Saturday, April 2, 2011

High Ridge in the rain

Lesson learned for today:  My camera automatically shuts off after 10 minutes of inactivity.  Apparently, "inactivity" includes when the camera is sitting on a tripod recording video.

I discovered this fact today on a trip to some "new" boulders in Laurel.  Located in High Ridge Park, I first went to check them out a couple weeks ago after being sent an aerial image of the area, with a section of possible boulders highlighted.  As I walked along the river past several smaller rocks, I had just begun to think maybe there was nothing big enough to climb on, when I came around the corner to see a cluster of 10-20 foot boulders.  And got very excited.

The broken glass around the base of some boulders was evidence that they do get some visitors, but it's hard to tell whether any of them are climbers.  I've certainly never heard anything about them in any case.

After making a couple unsuccessful attempts to get back out and climb there this week, good weather and scheduling finally coincided this morning.  Getting an early start to beat the next round of rain, my friend Vince and I met at the park and made our way through the woods.  Coming in from above, we got in a quick warmup on a small boulder near the top of the ridge.

Vincent Faires starting the day with some slab

Vince continuing his warmup... in the rain

Then it started to rain.  Sorta hard.  We abandoned the warmup and walked down the hill to the boulder that we had come there for.  Tall and overhung, with a great looking compression line coming right out the middle, I had been thinking about it since first seeing it a couple weeks ago.

It didn't look this tall from below...
Putting my camera on a tripod so I could get video of the whole session, we set to work, finding very quickly that the initial moves were much harder than anticipated.  We also found out that very active spotting was needed.  Even though the ground directly below the boulder was pretty flat, it dropped away sharply down to the river, forcing us to brace ourselves into the hill to check each other onto the pads.

After about 15 minutes of us working out the initial sequence, Vince managed to stick a long throw to a small ledge, and worked his way up the arete and through the increasingly wet slab on top.  Not sure which of us was more nervous!  After the impressive send, we went to watch the video and discovered the aforementioned camera issues.  So much for video beta!  We called it a day pretty quickly after that, wanting to save some skin for Bushwhack tomorrow, but it was great to see this one go down.

Vince setting up for the big throw


Shawn Seifert said...

Hey, man. I "found" and developed these boulders back in '07 and made some horrible video in '09. You can watch it here:
The complete list of problems we did is:
Easy Does It V0
Bansai V2
Meatcleaver Circumcision V2 (Craig Copelin)
V2 Slab V2
Headless Goddess V2 (John Carriere)
It Takes a Trip to Hueco V3
She Said She Was V18 V0 (Bill Seifert)
Lunge #2 V1
Chewbacca V4 (with a V3 stand)
Expectations V5
Left to Expect V5

All others FA Shawn Seifert except as noted.


Robin said...

Hey Shawn, excited to hear it! I took photos of most of the boulders when I was out there last time, intending to do a more detailed post about the area soon. Would love to sit down with you and see where rest of the problems not shown in the video are. Looks like it was 'Left to Expect' that Vince went up yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Can you provide beta in finding these boulders? I'd like to visit this area. Any info would be appreciated.

Robin said...

Sure, if you email me ( I can send you a rough map and description of the approach. I'm hoping to put up a better description and more problem info on here soon, once I actually have a chance to make it out there with Shawn to see all the problems he's put up. If you haven't had a chance to check out the video that he linked in the first comment, it shows 4 or 5 of them, including another variation on the compression line that Vincent and I got on.

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