Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Kraft Experiment

It's still obscenely hot in Las Vegas, but with the boulders so close it's hard to stay away.

A basin full of hot blocs.

Lib had been out twice before with a friend to try Monkey Bar Traverse and said with the wind and the afternoon shade that it was doable. Not comfortable, but doable. And she was right.

Lib refining beta on Monkey Bar Traverse.

The chalk was hard pressed to stay on our fingertips, the wind warm and stifling, but I was surprised to discover that the problems with incut crimps and a few hours of shade (read: every problem on the monkey bar boulder) were definitely climbable.

Sandstone in August!

As the shade draped over the basin we hiked out, stopping here and there to see if anything else was possible. Big K and it's stand start might be if you are a superhero, however that face sees direct sunlight all day and the top crimps feel like they have been baked in grease.

Just up the hill, however, sits a problem called Snake Eyes V6 (referred to as Spook Eyes V5 in Seth's guidebook) which is a striking blank red face with two anomalous pockets rubbed bone white with chalk. For some reason I had never gotten around to climbing this boulder, so why not try it on a near 100 degree day?

My shoes were barely on before I heard a high pitched buzzing as Lib leaned over a rock. She jumped back, and I followed suit, as she pointed out a small rattle moving so quickly it looked still.

Shoes on, and a keen eye on the rattler, we both decided to be typical boulderers and try the problem anyway. The crux came before we even left the ground as the rattle grew steadily louder and angrier as we moved toward the start holds. Lib gave one attempt and regained her senses, while I tried a few more times before sticking the opening move and riding it to the top.

We took that as a sign and packed out, moving slower than usual and staring intently at our feet the entire way out. It wasn't until later that night I found that Tom Moulin's book had listed the problem as Snake Eyes , and the irony washed over me.



  1. I remember our first trip out to Red Rocks was almost exactly four years ago come this Labor Day weekend. You had the most magnificent beard known to man, and your family was an awesome host to a gaggle of random people sleeping all over the floor. Damn it was so hot. I remember huddling in the shade of the Pearl with Gerry loving every minute of 110 degree climbing. Good times friend, good times.

  2. Thanks for the funny story!

    I never thought Spook Eyes was a fitting name... What happened to the rattlesnake? Did it just slither away?

  3. @David D I think we're overdue for a part 2.

    @Isaac definitely.

    @Snell Press I think the name and the grade change are both appropriate. Especially given my personal experience with the problem. Haha. We backed off slowly as the snake kept hissing, so as far as I know it could still be under the boulder.

    On a side note we should climb sometime!