Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You're doing it wrong

It's funny how some of the most fun climbs are sometimes hidden in plain sight.  On a recent trip to Bushwhack with my friend Bryan Dougherty, we were at the area classic Stink, Stank, Stunk when he asked if there was a line going up the left.  He was shocked when I replied that to my knowledge there wasn't.

When we first saw the boulder a couple years ago, it's perfect triangular shape immediately spoke for itself, and we never thought beyond the obvious compression line up the middle.  The day that Bryan and I were out there, I had already been playing on a left exit to the line, hitting the ledge and left pinch and then crossing right into crimps on the left face rather than continuing to squeeze up the center.  In my head it wasn't a new line, just a way to add a little extra challenge to one of my favorite problems.  In my head, the quality lines on the boulder had all been done.

So as I worked the left exit to SSS, Bryan started working the left side from a stand start with a high right pinch and a left out on the arete.  And he made it look really fun...

                                                        Bryan Dougherty on You're Doing it Right

                                                         Bryan Dougherty on You're Doing it Right
Finally I jumped on board and started playing with the sit, trying several foot sequences to get my hands up to the ledge, but nothing was working.  After a while I jokingly threw my right toe out to the rail, and when it stuck I realized that if I could use a series of toe and heel hooks to get my feet up to the ledge, I could pull in and reach the crimp on the corner.  Easily the most ridiculous foot sequence I've ever encountered, but it worked.

This was a really fun problem, but what I keep coming back to is how much I appreciate the different perspectives we bring to the rock.  In a state with a reputation for eliminates and variations, this could arguably be one of them... but only because we have a pre-existing notion of how the boulder "should" be climbed.  Honestly, I know many climbers who never would have given this line a second look, preferring instead to pad their tick lists with established climbs and accepted grades.  Bryan saw something different.  When I pointed him toward the "best" problem in the area, he focused instead on the one right next to it that spoke to him more strongly.  He made his own connection with the rock instead of blindly following ours.  If there truly is a "right" way to boulder, I think that may be it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cool, Robin.

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