Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Odyssey and The Ripple Project

I could write plenty, but I won't - just keep it short and sweet. My friends Eric Bissell and Keenan Takahashi are visiting from California, a much-awaited return especially for Mr Bissell! We had an especially great weekend as my Canadian friends Kasper and Meghan were also staying with us. Been plenty fun having them out here, and in newsworthy events, both the Nosos summit dyno ("The Odyssey") and the infamous Ripple Project have been sent at their hands!  Expect a video in due course. These two hard problems are up there with the best in the state, and to be honest, the best in the country. In less newsworthy events I sent a couple of my V7 personal projects up there too! woop. Slowly but surely the Nosos ticklist is getting done. Next stop for their month-long crushfest is Roy, expect another post soon!

Rainbow crimp

Monday, February 23, 2015

Roy & Nosos

Managed to get out to Roy and Nosos the last month, despite having to roll with some pretty variable weather. Snow storms one week, hot and sunny the next. Rinse, repeat. In a sense this is pretty typical NM, but wild variability seems more like a function of spring more than winter.

Anyway, we could climb outside, so that's all that counts right? Got a tour from William & Tom of El Ranchero, another drainage out in Roy. The area is probably less than 50% developed, and only the warmups and hard moderates were really evident, but it quite clearly has huge potential for upper-end hard climbing. Projected a face of one perfect boulder that had a merlot patina riddled with Font-esque hexagonal seams. But climbs were out of my league... I estimate this one wall could have 4 or 5 back-to-back double digit independent lines, mostly up thin rounded seams, but one problem goes out of a roof with a huge deadpoint move, very cool. Some of the rock here was outstanding, reminiscent of the iron rock at red rocks. The area is definitely worth going back to, but I'd like to sniff out the un-done moderate circuit that surely exists.

I convinced Tyler Green - a photographer from Albuquerque who's into climbing and the outdoors - to come meet us and get some professional-level photos of the climbing out there. Tyler's a great guy and was happy to drag around a bunch of heavy photo equipment to capture some of rock grappling shenanigans. Hopefully we'll get him out again, his photos were awesome and it's always good to show someone a new piece of NM climbing. He has a blog, go check out his shots from the weekend here.

Noah was back in town the following weekend and naturally amped for Nosos AKA the most beautiful rock in the world. With his signature enthusiasm he blazed a trail of new problems, some of which had been ignored - or at least put on the back-burner - due to bad landings, which didn't really phase him! The most dramatic is a new roof called The Horribleness Below, basically an easy but thrilling campus problem out of a horizontal roof on the biggest jugs you've ever seen. Every hold makes you want to grab the next despite the death landing below.

But Noah cleaned up some less scary stuff too and the gem was the new Dream Boat boulder, which looks a bit like a ship thats been grounded after a flood. The best straight-up has a no-fall landing situation, but the traverse is very manageable with a few pads, and climbs really well. Some nice dynamic up moves punctuated the long upwards traverse on superb incuts. Very pumpy, and a nice contrast to the typical wavy straight-up Nosos highball problems. Once we refined the beta, we settled on v6. Definitely a nice addition to the Nosos circuit. Eric Natzke and Noah gave the dyno some good burns, got close but a misjudged throw can cost skin... Great seeing Noah, Siemay and Zun, hope to see you guys again soon!

Alright I think those are enough words for this post, here's some pics. Next month Eric Bissell, fresh out of the Venezuelean jungle, and Keenan Takahashi, on a hot streak in the Yosemitean jungle, come to town on a mission to bring Nosos into the world of the double digit boulderer. Can't wait to see my friends and have some grand adventures out here in NM!

Will the ripple project get sent? Will the dyno get snatched? Will Eric punt from even higher than he did before? Stay tuned for the next edition of Bowlder Huntin!

Life in the Fast Lane v5

Siemay on a new one

Noah on Dream Boat v6

Craig on the excellent Two Stroke v3. Photo by Gary Parker

Amazing sloper of Baby's Butt v5. Photo by Gary Parker

Monday, February 9, 2015

Puddle Jumper

Sweet V7 right in the entrance area of the Jumbles in Roy. Thanks to Jesse Johnston for the gif.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 In Review

Well 2014 has come to a close, and its been another banner year for New Mexico bouldering, with development across the state continuing to catch up with the awesome collection of sport climbing that is already have in place. I feel like its high time I started a "year in review" type post, which may form a useful reference point and keep track of the new boulders. I will save you the blow-by-blow, but here it is in list form. Thanks to Bob Broilo, Gary Parker, Josh Smith & Peter Yeo for filling in the gaps for me and for providing supplemental photos; further photo credits go to Eric Bissell, Rob Wulff, Peck, J Bone, Jack Lester, Spenser Tang-Smith, Craig Copelin and Instagram (click on links to see photos).

All the noteworthy first ascents from 2014 in northern & central New Mexico. Sorry I don't know of anything going on in southern NM, it seems like it's all choss down there anyway. Email me (see postscript)* if I've missed something.

The Ortegas 

La Madera 

Okay I know I am being generous listing the Ripple project as being sent, but I think breaking the hold on the topout of a breathtaking 22' V9 deserves some sort of honorary mention! Certainly I think he wins "Punt of the Year" award. Hopefully Eric will be back to complete this unfinished business.

Ripple Project (To The Lip) V9 - Eric Bissell
Acropolis V8 - Eric Bissell
The Wind Rises V5 - Eric Bissell


Roofie Romance V3 - Kendo
Pulling Teeth V1 - Kevin Carhart

Ortega West

The bouldering highlight of this year has clearly been the discovery of Ortega West (or simply "Ortega"). A vast ridgeline outcrop that is a massive contribution to NM bouldering, and is already up there in quality with pretty much any other sector in NM, and its not even halfway done. Many of the moderates went down this season, next year its time to take the Vs up a notch! Thanks a lot to the Ortega crew for most of these photos.

Eliminator V10 - Jack Lester
Bonzai V9 - Noah Kaufman
Valhalla V7 - Craig Copelin
Tea Bagger V5/6 - Jason Ploss
Homunculous V6 - Gary Parker
Turtlehead V6 - "Peck's friend"
Bareback V6 - Craig Copelin
Centerfold V5/6 - Kendo
Thugalicious V5 - Eric Heatwole
Texican V5 - Craig Copelin
Perl V5 - J Bone
Sword of Calais V5 - Gary Parker
NumPy V5 - Eric Heatwole
Another Eight Inches V5/morpho - Eric Heatwole
Congenital Optimism V5 - Jason Ploss
Ninja Warrior V5 - Josh Smith
Coprophage V5 - Eric Heatwole
Sir Lollipop Man! V4 - Robert Wulff
God Damocles V4 - Gary Parker
Keel Hauler V4 - Gary Parker
Cerberus V4 - William Penner
Slapstick V4 - Josh Smith
Rain Delay V4 - Gary Parker
Touching Cloth V4 - Aaron Miller
Atlas V4 - Gary Parker
Sisyphus V3+ - ??
Second Thoughts V3 - Aaron Miller
Belle of the Ball V3 - Josh, Aaron or Peck
Homo Erectus V3 - Gary Parker
No Hay Pedo V3 - Aaron Miller
That 70s Bush V3 - Eric Heatwole
Foxy Boxing V3 - Bob Broilo
Ape Index VTallMan - Craig Copelin
Cracker V2/3 - Josh Smith
Ace High V2/3 - Josh Smith (and all the Jackpot roof lines)
Jumping Jesus V1/2/morpho - Jason H., Daniel Trugman, or Josh
Giant Steps V2 - Craig Copelin
Two Stroke V2 - Gary Parker
Hello Kitty V2 - Josh Smith
Squirter V1 - Eric Heatwole
Tweedledum V1 - Josh Smith
Stuck in the Mud V1 - Eric Brayden
Peck is not Impressed V1 - Gary Parker


The popular Pond area still holds a few gems for those with an eye. At least one excellent project remains.

Status Quo V6 - Eric Bissell
Piñon Pancake V7 - Eric Bissell


Some of the big kids came to play for a few weekends in Roy this season, and handily dispatched some of the mega projects. These new problems are the hardest in NM on unaltered stone (there are a few V13/14 problems in the Squat and the Temple, on glued-up limestone). A few mega projects still remain lurking out there however...

Kaiju V13 - Jimmy Webb
Calm Ethereal V13 - Dave Graham
Currently unnamed V13 - Dave Graham
Up In Arms V12 - Jimmy Webb
Ocean of Oil V9 - Jamie Emerson
Friends With Benefits / XOXO V9 - Eric Bissell
Desert Spring V8 - Austin James
The Royal We V7 - Eric Bissell

Socorro - Box Canyon

Jason Ploss finally added the obvious sit start to his already challenging Fight Club, but not given a grade for. This project has resisted the efforts of many other strong climbers, inc. Jon Cardwell, so we think its gotta be in the V12/13 range. Impressive work from Jason! Box now has a true testpiece.

Fight Club V12/13? - Jason Ploss
Hemorrhoid Rage V4 - Robert Wulff
Vuck Mandick V3 - Jason Hebert

* o w e n s u m m e r s c a l e s AT gmail