Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bushwhack fully padded

After almost eight months of waiting, I was psyched to finally make it back out to Bushwhack Rocks near Frederick, MD!  Although I had been going there almost every weekend in the early spring for the awesome short trad routes, I discovered from my first visit that Bushwhack had some of the best boulders around, and excitedly awaited an opportunity to return there with bouldering as the main objective.  One of the only things holding me back was my difficulty rounding up enough pads and spotters to safely check out some of the boulders I was interested in.  This weekend that all changed though, as I not only found a strong crew to make the trip out, but had in my possession a ridiculous monstrosity of a crash pad.

The Pad

The folks at Asana have done it again... I had been thinking for a while about getting a highball pad, especially with some of the taller boulders at Bushwhack in mind, and decided in October that I was ready to take the plunge.  Made with a color scheme and patch matching my Sir Lands-A-Lot pad and chalk bags, the new pad measures a gargantuan 60 x 44 x 5 inches, with closed cell foam on both the bottom and top to stiffen the landing and provide extra protection from pointy rocks lurking beneath.  For super uneven landing areas, the pad also features "pit protector" straps, which fasten across the hinge to keep the pad from folding shut when absorbing a fall to the center.  The padded shoulder straps made carrying extremely comfortable, even with the weight of my other pad attached to the back.  All around, a phenomenal pad!  Special thanks once again to Adam Healy for helping turn thought into reality, and to Erin O'Brian for the incredible patch design.

Funny how small the Sir Lands-A-Lot looks behind it!
Carrying straps and pit protectors
                                                Piggyback pads                Photo: Vincent Faires

The Bouldering
Making the return out to Bushwhack with me were Vince, Dan, Todd, and his son Drew, while Gerrit Spieker and the newly local Brian Spiering came out for their first taste.  The morning got off to a bit of a slow start when Vince didn't show up at my house at 9:00 as planned.  Not thinking much of it at first, I started to get concerned after about 20 minutes had passed, then became even more concerned when he didn't answer my text.  Figuring he had just overslept, I went into the kitchen to fill up my water bottle and saw what I initially thought was a homeless man walking past the window.  Nope, just Vince stumbling to the door after getting a whole three hours of sleep in my parking lot.

Eventually making out to Frederick, we had a surprisingly easy approach to the rocks considering the lack of a trail and my having not been there since April.  After a quick tour, we took a few slabby runs up That's Not a Woodpecker before moving around the corner to clean off two new problems on the downhill face of the boulder.  A Vision moves through a short bulge to finish straight up, while Visions starts the same and makes a lowball traverse left to finish up a shallow diagonal crack.

Gerrit looks for anything to grab on That's Not a Woodpecker
While we were warming up on those, Todd went off to put his surveying background to use, generating the beginnings of a topo for the area...

And Drew worked a really sweet low overhang with a pretty heinous topout...

From there we headed up the hill to a small roof that I'd never really looked at too closely, which Brian discovered had just enough terrible little crimps on it go.  After a few tries he nailed it, and Golden Era Sunrise was born.

Vince stoically ignoring the weeping of his tendons
We then went up to check out the Switch Boulder, a slightly overhung face split by several diagonal cracks, with a nasty talus pit below.  After moving a few of the more dangerous rocks and throwing down enough pads to make the area into an outdoor gym, we played on the boulder's three vertical lines: The Path on the left, The Elephant in the center, and The Ride on the right.

Dan finding The Path
Brian heading up The Elephant
And now testing the crash pad
The Elephant makes me look fat           Photo: Todd Hill
Vince setting off on The Ride
Reaching for the end     Photo: Brian Spiering
Deciding the day hadn't yet included enough contortion for everyone's taste, the group began working The Ride from a low start.
Brian trying one way
Dan trying another
                    Setting it up          Photo: Brian Spiering
So close...
(Edit 12/12/11:  Brian went back a week later and crushed the low start, calling it "Flipping the Switch." Way to go Brian!)

With daylight fading fast, we finished up on the Tourette's Boulder, the first boulder I ever climbed at Bushwhack and possibly still my favorite.  With what skin we had left, we each took a few shots at Tourette's Razor and Tourette's Tantrum, and Vince used his trademark combo of height and berserker rage to pimp-slap Skip the Razor.

With that the day was ended, and Vince and I made our way back for some recovery BBQ at Kloby's.  A short day, but it felt so good to get back out to Bushwhack again with such a fun group, and especially with such a sweet new pad.  Looking forward to plenty more to come... bouldering season is here!

1 comment:

Chelsi Kling said...

How exactly do you get here? I really want to go bouldering here, I live in Shepherdstown

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