problems, not five.  Maybe Ho wouldn’t realize it and he’d stop at five problems.  I had work to do.  Things started well for me, I cruised around and managed to pull off a few harder problems – Special Reserve, Alien Nation, Lateral Dyno, and the excellent new-ish problem Discus.

Peder on Discus

Aaron on Discus

While walking around between problems, I would see the Ho-Master on a different project each time, most likely crushing one then moving onto the next.  I was hosed, I just had to fill out my card with as many moderates as I could muster and hope that Ho wouldn’t beat me too bad.  Well, we headed back and tallied the scores…



Drum Roll.




H0-Master    –    9,800 points

EC           –           44,000 points


No, that’s not a typo.  Official, undisputed, undeniable proof that I am 4.5 times better at bouldering than Ho.  Boo-yah!

In all seriousness, thanks to Tom and everyone else who helped make this great event happen.  Looking forward to next year already!  Tom’s got a bunch of other photos from the event here.


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.




Butte Bash & Cascade Creek

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post. Here’s the bullet points.
-Butte Bouldering Bash last weekend. Lots of fun problems with lots of fun people. I managed to do quite a few problems that I’ve been seeing photos of over on The highlight of the day was watching Fruh send a new semi-highball problem near the shoe demo tents. I think it may be a long, long while before that one sees a second ascent. For some reason I didn’t bring my camera so I didn’t get any photos but there’s quite a few here.
The Northern Bourbons saw another futuristic ascent next to the Sportiva tent as well. Brandon Smith sent Loren Rausch’s long standing project, naming it the Cockulator. If I had to guess, I would say Loren tried it 14,000 times that day before B came in and showed him how it’s done. On a more serious note, major congrats to Brandon for sending the Bozeman 5.13 testpiece Straw Man in the Gallatin Canyon a few days ago. Nice work B!
I went back out to the No. Bourbons this morning to try some lines that I didn’t get a chance to try during the Bash. I was gunning for Lateral Dyno and Special Reserve. I managed to flash Lateral Dyno without much of a warm-up. I think the feet on it have cleaned up a little, producing a good left foot in the perfect spot. It felt more like V3/4 to me. But, it is a dyno, so who knows? Grades aside, it was a really fun problem. Special Reserve put up much more of a fight. Didn’t get it, but I think it will go with a little more effort.

-Friday Ho and I made it up to the Cascade Creek boulders below Lava Lake that I “discovered” a few weeks ago. There’s a few faint patches of chalk and a couple lines that have obviously been cleaned (most likely by Brad Carpenter) but I would guess no ones bouldered there in many years. Still tons of FA potential and some good looking second ascents to be had.
Anyways, we only climbed at one little cave/overhang. We did 3 new lines that all finish with the best dyno I’ve ever done. Seriously, it’s a perfect dyno: obvious start holds, good feet, perfect distance, perfect landing, great lip to catch, and a really fun mantle to finish it off. In my book, it’s on par with Pocket Rocket in Joe’s Valley, except it’s got a better mantle. Jeff added a burly sit start (V7-ish) and an obvious traverse (V5-ish) into the dyno. I fell off the dyno a couple times from the traverse start, but it will definitely fall for me next time. Without further ado, here is the Lava Lunge and the Lava Lunge SDS:

Jeff on the FA of the Lava Lunge Traverse:

Not including link-ups, there are about three more lines left. Ho tried two of them a little so you know they won’t go down too easily. There’s another steep boulder just below it that should produce 3 or 4 short problems as well. I showed Ho the other boulders higher up that should produce another 20-30 problems, with some killer lines possible. Once the temps cool down in Send-tember we’re going to get a crew and head up to the upper boulders. Let me know if you want in. Looks like it supposed to be great temps tomorrow, then hot, hot, hot for a few days so hopefully everyone can get out tomorrow and send!