battles on multiple fronts, some lost and some won

Over the January 15-17 weekend, we again visited GTR. This time we went to the area around the Knuckleball boulder and the north end of the Lechlinski crack formation. Late afternoon on the 15th, Jill and I walked up to the Battle boulder (new and sits below and on walk up to the Gunwale), just above and slightly east of Knuckleball. Sidenote: Blood Orange and Orange Marmalade are two new problems done just east of the Gunwale with OM referenced as a project at that time.

jill looking for another intermediate, but we both opted to go long to the left crack, left and barely visible, running parallel with her left hand

This bulge is visible but not obvious from the desert floor, yet it faces SSE. It’s excellent patina with only the start pinches being grainy. Here is another day we warmed up on the target line. By night’s end, I had sent Battle of the Bulge, aptly named for the technical nature of working around “the bulge.” Exiting the start roof felt like I was holding up an atlas (almost called it Atlas Shrugged) while the line’s exit moves felt more like the rock was in my way, a heavy UGH.

about to hang that right hand and then toe jam the start hold

But once we unlocked the beta, it was actually a nice set of moves and punchy. At maybe v6 or 7, I could be way off since we warmed up on it. It was my last attempt to send Battle of the Bulge and Jill’s second to last attempt, and I felt maxed out trying to get my feet up on the chalked shelf. Here are some more images of it:

rob setting up for the final sequence...

from here she'll reach for a slopey crack left of the frame

about to stick it...

what not to do; vulcan don't work here

We don’t have any shots of the upper section since we both opted for a spot. We ended the night here with the intent to return sunday. Saturday was a rest day. On Sunday, we returned to the same place, but the Bulge was in the sun, so we headed a bit south for shade. While on the way, we did a few short and sweet lines, some of which could very well have been done. This one below sits among a few boulders between the Knuckleball boulder and the Lecklinski cracks formation

JIll on a short line on the north side of a boulder sitting between Knuckleball and the the Lecklinski cracks formation.

Around to the left is a long and low face with large cracks that had chalk on them. Enough said. 😉 To the right is a low face with a crack and slab… doesn’t sound too appealing, eh? Actually, it’s quite fun and worthy, or so we thought.

here, jon is exiting to the right to do the cool slab exit while I "inspect" from above

This image doesn’t do the problem justice, but you can sorta see either this right exit onto the slab following that sidepull or trend left and up and exit along the flake/undercling as it follows the shadow left of him (click on the image and you can see the dark path of the crack; all of us continued underclinging thinking we should/could just stand up, but didn’t and it made all the difference). Both start as sit starts on an obvious thin flake that feels like you might keep it if you pulled up! Jon did the left having the insight to see the line that we just waltzed past, Line Dance, v1, allowing me to see the right line, Line Hustle, v1.

Note: Before I forget, if your dog has a low brain mass and high pain tolerance, this might happen:

Here, jon's mom's dog decided to shortcut a corner and collect some cholla thorns

I unsympathetically shot images as Jon tried to remove two large chunks from his back hand from when he tried to “help” Perla. Since the thorns are barbed, any contact with surfaces that can get punctured just transfers the cholla to that surface. She really didn’t seem to mind… It’s like the ultimate velcro! NOTE: park service requirements limit dogs to 100 feet within any road or parking area, dirt or paved. Since the problems are all along GTR, and I don’t take a tape measure, we treated it as “along the road.” Rangers will ticket you, so be aware. Back to climbing…

These next problems are just a bit closer to the Lechlinski crack formation and maybe 50 feet right of the flake and slab problem two images above:

starting to mantel

mid mantel

relieved to "reach" the top!

we didn't do this arete as it was a bit sunny and greasy

I’m sure this arete’s been done, but it seems pretty cool. We bailed as our tips were getting thinned. I’m sure both the face, and the arete on its right have been done. The left arete is a different story, but few holds. 🙂 Around  the few boulders that make for a mini formation just north of the Lechlinski crack formation are a few more boulders that we went to on the way to a stellar couple of lines. We gave up on anything else at the above boulders cause a swarm of bees started to get agitated! Perla????? What the #@$k did you do, Perla???? Actually, we’ve all observed that these bees are VERY determined to hang out with us and NOT leave. They will land on you if you don’t move. We’ve had them follow us for awhile and were a bit worried if they have been africanized. We aren’t so much paranoid, but there is simply no place to go out here. Really, zero options if they are of the kind and they decide to swarm. We’ll check in with the park service as this is a bit important, and report back. If anyone knows more, please feel free to comment or drop me a line at

this was enough to move our ars' elsewhere.

this is the start and it's short

reaching the top, here Jon is forcing it to go as high up as possible, as I just reached to the arete earlier, Cracked Face, v2, so so fall.

The arete on the right edge should go and is probably double digit. Very nice rock with a bit of grain on the upper section.

this is an overview showing several lines and projects.

This image above shows Rob on a tall but easy crack (maybe 25 feet) that’s simply wonderful called The Strut. It’s probably been done for sure, vB. The left boulder has a blunt arete (facing camera, Coyote Ugly, v0) that Jill did, and to that left is a sloping rail, Coyote Clean, v4, to reach the same topout. The right arete that almost touches the boulder to its right is also very good with a hard start move off the ground (Coyote Cute, v3). Jumping makes it easier. 😉 On the right boulder is a discontinuous crack project of super proportions. That overhang on the far right looks like a shorter version of Matt Birch’s Somewhere in Time.

Jill doing the FA on Coyote Ugly. it starts left hand shoulder high on a big edge left of the flake and right low on that visible flake

Here Jon is doing Coyote Clean, v4

about to exit Coyote Clean

Jon is attempting an early exit to the arete.

This crack/face is so nice! Either this low exit to that crack he’s reaching for or going higher and trying to reach the arete are both quite hard. The fall is ok as long as someone is spotting off that boulder where the pad is sitting.

Here, Jon is setting up off the last good part of the diminishing crack... he then has to toe jam and reach huge to the arete and around it to a seam edge.


~ by r. mulligan on 2011/02/15.

2 Responses to “battles on multiple fronts, some lost and some won”

  1. Yay!!! I just noticed that you are finally updating the blog again. It looks like you guys are having a lot of fun and I miss everyone. You guys should come up for some spring bouldering in Yosemite sometime soon 🙂

    • the big ditch would be fun to revisit. 😉 miss you all too. there’s some stuff we haven’t posted on yet but are really nice! stay tuned.

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