giovedì 30 gennaio 2014

Red rocks - The second part

With the ascent of the incredible “Meadowlark lemon” I finished my trip to Red rocks. Two weeks ran really quickly and the time looked faster than in other climbing moments. During the second part of my stay, I had also two pretty nice resting days, when Giulia and I enjoyed two of the great natural parks of the country. The first of these has been the death valley national park, one of the hottest point on the earth with its depression below the sea level. The driving required 2 hours from Vegas, but it has been definitively worthy. I love seeing natural places and this one is really particular. It is huge and we had just time to check three of the many spots that the park offers. It has really different contests from salt dunes, sailing stones, sandy dunes, rocky dunes, desert valley, colored conformations, sales desert and many other natural features. We just visit the sandy dunes, the salt expanses, Zabriski point and the colored mountains. It was fun. The second day in a park was in the Bryce canyon, located 2500 meters on the sea level. I was quite doubtful about this, but in the end we decided to go, despite the 4 hours of car to move towards Utah. Probably it doesn't worth the long driving from Vegas in a day, But it is certainly another amazing environment I saw. It was not various as death valley, it has basically just one landscape but it is breathtaking. Those are two photos that I tried to take. On the web you can find best photos that represent what the nature can do.

Death Valley National Park - CA

Bryce Canyon National Park - UT

The second week in Vegas began with a day in “Red Spring” sector, a new area for us. The place is close to a pic nic area, where every persons asked us about the use of the pads. In the morning I checked the cool wall of "the red wave" V10, an historical wall that counts just one move with a big swing. I completed it after few goes and it was a beautiful feeling, like many essential problems are able to give. I was happy for its simplicity and its aspect. The other good day was in Gateway canyon when I climbed again in Giant boulder area sending "Lethal design" V12, one of the worst in Red Rocks in my opinion, "Stake your claim" V9, "Abstraction" V9 and I missed the single move of "Aktrite". "Abstraction" is another impressive problem I did there. It is simply emotional at its sight. It appears like a big chip of milky chocolate, with sidepulls for the right hand and a lip for the left one, characterized by a technical climbing style that recall me Fontainebleau. It looked perfect. I was under it with Daniel, a guy from California I met in the morning and we were both syked to try this inviting piece of sandstone. We tried to figure it out and after some time of work and some pushing each other, we understood a possible beta. I failed at the top since I was afraid, so we quickly went to took other pads under the giant boulder. We were both happy to have find a good beta that would have worked on a this arête. We covered every stones with the pads and safely I reached the top. I was dazzled again. It deals of one of the best problems of this difficult I have done and thanks to its spotting I was able to send.

Abstraction V9. Photo Giulia Paoletti

The day after I came back In Black velvet canyon where I finished the line of "wet dream" V12. After the pumpy sending I rested a bit and I understood still once again how strange is bouldering. I put the pad to try the right version, which is graded easier, just curious to try the different moves of the bottom. The first part went pretty well and I reached the end where from a slopy good rail you have to lock the finger in a crack (same moves of the original version). I tried 5 or 6 times and I wasn't anymore able to lock them. I was with the same hands, same feet but maybe, coming from the right, my position was just a bit off by the correct one and I went down. I became crazy and at the same time happy to see every time how the bouldering requires precision, technique with the right balancing of strength and body positions in the correct moment. A detailed difference can do a big change from sending a problem or failing it more and more, attempts after attempts just for a question of millimeters. it is hard and funny at the same moment.
In the afternoon I tried a possible left start version, that would have joined into "wet dream" adding three more moves. The start might be not perfectly logical, but the moves and the rock of the first rail are awesome, so I felt motivated to try. I linked the first problem discovering the beta and I started to be positive. After a long rest I gave a try and I failed at the end, tired, pumpy and a bit nervous. I was too tired to try it once more, since it would have been too physical for the few energies I had. So I did "red dragon" V6 and then I got back home to eat.

On Wednesday we planned to go to check the super classic “stand and deliver” V9/V10, at the top of a canyon called Juniper. I knew the hiking would have been really long, but I didn’t aspect such a tiring path. We took one hour and 10 minutes to reach this problem but the walking worth a lot for this gem that isn’t so hard but it has a high quality rock. The flash attempt was ridiculous as usual and I was at the top on my second go. While doing its mantle , every kind of doubt about the hiking vanished. In the evening we had still a bit of time to check “Siren’s call” V11 in Pine creek canyon since it was on the way of the return. The day was closed successfully, taking the ascent of this little boulder with super essential moves.

I needed a rest. My plans were to go back on Meadowlark but I would have liked to be totally new to try it seriously, so we took two full days off. They worked well and they gave me a full charge of energy that were really helpful on the sessions on Meadowlark on Saturday.
After that my skin wasn’t good, but I felt that I would have had to attempt one more day the left version of “wet dream” in Black velvet canyon. Also this one has been put up by Ethan Pringle, who got free some good lines out of Vegas. The first part of the problem went well as usual but I still had troubles on the crack lock at the end. I wasn’t able to understand the reason of this issue. Every time the lock went well but from the previous day I wasn’t any more capable of using that strange hold. It was frustrating. Moreover I knew it was the last day in the desert and my skin started to be bad. I knew that If I would have climbed it I would have had just few more goes. Giulia kindly pushed me to feel more times the problematic crack, and I fall every time. I tried to lock the fingers, I got up the foot and I went out. After many goes I finally understood a different and better position, probably the first used in the first day, when the lock was perfect. It was just a small difference, almost imperceptible that at the end made a huge improvement. I did the single move and I got a long rest. Some girls were trying “wet dream” and I looked at them really impressed. The line is totally physical and they were able to do many moves on this “male” overhanging. It was nice to see their motivation. The rest finished and I finally reached the top of this left version. I was happy to have understood my problems about that hold.

The days was at the end. I didn’t want to leave this area and a bit of melancholy grew up. I climbed the last easy ascent of “Natasha’s highball” and then I called it the day.

Now we are in Bishop and the rock is totally different. Sharp granite, painful edges and bad holds. I hope to get more positive feeling in the next weeks of climbing in this area.

The life in Black Velvet Canyon

Nocturnal Emissions V13/Wet Dream V12. Photo Giulia Paoletti
Nocturnal Emissions V13. Photo Giulia Paoletti

domenica 26 gennaio 2014

Meadowlark Lemon

The first time I saw a picture of "Meadowlark lemon" (red rocks) was I guess two years ago, when the news about Paul Robinson's first ascent came out. I still remember I was impressed by its looking: at least from the pictures it apperead amazing ans it suddenly tickled my interest. I didn't know when, where, how or with who I could have gone to US for the first time, but I was sure that in the future I would have checked that line. The opinion by the first repeatitors was excellent, and It quickly became a world class bouldering problem.

My first trip to US was organized months ago and Red rocks wasn't casually the first part of my trip. The place is amazing, as I said, with a lot of stuff to do, but my pricipal goal was the problem that lead me to check Southern Nevada i.e. Meadowlark.

Last week, after two years of waiting, I was finally able to see it and touch it. The true looking is better than every photos and my eyes sparkled the first day I saw it. The first session went pretty good for the stand start, but not for the link of both sequences. The problem regarded the technique, since from the bottom I reached the crux point a bit more tired and my hand where not in the same exact position that they should have had. The second session had negative feelings too. I climbed well the first part, but the body didn't answer where I need a surgical precision for my hands to be in the right angle to go up. It drove me crazy and I started to think it would have been too hard for my possibilities.

My beta develops in some tricky moves. Once I had the upper left sloper I had to move with the right hand into the slopy gaston, keep the right toe hook solid enough to get up the left foot. After this, I had to take with the left hand the askew undercling below my hip (used for the first part), put my right foot on a small edge, bring back my left foot in an high foot hold and get up my right one close to the left hand for match the hands in the gaston. This turn of feet and hands was crazy and I usually missed the foot moves.

I did other attempts. Every time it went worse. I slowly felt that I should have quitted this goal and postponed it to another visit with maybe more experience. The more I tried, the more I failed. I was dissapointed. I thought about the hours of flight, the training I did for this, the dream I had for this and I felt a bit beaten.

I took a final decision. I opted to don't try it anymore until the end of my stay in Red Rocks. My aim was to climb as much as I could on other problems, in order to take confidence with this sandstone and to have the better skin  to try it in a better way.

I took two days of rest at the end of the week and today was the unique good change I would have had. After the morning in Red spring sector, we moved in the kraft parking. We walked and I was a bit tense. Fortunately I was more relaxed than the second time. I went  under Meadwolark and it looked great as always. I felt more positive. I took with me an old Jet7, it saved me many times in some toe hooks problems. I tried and I felt the crux going better. I gave a try from the bottom and  I miserably failed once more at the same point. I reached the crux point tired, with the hands in a bad positition. Moreover, the only thing  I rested for, i.e. the skin, was terrible. I felt everything slip off from my hands. I got nervous and I became negative again. This boulder was frustrating and I started to be tired to have any good attempt.

I rested and Giulia went to walk around let me alone with my troubles. I was alone in the pink canyon, in company of some usual tourists that pass close to the boulder. I arranged a bit the first part, changing a bit the foot beta. The little modify gave me the possibility to reach faster and more precisely the crux. It started to work a bit but again my skin became full of water after two holds. I understood I should have let them freeze a bit before the attempts and dry them before start.
I reached the crux. I did the feet turn and I fall matching the hands, the last hard move. I said WOW, I could do it. Maybe not today but I started to see some progresses.

Second attempt with the cold hands: I reached the crux, I did perfectly the foot work. I was grabbing the hold with the other hand and I was solid as I never was before, but my right hand slipped really fast and It crushed me on the pads. It burnt a lot. I felt again out of this game, at least for that day. I put my normal shoes and I went to check another problem just above this, resting my body. In my mind the planning were already to come back on Monday, before leaving, to give the last effort. I went back to the problem and Giulia too. I rested more then I started again. Everything went perfectly until the same point. I put my feet well, I felt my skin good despite the previuos accident, I macthed the hold and I still was on it. I tried to stay quite, I knew it was almost over. I got up on my feet, stretching on the good right crimp. From there the possibilities to fall are low, but I remained focused. I took the last slopy pinch and I grabbed the lip with the right hand. I was at the top. What an incredible moment for me. The emotions started to grove high and I was fucking happy. My biggest desire of Red rocks went down and I couldn't believe. I remained on the top for few minutes than I went down to take some photos and remove for the last time the tickmarks on this awesome piece of rock. Meadowlark Lemon was done.

The boulder Is one of the most impressive I have ever seen and it is for sure at the top of the high quality lines I sent. I felt to say hats off to Paul Robinson to have put this stunning line, it is defenitely a materpiece of bouldering. I also had to say that I used a different beta from him, Since the new ways are easier. I just tried a bit with the sequence he used and I quickly understood how much harder it would have been.

Meadowlark Lemon V14, Red Rocks. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Meadowlark Lemon V14, Red Rocks. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Meadowlark Lemon V14, Red Rocks. Photo Giulia Paoletti

domenica 19 gennaio 2014

Red Rocks - First week of bouldering out of Vegas

Some months ago, Giulia and I spoke about going to US once her studies would have been over. After many thoughts, indecisions, programs and others we booked the flight in September and now the waiting is finished.

We are currently in the US and after many years of desire I can finally walk in one of the most famous country for bouldering. The trip will last 6 weeks, splitted in two part with the first halt in Red Rocks, the desert out of Las Vegas. The first week of bouldering is basically done gone and we enjoyed a lot around those canyons that require a lot of hiking but can offer an amazing sandstone. The sandstone is the first aspect that I would like to write about. I thought it would have been really nice but not perfect as it truly is. In some sectors we went to, like Gateway canyon, Black Velvet Canyon, Oak creek, the rock is a perfect high quality sandstone with stunning colors, shapes, holds and aspect. The rock in the most known area (Kraft boulder) is good, but not as cool as in the previous spots. This is my small rock analysis of the first days and some photos from Gateway canyon.

The first day was dedicated to rest after the long flight, to rent a car, to go to the market, to arrange our stuff in the room, to buy the pads, to buy a guide book and then, at the twilight, we found a moment to check the climbing place. We took the road to get out of the city and the contrast is really impressive. From a wide road, lot of cars, crowd of houses you pass directly in a smaller road, with less means and an endless desert around. The first impact was incredible for us. We parked in Kraft parking and we started to walk around, despite the daylight was leaving us. The motivation was extremely high. We checked the first boulders and everything seemed really nice like the pockets of "clockwork orange", the classic "angel Dyno" and other lines close to each other. The dark came and we went back there the following morning.

At half past four in the morning we were awake. We had the breakfast soon and at 8 we were at Kraft again. During the day I didn't care about any goals, I just tried to climb as much as I could and to enjoy the first day. I did a bunch of good lines from V1 to V8, climbed the stunning arête of "Fear of a black hat" V10, "Progressive guy" V9, "Center" V9 and "Redirection" V11/V12. The day after I was still tired, but we went to Black velvet, where a couple of problems looked really inviting from the photos. The true aspect of them is great. We checked "Atlas Shrugged", "Wet dream" and "Abadon" and I was totally dazzled by the rock they have. They have awesome features like yellow/brown sand stone, high develop, pure aspect and good moves. After a quick warm up I did "the fountainehead" V9, the upper part of Atlas and then I started to work the full line. The line presents spectacular pinches, slopers to squeeze, triangle holds, slopy edges and a tricky mantle which could be 6a but it rejected me twice when I came from the start. After many fights I decided to quit, leaving it for the days after. Falling at the top of a physical boulder of 12 moves is really tiring for me, so I opted to keep energy. I moved to "Wet dream" V12 where I failed at the end and to "Abadon" V12, where my body started to feel a big fatigue. I decided to go to take some photos to "the Fountainehead" and then going back home. During the shooting I felt good again, tired, but in a good feeling with the boulder. The positive sensation went up in all my body and I decided to try it from the bottom. I reached the mantle and I knew about my troubles of the morning. The foot stayed well and the top out went over with success. I was happy to have climbed "Atlas Shrugged", and its quality is at the top of the boulders I have send so far.

Atlas Shrugged V12. Photo Giulia Paoletti

The day after I rest and on Wed I decided it was time to check my principal goal of the trip i.e. "Meadowlark lemon". The first pictures I saw about this was years ago, when Paul Robinson did the FA. The hiking is long, but flat and after the walking we arrived under this marvelous problems. Many climbers know its beauty, so I don't lose time to describe a perfect boulder like this. The sector where it is situated is really nice too: a really tight canyon of red/pink/white sandstone smoothed by the water that make this scenery incredible. The stand started looked immediately possible but it was deceiving me. The crux was resolved with a too aleatory beta so I had to change my way. it took to me more than one hour and then I found a possible beta that worked well for the crux and allowed me to be at the top. At least of the stand version. The first part from the bottom was resolved on my first go until arriving at the crux of the upper version. I felt good, but bad at the same time. The movements are not so hard, but the crux move is really technical for me and I should have everything at the right place to attempt it. The moves from the sit gave me sufficient fatigue to be not perfect at the crux. The body position is not the same as well as the position of my hands. They are on the right holds, but with a little different angle that put me out of the right body setting to do the middle sequence. I got edgy after some work on it and then I decided to quit. After that I climbed "Americana exotica" V10 and "Book of nightmare" V11, a cool prow to squeeze until the top.

The day after I rested again and we went to check two other sectors. The first is called “Oak Creek canyon”. I was curious to see the new line named “Clogging the feed”, situated on the bank of an old small river. The walking was long and under the sun but the line is really worthy. It is a huge sandstone ball with a perfect quality rock and cool color. Even this time I was impressed by another top quality line that I would like to attempt before leaving. In the afternoon we came back to the parking and we went to check “Trieste”, a new V14 put up by Paul Robinson located in the canyon after Oak Creek. The checking day was over and we got home with the legs destroyed.

Now we have 8 more days here in Vegas and then we will move to Bishop for granite climbing. My next goals would be to dedicate more time to “Meadowlark lemon”, to try “Clogging the feed” and to check out other lines in those deep and shady sandstone canyons.

Meadowlark lemon stand V12. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Book of nightmares V11. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Americana Exotica V10. Photo Giulia Paoletti