Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Red Rocks - A Break Between Trips

Red Rocks is one of the only places I can consider myself a "local." My parents moved here just after I left for college, and I have been back for winter and summer breaks, as well as multiple times since graduating. And though Kraft was the first place I bouldered, and despite all the memories, sends, and shut-downs over the years I've still never truly lived here.

That said we're here now, resting and enjoying the indoors as well as the nice fall temps here in Red Rocks.

About a week ago we kicked off the season in a great way with a fun social session with once local hardman Andrew Spencer. We made the most of a few hours, trying his line Scare Tactics V11, Bubble Butt V7, and Progressive Guy V10. And though I only managed a repeat of Bubble Butt it was great to touch the old familiar holds of Kraft and try a few new hard things.

Andrew Spencer on his beautiful crimp testpiece Scare Tactics V11.

The next time we went out to Kraft I was happy to run into Craig Berman by chance and had a successful afternoon climbing with him and his girlfriend. Lib made great progress on the stand start to Scare Tactics (V6) while I surprised myself with an ascent from the sit. I had to yell nearly every move, and think this is by far the hardest crimp line I've done to date.

As the sun was dipping over the ridge I decided to make use of the cool, dry temps and try Progressive Guy . After a close first try and a second try misfire I was found myself sticking the flat lip, holding the swing, and topping out the boulder on my third go.

Trying Progressive Guy with Andrew two days earlier.

It goes without saying that it was my best ever day out at the Kraft boulders. I can remember looking at P.G. years ago and wondering how it was even possible to climb. From that feeling to sending it is a marked progress (heh) that I never saw myself reaching. After finishing the boulder in only six or seven tries it almost seems anticlimactic.

Lib also closed the book on a line she has been walking past, fondling, and attempting for a long time: Classic Monkey V6. Way to go Lib! I can't speak for her experience, but I've climbed Classic Monkey as well and it's no easy V6.

The sending smile after finishing off her multi-year project Classic Monkey V6.

Yesterday we decided to take a break from Kraft, and hiked out to Black Velvet Canyon. After a long drive and a rough hike (with 4 pads anyway) we stood in one of the most impressive clusters of boulders I've seen. Wet Dream V11/12, Abaddon V12, and Natasha's Highball V2 are all bold, stunning lines with friendly holds and unique movement.

Natasha's Highball V2.

After warming up my fingers and my head on Natasha's Highball I tried the gymnastic movement of both Wet Dream (Right) and Abaddon. Both seem very doable, but require a ton of power, especially the latter.

The wild, powerful, and super steep Abaddon V12.

With only a few days left before heading to Bishop I think the hard lines in Black Velvet may have to wait a while, but that doesn't mean I'm not psyched to try hard on them in the future. More to come soon.

All photos by Liberty Herring.


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