roadside geology tour revisited

Sometimes some of the nicest lines reside just off the road in plain sight. Othertimes preset notions perpetuate their mystery. This time, we decided to look again…

We parked down the south end of GTR (Geology Tour Road) at the S curve wondering what to do, go west to the M and M2 crag or…? To the east, we saw a left trending seam with virtually no features above or below, but the foot slope below and the tapering topout just looks doable. Talk about body tension. If and when it goes, it would be an outstanding line, but at its base lies the element to thwart those who seek a send: part of the underside of the boulder has broken away leaving about 1 foot extending out from the base and sitting curved up about 2 feet off the ground.

That would be on saturday; meanwhile, at sunset Friday, we warmed up at the Tour boulders for the umpteenth time and headed over to a face just left, or south, about 40 meters. It has an angling seem through it’s mid section about midway. I started on the right stemmed between boulders in the fall line until I reached an incut section of the crack. (A quasi-sit start is very doable and would be hard, easily adding 3 moves with intermediates.) The topout is a long reach to a nipply intrusion at the crest of the boulder, right side. A short person could do it, but he/she would have to walk up the rising crack and somehow highstep to an intrusion about 2 feet higher, without hands! My left hand is on that higher intrusion in the pic below.

A Nipple Too Far, v1.

just past the start…

Another option is to traverse the boulder to the far left then head up; landing is not very appealing. After trying the quasi-sit, we got sidetracked by bats flying overhead. Jill’s ultrasound recorder was picking up a fair number of free-tailed bats. More on that later. (I’m trying to coax her into doing a blog post for you all!) Needless to say, we ended up following them on Jill’s advice, and discovered their roost: A fat and large flake maybe 10 feet up on a boulder face completely isolated from rodents. The night’s remainder found ourselves consumed by their presence. 🙂

Saturday started out slow spending a fair amount of time perusing more flowers and fauna. We finally needed to get the show started and headed over to that thin seem I mentioned. Nearby, was an “easy” crack and a daunting face that traverses over another boulder sitting at its base.  After my first attempt on this crack, I realized warming up on it was going to take some focus (first picture). Darting around us were two mid teen girls whose parents had let loose on the boulders. Cordial, they stayed away psyched on scrambling around as their parents stayed close to their vehicle. We passed the setting sun working and cleaning the face right of the crack. It’s thin and crazy looking.

going for it not knowing if I can rock over far enough to move my left hand up.

Alas, I have the confidence. That pad is NOT in the LZ. I called it Teenage Wasteland, v0.

line starts at my left hand and moves right and up the face over the pad.

The above image shows the improbable looking face. It should go, but for one move up from my right hand. The upper edges and such are workable because of the feet. Time will tell. If it gets sent, I want to call it after 2 spiders that came waltzing down the face. One was big and the other small, but both were the same. Does anyone know what kind of spider this is? For now I’ll refer to it as the spider face. 😉

Any ideas? You name the spider you name the face. 😉

So, on to more problems. Maybe 20 meters away sits another boulder with multiple slab faces. On the outer face, away from the formation and perpendicular to the road, is a real cool slab. The start’s the crux, but it remains consistent. All these problems that we tried or did could very well have been done already. They’re right off the road just in from a classic problem called Special K crack. If you go to page 206 in Robert’s bouldering guide, the grayed area called the Human Sacrifice Cove is shown as a rectangle. That bottom left corner pretty much points to this area. If anyone knows of these problems, I’d be psyched to know if they have been done and what they’re called.

unnamed. maybe v1 or 2. way cool.

Jill about to make the the last move to something substantial. For now I’ll call it the Triangle slab.

Next, we ventured into a group of boulders that’s seen enough traffic (tourist that is) to impress a trail through dead or living bushes.  Jon and I had scoured these boulders before but apparently with only 1 eye open. Starting from the aforementioned Triangle slab, we went east then into the formation. I can’t really place the boulder since it sits among quite a few very large boulders. In this mess there’s quite a few stellar lines, all with irregular falls. The ones we went to had some chalk but not continuously through the problem. One, a steep crack/sloper traverse had only one spot chalked; regardless, it’s so fine!

the rock is like dark red porcelain. Fricken sweet!

Update: Cracked Porcelain was already done by Damon Corso, calling it The Blue Pill.

For now we’re calling it Cracked Porcelain, v3 or 4, but I’m sure it’s been done. It starts at the leftmost point where the wide crack constricts to almost nothing. Below this are maybe 2 very small inset crimps then the crack turns south and peters out. At the right end, once I turn the lip, the crack becomes a ramp that continues for another almost 20 feet to the top. I chose to exit early and climb a short face.

exiting the “plank” that Jill had to walk because my sequence was WAY reachy. The fall is bad.

The “plank” is easy, but unnerving since it was dark and mysterious.

JIll mid-crux.

an early attempt

reaching the corner (the headlamp marks a spot of a sweet dish hold. She bumped off it to the corner.

Next up is a hueco that at first reminded us of the cellular action, mitosis, well, recalled by Jill while I was busy staring at a pyramid of bird feces. Funny, we avoided it without a hitch, so it remains. There are two distinct lines, but one is unconventional in that it goes sideways for the crux off a horrible sloper. The other is straight up to a bad intermediate sloper then onto a rail of slopes and finally an incut at the left end.

There aren’t a lot of holds. It’s pretty straight forward but a real body fest to manage getting to the crux. We worked them until it seemed like we had a good idea of what to do including some cleaning on two holds. I, personally speaking, was tired. I’m pysched to go back ASAP. The rest of it is pretty solid. We tentatively are calling the left Aegolius and the up Acadicus. The twin huecos look like an owl too. I’m super pysched on these lines.

left foot is on the start hold.

gettin’ into the business end. undercling is good but not positive. 😉

Sorry, the images are a bit soft.

the left exit is beyond the left edge of the frame.

I’ve got a fair amount of days off next week due to the nature of my work, so stay tuned . . .

~ by r. mulligan on 2010/05/13.

One Response to “roadside geology tour revisited”

  1. cracked procelain looks amazing!

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