in the beginning… park entrance area problems

recently, we hiked out to the Lonely Stones 1 (behind the formation on left at right turn after entering nw entrance) to try a few lines that looked very good. short, yes, but rock quality spurred us on to visit. at the Dream Sequence boulder, there are really only a few good steep lines. others are of the more typical off angle technical problems on poor holds. not that these aren’t worth it, but it was an afternoon set, and with limited time, we went for the steepness.

here is the first steep problem called Unnamed (1 star), it’s the left most problem on the overhanging side at v1. the problem we had with it was what constitutes the start. we started matched off a thin crimp that made the first move feel quite hard. it’s one move, so be warmed up if you’re not a crimping machine.

we started matched at the left hand

we started matched at the left hand

the next issue we had is the traverse going right along that lip in the above photo. it’s called Unknown, v4 (1 star).

as you can see, it's got many holds, ticked and unticked. where do you exit?

as you can see, it’s got many holds, ticked and unticked. where do you exit?

this problem is just contrived. see those tick marks, we avoided them and stayed on the lip then exited according to the guidebook (gB), at the end matched past where Jill’s right hand is. basically, we forced it to be v4; otherwise if we followed the holds, it’d be v2 and would exit further left. also, we had to avoid the obvious ticked holds to make it feel like a 4. even then it felt more like a 3. this next problem is the gem of the area called Dream Sequence, v6 (3 stars!!!).

after the first move to the notch, Dream Sequence, v6??

the start?? Dream Sequence, v6??

gB states:

“Yabo start at the base of a corner and an arete on really nice brown rock. Compress the block up and left to a large sloping dish above the roof. Finish up the buttress above. 13 ft tall.”

do we start on the crimp below the hand just above the right knee? do we avoid that notch to go up? what you can’t see is that on the left is a mini arete/sidepull that ends about 4 feet up where a nice angled sidepull resides. Jill has her left hand on an arbitrary spot low on that mini arete/sidepull. we thought of avoiding that notch and the attendant sloping arete above, but it seemed unusually hard. her left hand seems to be the “base of a corner” and the right hand seems to be the “arete.”

from this position, the natural line stays on that right arete above the notch, so much so, that we both sent the line to the gB stated finish, feeling it was v4. hmmm. unfortunately, the natural line moves in the direction of what the gB calls the Dream Sequence Direct, v5 (2 stars). funny how the contrived v6 gets 3 stars. we found no matter what exit, it was v4, so we went looking for the mysterious v6.

found it. from that start position, we first bumped right hand up to a good angled crimp (visible down and right of the white marks) then dynoed big up left to that angled sidepull i mentioned at the top of the mini arete/sidepull (visible in the second image under Jill on the overhang with barely some chalk). this felt more like v5. the key to why we downgraded the line is that along that sloping arete above the right hand are several holds that allows one to follow them up and left to a point where finishing on the v6 or v5 direct are both doable.

after the first move to the sidepull crimp, jill makes a big move to the slightly chalked crimp in the upper left of this photo

after the first move to the sidepull crimp, jill makes a big move to the slightly chalked crimp in the upper left of this photo

the truth is the true natural line is to exit right after the first move. both DS and DS Direct are contrived and overrated. stars are because it’s really good rock. we felt like we were in a climbing gym. seriously. this is one of my main arguments AGAINST de-prioritizing the quality of the line in favor of rock quality, or more specifically, one type of good rock quality.

i added a v2 sit to a right line called the E Corner, .9. I matched on the sloping shelf at the notch and went straight up. this we both found was the cleanest quality line on the boulder beside doing DS and going up and right. the gB, in short, is not questioning the validity or quality of these lines and becomes complicit in their contrivance.

my biggest gripe with the guidebook is that even though it tries to explain starts, it still embodies the old school approach to just letting the visitor figure it out for themselves. it’s an adventure-style approach most clearly emblematic of the old trad guidebooks of yore (here). even more frustrating is that because it does try but fails to be precise, it leaves one in a rather ambiguous position of caring only to the point of getting frustrated then not caring and doing whatever. at that point it pretty much defeats the purpose of having ratings and a name. chances are, with climbs like these and others similar, the end result is to not care about the FA principle. this is more clearly seen in discussions about hard problems that have issues with what constitutes a repeat of a given established problem, ie. the Mandala (the link is to a search on the Will’s blog site, his background info pretty much sums it up). there is a reason to be definitive about what constitutes an FA if one is interested in repeating the FA. if not, of course it shouldn’t matter. there is also the First Man (Person) Theory of sending problems! this concept posited by my friend Rob Guinn says that if you were the first person to ever try the problem, what would you do? a big question, indeed. based on the Most Natural Line Theory, the Logical Start Theory, and the True Exit Theory, you will climb the line in a most contented way. in the long run, this will produce FA’s more akin to what’s most rational, and then gB’s can begin to clearly stipulate the natural line and it’s attendant variants and contravities (sic). but gB’s all follow their own personal views on this. that’s fine, of course, but the reader/user should be aware that what the gB says is just the authors view of what is best, not what is most rational. ugh. i’ll stop with this craziness for now. FMpT!!!!!

Update: Here is a video of me on Dream Sequence Direct:

Jill and I both used the same holds, just different sequences, and we both thought it went at 4. the gB shows two different lines, so as I stated above, the 6 is just an eliminit making a big move after the first sidepull and avoiding the sequence along the obvious arete. and here is the v2 that starts on the right at the sloping ledge:

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~ by r. mulligan on 2013/03/29.

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