Friday, 22 February 2008

Bishop Redux (by Peter)

I think I said everything that needs to be said by way of background about Bishop in my Gravity article, which covered our first trip there in March/April 2007. I also touch on some details about our October 2007 trip in my post about eventually getting Green Wall Essential. Take a look at either of those articles if you want to know more about Bishop Bouldering or check out Wills Young's helpful blog.

This post is really just an opportunity to show some of my favourite photos from our second trip. More of these can be viewed out our respective UKC photo galleries; view Jenn's here and mine here; you will need to register to view them full-sized.

Jenn on Sunburst Seahorse (V2) at The Happys

This is an overhanging problem in the Tom Peter's slab area of The Happy Boulders (page 94 of The Bishop Bouldering Guide - all page numbers will refer to this excellent publication, if only it had an index of problems at the back! - UPDATE: an index for the guide is now available to view, or download as a PDF, at Bishop Bouldering Info so the guide is now officially perfect). Jenn flashed this, I couldn't get it on the day.

Peter on a V2 on the back of The Tut Boulder at The Buttermilks

This montage is of me on a nice V2 at The Buttermilks (page 210) which has an interesting lay-back/heel-hook move at the start and then quickly eases. Note I am climbing in the shade, it was too hot to contemplate problems in the sun.

Jenn on Bourbon IV (allegedly V0) at The Dreamers

Bourbon IV is one of the classic problems at The Dreamers (page 47). It seems to have attracted every grade between V0- and V1 in various guidebooks. I think anything below V1 is a bit unkind. It's a really nice problem, which is deceptively simple. You have to wind about all over the place and it is one of those climbs where you maybe have too many options for hand and foot holds, but only certain specific ones that work. The top-out into the groove is a little interesting as your best hold is a shallow, dust-filled divot just over the crest. You need to pull on this to get to a juggier hold on the left-hand side of the groove.

Peter on The Space Suit (V3) at The Sads

The Space Suit is in the Kung Fu area of The Sad Boulders (page 146). It is probably a bit unfair of me to have a picture of me on this shown first, as I worked the problem and Jenn flashed it. Saying that, I virtually had it first time. You start at what is described as "an absurdly low start" at the back of the cave and haul your way up "the underbelly of the suspended boulder" onto the face and to the top. I had started to shred my right had slapping for a sharp hold on the arĂȘte, once on the face and was getting rather despondent about it until Jenn suggested taping-up my hand. It went first go with a protected hand.

I had never realised that my arms looked like that climbing until I saw this photo - it almost looks like I have some idea what I am doing.

Jenn also on The Space Suit (V3) at The Sads

The same problem, but from a different angle. Jenn is one move below where I was, when she brings her left hand up, the position will be identical. I tried taking my shadow out of the photo, but my PaintShop Pro skills weren't up to making it look natural. The landing wasn't great, hence the double mats.

Peter on an unnamed V2 at The Sads

This V2 is towards the back of The Sad Boulders canyon (problem 8 on page 164). For a change, this is something that I actually flashed. The key (as in the first part of the triptych) is establishing on the initial hand-holds and popping from there to a decent hold for the right hand (centre image). You can do a sit-start at V4, but as the guidebook says, this is "kinda stupid".

Peter on Heart Prow (V1) at Dale's Camp

Heart Prow is in the eponymous area of Dale's Camp (page 309). The final image is a nice photograph in my opinion. The light was quite notable that day. However there is a story behind the image. The previous day I had fallen off of the final jugs of Slight Inducement (V1), in another eponymous area of The Happys (page 132). I think this was mostly through fatigue and the shutting down of normal mental processes that accompanies this. Sadly, I managed to helicopter and miss the mat, falling heavily onto what was thankfully a fairly boulder-free part of the canyon floor. I had cuts and bruises all over, with various bits of my body tattooed with grains of Volcanic Tuff and my top shredded. This was my first really heavy fall bouldering and I was pretty shaken up.

Which brings us back to the above image. It was another V1, maybe not high-ball by Bishop standards, but high enough and with the ground sloping away at an awkward angle. I had a few misgivings going for the final hold and then topping out, but it also felt good being "back in the saddle". It is nice to have an image to capture this positive memory.

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