I am now in Reno, NV after a brutal 32 hour drive from CD Juarez to Boulder and Boulder, CO to Reno, NV. The non stop drive through two nights took a lot out of me and I was lucky to get one good night of sleep before competing in the annual competition at my local climbing gym. With one night of rest in a comfortable bed, I started the 4hr comp and ended up placing third in the open category. I felt very proud with my results taking in consideration my lack of sleep, lack of food, and motion sickness. These factors were pretty rough on my body, but the competition forced me to snap out of the soreness from traveling. My focus on climbing immediately kicked in and I was anxious to spend as much time bouldering outside. I have never specifically focused on bouldering training and I was excited to push myself on a different discipline of climbing.
A Change of Pace: Tahoe Bouldering - Urs Moosmuller
My first bouldering trip to lake Tahoe was out to a small granite area conveniently located next to the road called Soda Springs. I spent a day climbing here about a year ago and covered the trip in this blog. At the time I was able to quickly repeat one of the V10’s in the area, but there were still several high quality double digit problems left to climb. I was interested in checking out a V10 called White Stallion. The problem is rumored to be one of the best 10’s in Tahoe and I was excited to see my fitness level for bouldering. White Stallion climbs out tiny golden crimps up a slightly overhung 5m wall. The movement is technical and committing with a hard V5 mantle above a poor landing. My psyche was very high due to the quality of the boulder problem and I was able to send it in a quick 15 minute session. This was a perfect measure of my bouldering strength before my training session started and I structuring my training schedule off of my performance. With this in mind I decided to try and repeat as many V10’s and V11’s to build up a solid base in these grade ranges.
My second bouldering trip to Tahoe was to a small area in Donner Summit where there are several ultra classic boulder problems that I have always wanted to try but haven't gotten the chance. The approach is short and the bouldering is unbelievable! Several massive granite boulders sit on a steep hillside with a beautiful view of Donner lake and the surrounding mountains. The boulders are intimidating and blank with only a few features on the formations. Some times it is hard to believe that these boulders are even climbable. I started the day by warming up on the moderate problems higher up on the hillside. There are only a few problems and the quality is ok, so I quickly moved on to my first and main goal of the day. The Real Deal V10. The Real Deal is a famous boulder problem established by my friend Dustin back in the early 2000’s. At the time it was one of the hardest problems in lake Tahoe and the boulder saw a lot of attention. The problem climbs out a steep roof through powerful moves to a hard technical top out on a sloping arête. The roof section is only doable, because of the perfect combination of features. I spent an hour session working out the sequences in hot sunny conditions and after several frustrating moments from slippery holds, I was able to send. Surprised with sending such a legendary problem so quickly, I moved on to the next classic problem. White lines is dubbed the Midnight Lightning of lake Tahoe and is by all means true to its reputation. The problem is very hard for the proposed V8 grade with a committing top out on bad slopers and edges. Not as hard as the mantle on Midnight, but definitely the same commitment factor. I was able to climb this problem pretty quickly and after doing a little research, most repeaters call this thing solid V9. With still a little bit of energy left and a ton of psyche I hiked up to a newer problem establish by Joel Zerr. Power line is a powerful compression problem out a hanging arete. I spent a long session falling off this thing at the crux. Turning over the steep arête onto a refrigerator block turned out to be my demise. In the end my skin was near splitting and I threw in the towel. The day was a success.
The third bouldering trip to the Tahoe area wasn’t actually in Tahoe, but to Bishop, CA south of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Bishop is one of the most famous bouldering areas in the world and doesn't need an introduction. We drove down in a complete snow storm and psyche was very low. Driving over Tom’s place the snow turned into rain and we were a little relieved that we wouldn't be camping in the snow. The decision was made to go to Shatz bakery and try to wait the storm out while we decided what to do and eat some of the best food in the west coast. After a very filling meal we decided to try and go bouldering. We left Bishop with ok weather and drove to the Happy boulders. When we arrived the clouds parted and the sun came out and the temperature stayed very cold. We hiked the approach and arrived at the Slow Dance cave. Temps were unbelievable good and to my surprise I warmed up and flashed Acid Wash Right V9. Then sent Acid Wash V10 on my second try. Already I felt invincible and I was ready to try something hard. I looked through the book and found Swordfish Trombone which looked spectacular and favorable to my style. We hiked up to the boulder and I was able to send in a one hour session on the problem.
Overall my progress in the first few days was satisfactory and I am very excited to start breaking into new grades. For now I am focusing very hard on a consistent training schedule and keeping the psyche high for my next projects.