Thursday, April 5, 2012


Well, I haven't been climbing on a rope much at the lake the last week and a half, but I have been up there bouldering a couple times. On Saturday I took a solo trip up there to climb Smooth Operator/Bud White, look at the Smooth Roof/Cheddarmilker Project, and maybe take a look around and see what I could see. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit of a downer, it was supposed to be partly sunny, but that never materialized, and it stayed overcast all day, with a pervading feeling of dampness from rain the day before. Psych wasn't high, but I was still happy to do some bouldering.

I hiked up to Smooth Operator, put my pads down underneath it, and walked over to the roof project, which was much closer than I remembered. I mean it's like right there. I touched the holds a bit, but never tried it, because it's definitely too hard for me right now.
Instead of going back to Smooth Operator, I decided to take a quick walk and look at the rocks around there, and as can happen at the lake a quick hike up the hill turned into a long quest, as every time I was about to go back I'd see another boulder that looked like it had potential. Alas, Devil's Lake is land of the almost good boulder problem. Either there's no holds, it's too short, or the landing is horrendous. I did manage to find a few decent lines, but with no other problems close by, didn't take the time to climb a 1 star V1. Somewhat disappointed, I started walking back to my pads, not expecting to find much else.

Of course it always seems that that's when you stumble upon something cool. Maybe a hundred yards south of Smooth Operator, and just a bit lower is a huge roof, that actually has a few holds on it. It's a combination of sloping ledges and small crimps, with the typical poor feet of the Lake. I put some chalk on the holds, and after trying it a bit yesterday, I can say that I'm not sure if it's possible. I can't quite tell if there's actually enough holds, or if there's just enough holds to fool me into thinking that it's possible. Either way, somebody stronger than me needs to try it, because it's definitely out of my range.

Yesterday I went back out to the lake to do some more bouldering with Zach "Mathe-Matics" Mathe. We warmed up at the North Shore, where I was finally able to sack up and climb Big Bud. Glad to have done that one. Zach did it also, and after a couple more problems we headed back over to Smooth Operator. Unable to get the nerve to topout on Saturday with no spotters, I was hoping to finally top this one out also. One try just to get used to the problem again, and then I with all the grace of a fish riding a bicycle, I was able to roll over onto the top. It's kind of crazy how much of a mental difference having a spotter can make. It's also crazy how much it helps to have done something once, because then I tried the sit start Bud White, and after getting through the crux, was able to pull through and top that one out as well. Zach gave a few more good efforts on SO, falling just short of the sloper for the top out, and I think he'll do that next time he goes out.

The Mathe-Matician's unorthodox method of working a difficult boulder problem.

As mentioned previously, we headed over to the roof I'd found to take a look, and also noticed another boulder just below it. It climbs out an overhanging, somewhat dihedral-like boulder. It has a tough pull for the first move, but then gets easier. Not an ultra classic or anything, but it's fairly steep and powerful with some good moves on good holds.

When we finished that, and even though I think we were both starting to feel a little tired, we decided to hike up to Tunder Tighs. I felt pretty good about finding it, but that was a mistake. I went up the wrong talus field, and of course it took us forever to find the thing. but we did eventually make it, and we puttered around on that for a while. I remember that thing feeling much easier the last time I was on it, but I was able to do all the moves except hold the swing while taking my heel off the start. Getting tired quickly, we headed down to The Hipsters, which is a pretty cool problem. The first move is a bit awkward, but the rest is quite good. I also did the V2 to the right called Fixie, which is a good "in the area" type of problem. Zach gave The Hipsters a couple more goes as our energy was running out, and we called it a day, and made the buggy hike out along the Tumbled Rocks trail. Hiking up the back up the hill at the end of the day made me wonder if it wouldn't be easier to park down by the beach instead, just so that I wouldn't have to walk up that damn hill. I hate hiking, deal with it.


Steve Schultz said...

So many things to love about this post.

1 - You and I share many similarities when it comes to hiking. Constantly get lost. HATE hiking. I actually never park at the smooth op lot unless we're going to smooth op because I hate hiking back up that damn hill.

2 - Loved how you described exploring. Perfectly put and better than I've ever been able to put into words.

3 - I'm heading up later today to try the Cheddarmilker again. I'll try to find that roof you found. Very curious!

That's all.

Steve Schultz said...

That roof is super cool. At least I'm assuming it's the same one. Starts on a flat hold and traverses right?

Tonlerbone said...

Now that I've done Smooth Operator and Bud White, I'm never parking up there again!! Glad you went out and looked at that roof, I think it's borderline possible, and if it is possible will be quite hard.

Steve Schultz said...

The project is very very hard. Deceptively hard. We were in full on shutdown mode yesterday.