Pure Lines, Pig Pen and the Yogi Lite, or Maybe the Boo-Boo

Jill at the rest on Pig Pen, before she heads out onto one of the Yogi variations.

What the heck am I talking about? On Pig Pen, there are 3 established lines described in the gB that exit to the right from the crack. Of those 3 lines, 2 exit via the large roof bowl  (between the crack and far right). This exit itself, though not in the gB, is a stand that goes at v6 (this is not the Struther’s Problem to the far right, also v6). This stand is part of what makes Yogi (v10) and Youth Body Explosion (YBE; v11) so hard, yet Yogi Variation finish (VF; v9) skips this stand exit.

The stand starts matched on the double sloper underclings. For YBE or Yogi, both enter the underclings from below by shouldering the gnarly gaston on the inside wall of the hanging pillar that makes the unique feature that’s part of the boulder. The Yogi VF does this gaston on the inside wall, but then exits directly out the roof skipping the v6 stand. It is this unique feature that I want to talk about, or at least the lines that use it.

Jill’s right heel is where the Yogi versions do a left hand gaston (on the “hanging pillar”) then move up into the double undercling sloper of the stand.

The latest gB correctly describes the line climbing the alcove in the above photo where Jill’s right heel is. The finish from the undercling stand is visible in the upper right corner of that photo; however, the topo (below) shows the two lines that climb in this approximate area by defining the line as along the bottom of the “hanging pillar” feature I mentioned earlier.

Topo lines in gB for #41/42 (red/yellow) indicate the climbs follow the bottom edge of the prow feature.

When we interpreted the topo by itself it seemed that both lines use whatever features exist along that hanging feature; consequently, we tried to climb #42 (indicated for Yogi VF) as per the topo only (ignoring the description and my past memory) to see how we interpreted the line. The reason we did this was to see if my understanding of Yogi VF fits with how one might interpret this topo line in the photo. We focused on Yogi VF based upon recent videos of that climb that didn’t reflect my recollections of it. Both Robert Miramontes and myself climbed the Yogi (#41) and Yogi VF years ago. This potential discrepancy is what I want to talk about, and then how these lines fit into the “pure” lines concept.

The next few photos show what we did and then I have a video of myself climbing the line shown by #42 in the topo. Unfortunately, the end of the video is cut off, but I think you’ll get the gist of it.

We all did this same move to reach the far sidepull.

Here Thierry makes the long move off the underside heel hook.

He matches then switches to the inside sloper compression hold…

After reaching the sidepull, he switches to a heel hook to bump his left hand up to the high crimp to start the exit sequence.

Jill uses a different sequence because at her height the heel hook doesn’t get her matched high on the two pillar holds as Thierry has done in the previous photo.

What we discovered was that the topo gives the impression that the line is different than what the original Yogi VF climbs. Remember, Yogi VF does enter the alcove via the underside slopers directly from the no-hands leg hang but instead of the hard shoulder move further to the right to the stand sloper underclings of the Yogi (v10), it deviates and climbs straight out that “hanging pillar” feature that the topo shows #41/42 following. It’s nuanced. I remember doing this Yogi VF with Robert because, and I think it was myself that saw this, we could exit directly up and out instead of the harder right undercling moves. Hence the Yogi VF (v9) was born.

Probably because of this discrepancy, in which the gB written description for #42 Yogi VF is accurate but the topo line in the gB for #42 is misleading, we have seen many videos of people climbing what follows the topo line and erroneously calling it the Yogi VF. This version that follows the topo line felt to us like a 7, but is definitely not 9 (it avoids both cruxes of the Yogi: the shoulder move and the stand exit from undercling slopers). Regardless, I think this topo-line version is not forced like Yogi, Yogi VF, or YBE because everything is on as long as you finish at the sloper exit to the right. My grade is based on my feeling when I sent this version in late spring 2019. In the video, my breathing is terrible, and my composure is nominal. I’m still out of shape in terms of power, but I’m also slowly getting it back. Earlier that same week, I was shut down on a Tram 6! It feels humbling, but is indicative that this problem should not be rated as hard or nearly as hard as the actual Yogi VF.

The title (I used it in both the video title and blog post title) that refers to “pure” lines is part of a discussion I want to include on how we (old folks?) define bouldering lines. This then defines what are called Eliminits (my phonetic spelling as I don’t say Eliminātes). Many of you know these terms and may either agree or disagree; feel free to add your views.

The classical definition of a “pure” line is one where the start and finish are distinct and anything along the way is open for use with the ultimate conclusion being the obvious and only finish, regardless of how you attempt to climb the line. For the start of a problem, the classical definition depends on where you are bouldering. In Font, if you sit, it’s whatever you can grab from the ground, making height a potential difference. This was also the style in the US, but with one caveat: start holds may be defined. Of course if you’re short and can’t reach said holds, well, you simply can’t do the problem, or so the mentality goes. Also, the grade is reflective of parameters and style the FAist used to achieve the FA.

I think start holds are fundamentally important as is the start style. Bouldering has too few moves to play loose and arbitrary with the number and/or the ways one start a problem. As I’ve stated previously with our approach to starting boulder problems, we have designated holds, and one must be off the ground entirely BEFORE starting any upwards effort. In short, this is a comp start, but also a more fair outdoor approach too. If you can’t reach the start holds, pad up until you can. If the start is with a straight arm for the highest hold, then one should do just that. If you want to take credit for repeating an established FA, this makes most sense, as the idea of repeating an FA is to actually repeat the FA as it was established. Some have argued that this also demands one do the same moves, but I think it’s rather obvious why this final point is not justified.

For the Pigpen problems, there are two distinct finish directions, and one crack start (the other starts are for the Struthers problem and the mantel problem, but neither starts at the crack). The two distinct finishes are the obvious crack finish and two versions of finishing  right on slopers. The topo shows two exits along the sloping rail out right, but none of them actually followed the low hanging prow itself; therefore, taking the topo literally does in fact make for yet another line not described in the gB, which exits the crack and goes directly to the right by any means necessary… which follows the topo line of #42. My apologies if this is confusing.

So, the eliminits are YBE (deviates at the start of the crack line by doing a big right reach to an undercling sloper), Yogi, and Yogi VF (deviates at the no hands leg hook rest). For YBE, all of the crack is eliminated while for the Yogi lines, everything past the rest is off thus forcing the line to enter the roof bowl feature of slopers. The line in question, the third variant, is technically also an eliminit.

While the crack finish is the path of least resistance, the third Yogi variant is in fact ironically the “pure” line that goes right. By incorporating all the available holds to make the line as easy as possible, it constitutes the one with nearly no rules. Make sense? When you force a move direction just for difficulty it then is an eliminit. Or where the line is basically unaltered you eliminate, say, a jug to make it more consistent, a form of aesthetic modification; therefore, a “quality” element of bouldering are lines that stand independent of other lines or dissident feature. The highest-quality line is one that is singular from start to finish with a clear start and a clear exit. This all assumes the rock is of good quality, and I intentionally didn’t include that element because I assume that for something to be considered high quality, the rock needs to be relatively stable. For JTree, some loose grains can still be relatively stable. I’d include such lines as high quality.

I hope this helps clarify some of the lines on this boulder. I’ll call this third but more pure version of the Yogi, The Boo-Boo (Yogi Bear’s sidekick). Or maybe Yogi Lite. Or just Yogini, the feminine of Yogi, but that might be construed as sexist. I digress.

~ by r. mulligan on 2020/02/11.

4 Responses to “Pure Lines, Pig Pen and the Yogi Lite, or Maybe the Boo-Boo”

  1. I’m not clear as to what you’re referring to for the Variation. The video, the topo and the description all appear consistent.

    Are you’re saying for The Yogi Variation, that the true V9 exit is the 41 exit (at the jug sloper and mantling over) vs the 42 exit from the topo through the holds on the face?


    Are you saying that 42 has to do the match on the undercling slopers before going to the jug sloper at the lip?

    I did the YV finishing the same way you did in your vid, going to the side pull from the rest point, then climbing through the overhanging prow via compression using both the undercling sloper and the face holds. Its entirety felt harder than both Vanishing Point and Master Blaster at Tram, which for both I felt were solid V8. YV is very nuanced and technical in its beta for my height, and pumpy lol. So I had no problem with taking V9.

    Please enlighten me further! Merci beaucoup Sensei~

    • Thanks for your question. The video and topo are not the Yogi Variation only because I know the movement. The established 9 follows the description and enters the bowl directly without using the low sloper pinch I reached in the video. Personally, the YV is the most contrived of all the variants because it’s nothing more than a one hold eliminit (important point I should have mentioned)…. My view is that the original Yogi is logical because it goes to the sloper undercling finish, and the this Yogi variant is the only other logical problem because it just climbs everything to a slightly closer point on the sloper rail out right.

      My personal grade of what I did is a 7, but I originally thought it was an 8. Since I did the original shoulder move-based variant, and it was a solid grade easier (9) than the true Yogi (10), and that same original variant is much harder than what I did in the video (7), it’s hard for me to call it a 9. Vanishing point is very much crimp strength dependent but a totally different problem. One’s strengths for comparison wouldn’t be the same for those 2 problems. I’m also fine with calling it an 8. Those shoulder moves and then matching to come out directly to the hanging pillar is a hard single move gaston followed by a hard tension extension to reach the higher crimp on that pillar.

      When it comes to grades, I think it’s important to remember that each person’s strengths may not be ideal for each problem one sends. If I do a problem I’m weak at style-wise, wouldn’t I tend to want to unconsciously upgrade it, and if it was my strengths wouldn’t I tend to downgrade it because my strengths don’t give me the same emotional stress signal that I would get feeling weak-sauce on problems I have low confidence?

      I hope that helps.

      • It does give some perspective yes. I always felt that shoulder move was WAY too brutal. Perhaps I have not found the correct body position to make it go. Which from what you’re saying is the key to unlocking both the true V9 variation and the original V10. Interesting.

        Also Vanishing Point, as we refer to it as “crimpy” for the sake of our conversation, is not my preferred style in climbing: slopers and compression are. Still found this “Yogi Variation Light” more difficult, but more so in aggregate difficulty and technicality vs “single hardest move”.

        Does this mean I can take V9 on Vanishing Point now? LOL~

        Aside from development, I think my only dedicated project in JTree is Tidal Wave (9 & 10) but perhaps I should make my way back to the cave given your insight.

        Thanks again Sensei~ Always a pleasure~

        • Sorry for the slow approval and response. For perspective, I tried the shoulder move (on Yogi) when working the Boo-Boo and found it too hard to do, but mainly it’s my mobility that prevented me from working it. I’ve lost a lot of shoulder range, and I couldn’t get into the correct position to begin the move! Sad. I find that mobility has as much to do with perceived strength as it does with actual strength, or to put it another way, mobility increases the capacity to utilize your strengths better on any move when you can be in the correct position without any impediments.

          I agree that the “aggregate” set of moves on the Yogi Boo-Boo is very sustained once exiting the leg bar compared to Vanishing Point, but the climb is horizontal. Maybe your core is less than sufficient for this angle? Always good to keep perspective on one’s own strengths and weaknesses. The irony is that that was my only strength when I sent the Boo-Boo.

          Always appreciate the input. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: