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Sighted! at Coopers Rock: The Abominable Boulderer

August 22, 2011

Last Saturday, the weather at Coopers Rock was close to perfect.  Well, for August anyways.

The climbers: Art, Jackie, Priscilla, and Mitch
Guests: Chris and Brett

The Abominable Boulderer Returns

We completely understand if you don’t believe us, but last Saturday the crew was joined by one of the most elusive creatures in the forest.  And although he hadn’t touched that oh-so-magical sandstone in quite a while, Mitch proved quite formidable on the rocks, making good progress on Roundhouse (V5) and executing a couple of tricky topouts throughout the day.  Maybe that plastic stuff at the gym does work for training.

Abominable Boulderer

Priscilla working a low-ball V3 on the Warm-up Boulder. If you look carefully in the background, you'll see a rare sighting of the Abominable Boulderer. Photo: Art

After warming up on Sucrose (V2, Variation V3) in Upper Rock City, we headed over to a tiny boulder that we thought we’d dispense with quickly.  Everyone quickly sent the V0, but we found that the topout for the V3, although not very high up, was definitely not as easy as it looked.  The problem was conquered with each of us using completely different beta – Jackie with an extremely high foot step up, Art channeling his inner Mad Max and Mitch doing the hump.  And now we have a reason to convince Priscilla to go bouldering again since she was super close to sending.

Battling my Nemesis

Awesome double heel hook beta for Roundhouse (V5). Photo: Mitch

Every boulderer has those problems which he/she should have sent already, right?  At least I (Jackie) tell myself that every time this summer that I have attempted Roundhouse (V5).  Even though I have been going to Coopers for years, I had never really worked on Roundhouse until earlier this spring.  As I watched most of the boys make a giant throw for the highest sidepull, I originally wasn’t sure that I could figure out a way to get through that section.

Then in June, Bob (aka Uncle Beta) – my kindred spirit in heel hooking – showed me how to make the move statically.  I thought the problem was over.  But it was not so.  The topout slopes upward at an extreme angle, making the usual heel hook and mantle or high foot step-up incredibly awkward.  During two previous sessions this summer, I blew off multiple times at the end, one of the hardest topouts I have ever attempted (hardest for me, at least).  I tried different foot beta, and I tried different hand beta, but nothing worked.

Round 3 on Saturday again went to Roundhouse.  I was super excited to meet Chris and Brett at the problem with their extra crashpads and good company, but it was not to be.  I tried yet another set of beta, and now I’m stumped.  Maybe next time…

This is why places get closed to climbing

After we all got our asses kicked by Roundhouse, we walked over to the Ship’s Prow and Tomb Raider areas.  Priscilla’s project Ship’s Traverse Variation (V3) was wet unfortunately, as was Art’s and Jackie’s project Tomb Raider Roof (V7).  Mitch and Chris, however, were able to get in a few burns on Ship’s Prow (V5) before we decided to head out to Tilted Tree.

Someone displaced this rock under Ship's Traverse, leaving a huge hole. Photo: Mitch

HEY CLIMBERS!  If you can’t deal with what nature intended, don’t climb outside.  In all the years that we have been climbing at Coopers, there has always been a rock under the beginning of the Ship’s Traverse.  It’s not hard to protect, and the problem is so close to the ground that it’s not really an issue.  Sometime in the past few weeks, someone moved the rock and left a big hole in the ground (see photo), presumably to make the problem easier.  Imagine if every boulderer at Coopers decided to move rocks and uproot trees whenever they got in the way.  At a place like Coopers, which is a state forest, the land managers could easily decide to put in place strict regulations on climbing or close it altogether in order to protect the park’s natural resources.  So please, leave nature alone!  If you can’t get your butt high enough off the ground to avoid a rock, then well, either get stronger or don’t climb that problem.  Okay, end of rant.

Playing on fun V3s and V4s


Chris on Proana (V4). Photo: Art

To end the day, we got on some easier problems over on the Allusionist Block in Tilted Tree.  At first, Proana (V4) seemed way too wet and mossy to top out, but after Art showed us how it was done, Jackie, Chris and Mitch also sent the problem.  And once again, although just about the same height, Jackie and Art showed how different climbers they are when sending England (V3).  Art bumped to the money hold with a throw, while Jackie heel hooked a hold above her head and pressed up.

We ended the day with some good beers in cans and the usual trip to Puccini’s.

Here is Art’s full set of photos from the trip:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 7:22 am

    If I ever see someone moving rocks around at the crag, I’ll be sure to help them…then drop said rock on their head

  2. August 23, 2011 10:50 am

    Looks like an over all great trip. Jackie, sorry roundhouse didn’t go this time. Glad to see the abominable boulderer was spotted, pissed I missed that !

  3. Arthur Hsu permalink
    August 30, 2011 1:48 am

    Thanks to Esten for moving the boulder under Ship’s Prow back to its original location!

  4. January 16, 2014 5:10 pm

    Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow yoou if that would be ok.
    I’m undoubfedly enjoying your blog and look frward to new updates.


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