Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stand and Deliver

It's November 1st and that means climbers around Vegas are getting pretty excited about the coming months. Like everyone else I have projects and problems I have been waiting all summer to try. One such line was the very classic and very isolated gem, Stand and Deliver.

This alluring boulder sits like a motionless eye deep in the canyon, it's light tones strange and intriguing among the dark green brush. Most of the slog from the parking lot is done on pure faith that something incredible awaits at the end. It isn't until the final minutes of the full hour march that the boulder reveals itself as the greenery parts and reveals a smooth face carved with the slightest edges, just enough.

Approaching the mouth of Juniper Canyon.

Lichen on a trailside boulder.
Suddenly, you're under the boulder and it's hard to imagine that the hike is over. It isn't right that something like this should be so mundanely attainable, the way it wouldn't be right to reach the horizon line on an open stretch of highway.

It's just sitting there! Nothing remotely decent to warm up on in either direction, and behind you through the visible heat waves is the parking lot, a million miles away. I guess there's nothing to do but talk about the conditions and swing my arms around absentmindedly.

Looking up from the Stand and Deliver boulder.

Adam Seely readies himself under the looming wall of sandstone.

I had been out here twice before, once to scout and admire, and once to climb. I had maybe five attempts or so on my first warm day back in April. Looking back I'm glad I didn't sent that day.

This time out I nearly climbed the boulder first try. I'm very happy that I didn't send on that attempt. I knew that I would likely only climb this boulder once and I wanted to spend more time experiencing the movement and put more of my skin, energy, and heart into it.

As it turned out I tried five or so times before taking a long break. I had the cliche last burn doubts, walking the line between packing up and booting up before stepping on for one last try. I felt an incredible amount of satisfaction and pride upon reaching the lip physically tired and mentally fatigued, much more than I would have felt had I sent on the warm up burn.

All this might seem overly poetic for a chunk of rock. A scarred up marble compared to the giant walls surrounding and creating the canyon. It could be, but I rarely take time to think about the overall experience of a problem, about the process of climbing it. As with a lot of climbers I like to send, log, and get on to the next one.

With this boulder I felt the need to just linger in the rearview for a while.



  1. Great tale Max. No video? What are your other big goals for Red Rock this season?

    1. Thanks Dave! I totally punted on the video. I recorded my first couple tries and Adam's as well but as the day wore on I was pretty sure we were both powering down and I stopped recording. Of course the next go I sent. It sucks that I don't have the video, but it felt good to send at the end of a session with a struggle and fight off the fatigue for one last try.

      As far as projects I'm not sure... Book of Nightmares and Lethal Design would be very proud ticks, and I'd like to try and find some new lines as well.

      I need your lethal beta where you don't use the razor!