‘New’ problems east of Psyche

Just prior to our trip to Fontainebleau, earlier this year, we decided to check out boulders we’d seen a couple years ago. It was as I remembered but with limited potential. The one good thing we didn’t forget was the quality of the stone. It’s excellent and not like the typical course grain slopers of Hidden Valley campground and environs. And it’s not the same rock just without the slopers, its surface is almost entirely patina-like but also well formed edges and corners that aren’t the product of an obvious fracture. Fragments broke, but it exposed good stone as well.

Mousetrap, v0

It’s a plateau about 25 meters or so above a dry creek bed, the same wash that one walks up after leaving Psyche towards the Rosetta Stone. It’s just downstream, further east (away from Psyche) as the creek bed arcs away from the road. It’s where it almost parallels the road and before it begins to cascade further towards the road. At this eastern point, west of the Pinto Wye (intersection to go to Belle campground), the creek bed opens wide. Just west of the Wye is a northside turnout.  From this turnout, travelling north, one passes a short northbound creekbed that empties into that wide wash. Follow the wash. The boulders are visible from the road. This area is at the edge of the wilderness boundary for Queen Mountain.

The 2nd (Wolverine) Edition labels this area as “gun club.” Why? Did someone start putting problems up here and called it that… but why then isn’t it listed in the latest gB that came out this year? Also, this gB calls out Miner Ruins (John’s Camp, USGS topo), so that makes us think “Gun Club” refers to a historic feature. If we knew why, we’d be happy to use that term; otherwise, we’d prefer a different reference based on our personal experience. For now we’ll call it Bug Hill.

I put in quotes the word New because we found a steel wire brush left at the main wall. If anyone has done these, I’d appreciate it if you let me know with the names and grades, or whatever you chose. Some of the lines had hard but brittle flakes that broke off, so I’m pretty sure these weren’t climbed. When a bit breaks off, it exposed good stone but an obvious scar.

We went ahead and climbed everything we could given our diminishing opportunity, facing inevitable heat. So after returning from Font, we trekked out. The lines are really good. Only one is actually tall and not that tall either, maybe 18+ feet. And it’s the easiest with a stellar finish move to make it feel very worthwhile. No really, I mean it. When you commit to the last move, you actually turn your back to the right with stone pillar, 4 feet tall, almost right under you and a slanting wide slab buttress behind it. But the move is relatively easy, just mental. (see above)

This shot shows the crack and the crux at the start, an awkward or barndoor corner.

This tall problem is the farthest uphill we climbed. In the photo, Jill is below and left of a huge flat ledge. A perfect rest stop before committing.

From this corner crack , and there is problem that climbs the face just left of the crack, the next boulder is downhill and to the left when looking downhill. Lower and to the right is another boulder with a steep slab crimp line. But the near boulder has a west facing overhang to a south facing steep slab, easily seen from the tall corner. These lines are the most contrived in that we found it worthwhile to not use the uphill side of the boulder because this west face is subdivided into roughly parallel sections or slices of the boulder, and the uphill section is like a big pedestal to stand on. The starts are obvious in that they all begin at the downhill and lowest corner. The best line is straight up and doesn’t come near the uphill pedestal. The lines do flow in that the holds tend to trend uphill in multiple backsteps and backflags. These are all moderate to easy and somewhat powerful, using mostly good holds.

Shattered Dreams (sit), v1 (rm/jc). I’ve done the first move, right start hold is near my right thigh. The second line starts same but follows the crack above my left hand.

These problems are good, even the one that avoids the rock on the left bottom of the above photo. That variation has two finishes, one most contrived trends left (called Stupid), or uphill the most. Going straight up from the left hand is the better line of the two.

The line stays on this side of the boulder.

Rude Awakening (sit), v1 (jc/rm). Showing the first move. Creek bed is in the background, road off in distance.

In the above photo that rock we didn’t use seems pretty obvious and usable, but the holds are just lieback moves in slots along the crack, so standing and pushing off the left gray rock actually would push you out away from the lieback. There’s an obvious point where you can stem on it but by then it’s much easier. All the holds just favor not turning to the left. Again, this photo shows me doing the second move but for this middle line. The start difference is that I reach over my left hand and head up that crack. The last line that goes left is obviously contrived, but we climbed it anyway.

I think this shows the quality of the rock.

Lounge Lizard (sit), v2 (rm/jc).  The clean sit start to an excellent face.

This is the last move where it feels steep… because it is just slightly steeper.

This line has a bit of everything, and all of it is pretty solid reasonable holds.

Excellent rock. There might be a short but steep compression line on that overhang in the lower right corner.

This next boulder (the Mousehead) has 3 lines that we used to start our warmup for the next 2 days we climbed on the harder lines. The left and center lines are the best. The right line follows the overhanging corner to avoid a short bush and the big crack behind the overhang. All 3 lines start on an undercling from a sit, and that undercling becomes that big crack with the bush. Regardless, the right line still climbs well.

Mousehead center (sit), v2 (rm/jc). This is the first move out from the undercling. The left line reverses hand to reach the right arete up and right of my head.

Save for exiting directly right, the right line is self-evident, we think. It has a match move that is over the edge of a rock seen under the orange pad above and can feel insecure. The above line I’m climbing is well protected and goes straight up with a dyno to a shallow dish. The left line continues left traversing to a rounded arete and up that.

About to dyno…

Mousehead right (sit), v0 (jc/rm). The fall zone is at a boulder’s edge.

Mousehead center. The topout is all jugs. The rock has a very hard nature that it almost clanks like metal and some ‘chunks’ being loose because of their size.

Mousehead left (sit), v3 (rm/jc). The left exit is probably the hardest. Jill does it using a heel while I reach off a low sloper foot.

Searching For My Teddy Bear God, v3 (rm/jc). This is the start using a thin undercling for the right and a left micro crimp.

Searching For My Teddy Bear God we thought was the best overall for technical and committing. The start moves actually feel very Font-esque with a deadpoint/reach after standing up on a good but tiny nubbin. The remainder of the climb follows a blunt arete on the left to a notch with bad holds and a hidden incut higher up. An instant classic and worth doing.

Jill is stepping up through edges on delicate moves along the sloping arete. It’s not short but not a highball.

These next problems are on an east facing wall closest to the creek bed. It was here we found the steel wire brush.

Wire brush.

We called this boulder Arachnid.

Arachnid. One of several that visited us at this boulder.

This shows the lines on the Arachnid boulder.

Here is a video of the 3 lines.

Our first day out, we did all the other lines and the Arachnophilia stand on the Arachnid boulder. The next visit, Jill sent the left sit and on our third visit I sent The Harvestman and Jill sent Arachnophilia. We thought the second visit was the last of the season, so it was a bummer not to send the right sit. But I just had a good feeling another low pressure/cold front would move through, and it did.  And one week prior, I cut my left index deep enough that after over 2 weeks it still wasn’t fully healed. The temps were way better than the previous visit, but with my tip glued, benzoined and taped, I wasn’t too confident. I had to changed up the beta, and ironically that adjustment ended up being slightly easier and more consistent to repeat.

Here are some closeups and additional shots:

The left hold is about 1/4 pad and the right hold is about 1/8 pad. (Arachnophilia)

This is the first hold I grab from the start on The Harvestman.

Here is the lower right start hold for Harvestman.

Crux of Arachnophobia stand.

This is the sit start to Arachnophilia, v7

Arachnophilia sit.

First move on Arachnophobia (sit), v8  (jc). The start matches on an angled offset in the crack at its far left end (before the crack wraps around the boulder)

The Harvestman (sit), v7 (rm). The second move out to a sidepull before the crux.

It’s an excellent way to end the season, and you guys thought June was a no go… 😉 There’s possibly a few more lines to do, but there’s little else in that immediate area.

When it warms up, listen and look around you because…

Possibly a Red Diamond rattlesnake.

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~ by r. mulligan on 2017/06/25.

2 Responses to “‘New’ problems east of Psyche”

  1. I need to start climbing again. Keep cranking away Rufus.

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