Well Joe’s season has started and I couldn’t be happier. It’s grade school recess and we are playing on our schoolyard playground. Running around like idiots, laughing, inventing games, making fun of each other, performing feats of strength and balance, throwing snowballs, eating giant pizzas, putting cow pies in each others chalk bags and yet somehow still focusing on projects and first ascents.
I work 12-hour graveyard shifts a lot from 9pm to 9am at a satellite communications company monitoring network traffic and performing diagnostics work. I should sleep when I get off work at 9am but I don’t even consider it an option when friends are day tripping to Joe’s Valley. And so, I catch a ride down and try to sleep in the car for 2.5 hours there and the 2.5 hours back before I go straight back to work for another 12 hours. I go directly from work to Joe’s Valley and back to work, sometimes not stepping foot in my home for 3 or 4 days . . . yo-yoing between work and climbing. This takes a toll on me around day 3 or 4 and most boulder problems begin to feel about 2 grades harder than they should. I love it.
The season has started off very well for not only myself but for most of my friends as well. The sit start to The Gentlemen’s Project was a nemesis last fall as I never felt close to finishing it and could never quite understand why as I let the frustration build . . . well, after completing it on my first trip back down to Joe’s I realized the answer is most often simplistic . . . I wasn’t strong enough. Seems obvious now. As great as it feels to polish off an old nemesis it felt even better to complete a longstanding project.
After taking a large crew up to Fear Factor V8 (if you haven’t been on this go do it, picture above), Jeff Richards, Joe Meiners, Griffin Whiteside (or G Biebs if you will), and I went up to the cabin area to work the project that climbs out the roof on the backside of the Death Scream boulder. Joe and I had tried it a few times and finally made some progress at the end of last season, collectively doing every move. Sometimes a good crew is all you need to finally establish a new problem. After remembering how we had done the moves, Griffin found some new beta that worked better for him and Joe, opting out of a technical hard-to-place heel hook needed for the last move and instead using their youth and power to basically campus the huge span. Stupid kids. This did not work for me. Shortly after this the 18-year-old Griffin had established Barely Legal V11 (see the video below!). Next go Joe snagged the second. Then it was my turn . . . but by this time too much snow had melted and streaked down onto the dimple that I used for the heel hook. I tried anyway, placed the heel but couldn’t quite get the purchase needed to pull all the way to the lip and fell. So, I rode back to SLC and was dropped off at work, worked a 12-hour night shift and returned the next day for the send. I was painfully tired as I drove straight back to work that night but sometimes that type of dedication makes a completing a climb feel deserved and much more satisfying.
More first ascents have been made and more should be completed as the season progresses. Just as last season, I will try and post directions and info regarding these problems to the best of my abilities. . .
Well, enjoy the video. You’ll probably watch it and think we are idiots, which makes you smart because we are.