High Heeled Sneakers
We recently bouldered at Cap Rock and Ryan Campground, enjoying, for myself, a return to problems past. At the time, I was confident I’d climbed High Heeled Sneakers, but the more I came closer to sending, I became less confident. The bottom is very memorable, but the top wasn’t. According Mountain Project, here, it was put up by Bachar in 1981. It’s rated v5. I’ll get to the rating in a bit. The line is very good; the stone, either solid or fractured. I say fractured because a few of the thin edges at the top appear friable, but weren’t. That, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t, just that they “didn’t” when I climbed it, meaning break.
As I mentioned in the cutline, the first time I chose that beta, it worked. I tried finding something else maybe 4-5 times hoping to find another sequence to no avail.
And here is the reachy part, but there is another good foot edge at my right knee:
The v3 to the right, just right of the right arete/skyline, is really good. It’s about the same height with a short slab section at the top.
So, regarding the rating of HHS, I felt it was solid for the grade. Harder?? Not sure. Regardless, if you put it into perspective with other v4′s, v5′s and v6′s, something doesn’t fit. Take for instance Newton’s Law. In the previous RTM guide it’s rated v4, something I agree with. In his second edition, it’s v5. HHS is easily one grade harder. Take Jerry’s Kids, v4, also at Planet X. It’s harder than Newton’s law, but it may not be as hard as this. I’d have to climb HHS again to better assess it. If you compared it with JBMFP or LHMFP, v5 and v4, respectively, HHS feels about right at v5. Compared to Planet X, at v6, I’d say PX is actually more comparable to JBMFP, just my sense. And compared to Kingpin/Iron Meteorite, v5, ditto. Now put it up against Alexandria, v6… Alexandria feels like a solid 4 if HHS is a 5. Last but not least is the line I did that’s right of Bittersweet, v9, Hidden Valley campground. I originally rated it v7 then Matt Birch climbed it and thought it was v4 for a UK route. Ouch!!! If it’s v5, v4 seems just too harsh, then HHS feels right at 5. I think the problem is with Alexandria and Newton’s Law.
I’ve added a link on the lower right (blog roll) to the socal section of the West Coast Bouldering forum. It’s a wonderful place to find solace and inner peace. You can talk to yourself, practice talking to others that aren’t really there, and occasionally talk to Mike Brady. He’s lonely, so head over and say something. Or not.
Update: the 2nd edition of RTM’s guide says HHS is 14 feet. It also says the problem behind it (can’t remember the name but here is a picture) is 12 feet.