Hoping to beat Hurricane Irene, Andy and I made another drive to Nine Corners on Saturday. The temperature was cooler than in recent weeks, but humidity remained much too high for any reasonable friction. Despite the crisper weather, it’s clear that the summer bouldering season is still in effect.
Meeting Jut at the trailhead, we hiked in and warmed up on Stairs and Meat and Potatoes. Both of us had fun attempting the alternate topout to Meat and Potatoes, which involves following the shelf farther left and slapping up the arête. It feels like a more complete line, and probably increases the grade by half a point.
Monkey-business aside, we moved quickly down to The Origin. I’ve been particularly excited about my progress on this problem for the past few weeks, and hoped to increase the chance of sending by climbing it while my fingers were still fresh. Jut shared some new foot beta, which made the starting moves surprisingly easier. This resulted in half a dozen of my strongest attempts yet, but, sensing that a send wasn’t imminent, I suggested we move on and save it for another day.
Uphill at the Saccharine boulder, Jut’s friends were working out the beta on Even Stevia. On the opposite side of the boulder, Andy and I tried some of the moves on Instant Yoga. We were joined by two more of their friends, and then Jesse and his friend Shawn. Restless and sendless after greasing off too many slopers, we relocated to the Cave boulder.
The Cave ended up as the session spot of the day. A few more climbers wandered in, and ten of us spent the afternoon working various lines on the wall. With problems ranging from V2 to V8, everyone had something interesting to climb. One problem in particular, The Earthling, received a lot of chalk. It’s a fun, gymnastic line that gets less attention than it deserves.
The highlight of my day was Crazy Ice, which starts on the far right of the cave wall, then traverses left and tops out like Psychosomatic. The start seemed impossibly difficult, but I tried it on a whim and eventually found a sequence that pushed me through the crux. In a rare case of finding my beta useful, Andy did the same. Burning fingertips forced us to abandon our efforts, and the day, but with plenty of optimism about the upcoming season.