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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!