Friday, March 2, 2012

Northwest Branch: Outside the box

Sometimes it's fun to climb the classics.  Other times it's fun to climb outside the box.

On Tuesday afternoon I went down for a quick session at Northwest Branch, not particularly psyched on any problem that came to mind, but still wanting to get out and enjoy the warm weather.  Making my way downriver, I reached Chaos Roof without any further inspiration, and looked across the river to see someone on the Tick boulder.  Feeling social, I rock-hopped over to join him.

For his first time bouldering outdoors, local student Chris Gregory certainly seemed comfortable on the rock as he worked to link the beginning section of The Traverse.  After warming up, I attempted to show him my sequence, only to find myself unable to stick the cross move after several attempts.  Frustrated at failing on a problem I usually have wired, I decided to switch to something else I've been playing on, a low eliminate on the left side of the boulder that Chris quickly joined me in working.  Sit-starting on the central sidepull jug, it moves left through two sidepulls and a long undercling, avoiding any holds above.  One variation goes up to a jug for an early topout, while the other stays below the rail for the full length of the boulder.

Ironically, although I usually fail a few moves into these problems even when I nail The Traverse, my luck went the opposite direction for once and I ended up sending both variations before darkness finally fell.

Both were fun and a good challenge, and I'm sure I'll be getting on them again.  Are they as good as The Traverse?  I think not, but they're certainly worth doing if you've done everything else on the boulder.  I guess all that really matters is that they were enjoyable at the time and helped me in some way to get stronger.  A change of pace is always good, right?

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