End-Of-Season Outdoor Bouldering

It’s officially November, and even though NY has had a weird warm streak this fall, it’s officially time for me to bow-out of outdoor bouldering. I salute all you dedicated crag monkeys who will be out there on the rocks in the freezing cold; but unless you stop by the gym some time, I’ll see you next year.

Last month, Boyfriend and I were lucky enough to get invited to go bouldering at the Powerlinez, in Ramapo, NY. From my understanding, the Powerlinez is a fairly new area – according to Mountain Project, it first “officially” opened for climbing in May 2013 (although people were climbing there before then, albeit without the best wishes of the land owners). We drove up, and after a brief stop at The Gravity Vault climbing to sign the waiver, we were ready for some sweet new bouldering.

The area itself is lovely. We parked in a gravel pull-out on the side of a road and did short hike up the hill on a service access road to get to the actual boulders. As per the name, large power line towers crossed the mountain near the road. The leaves were changing, and the colors were incredible – yellow green, bright yellow, and a few trees already hitting deep fire red. It was pretty cold – low 40s, I believe – so perfect for bouldering (unless you’re like me, and hate the cold, and would have appreciated temps in the low to mid 60s).

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The really fun thing about bouldering in the Powerlinez is, for the most part, we had no idea what we were doing. A few members of our group purchased the digital guide, but mostly we just hopped on things that looked cool. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the names of anything we were on, but everything felt cool, ha ha. We warmed up in an area close to the entry that had a handful of 0-2s and a really neat long traverse that I managed to do most of. Boyfriend sent The UnderKing and some unnamed speculated 4s – 7s, and I managed to schlep my way up a handful of zeros. They all had pretty intense top-outs full of leaves and thorny vines, which didn’t feel great when they sank into your face and you had to heave yourself into them to finish the problem. Nature!

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We wrapped up the day at Honk If You’re Burly and Diamond Traverse. A few of our band managed to send Diamond, but Honk If You’re Burlystill eluded many (let me note that at this point I was just freezing my ass off and basically just talking to the dogs – but great job on those climbs, friends!). My favorite part about bouldering here was not being aware of the grades – I just hopped on stuff that looked cool without being intimidated by numbers.

On Halloween our group went back up to The Gunks (aka the Home Crag) to scare ourselves with some spooky falls. We started down at Boxcar, warming up on the easy climbs and challenging ourselves with the harder ones. Boyfriend worked Boxcar Arete (V8), and all his hard work paid off, as he finally sent it! We all worked Boxcar Traverse, and as always as soon as the feet ran out, so did our ability to climb it. I re-sent Blasted Rock (V1) and finally sent Unnamed Boulder Problem #3 (V1), with the most ridiculous beached whale body smear top-out in the history of bouldering (BUT I MADE IT, DAMN IT!). After falling off the top-out on our last visit, I was determined to finish the damn thing no matter how ridiculous I looked. After sending those, a few of the gang and myself tried a few cracks a Baby Hold (V3). We got the first part on lock-down, but out of us less-burly climbers, only P was able to bag a send. Next time!

We continued down the Carriage Road, next stop: Andrew’s Boulder. Boyfriend re-sent The Buddha while our new crag buddies got the beginning beta on lock. Several of us tried Andrew’s Boulder Problem, with E valiantly struggling to get around the lip and succeeded, hurrah! I’m still working on the beginning swing-and-grab, and will definitely need to work on this project many many many more times before making any substantial progress. Goals.

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Next up: Lynn Hill Traverse (V8), Goldstone Traverse (V4), and Black Boulder Crack (V0). I resent Black Boulder Crack while the others worked Goldstone and Lynn Hill. Lynn Hill has been Boyfriend’s long-standing nemesis, but all the stars seemed to align for him and he managed to finally send it, making for two V8s in one day! Others in our gang worked the opening moves, while A and P took some tries at Goldstone Traverse (which I declined to work this time, not in the mood to grab the razor blade on the third move).

After a brief pit-stop at Suzy A where us shorter-statured kids fell off the early moves, we headed up front The gang put in some hard work on the Lorax (V4), re-sent Lazy Mazy (V2), and I fell off the top-out on Stained Boulder (V1) AGAIN. Argh. I’ll get you yet, Stained Boulder!

All in all, a good trip, finished with some amazingly decadent food at New Paltz Indian Restaurant. We were also lucky enough to catch the beginning of the New Paltz Halloween Parade and see all the kids out in their costumes (WHICH WAS ADORABLE). But now, as we glide through November and into much more freezing weather, I will be staying in the gym, swathed in sweatshirts as I try to build some strength for next year (and the domination of Stained Boulder).

Have a happy winter, all you hardcore outdoor boulderers, and don’t forget your hand warmers!

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