Hound Rock’s Hardest Boulder Problem Yet

In April of 2018, we finally finished off the last of our projects and obvious lines but not necessarily all the available problems for the area. As I’ve mentioned previously, these boulders sit behind Hound Rocks, so if you were to hike out to the Rocks from Quail Springs via the Access Fund trail, once you arrive at Hound Rocks (not labeled on the sign posts) continue around the formation and head slightly uphill to a handful of boulders up against the hillside. The sign posts point left to the direction of the White Cliffs of Dover crag.

The Reichenbach Problem. Jill exiting the cross over before the final dyno crux.

A view of the boulder and Jill right after the first move

Before the crossover move to the crux slot.

Crux crimp.

Continuing the Sherlock Holmes theme for the Hound Rocks bouldering area, this new v10 is called The Reichenbach Problem. Jill sent it just before the weather turned too warm, and she had to wait until dark before attempting it. Night time temps were in the 50’s, days 70’s. Earlier in the day, we went to another project area on boulders always shaded, and she sent her short term project there, another potential v10. In other words, she’d had her best day ever for FA’s! (I’ll post about that area once a project is finished.) Below is the vid for The Reichenbach Problem:

I added a line that’s pretty reachy but solid fun and a bit committing on exit. It’s not hard, as I did it first go, but still a clean line and quite pure. The video is pretty bad, having to set in on a distant tree limb. No excuse for not having a tripod, and it consequently shifted down cutting off the top out. Super lame. It’s called A Study in Scarlet, v3.

A line I put up just next to Mind Palace, but on the adjacent boulder with a huge jug rail traverse (follows Mind Palace out the depression behind the climber on MP), goes the opposite direction of that huge jug rail traverse underneath the MP boulder. It’s called Dark Mind because it exits out between 3 boulders (MP, Dark Mind and another nondescript boulder) in a dark chamber. I called it a 6.

This is the start. Behind and to my right, in the photo, is Mind Palace

My heel is still on the jug part of the boulder rail.

I reach a horizontal crimp to set up for a big move…

Now you can see the upper sloper rail before going out left

I reach a small, irregular crimp then work up the sloper rail.

I’ve bumped my left slightly higher…

From the above photo, I exit straight up on a precarious high step in my crotch. Since this is from February 2018, I really don’t remember why there are no more shots. She probably switched to spotting at that lip in the foreground.

A note about The Reichenbach Problem, and why it’s taken almost three years for me to post about it:

What I want to do now is talk about something unique about this line and its vulnerability to being chipped to enhance a crux crimp. Our original intent was simply not to to post about the line, but the line will get found eventually and will get climbed at some point in the future. So… it makes sense to document the facts surrounding this line and why it has the potential to be chipped.

Joshua Tree stone is incredibly variable, from quartz monzonite to a conglomerate of basalt, gneiss, schist and even quality granite (higher levels of quartz then monzonite). As a result, holds can be juxtaposed with other rock types more vulnerable to being damaged, modified naturally or by human impact, or actually chipped. In this case, there is a layering at a key set of holds where the crimps are super solid but the rock above/behind it is a larger grain monzonite. It’s easy to assume that with constant brushing or constant finger contact, it might continue to wear back making the crimps bigger, but… this line was projected over several days over the course of a year (south-facing and weird josh weather made good conditions hard to come by) with very intensive brushing (plastic/natural, no metal) and both of us pulling on the holds over and over. We also tried our hardest to remove any loose grains with our finger nails.

After cleaning it well and climbing on it, Jill and I are confident that normal climbing and brushing would not cause any changes to the crux hold because the part of the hold that can be modified is behind the usable surface and because it would take a directed effort to do so. However, if someone was to use a small “tool” like a small finger nail clipper, they can continue to “remove” a grain at a time until the holds in question are deeper and thus better. I tried it, and it was relatively easy. I’ve never had such an obvious set of quality holds that could so easily made bigger in my 40 years climbing in JTree. Below are a set of photos documenting the character and nature of the holds, from size to rock character. These photos can be used as a reference for future observations pertaining to this problem. Lets all just climb and keep our delicate egos out of the equation. I feel that gym climbing has made the disconnect of what one expects to send with what one has the skillset to send more disparate. This can create for a climber more internal conflict with their expectations, and their own humility.

It’s a slot crimp where every crystal determines the extent of how deep someone can get their tips into the positive part.

Jill has thin fingers and can utilize the uppermost part that my fingers can’t slot into.

The white rock above the crimp is the softer monzonite

Same for this section of the thin rail

Here is another view of the topmost crimp.

~ by r. mulligan on 2021/02/22.

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: