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Hey, it’s 2016!  Time to update the blog.  I’ll just cut to the chase.

10 Favorite Problems from 2015(in the order they were climbed)

Adam’s Wall V5, Whiskey Gulch, MT

One of the best at Whiskey – big entry move crux followed by a heady move off a small crimp up high.  Always thought this one would have a bit much spice for me, but it didn’t.  Put up in the early days of Whiskey by all-around badass Adam Knoff.

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the Widdler V6/7, Whiskey Gulch, MT

Similar to Adam’s Wall, but harder and better.  This one definitely get’s your heart racing on the insecure top-out.  Contender for best at Whiskey.

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High Plains Drifter V7, Buttermilks, Bishop, CA

If you haven’t heard of this one you need to get out more…  Top five all-time for me.

Photo by Jarred Pickens

Photo by Jarred Pickens


Fun House V6, Castle Peak, Tahoe, CA

Techy crimpy traverse on beautiful stone.  One of the more aesthetic problems I’ve seen.



Girls on Film V6/7, Summit Lake, Tahoe, CA

Simple and brilliant.  Two dynos followed by a nice mantel.

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Gill’s Twister V3, FA, Hidden Lakes, MT

A tricky jump start leads to a few dynamic moves over an adjacent boulder.  I put up a bunch of great problems at this new area near the Gallatin Canyon, but this one was my favorite.

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White Horse V6, Hyalite Canyon, MT

Another one that I put off forever for some reason.  Finally tried it and put down what may be the closest classic boulder problem to Bozeman.

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Dear Mr. Fantasy V4, FA, Boulder Batholith, MT

Really couldn’t believe that this stuff existed in the Batholith – shallow two finger pockets followed by huge patina plates when it starts getting tall.  Can’t wait to get back out here this spring.  Probably the best boulder problem I’ve ever put up…

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White Buffalo V7/8, Joe’s Valley, UT

Beautiful features on perfect Joe’s sandstone.  New-ish one at a cool new area along the Right Fork.  The Flu did not disappoint.

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Gription V8/9, Moe’s Valley, UT

If I had to pick the single best problem I’ve ever done, this would be it.




Bonus Best Routes of 2015 (no photos, sorry)

-Excalibur 5.11d, Lime Kiln Canyon, AZ

Beautiful techy limestone forever.

-Straw Man 5.13a, the Cube, Gallatin Canyon, MT

Unexpected send and one of the most memorable moments of my climbing life.

-Clips from the Bong 5.12b, the Fins, ID

Consistent vertical pockets lead to an ass-kicker runnel finish.

-Peyote 5.11a, Indian Creek, MT

Little bit of everything in this sweet, long pitch at THE Indian Creek outside Townsend, MT.

-Wizard’s Well 5.9, Practice Rock, Hyalite Canyon, MT

I know I’ve said this a lot over the last few years, but damn I love this crag…


Double Bonus – Random Photos from 2016

Inge - Manhattan Project 5.14a, the Fins, ID

Inge – Manhattan Project 5.14a, the Fins, ID

EC - Down with Disease V6, FA, Hidden Lakes, MT

EC – Down with Disease V6, FA, Hidden Lakes, MT

Yosemite, CA

Yosemite, CA

EC - Eliminator Right Sit V6, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, CA

EC – Eliminator Right Sit V6, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, CA

EC - Fort Rastafarian V6, Fort Ross, CA

EC – Fort Rastafarian V6, Fort Ross, CA

Jesse - Chupacabra V5, the Premiums, Tahoe, CA

Jesse – Chupacabra V5, the Premiums, Tahoe, CA

Becky (FGD Champ!) - Full Gravity Day 15 Finals

Becky (FGD Champ!) – Full Gravity Day 15 Finals

EC - Desparete V7, Triassic, UT

EC – Desparete V7, Triassic, UT

EC - Black Tambourine V5, FA, San Rafael Swell, UT

EC – Black Tambourine V5, FA, San Rafael Swell, UT




The Last 6 Months in Photos

Photo Dump!



Jared – Arete of Doom V6

EC - the Widdler V7

EC – the Widdler V7


Bugh and Inge representing Bozeman at the MBC at Steepworld in Billings

Bugh and Inge representing Bozeman at the MBC at Steepworld in Billings


Derv - Red Light District V8

Derv – Red Light District V8

EC - Buttermilk Stem V1

EC – Buttermilk Stem V1

Becky - High Plains Drifter V7

Becky – High Plains Drifter V7

Louis - Highbrow V8

Louis – Highbrow V8

Derv - Standing Kill Order V11

Derv – Standing Kill Order V11


EC - Unnamed V7

EC – Unnamed V7

Inge - Ripper Extension V8

Inge – Ripper Extension V8

VanSickle - Wilford's Wretch V7

VanSickle – Wilford’s Wretch V7

Augy - Wretched Harley V10

Augy – Wretched Harley V10

EC - Babies for Breakfast V7

EC – Babies for Breakfast V7




EC - FA of On the Fence V4, Cataract Boulders, Tobacco Roots

EC – FA of On the Fence V4, Cataract Boulders, Tobacco Roots

EC - Magma Man V7, Cascade Creek

EC – Magma Man V7, Cascade Creek

Beartooth Goat

Beartooth Goat

Sport Climbing Season Now...  Ken - ManBearPig 5.11a, Ten Sleep Canyon, WY

Sport Climbing Season Now… Ken – ManBearPig 5.11a, Ten Sleep Canyon, WY


10 from ’14

Before it gets too far into 2015 I’d better throw down my annual “Best of” list.  You know the drill – here’s my 10 favorite boulder problems from 2014, in the order I climbed them.  As usual with the blog, I’m feeling pretty lazy so no long-winded descriptions.  Trust me though, if you get a chance to climb any of these problems, take it!

1)  the Wave V6, Stone Fort (aka Little Rock City), TN

I finally got down to the fabled sandstone of the American South this year and it was amazing.  First from the South is the Stone Fort classic the Wave.  Perfect slopey sandstone arete.

the Wave V6 - Stone Fort, TN

the Wave V6 – Stone Fort, TN


2)  Golden Showers V5, Rocktown, GA

One of the most aesthetic boulders you’ll ever see.  I may not have styled the top out on this bad boy, but I beach whaled that sucker into submission.

Golden Shower V5 - One of the most aesthetic boulders around.  Climbs pretty darn good too.  Rocktown, GA

Golden Shower V5 – Rocktown, GA


3)  Tennessee Thong V7, Stone Fort (aka Little Rock City), TN

This one has got to be a contender for coolest bump move ever.  Again, ridiculously fun Southern stone.

set up for the bump on Tennessee Thong V7, Stone Fort, TN

set up for the bump on Tennessee Thong V7, Stone Fort, TN


4)  Centerpede V4+, Horse Pens 40, AL

As expected, there was a bit of a learning curve at HP40.  Combine that with the extremely sandbagged grades make for a humbling experience.  Case in point – Centerpede.  It literally took me 3 days to get off the ground on this guy.  Luckily I took it to the top, but jeez…  The epitome of HP40 climbing and stone – technical, pure slopers with terribles smears for feet.

failing miserably on Millipede V5

failing miserably on Millipede V5++ – Centerpede is just to the left of me


5)  Center 45 V3, Blowing Rock, NC

A few of you may remember a Urban Climber article from a few years back that ranked the 100 best boulder problems in America.  Nearly all were well-known classics, but #3 on the list jumped out at me.  It was a V3 at Blowing Rock, NC that I’d never heard of – Center 45.  I had to check it out, so on my way from TN to Rumbling Bald, NC I may a detour to Boone and checked it out on a rest day.  Definitely a classic problem, but I still honestly have no idea how it got ranked so high…

Center 45 V3, Blowing Rock, NC

Center 45 V3, Blowing Rock, NC


6)  Green Knob (stand) V5, Rumbling Bald, NC

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was pleasantly surprised with the bouldering at Rumbling Bald.  It’s a shock to the fingers compared the sandstone slopers to the south, but there’s some high quality gneiss in them thar hills.

Green Knob V5, Rumbling Bald, NC

Green Knob V5, Rumbling Bald, NC


7)  Montana’s Most Wanted V7, Yankee Jim Canyon, MT

I’d always meant to try this thing and finally did last spring.  Thanks to some improbable dyno beta from Tony, it went down.  A Montana classic – good rock, good moves and super easy access.  Here’s video of it along with another runner up for the top 10 – Hooray for Boobies SDS (only reason it didn’t make the cut is cause I’d already done the stand and it didn’t really add any quality).



8)  Beach Arete V2, Leavenworth, WA

You can’t ask for a much more enticing line to climb.  Juggy slopers angling over a scenic mountain river.  Luckily Peder led the way and convinced me to do it.  Pretty sure it would be a perfectly safe landing in a deep pool of the river if you fell, but it was still the most terrified I was all year.  Maybe I just didn’t want to get my fancy red pants wet…

EC - the Beach Arete V2 - Leavenworth (photo by Jess Groseth)

Beach Arete V2 – Leavenworth (photo by Jess Groseth)


9)  Charybdis V6 FA, Tobacco Roots, MT

This was barely even became a line.  I did a new one just to the right of this (Scylla) and was packing up to leave when I noticed the improbable arete that would become Charybdis.  For some reason it didn’t look that appealing, but I cleared some brush and cleaned/chalked the rock and the indistinct line turned into a beautiful tornado-esque arete.  Amazing compression climbing on some of the best stone in the TRoots.

EC - FA of Charybdis V6

Charybdis V6 FA, Tobacco Roots, MT


10)  Black Sea V8, Joe’s Valley, UT

Just on quality alone, this one was on the border of making the list, but Jess said you gotta’ include your hardest climb so here it is.  I will say, climbing this was one of the most fun and most frustrating processes I’ve had.  I did all the moves the first day and was sure the send was in the bag, but it was not.  Normally once I figure out all the moves, I will keep progressing further until the send (pretty sure that’s common for most people on most climbs).  This one I was all over the place.  I was pretty much falling randomly all over the place, I would get completely shut down on moves that I was doing with ease the previous day, and I was changing beta left and right which I rarely do once I’ve done all the moves.  Eventually, I sorted everything out and was able to stand on top of the boulder problem.

the Dead Sea V8, Joe's Valley, UT

the Dead Sea V8, Joe’s Valley, UT



Bonus Quick Hit Top 10 Routes from 2014:

1)  Rancho Deluxe 5.11b, Allenspur, MT

Finally climbed this classic arete of the Paradise Valley.


2)  Practice Wall 5.11, Practice Rock, MT

“A classic in any locale.”


3)  Cardiac Arete 5.12c/d, Practice Rock, MT

The most meaningful piece of rock I’ve climbed (route or boulder).  Never would’ve dreamed 10 years ago that I’d be able to do this testpiece.


4)  Last of the Wild Ones 5.12c, Practice Rock, MT

For years I was too scared to even top-rope this wall.


5)  Bowling for Buicks 5.12a, Gallatin Canyon, MT

That’s some nice gneiss.


6)  Wind and Rattlesnakes 5.12a, Wild Iris, WY

Perfect power endurance on the high plains.


7)  the Devil Wears Spurs 5.10d, Wild Iris, WY

Best warm-up ever?


8)  Two Kinds of Justice 5.12b/c, Wild Iris, WY

Definitely not a fan of drilling pockets but at least they drilled a killer sequence on this one.


9)Ghost in the Shell 5.12a, the Fins, ID

Sinker mono to sinker mono and they don’t feel tweeky?  Sign me up.


10)  Al’s Diner, 5.12c/d, the Fins, ID

So much variety and amazing rock in just 60 or so feet.



Well, that’s that with that.  Hope to see y’all at the Montana Bouldering Championship this weekend in Billings.  It’s been a fantastic comp the last few years so I’d highly recommend it!

Montana Bouldering Championship POSTER - 2015





Some Fall Photos

Looks like fall is coming to an end and winter is arriving as I type this.  63 to -6 in two days, gotta love Montana!  Can’t complain too much since it was a pretty damn nice fall that lasted a little longer than we normally hope for.  Here’s some photos from all around Southwest Montana:

Lucky Strike near Homestake Pass (Batholith)

Ho - crux dyno of the Long Knife V6

Ho – crux dyno of the Long Knife V6

Crazy tree

Crazy tree

Double pinky mono sit start on a slab!?!?  Ho - Pretty Shield SDS V2

Double pinky mono sit start on a slab!?!? Ho – Pretty Shield SDS V2

Ho - Fools Crow V2

Ho – Fools Crow V2

EC - FA of Shpadoinkle! V6

EC – FA of Shpadoinkle! V6

Moonshine Boulder (New World Gulch)

EC - Satellite V6

EC – Satellite V6

EC - Satellite V6

EC – Satellite V6

Yankee Jim

Leslie - Bobby Wonder V3

Leslie – Bobby Wonder V3

Leslie - Assault from Above V2

Leslie – Assault from Above V2

The Angel Boulders (Tobacco Roots)

EC - FA of Last Caress V5

EC – FA of Last Caress V5

EC - FA of Charybdis V6

EC – FA of Charybdis V6

EC - FA of Charybdis V6

EC – FA of Charybdis V6


10 from ’14

Like many climbers, I enjoy my lists.  Now that it’s 2014, I had to take a look back at the year that was 2013.  For the first time in my climbing life, I had a pretty solid balance between sport climbing and bouldering, if you look at the year as a whole.  I went to Hueco in February (which is heavily featured in this list, for good reason), bouldered for about 2 months around Bozeman, then turned full-time sport climber for more than 4 months.  Since this is supposed to be a bouldering blog, I’ll stick with an all boulder top ten, with a few favotire routes in addition.  Anyways, here’s my top ten boulder problems from 2013 in the order that I climbed them:

1)  See Spot Run V6, Hueco Tanks, TX – Like I said, Hueco is going to be very prominent on this list.  My first and only previous trip to Hueco was in 2010.  During that trip I mostly  got shut down.  Everything felt really hard and I hated the regulations.  Fast forward to 3 years later, in much better shape and armed with three of my favorite climbing partners I was able to climb tons of classics!  In an area chock full of classics, See Spot Run is right near the top.  The crux comes right off the ground for the first three moves.  Just after the crux, the problem eases off a little, but it gets tall fast.  A few big moves on not-as-good-as-you-want crimps see you to a relatively easy top out at about twenty feet.  A historic gem.

Myself on See Spot Run

Myself on See Spot Run

2) Ghetto Simulator V2, Hueco Tanks, TX

Another very long problem, but this one is unique because of the rock slab a few feet behind the problem.  Although, you don’t want to take an uncontrolled fall anywhere, you can step off at just about any point on this 25+ foot problem.  Pretty much 20 feet of steep jugs with a few crimps at the end right when you’re pumped.

Myself half way up Ghetto Simulator

Myself half way up Ghetto Simulator (photo by SHo)

3) Dragonfly V5, Hueco Tanks, TX

The best problem I did at Hueco and one of my all-time favorites.  A semi-juggy traverse leads to the sweet crux, campusing from a right heel hook to a left heel hook then gaston-ing to victory.  Dragonfly along with the following problem were part of my best day of bouldering I’ve ever had.  I’ve had better days in terms of grades, but I’ve never climbed so many classics in a day.  I climbed Warm Up Roof V4, Warm Up Roof Right V5, Brutus V5, Hector in a Blender V6/7, Dragonfly V5, and the following problem…

Ho mid-crux on Dragonfly

Ho mid-crux on Dragonfly

4)  Moonshine Roof V4, Hueco Tanks, TX

One word – surfboard.  About half-way through this 15 foot horizontal roof is the surfboard feature which is exactly what is sounds like, a surfboard hanging from the roof.  Ridiculously fun heel hooks and toe hooks.  I knew I didn’t have much left in me at the end of the mega day so I gave it everything and pulled off the flash.

No photo of Moonshine Roof, but Jeff gives it two thumbs up.

No photo of Moonshine Roof, but Jeff gives it two thumbs up.

5)  Sign of the Cross V3, Hueco Tanks, TX

Yet another classic from Hueco.  I tried this one a little on my first trip and couldn’t even pull off the ground, but I was able to send it first go this trip.  Old school goodness.

6)  the Hourglass V6/7, Leavenworth, WA

After the summer long hiatus from bouldering, I left Smith Rock and headed straight to the primo granite of Leavenworth, WA.  I had low expectations jumping straight from sport climbing into bouldering but the week went well and I was able to put down a ton of great problems, including the Hourglass.  The Hourglass starts with a few moves of relatively easy slab, you then balance up on small crimps and jump out to a slopey jug above the lip.  Definitely a circus trick problem, but one of the best circus tricks I’ve done!

Myself on the Hourglass

Myself on the Hourglass

7)  Chasing Windmills V6/7, Superbia (Boulder Batholith), MT

Remember that description for the Hourglass?  This Batholith classic is surprisingly similar – moderate slab moves lead to a jump to a jug at just the right height to keep it interesting.  While Patrick Odenbeck did the FA of this problem with a wild jump to the jug, I was too much of a wimp to go for it.  Instead, I figured out some beta to get slightly close to the jug, making it a not-so-wild jump.  Here’s a vid of Odenbeck on the FA:

8)  IsRail Direct V7/8, Moe’s Valley, UT

One of my favorite problems from last year was the amazing sloper problem Israil in Moe’s Valley, Utah just outside of St. George.  While I was very psyched to do Israil, I left some unfinished business with the direct sit start.  The direct starts with a big move from underclings to a decent sidepull, then a giant dyno to join up with the sloping brilliance of Israil.  Although Moe’s tends to be not quite the quality of stone as Joe’s Valley, this one would be a classic anywhere.

Myself on Israil Direct

Myself on Israil Direct

9)  the Sting V4, Red Rock, NV

Perfect stone, great moves, aesthetic and a gorgeous location – what more can you ask for?  I got lucky on this one and pulled off the correct beta first try for the flash.  One of the best sandstone problems I’ve done.

the Sting

the Sting

10)  Boysize V7, Joe’s Valley, UT

Last but not least, the Joe’s Valley old school humble-er Boysize.  I’d tried this briefly on a previous trip but it felt literally impossible.  Luckily this time I came armed with the a secret weapon – Derveed Sharkfist.  Derv had the not-so-secret toe hook beta, which changed the problem from impossible to barely do-able.  Even with the new beta, I had to really work for this one.  Due to some fog induced humid conditions, I had an unusually high number of dry fires  and finally had to call it a day after dry fire-ing off after the crux.  While everyone else was on their way back to Bozeman the next day, I went straight back to Boysize in less than ideal conditions (foggy and 25 degrees) to send the problem. 

Myself on Boysize

Myself on Boysize


Bonus Five – the Roped Stuff

1)  War Path 5.12b, Indian Creek, MT

A low crux leads to continuous 5.11 perfection on War Path at THE Indian Creek outside Townsend, MT.  If you like incredible Montana limestone, do this one.

War Path (photo by Christine Sjöquist)

War Path (photo by Christine Sjöquist)

2)  the Dinner Roll 5.12b/c, the Fins, ID

Another one with a thin boulder problem that leads into perfect 5.11 pockets that go on forever.  If you like hueco-like pockets, do this one (and every other climb at the Fins).

the Fins

the Fins – Dinner Roll is just left of the large yellow streak on the left-most wall

3)  2 Wycked 5.12c FA, the BBC, MT

The BBC is the biggest reason why I didn’t boulder for so long during the summer.  Over the course of about three months I was able to bolt a dozen new climbs.  Of all the new routes, 2 Wycked was hands down the best.  I spent about 3 days bolting this 100+ foot monster and another 6 days to send it.  Amazing, gently overhung, mostly enduro climbing for 60 feet is followed by another 40-some feet of thin, some may say heinous, technasty to the chains.  If you don’t have the beta dialed, you could fall off just about anywhere in the last 25 feet.  For weenies who can’t handle the vertical tech-fest on the top, there’s a mid-way anchor to bail to.  I know I’m biased, but this is the best route I’ve done.  If you like super incredible Montana limestone, do this one.

Dusl on the lower half of 2 Wycked

Dusl on the lower half of 2 Wycked

4)  Cocaine Rodeo 5.12a, Ten Sleep Canyon, WY

This one goes down as the coolest climbing experience I’ve had – bouldering or roped up.  We’d just arrived at Ten Sleep a few hours earlier and I was dead set on getting one more pitch in.  Problem was that it was nearly dark and sprinkling.  The smart move would be to call it a day or maybe get in a easy pitch.  Nope, not me.  For some reason I decided strap on a headlamp and give an onsight burn on Cocaine Rodeo. 

By the time I screamed my way through the first crux, it was fully dark except for the 5 feet of light emanating from my dying headlamp.  After downclimbing a few times I was able to pull through the second crux to another good rest under a small roof.  While resting, I noticed a pattering noise getting louder – “Is it raining harder now?”  After hearing a yes reply from below I leaned out to feel the strengthening rain coming down. 

I’d come to far to let the rain win so I started up again pulling through what I thought was the last crux.  I was wrong.  Turns out the final 15 feet of this 100 foot route is the redpoint crux.  After another 10 minute up-climb down-climb session, I was able to battle through the final crux only to be left with another 10 feet of enduro climbing on completely juiced forearms.  Those that have sport climbed with me know that I yell from time to time.  Well, this was entirely another level of yelling.  I was yelling AT MYSELF as loud as I could, basically pissed off because I knew I was going to fall off the very top of this route after getting so far.  Thanks in large part to Leslie and Kelsey yelling right back at me to hang on, I was able to pull through and clip the chains.

If you like memorable experiences, onsight a route at your limit in the dark and the rain (hopefully Cocaine Rodeo).

Myself low on Cocaine Rodeo (photo by Kelsey Sather)

Myself low on Cocaine Rodeo (photo by Kelsey Sather)

5)  Zebra Zion (3rd pitch) 5.9, Smith Rock, OR

Trad climbing doesn’t get much better than the last pitch of Zebra Zion.  Two pitches up the Morning Glory Wall at Smith lead to this mega-classic trad pitch.  The pitch climbs up a slightly overhung juggy flake that goes on for about 40 feet.  While the climbing alone would make it a classic anywhere, the position, perched high above the Crooked River and all of the Smith crags, cements it into mega-classic status.  If you like climbing, do this one.

Friend on Zebra Zion circa 2005

Off Route Courteau and the Gooch on Zebra Zion circa 2005 – Third pitch is the lighter colored flake at the very top of the photo, just right of center



11 from ’12

Time for the boulderingmontana’s 3rd Annual Best of Last Year List.  I just about scrapped the whole thing, but I realized how much I enjoy looking back at at the great problems, places, and people from last year.  Without further ado, the 11 best or most memorable climbs I did in 2012:

1)  Fe Fi Fo Fum V7, Whiskey Gulch, MT – This one missed the 2011 list by two days.  Due to the amazing weather last winter I was able to slap my way up this new school Whiskey classic in perfect conditions in early January.  If you haven’t tried this problem yet, head out to the End of the Road and go for it!  Video:

2)  the Montana Cancan V4 FA, Whiskey Gulch, MT – One word, pogo!  Awesome, new, one move dyno overlooking the Tobacco Roots.  Couldn’t come up with a good name, but Brandon Rennie nailed it!

Jess - Montana Cancan

Jess – Montana Cancan

3)  Kredulf V4, Druid Stones, Bishop, CA – Three completely different sections – crimpy tech into dyno into a tricky and tall mantel.  Pretty hard to beat the view too.  It’s located on a hill high above Bishop that overlooks both the town and the Sierra’s.

Kredulf (photo by HAPS)

Kredulf (photo by HAPS)

4)  Redrum V7, the Happy Boulders, Bishop, CA – While Redrum is a very fun problem that I would recommend in a heartbeat, it’s more memorable to me for showing the progression in my bouldering ‘career.’  Years ago, on my first real trip to Bishop with Ho and Manlove (yes, they’re real people and those are their real names) we went to this boulder.  Manlove was working Redrum and Ho was working the sit.  I watched them and thought it looked completely impossible.  It was great to come back and put it down.  This also may be the hardest boulder problem I’ve done.

Redrum (photo by Ho)

Redrum (photo by Ho)

5)  the Hulk V6, the Happy Boulders, Bishop, CA – Pretty much the exact same reason as Redrum, except this is a world-class boulder problem as well.  I’d try it a few times each trip for the last few years and never got too psyched.  But, I stuck with it, deciphered the toe-hook, hit the boss, held the swing (MONEY MOVE!!!) and topped it out.  Well, technically, I did all that and punted off the top out, then sent it next try.  Sent Redrum in the morning and I was content to just cruise around wherever in the afternoon, but a wicked windstorm rolled in and the only somewhat calm spot in the canyon was the Hulk.  Thanks again for sticking it out with me in horrible conditions SHo!  Video with both the Hulk and Redrum:

6)  IsRail V6, Moe’s Valley, UT – Whenever I go on a big bouldering trip I usually have three goals – climb as many classics as possible, climb something ‘hard’, and flash something ‘hard’.  There’s just something very satisfying about trying really, really hard on that first go and sending.  When I was making my tick-list for Moe’s I knew that IsRail was on the top of this list, but it never crossed my mind that I could flash it.  I got there and luckily there were two people working it.  As I was having a snack I watched them and realized it perfectly my style – heel hooks and slopers.  I figured I should get a little more serious and go for it.  Somehow everything clicked and I made it through the crux without falling.  I fumbled the top out a little bit, but thrutched my way through and flashed it!  To add icing to the the cake, it took a certain unnamed Metolius Climb Team member 7 tries to do it!

7)  the Flying Saucer V3, Whiskey Gulch, MT – In my opinion this is the best V3 at Whiskey.  A sweet, slopey 5 foot roof rail followed by the crux getting to the lip of the boulder.  Excellent!  I think this was put up a couple years ago by the Bozeman Climbing Team.  Video of both the Flying Saucer and the Montana Cancan:

8) Routes – This is cheating a little, but rather than do a seperate routes list I’ll just cram all my favorites into one slot…

8a)  Spider Man 5.7, Smith Rock, OR – Sweet multi-pitch climb with Peder that I’ve been wanting to do for almost a decade.

Spider Man (I just realized the Monkey Face is in this photo!)

Spider Man (I just realized the Monkey Face is in this photo!) (photo by Jess Groseth)

8b)  Circus in the Wind 5.11-, Ten Sleep, WY – Enduro!  Over the course of the summer, I did more than a dozen climbs rated harder than this one and they all took me less tries (except for #8d).  I really don’t think there is any move harder than V0, but I had practically zero endurance before going to Ten Sleep.  Very, very good route and fun to send something my anti-style.

8c)  Meet Me in Heaven, 5.12a, Ten Sleep, WY – It was my second to last day and I knew if I had one more go on this one I could put it away.  Well, it was getting dark… and raining.  I was with the Groseths and it was their turn so while they were on some insane 5.13/14 with 57 bolts I was hanging out a few minutes down the trail getting psyched and rehearsing beta.  It started sprinkling as they finished up and by the time they got over to me, it was a down pour.  I’m sure they were assuming I would be packing up ready to head down.  Nope.  I was tied in with my shoes on huddling under the slightly overhung route trying to stay dry.  I really didn’t want to come back to the Mondo the next day so I went for it.  The first four bolts, which is the crux, was dry due to the slight overhang, but after the crux, the route slabs off for about 20 feet of 5.9… completely soaked.  After countless curses and “watch me”s I was able to sketch my way up to the chains in the dark… and the rain.

Meet Me in Heaven (a couple hours before the rainy send)

Meet Me in Heaven (a couple hours before the rainy send) (photo by a Groseth)

8d)  Beast of Burden 5.12b FA, the Fins, Hyalite Canyon, MT – The most tries I’ve put into a sport climb.  Shorty, but very, very fun climbing.  Burly slab climbing.

Jess sending Beast of Burden

Jess sending Beast of Burden

9)  the Interplanetary Insanitarium V6 FA, Upper Mason Lake, Tobacco Roots, MT – Perfect one move wonder high up in the Tobacco Roots.  I first tried this problem in 2010 and could barely pull off the ground, let alone generate momentum for a dyno.  A gorgeous setting in the middle of the mountains.

the Interplanetary Insanitarium

the Interplanetary Insanitarium

10)  Gimme Three Steps V0 FA, North Willow Creek, Tobacco Roots, MT – A terrific slab of nubbins and crimps.  On the tall side, but not too bad.  It’d been a long time since I’d done a really good V0 and this one broke the streak.

11)  Bring the Heatwole V7, Joe’s Valley, UT – Full meal deal.  It’s got a little bit of everything – underclings, jugs, slopers, gastons, sidepulls, crimps, knee bars, heel hooks, and toe hooks!  No stopper moves, but the sting in the tail crimp top-out pitched me off a bunch due to the endurance factor.

Bring the Heatwole (knee bar #2)

Bring the Heatwole (knee bar #2)

Hope this year is even better than the last for everyone!


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!