Further down from the classic sport climbs that climbing greats such as Jerry Moffat and other put up, lies the fallen boulders that are waiting to be explored and bouldered. There wasn't many hard problem but fun ones; hardest probably was a 7 give or take a few. Great area to paddle along, hike, camp, explore, and climb. I'll be heading back soon!
Lions Head 2010 May 30th - 31st
During a fall trip to Whites Bluff in 2009 I was a little disappointed in the bouldering along the shore. I dedicated that trip for bouldering, and the trip only turned up a few fun problems. Many people travel to Whites Bluff, and Lions Head for the classic sport climbing, and is never first thought of as a bouldering destination compared to others such as HP40, Bishop, and Hueco. For me climbing is about exploration, and adventure so I really like going to undeveloped areas to beat the crowd of climbers first off, to put up my own problems, and just to explore the amazing not commonly seen areas. Anyways, as I was hiking out of the shores of Whites Bluff my eye was constantly drawn to limestone covered shore line across the bay.
I return from that trip in a frenzy, trying to figure if there was any information about the bouldering along the shore. Every search turned up only the sport climbing located there. So, after a year of trying to find out information, staring at pictures i'd had taken, and Google Earth images I finally realized I just had to go for it.
After a nights sleep at our family cottage about 2 hours away, I finally arrived. Parking the car in the marina (free parking!) we unloaded our Oldtown canoe, and after several different packing variations finally fit all the gear and crash pads into the canoe and set off. The paddle was very nice and calm. About 15 minuets into the the paddle we reached where the cliffs started and the fallen boulders began. For the next half hour of paddling along the shore, I have never been so amazed and speechless in my life. The water was shades of gold and blue, and there seemed to be a bunch of places to climb/explore. We paddled to the point of Lions Head where the cliffs ended to set up camp. The gnats were annoying as..... well i'm sure you can imagine so we camped nearest to the shore as possible the get the lake wind to take care of the bugs. After setting our tent up on a rock literally 3 feet from the water, I could not help but start climbing. The first climbing session yield a few easy problems and a pocketed wall that i put up many different sequences, some easy some a little challenging. Sadly we got rained out of the rest of our day so we ate and went to bed, listing to the lake as if it was right by us, o wait, it was :).
We woke up early with the goal of climbing the whole coastline. It was a beautiful day all day long. The climbing went the same as it did yesterday more or less fun scrambling with the occasional fun easy problem, but with 2 problems that were FA's (to my knowledge) that are worth talking about. The first was on this awesome boulder that was 25-30ft tall with a roof and a huge cavern that could be used for some amazing long linkups. The problem was not too hard at all, took me 3 goes to get it but it was the most fun problem I have ever done. Something I found and just climbed, not for a rating but just to climb it. The climb had some small sharp holds and a big blind throw to a good hold. The other was a 15ft wall with a bunch of small finger cracks. Once again not very hard but fun. The rest of the day was spent just climbing on all these boulders and exploring.
The rest of the trip got rained out, and the paddle back was exciting to say the least (paddling into the wind fighting a storm that arrived right when we reached the car). We spent our last 2 days up at Cyprus Lake exploring that coast line which is not open to bouldering (just recently they opened a section of the shore to bouldering Halfway Dump.) All and all the trip was amazing and a great experience. Not so much a difficulty trip but an exploration trip, which for me is the best part of climbing.