Friday, March 29, 2013

Joe's Valley: Chasing an Arbitrary Goal

I don't need to explain arbitrary climbing goals to those of you reading. They are inherent for anyone drawn (addicted) to climbing boulders. Recently I realized that I was very close to a personal goal of climbing 100 double digit problems (V10 or harder). In fact, I was 4 problems away.

Sure, I could have tried to stay in Vegas and knock them out but two issues loomed in my mind. First, the heat creeping in and one by one rendering my potential projects out of season, and second I have been unable to find a regular bouldering partner. This lack of friends is more frustrating than the heat when every single project I have a chance of sending needs a spotter and hauling 4 pads out into the desert alone gets old fast.

Hoping to complete this goal before this summer I looked at heading to Joe's Valley for a last ditch effort to finish some boulders. After a crazy wedding weekend left me feeling ragged I wasn't so sure that I would even make the trip, let alone send anything. However, without another opportunity on the horizon I obediently woke up to my 6:45am alarm and hit the road to Joe's Valley for a three day on shot at reaching a completely arbitrary goal.

Hey snow, it's been a while.
Day 1

Halfway there I realized that my media kit was sitting in my living room along with my crag bag, tape, clippers, and other little items that drove me nuts the rest of the drive. Hence the lack of a video, sorry.

I arrived shortly after 3pm with the time change, feeling stiff and uncertain. All the boulders I chose to try revolved around safe padding for a solo session. As much as I wanted to climb Beyond Life and Trent's Mom I couldn't guarantee that there would be enough pads at the exact time I wanted to attempt them. Tactics!

To begin I warmed up at the Big Joe cave with hopes of sending the extension. It took me a while to warm up from the drive and remember my beta for the beginning but after a few attempts I managed to stick the final big move for a send of Nerve Extension, but not before taking a couple wild falls. Happy to have some Asana foam underneath me!

I gotchu brah!
From the cave I walked over to The Worm Turns. It took me a few minutes to figure out some alternative beta involving a tough foot rip into a left heel hook, and once I was ready for redpoint burns I dabbed twice trying to keep my core tight on this unorthodox foot cut method. Finally I put a very thin Evolv slider in place and sent. I began right hand on the undercling and left on the bottom of the tufa as the guide instructs, however afterward I climbed it again just starting matched on the bottom of the tufa. Felt the same to me but what do I know?

Two down, two to go!

Day 2

If you like cows Joe's is the place for you.
I began the day confident that I was going to just sew up a couple 10 bangers and leave Day 3 for bonus climbing. As it happened I got royally shut down on everything I tried. Fingerhut was in the mood to slice fat guys, Skull was ready to flare up some lingering bicep tendonitis, and Skeleton Key (after a grueling 20 minute snowshoe uphill) was soaking wet up top! It was nearly dark and I hadn't completed a single boulder, yet I had tried all of them leaving me tired and doubtful about the next day. 

In a desperate attempt to salvage the day I shot over to New Joe's, where I ran into a great group of friends from Hueco on their way to the Ghost King boulder. I decided to call it a day and join their session to hangout and forget about my goal for an hour or two. 

Once I was under the boulder I realized that there were two problems on the boulder I had not already finished (Ghost of War and Porn King). With a good group and a lot of pads I felt energized to try Porn King. I felt very tired at first, but after some help figuring out the beta and watching my buddy Andrew Rothner send I was inspired. Within the next couple attempts, and to my complete surprise, I managed to stick the crux move off a tweaky two finger pocket, hold the swing and send the boulder!

Easy Money huckin' meat on Ghost King.
One more to go, what a relief!

Day 3

So sore. Not good. I slept in until around 10 and didn't leave for the boulders until 2pm with one goal: Resident Evil. I had this feeling that the 100th boulder had to be a classic. I welcomed the sheet of clouds in the sky and found the boulder feeling cool and shaded. Perfect. I tried once from the beginning, fell, climbed the stand start, rested and sent. It was so satisfying to stick the final throw for the starfish feature and roll over the boulder. Though sore and tired it was quite a feeling to reach this goal. I thought about my first V10 along with a few others as I watched the smoke trickle out from the three iconic pillars across the way. 

And by the time my feet were back on the ground I was already drafting up something new to chase.

A view from New Joe's.
So long Joe's. Until next time.

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