Thursday, June 21, 2012

Murray Hill bouldering on a steamy solstice

With the solstice marking it as the longest day of the year, the weather made it hard to forget that yesterday was also the first day of summer.  As temperatures climbed to the mid 90s with humidity of somewhere around 50%, I recognized the irony in the fact that the two months I have off from work are also my least favorite time for climbing in Maryland.  Still, hot climbing is better than none at all, so I joined Dan for a few hours at the Murray Hill boulders, grateful for the italian ice he handed me as I stepped out of my car.

Located along the river at the southern edge of Columbia, most of the boulders on the south bank are short enough that I haven't given them much thought in the past, preferring to go directly to the boulder under the power lines on the north side of the river.  So far the main attraction on the south bank has been a single boulder rising tall above a sharp bend in the river with a memorably narrow landing area, with fallen trees creating a natural pad wall to keep highball bouldering from turning into shallow water soloing.

Yesterday, however, we focused our energy on cleaning and climbing some of the smaller boulders just downriver from there.  While there are plenty of better bouldering areas around, we did eventually find enough holds under the moss for a few decent problems, and I think some of them will be especially fun in the winter once friction is better and the approach becomes less of a jungle.  

We warmed up with a few low angle lines and a traverse, enjoying the relative coolness of the shade.  

The best of these problems, Amnesia, ascended a slab on thin crystals that instantly stripped chalk from fingertips.

After doing a few problems in the corridor, we did a couple fun variations of Swiping Slopers, laying back the slippery arete to the top.  From there we did one short problem on the boulder just upstream, with a single long reach moving into a crux topout.  We then moved just uphill to a slightly overhung boulder with potential for a few fun lines, but didn't stay there long as the direct sun and our limited water supply made a poor combination.  I'll admit I was glad to be back inside after that!

Keep an eye out for the upcoming Murray Hill mini-guide on mdguides, which will cover these boulders as well as a few others in the area.  For now, here's a short video I put together with some of the stuff we did yesterday.  Stay cool out there!

1 comment:

Justin Harding said...

Yesterday I went to Murray Hill and a very large dead tree has fallen onto the South Boulder drop zone.

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