Last weekend found me volunteering at the Idaho Mountain Festival in Castle Rocks, ID. Lots of driving, loads of new faces, serving breakfasts for over 200 hungry climbers, and a city of granite mounds and boulders. I love Bend, and the weather is perfect right now, but it was refreshing to get out of town for a weekend and see some new terrain. And it felt so good to climb on granite again! This was my first trip to the City, and it was certainly impressive, not to mention beautiful. The area shines in its moderate trad and mixed routes, but there is plenty to do for everybody. The bouldering around Castle Rock really clicked with me and has me excited for a return visit next year. What a fun event! I recommend it friends. Check it out next fall!
Get it while it’s hot!
PHOTO: Eric WIlliamson
After a unnerving evening and morning of cold wind and rain, the weather cleared up, the rock dried out, and the climbing began! We made it out for a really fun bouldering session in the Castle Rock area on Friday afternoon. There isn’t a ton of developed bouldering around the area, but the quality is incredible. The Green Wall might be one of the coolest boulders in the country. After some fun and goofy warm-ups near the Taco Cave, we made it up to this majestic wall and worked on an incredible V9 link-up that is now one of my all-time favorite boulder problems. Ryan came through with a send out of left field, and Jesse and I were able to put it together on a return visit Sunday morning. I was pretty stoked to finish that one before the drive home.
Jesse on the crux of the V9.
On Saturday we all decided to take it easy and check out some of the classic moderates in the City. I mostly stuck to easy stuff, but I did end up trying this gnarly .12a that caught my eye. I’ve done quite a few 5.12’s at this point in a variety of styles, but old-school routes like this one still feel pretty humbling. The route climbed this near vertical scoop before easier cimbing up a headwall, and reminded me (harshly) just how technical granite can be. The crux features small directional holds, and TERRIBLE feet. Most people think Smith is technical, but climbing on the tiny knobs and edges at Smith seems pretty straight forward compared to the featureless friction climbing I encountered on this climb. Needless to say it did not succeed on it, and have very little desire to go back and try it ever again. Not when the Green Wall and Taco Cave are only 3 miles away!
Driving to the City.
Me on an old-school (hard) .12a at the City.
PHOTO: Scott Strong
PHOTO: Eric Williamson
Ryan peak baggin’! Can you find him?
So much rock…
We got back from the City just in time for a rodeo clipping competition that might have provided the funniest moments of the entire trip. The first round of ‘how many x’s can you clip from in a minute’ resulted in a show-down between Eric and I, basically ensuring that one of us was about to walk away with a new rope and bragging rights. It was a close battle, but in the end Eric scrapped the win with an impressive 6 clips in 2 minutes. Not bad for a guy who hardly ever sport climbs!
#6 for the win!
Sunday found us back at the Green Wall for a rad session with the Asana crew. Jesse and I both sent our project, Eric and Jesse both made an impressive flash of the V7 on the Green Wall, we got to see Paul Robinson try and incredible line called ‘Green in the Face’ V13, and ended on an inspiring note with Beau Stuart crushing a crazy dyno problem called ‘Golden Chandelier’ V10. Such a fun session! It almost made the 10-hour drive home feel less horrible…
Blurry send photo! Beau Stuart on ‘Golden Chandelier’ V10
Once again, this was a really fun event, and I hope to go again next year. I recommend it!
For more info: http://www.idahomountainfest.com/
Lastly, in case you missed it, I posted a couple videos of The Super Proj on my videos page here. Enjoy!