Thursday, October 25, 2012

Columbia bouldering: Eden Brook

On Tuesday I had been planning to drive out to Bushwhack after work for a quick session, but a poor evening of sleep beforehand and a busy day at work made staying local seem like a much better idea.  The Eden Brook boulder, located along a beautiful river in Columbia, is one of my favorite spots for a quick local session, and with a project waiting for me there it seemed the perfect choice for the day.

I first heard about the Eden Brook boulder sometime around 2007.  Adam, the owner of the Frisco Tap House (and as a result a pillar of the local climbing community) told me about it one evening, and when I finally went out to see it I was really excited about what I saw.  Even though it's barely 10 feet tall, the rock quality is some of the best I've seen in the area, and the decent variety of problems means there's a little something for everybody.  Since then I've gone back there for endurance sessions, projecting sessions, as a warmup before a comp, and even to practice building gear anchors in the cracks on the back side.  One of my most memorable days there was spent doing the easier lines with a friend who had never climbed before, while Emily and another friend did yoga next to the river.  It's not a place that many people would drive very far for, but as a local spot I've felt privileged to know about it.

In sharing a boulder that has so far been undocumented, I've given the problems temporary names related to Frisco, with the understanding that they will be changed if people who climbed the boulder years ago should reemerge with more information.  Grades are simply my best guess, and I hope additional traffic will lead to better consensus grading.  I've put together a mini-guide that's being uploaded to mdguides, and welcome any feedback either here or as a comment on that site.  Also, there are other possible lines than the ones I've listed, but I didn't include projects in the guide because I thought it would be more interesting to see what projects others saw with a fresh perspective.

On Tuesday I warmed up on two of the awesome arete problems, Original 19 and Hop Head, both fun but very different in terms of holds and movement.  The first uses crimps and sidepulls on a slightly slabby surface, while the second follows crystally slopers up to an enjoyable compression finish.  I also did Choriqueso, still on the easy side, though a little more intimidating due to the slab under your chin as you're making the final move on smeary feet.  Moving back to the left side of the boulder I climbed the slightly more challenging Shotgun Boh, a line up the right arete that I had managed to send last week.  My plan at that point was to put in a couple hours of work on my project, a line that I had realized a few days beforehand was possible, starting seated and climbing up the two seams without using the right arete.  It's only about four moves long before the topout, but they're four sustained moves requiring a great deal of core tension.  I had anticipated it taking several sessions over the next several weeks, but somehow the moves all clicked and I ended up surprising myself by sending after a few tries... then having to do it again so I could actually get it on camera!

To be honest, after a couple weeks ago being reminded about the value of having to work on projects, it was a bit a let down to finish this one so quickly.  In fact, I was almost tempted to jump off the lip rather than topping out.  Almost.  At least now that it's no longer a project for me, it's still a fun problem that's right up the road, and I'm sure I'll enjoy going back to it many times.

Here's a video of Tuesday's sends...

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