About grain and things

I will be posting about new lines mostly, if not exclusively, but time will tell. Sometimes I won’t mention the area, and at other times I will. The lines will cover any grade as I’m not going to focus on what amounts to hard lines for myself and others I climb with. Some lines might be “approach shoe” lines so to speak, while others could deal with problem boulders too close for comfort. The short of it is I’ll post lines I and others thought worthy of climbing.

Regarding graininess, some lines like Electro Gecko 2000 are totally grainy. I really mean it. The only places to grab or to place your feet on are what we cleaned. EG2000, though, is just way too fun to dismiss. Then there are lines that are utterly clean and sweat like The North Wind. Sitting atop a small formation in the Real Hidden Valley, a stone’s throw from the walk in, you’ll find yourself amazed such a line was never done. Then there is Dead Man, maybe 50 feet or so from the trash dumb dump next to the posh new Park outhouse at the Real Hidden Valley entrance walk. Grainy, yes, clean, also yes, and tall enough to insight a bit of anxiety.

I’ve been putting up trad-bolted slabs since the early 80’s when all the sweet lines had already been done. We just ended up venturing onto the grainy lines and got used to pawing at the rock till the last grain had left our soles. After a while, we got used to it. Enough said.

Unfortunately, most of the new lines have fall zones at best marginal. But some are also perfectly flat like the Ear to the Grindstone. Sitting just off Geology Tour road at the first group formation Gateway Boulders, east side, on the drive south just along the road. It’s easily seen on the left with a distinct “ear” in the middle of a blank face about 2/3rds up. I did it in very cold and windy conditions and needed to stay so close to the stone that it felt like I was grinding my ear as I shifted onto a friction foot about chest high. It’s not real tall, but at maybe 17 to 18 feet, it still garners some respect.

We’ve been doing FA’s for awhile, but most of the posts will date only from maybe 2 seasons ago to the present. As you read, the dates will tell when they were done. That means I’ll be back posting to get caught up, but I’ll also be posting as things get done.

I can only base my opinion on experience and some knowledge of the area, but I’ll attempt to note it where it seems obvious that others might have been there first. After 30 years, I’ve begun to sorta identify when rock has been cleaned and hasn’t. I am also very sincere in the way FA’s are done. On one line, I couldn’t stop from letting the back of my wrist from touching another boulder, 3 times ever so slightly. Ugh. Unfortunately, the line, though cool, just didn’t appeal to me to work any more harder to keep my wrist from making contact. I called it done, and we walked away. Granted, this example is the only one I can ever remember doing this on, I have no problem admitting it I think it’s important to state. Additionally, we don’t do stussy starts (using the ground as the first foot hold to pull from).

update: Also, many climbers/boulderers wander through the park doing all sorts of stuff not in any guidebook and leaving it at that. That means I can’t know for sure. But I’m open to any input. Since I claim things in the blog, I should let you know what’s up. That includes the fact I product test for Flashed. You’ll see their pads in many images. And I climb with Evolv’s exclusively. And I used to be an advertising photographer, 4×5, film, lighting set, cove, location, etc. I’ve been coaching youth off and on since denver, 92ish.

All images © Rob Mulligan, Jill Carpenter, Jon Wright, Mike Brady, Jennifer Jeffery.

(updated feb 28)

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