I recently had a conversation about memorable ascents. It dawned on me that in just over four short years of climbing there were problems that I could not remember sending. This got me thinking about the ascents that I would never forget. Having just inched past the 200 mark for individual boulder problems completed I thought it would be good to look back at a few ascents that will stick with me for years to come.
This list is completely personal, however it is no surprise that many world class problems show up on here.
V0: Melon Patch, Hueco Tanks, TX
Sometimes when you reach the top of a boulder problem it just isn't enough. You have to climb it again immediately. Melon Patch is one of those problems. The only line on the boulder, this tall face with its distinctive white chalked huecos is a perfect warm up for the body and the mind.
- 7-10 Split, Hueco Tanks, TX
- Poker Chips, Red Rocks, NV
V1: Heavenly Path, Bishop, CA
I make sure to climb this problem every time I'm in Bishop. A photogenic line with just enough commitment at the lip. A great place to soak up some sun, warm up, and climb this problem again and again.
- Orifice Affair, Hueco Tanks, TX
- The Fin, Priest Draw, AZ
V2: Nobody Here Gets Out Alive, Hueco Tanks, TX
No surprise here. This is one of the best lines of any grade let alone V2. Physical roof climbing between comfortable jugs to a tough lip encounter and easy headwall. Full value!
- Potato Chips, Red Rocks, NV
- The Vulgarian, Hueco Tanks, TX
V3: White Rastafarian, Joshua Tree, CA
After bailing once from the crux I managed to shut off the reasonable part of my brain and scramble to the top, heart racing. At one point I remember even cutting my feet from the jugs on the lip. Another boulder with only one perfect line on it. I'll never forget reaching the top of this one.
-Bum Boy, Horse Pens 40, AL
-Bat Roof, Priest Draw, AZ
V4: Moonshine Roof, Hueco Tanks, TX
Pure fun! This cave is seriously a jungle gym for adults.
- The Pearl, Red Rocks, NV
- Super Mario, LRC, TN
V5: Hammerhead, Horse Pens 40, AL
My first V5. A truly memorable send due to an epic top out that left burns on my forearms, thighs, and palms. Worth every bit of skin.
- Star Power, Hueco Tanks, TX
- Serengeti, Bishop, CA
V6: Meddle Detector, Hueco Tanks, TX
V6 is a great grade for classics, but this line takes the title hands down. Superb movement leading to a pumped out of your mind finish makes this tucked away backcountry line a true gem.
- Redneck, Horse Pens 40, AL
- Anorexic, Priest Draw, AZ
V7: High Plains Drifter, Bishop, CA
The climb that inspired this blog post. It just doesn't get much better than this. There might be other lines on this bloc, but this is the one worth doing. The fact that Dale Bard first climbed it without foam under him makes it all the more impressive.
- Sweet N' Low, Donner Summit, CA
- Caliman, Red Rocks, NV
V8: Monkey Bar Direct, Red Rocks, NV
My first experience with this line was as a V3 climber out in Kraft with a bunch of buddies from Chicago. We looked at the big spans between small holds in awe, imagining ourselves sticking just one move on the climb, let alone sending. This is one of those milestone ascents for me, something I make sure to get on whenever I'm hanging out in Kraft.
- Flat Spin, Mt. Charleston, NV
- Javelina, Hueco Tanks, TX
V9: Choir Boys, Hueco Tanks, TX
This ascent was another milestone for me. The movement is some of the best I've done, and this climb still represents the standard for the grade in my mind. I remember wanting to do this climb before I even laid eyes on it.
- Brevity, Donner Summit, CA
- Purple Flowers, Hueco Tanks, TX
V10: Americana Exotica, Red Rocks, NV
I don't truly feel qualified to weigh in on V10's yet, as I've only climbed five so far. That said Americana Exotica is a spectacular line that I really had to fight for. For nearly two weeks I would pack up some water, some tunes, a few snacks, and head out for a solo session on this problem. I would watch a lone cloud in the sky during rests, sometimes only giving a handful of attempts to the extremely physical problem, and head home. This went on for so long that just as I got used to just hanging out under the beautiful swirled wall I managed to finish the problem for its sixth ascent. Now whenever I see videos or photos of this neo-classic I think back to the time when I had it all to myself.
-Acid Wash, Bishop, CA
-Goin' Postal, Mt. Charleston, NV