Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Final Days

  I remember my first time up at Lolo. It was horrifying. Levi driving his Toyota, Dylan in the passenger seat, I was sitting in the tiny, fold-down seat behind Dylan. As we pulled onto forest service road 4200 Dylan turned to me and said something like, "It may seem like we are about to die, but we won't. Levi has done this a million times." We all cracked Coors and Levi proceeded to mob up 4200. I was scared shitless as he drove like a jerk off and kicked up rocks while sliding around every turn. We parked at Granite Ridge and went to the Beautiful boulder. I got the tour and knew I had to prove my meddle. I don't remember if I climbed a single thing but I fucking tried. By the end of the day my hands were shredded, ego bruised, and Levi climbed everything first try. I had found my crew. The few, the dedicated.

   Levi was brought out to the boulders at Lolo by a friend who left before his time. Wish I had met him. He had started a guide to Lolo so that everyone could enjoy. Maybe that guide will one day come to fruition, maybe it won't. Can't count on it happening. In the meantime, Levi will continue to go out developing and expanding areas. Ask for a tour and you might find yourself spending all your time out there, forever wishing the season was longer as you stumble upon entire new areas and more problems you can do in a season. I did. Or he will tell you to go fuck yourself. Either way, it's better than staring at the blog or climbing on plastic.

 What was I hoping for in helping further develop Lolo and starting this blog? A single person showing a spark of interest and asking to see what we do. Expanding the community through taking people on tours and have them run the gauntlet of classics. Adventure in the form of wire brush on granite and exploration. To better myself as a climber by repeating everything I could, even the choss. Laughing at my friends as they punt off the top of a problem and myself as I struggle to pull my ass off the ground. Not taking myself so seriously. Having fun in the woods. Yep, any and all of it.

  When we went out last weekend, I felt I had come full circle since first climbing here. The problems I had once struggled on two years ago now felt easy. Everything went down without a fight and I could see my abilities as a climber have grown tremendously. I attribute my gains in climbing to all that I have done outside over the past couple years. While climbing inside is fun and will make you stronger it doesn't make you a better, smarter climber. It is through struggle and failure that we become better and climbing outside is exactly that. We put in time and effort at Lolo so that other people can go out and see the same results. In the end, I will take a day of failure outside over a day of crushing in the gym any day. My hope for the people at Freestone who are there day after day is to make it outside and begin to hone their skills and improve their weaknesses on the unforgiving rock of Lolo.

  I got out quite a bit this last week to tie up some last few projects. Everything got sent so I am leaving Missoula without much to come back to but I hope others will pour time and energy into Lolo and develop the hell out of this place. That being said, The Opium Den and Project Mayhem Project are two incredible lines I would love to return to and do.

A few new problems at the River Block area.

Word is Bond V5/6 at the River Block. Great rock and great movement. Scrubbed it two weeks ago with Rob and Dylan. Sent it with Brandon following suit right after me a few days ago. Awesome mantle.

I pulled on to a project a few days ago that Jon Yang was trying last year. Had been eyeballing the line but never tried it. Brandon got me psyched and we went to war. Two days of effort and figuring out beta led to the first ascent of Jack's Broken Heart V8. It starts one move in from where Jon was trying. Right hand in a small crescent and left hand on the bottom small crimp with a left heel on the sloping rail. Rad.

  Yesterday, I went climbing by myself with one climb in mind. My Lolo nemesis. Hiked out to the Hideout and went straight to my project without warming up. Just like that, the multi-year project goes down with a second-try send of the Rabbit V8 at the Hideout. I was in disbelief as I topped it out.
  Opinionated, crass, offensive, and passionate. Take it or leave it, that's who we are. Climbing is what we love and we call it as we see it. Our opinions are ours alone and this blog was our outlet. Love us or hate us because it is all the same, but get involved and be passionate about what you do. This is were you live and this is your community. If you don't like it, say something. If you think it's perfect, you're wrong. Regardless of egos, opinions, and personalities, there is a wealth of climbing in the dense and mysterious forest of Lolo waiting to be shared. We kind of tried to share and failed. Hope we offended people and made them jealous through this social experiment of a blog. 
  Dylan and I are gone so this blog will continue under Levi's direction. Dylan's old blog, somewhatbouldering.blogspot.com, will see a revival as both Dylan and I breathe life back into it from Portland, OR (Dylan) and Lander, WY (myself). Good luck, Missoula. Goodbye, Lolo.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The End

  Glad to see all the people that came out. Plenty of new faces got to see all them boulders. Just kidding, nobody came. Instead, we raged at Lolo . Guns, beer, more beer, more guns, no rain, climbing, climbing, climbing. More sends than that place has seen in ages. Problems on lockdown, cleaning boulders by doing them first try. Lolo, you are so good to us and will be missed.
And now, pictures.

Dylan's favorite warm-up. Boobies V6.

Rob flashing Ginger V4gofuckyourself. 

Not in Public V7. The direct finish for full value. 

Succubus V7. 3rd ascent?

Heartbroken V9. Still breaking hearts.

Lichen Grinder V4.

Great White V7 and Rob making it look easy.

Scrubbing future projects to come back to and clean up years from now. Or never.

A fraction of the fun.

200 pounds of shit your pants.

Family photo.

It has been great, boys. Fuck you, we're out.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Iron Curtain

  The first week of the farewell tour was a hot and dirty one. Scrubbed plenty of new lines and put up a few. Hiked through miles of forests and saw plenty of rock, some of which was climbable and really good. Went sport climbing which I'm still terrible at. Brandon and Molly met us to climb and camp and drink. Showed them some of the newer lines that have gone up and revisited classics.

  Before the bouldering at Lolo started being developed, Lolo remained mostly quiet and didn't see much action except for a few diehard sport climbers and tradsters. A few choice lines that a few people would climb to escape the crowds and enjoy the wilderness. The same can be said about the bouldering. A few people that routinely and tirelessly went out to search and develop the climbing. Those dedicated few developed entire areas over the years that have seen very little traffic. Since I moved here two years ago, I haven't seen any other people amongst the boulders yet those few continue to work hard at what they love to do. In that process, trails were blazed, landings were built, rocks were moved, rocks were cleaned, chalked, and climbed. Rarely were they repeated. My friends and I are those people that spends hours in the woods cleaning and sometimes doing lines that may never see another ascent for 5-10 years. When we leave, the bouldering in Lolo will all but disappear and many of the problems will once again fall into obscurity. The question I'm left asking myself is, why do it if nobody will ever get to enjoy it like we have? With my departure coming soon, I dwell on this question.

Now for pictures and brief descriptions.

Passion Slab v2 at the Hideout. A line I spied last year and put up last week. Here Dylan and Rob get the second and third ascents. Great feet to start to thin holds that lead to a glory jug. Tall and delightfully thin to a juggy top.

Dylan on I Heart Rock v3 at the Hideout.

Digby Does Dallas Project at the Hideout. An all-but-forgotten line which we began to unlock the sequence. Wonderful movement on atypical rock.

Dylan getting the first ascent of the true start to Big In Japan v7 at the Hideout. Levi had done the line last year as a jump start and Dylan did it from the lower and natural start. Amazing undercling to an awkward right hand then a left hand jug followed by surfing good holds to a horrifyingly tall topout. Nice job, Douliard!

Molly crushing the Gerbler Dyno v3 at the River Block. A brick for a right hand and good sidepull for your left and punch it to the top. This line could go out right from the brick or left off a sidepull. A pull-up hand clap for man points on the topout. Dylan nabbed the first ascent and then proceeded to gangbang it.

I was belay slave for Rob while he crushed That Hard One 11b and Cappuccino Cowboy 12a

Dylan got the FA of Tropic Thunder v7 at the Random Events wall and I sent the next go. 

  I want to invite anyone who reads this blog and can appreciate fun to come out this Saturday for one wild get together. The gate opens Saturday and we are celebrating in good ol Mantana style. A yearly ritual expressed more vibrantly this year to commemorate the great times at Lolo with great friends and send off to remember. A keg of beer at the gate and extremely hungover tours to follow on Sunday. Lolo is a vast wilderness with rock tucked in almost every corner simply waiting for the adventurous spirit to find it and we welcome anyone interested in it to join us.

Fuck. That was long.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Farewell Tour 2013

My tenure of Missoula climbing is rapidly coming to a close.  For almost 6 years I’ve learned how to climb and appreciate the beautiful locales around Missoula.  I’ve met so many great people who share the same passion, intrigued by the unknown choss that lurks in the dense and hypnotic forests of western Montana.  I’ve also met many douchebags.  Y’all can fuck off.  Really, you know who you are.

The past 4 years I’ve had the pleasure to join along in an adventure of developing Lolo with a small group of friends.  By developing, I mostly mean watching Levi crush everything and getting sloppy seconds or thirds.  I had my moments and firsts, but there isn’t much to say beyond that.

As I move on to more important things in my life in the next few weeks, I can’t help but reminisce on my time spent in Lolo.  I’ve learned so much from my experiences climbing, exploring, drinking, puking, and hunting in this place.  I’ve learned that grouse are an easy meal after bouldering.  I’ve also learned to smear on nothing.  The most important lesson I’ve learned however isn’t climbing the hardest or highest boulder, but that time spent with friends is invaluable.  Justin, Levi, Dean, Rob, and that turdburglar Sam, every Lolo trip was worth it and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to get out, even if it was raining, snowing or 90 degrees. 

For the remainder of my time in Montana I will be living out of my 4Runner with my dog, climbing almost everyday.  There are many things I want to get done before I leave, but some things will have to wait until a later date.  My ticklist includes:

Big in Japan Project
Flying Lotus
The Warlock Project
Digby Does Dallas Project
Angels and Demons
The Jesus Project

These problems sound obscure to even people who have climbed in Lolo.  If anyone, anyone at all, wants beta on Lolo, I’m opening the floodgates.  Do not hesitate to comment or email me for beta on problems or areas. 

To my best friends and climbing partners:  it’s been the time of my life, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lolo & Whiskey

  Been busy and getting after it. Checked out the Starship Project and it still looks hard but there are great problems on the other side. Big Medicine turns out to be a v6 one-move wonder sideways dyno that Dylan and I both did second go. Healing, just to the left of Big Medicine, is a sharp and very worthy v7ish that I managed before my skin completely failed me. The gate remains closed but the temperature is great so we have been motivated.

  Rallied with Brandon and Molly to Whiskey. Brandon repeated Inertia and Molly nearly flashed Tuna Juice. I failed to come through with my part of a team send for the day but it was near perfect otherwise. Joe came over from Bozeman to show us some new problems that were really high quality. 

  Can't remember the names but the left line clocks in around v8 and has spectacular movement. Joe nearly tied it all together but came off the last move. The picture on the right is of a very stretched first move and is nothing but compression to the top. Both are top notch.