Sunday, September 30, 2012


This year has been ripe with sending. Personal projects to undone lines have been getting put down with speed and style which has been inspiring to be a part of. The cumulative psyche has been very high and with actual climbing season finally here I expect big things to come. There are a few hard projects left in the depths of the forest that really hold our interest although there still remains a wealth of untouched rock.

The season started off strong with Levi putting down The Viking project at the Hideout. The dyno version of The Viking still is a project and will likely clock in around v11. Here is Levi coming close on the dyno and a link to Dylan's post with some nice photos and a video of The Viking send. The Viking probably goes around v9.

A couple weeks later Levi and I revisited a project from last year and both sent in one session. I managed the 4th and Levi with the 5th ascent of The Alchemist which is a stellar v9 on the Euro Stone.

After a tour of the Opium Den we quickly realized the potential for a larger concentration of problems that exist there and quickly got to work. One problem in particular caught my eye and after upwards of 8 sessions Levi finally pieced together Cosmic Damage which I returned to roughly a week later and got the 2nd ascent. I think it should be around a v9, maybe harder.

Around the same time of the Opium Den revival we looked at an otherwise forgotten boulder that sits halfway in a creek and immediately saw a number of high quality hard problems. The Nice House boulder is located off Granite Creek shortly after the G+G wall which hangs over the road. Please park off the road completely so as not to get your car totaled by any number of gun toting, redneck bumpkins hauling ass down this dusty road. The boulder currently has two completed lines but holds three more problems that will easily be v10+. Swamp Donkey located on the far right of the block and is a really nice moderate that starts over the water and continues up a sloping rail. We spent a few hours one hot summer day making an actual landing for it and hopefully it will stay through the winter and beyond. In addition to the Nice House boulder there is another nice boulder located to the left once over the river through some thick forest and a couple minutes hike. The Bog boulder is a slightly overhanging face with a couple good warmups and two v6/v7s in the middle. Rhodesian Jungle (probably v8 but now broken v6/7) started left hand on a crimp rail and right hand low but after breakage makes a match possible and the problem a little easier. Poundtown starts right hand in the two finger pocket and continues straight up on small dimples which could use a low start.

After numerous sessions and tons of different beta I finished Swamp Donkey in a surprising one-try effort after deciding not to climb that day.

Lastly, while out shooting, Dylan rediscovered a swath of stone that looks like it will produce some gems. Yesterday, Levi and I put up Haters Gonna Hate, a likely v7, and Dylan got out today to clean up the third ascent. While Dylan slam dunked the the post-crux hold I rattled off some photos.

In between these noteworthy sends this year has been mostly filled with wire brush on granite, tons of hiking to new and old sectors, beer, guns, and finally, development which can be equally as rewarding as sending hard or establishing something new. These sends make the hard work worth all the effort but I really do enjoy a long day of hiking through the woods to stumble upon something like this. Enjoy the next few weeks because Lolo season is rapidly coming to an end so get out and get after it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Years Ago

 I took this photo on my first day in Lolo.  I remember it vividly as Levi sent Way of the Samurai that day.  If I remember correctly, Levi said "it feels good to have new blood in Lolo" and attributed his psyche to send to my new found presence in the maze of Lolo.  Later we met up with Dean in the Journeymen boulders, tried a sharp project and proceeded to do hood rat things.  I think I sent Hooray for Boobies that day but got pounded by everything else I tried.  Ultimately that is Lolo for me.  Random fits of strength occur rarely for me here and when they do I take great pleasure in them.  The whole experience is what makes Lolo so different from other areas I have climbed in.  It's not all about the bouldering.  It's the mantrums, slogging uphill, flappers, debauchery and company that keeps me coming back.  Masochism at its finest perhaps. 

This blog may seem like an attempt to stroke our egos and potentially it is.  But that's not our main desire.  I know there are climbers in Missoula and beyond that are interested in what Lolo is and is going to become.  Most times we may seem inapproachable, which is probably true.  We are introverts, assholes and selfish.  Let this serve as a bridge to what we can't express in person. 

 The Hideout

Hiding Out

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Welcome to bouldering in Lolo

Vedauwoo- a post-holing playground for any idiot willing to subject themselves to absolutely bitter conditions 8 months a year 

   I learned to climb out amongst the vast granite paradise of Vedauwoo located 15 minutes from Laramie, WY and the University of Wyoming. Some might consider this place absolute hell with crystals as big as dice and meaner than your asshole friend drunk on whiskey but these people obviously never spent enough time there. To the uninterested college kid it offered all one could want: escape from the meaningless day to day in hopes of fulfillment through the most selfish of past times... climbing. Vedauwoo is a brutal teacher but through hardship, failure, unforgiving weather, absurdly long winters and terribly short summers, heinously sharp stone which was often blank, scattered boulders and long approaches I learned how important things like a dependable climbing partner and the need to escape from the masses are. Fond memories still resonate through me as I now spend my days on similar rock deep in the maze of dense Montana forest near the border of Idaho.

   In Montana, my core group of climbing partners has shrunk dramatically to Levi and Dylan but efficiency, motivation, and debauchery is outrageously high. This season we have consistently gotten out to climb all year despite a short spring, terribly hot summer, and smoky fall. Projects have been getting put down in addition to new boulders in established sectors and new sectors altogether. Tons of time and money has been put in and blown through on gas, beer, ammo, brushes, walking through the woods, finding nothing, finding gems, sniffing out new climbing areas, and tomfoolery. 
   I have been very fortunate to be given this opportunity to lend a hand in the development of an entire climbing area with close friends and respect their level of secrecy. To have an entire climbing area to yourself in this day is rare and to keep it for yourself may be selfish it is also absolutely devine. It is less about taking first ascents for yourself as it is climbing in an area with one or two friends all by yourself. Having said that getting the FA of some new sweetheart boulder problem is incredibly fun and innately motivating. Let's not forget the simple fact that the amount of rock in the Lolo pass area is simply staggering and for anyone with a sense of adventure and a little motivation this same experience can be replicated.
   One of these days there will exist a guide to the bouldering of Lolo for all to enjoy but it will be a little while we work out the last little pieces for the biggest concentrations. Keep in mind that there are few places left like this and a lot of time and effort has gone into this so far with much more to come but not all that motivates are first ascents as simply stepping away from the routine and being by oneself are equally as important to some. Most importantly, climbing is inherently selfish and patience is a virtue.