Saturday, October 15, 2016

White Rocks bouldering

As I wait for my back to return to full functionality, I've been looking through old photos and realizing that there were a bunch of fun climbing days I never posted about.  Maybe I thought they were too ordinary to mention, or maybe there was something else I was waiting to go back and do before writing a more complete post.  More realistically, another obsession had grabbed hold of my time, and I was spending every non-climbing moment doing math.

In May, a few of us went out to Frederick for a day of bouldering at the White Rocks section of Sugarloaf Mountain.  Despite being blown away by how good some of the boulders were when Jon Alexander took me there three years earlier, I had somehow never made it back in the meantime. Fortunately John McCauley had been busy putting up lines all around the area, and had plenty to show us.  Glad someone had the sense to make the most of the place!

We actually started our day warming up over at Mt Ephraim, since I wanted to show Charlie some of the stuff there that he'd never been out to.  We didn't get on Awakening or anything in the main section, but we did put down a fun little crimp face that my fingers were too numb for the last time around.

Walking around the main part of Mt Ephraim, I also took a look at a couple things that I can't wait to get back and try this year.  Watchtower in particular looks so good!

Eventually crossing back over the road and taking the trail up to White Rocks, the day took a predictable turn... everyone else played on the cool roof features, and I got obsessed with a slab traverse.  At least I got it this time around, after splitting my fingertip open right after figuring out the beta last time.  Sit-starting on the far right of the boulder that has Crimp Life running up the middle, the traverse follows good right sidepulls into a thin left crimp, then straight up a couple moves before (for me anyway) locking an undercling with the right thumb and firing out left for a good enough crimp to finish from.  A little silly with a big arete within reach the whole time, but such are the games we play.

Meanwhile, everyone else was on the actual cool boulders, and Charlie of course was going on a sending spree.  Especially fun to watch was him cruising (I think flashing?) John's His and Her Firearms on the big boulder that Dan had cleaned off years ago and never gotten back to.  Traversing a sloper rail to the arete and then a long slab topout, all over big pointy rocks, it's one of the more exciting things out there.  The right side also looked fun, starting on the same rail, but making a big move into a good crack to top out around the corner.

When Catoctin was re-opened to bouldering this summer and I was telling people how I hadn't really missed it with so many other things in Maryland to climb, a few people wondered how much there could really be.  I think the fact that I have a place like this within an hour drive and it took me three years to get back says it all.

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