Well, this extremely mild winter we're having definately continues to deliver in terms of bouldering weather. This weekend was action packed and I have to admit I'm feeling pretty sore this morning.
On Saturday, Erik, Jess and I headed out to Whiskey for a full day of bouldering. After a warmup at the Wave boulder, we headed over to the Fagatron area. I hadn't been over there since I was in high school and I'm not sure I ever even tried the problems. Both Erik and I were able to throw down on The Fagatron (V5) and the thing to the right, which is think goes around V4. After that, we walked down the gully and Jess was able to dispatch Chastity Belt in a few tries. This is given V5 in the book, but Jess and Erik agreed that it's probably more like V3.
Then it was off to Southern Comfort, the boulders found to the south including the Green Monster, the Optimist, etc. We all got shut down on the V5/6 shortie on the left side of the big slab on the Optimist boulder and I was able to squeek out a repeat ascent of Willing and Able (V8?). We then headed down and showed Erik Redneck Yacht Club. He sent it pretty quickly and agreed that it was in the V4/5 range. I was also able to polish off the project to the left, calling it Ruckus on the Levee (V6/7). Time will tell what the grade ends up being on this one as some of the holds are like potato chips and snap easily. Think light! We rounded up our tour of the area with ascents of Black Eye (V4), which has a really cool hueco feature on it.
We then headed over to the Tuna Juice boulder so I could give my mega project, Tuna Tartar a few tries. Luckily, I had figured out beter beta the weekend before (only after taking a header into the boulder behind), and it went down fairly quickly this time around. So psyched to finally pull it off! We finished up our day trying Pete's Traverse (V6). None us us had any luck, but it's a cool one to go back to!
On Sunday, Jess and Erik headed back to Whiskey and I climbed in the Prince and Princess of Plastic Bouldering competition at MSU. I'd never been to the MSU climbing wall and honestly from what I'd heard, I had low expectations. When I showed up however, I was pleasantly surprised. It's certainly no Spire Climbing Center, but it's not too bad. Kevin Volkening, Jon Scott, Erik Christensen, Lauren Rausch, Kevin Macartney, Alex Herbert and others had set about 70 problems for the comp, and they were all really fun. Luckily for me, Charlie from Billings and Dominic from Helena had come down for the morning heat, climbed all the problems and then went home, so they weren't in finals. As expected, Jeff Ho climbed all of the hardest problems with relative ease. I was able to do all but the hardest problem, but had to put a lot of work into a few of them.
I did manage to make it into finals in second place. The first problem shut everyone down. I tried a weird sequence to try and skip two horizontal moves and instead just gunned for the finishing hold, but missed. On the second problem, I did pretty well, but couldn't use the volumes high on the problem to make any progress. Jeff headed out, cruised through the bottom of the problem, jumped for the volume and caught it. His feet cut and his body swung sideways to a totally horizontal position. Surely there was no way he could hang on. Wrong! In the most impressive feat of climbing I've ever seen, he pulled it in and topped out the problem for a flash. Wow! A video of this craziness can be seen here.
Obviously, Jeff was crowned the Prince of Plastic, and his wife Sarah won the women's division. Nice work team Ho! Overall, it was a great weekend of climbing and my fingers are hurting just typing this. The forecast looks like more warm weather this week, so more outdoor climbing is likely in store for this weekend. Hopefully my skin will heal by then!