To start things off, I figured I'd highlight a few of the recent tough FA's that we've managed over the last month or so. For a good chunk of that time, Jay was busy on the massive Distillery Boulder. This is a boulder in the Double Decker area with a large south face and it sits just west and below the classic Ripply Boulder. The south face that Jay put a ton of work into includes the previously climbed Newer and Stupider (V7) as well as a few other new beauties. One of these is a terrific compression style problem that climbs through some great holds and eventually tops out over the mini-roofs as for Newer and Stupider. It didn't take Jay long to put this one together and The Distillery (V10/11) was born. Not long after this, he also added another line on the same face, but slightly to the left. A little beta switch put this one to rest and I can't remember if Jay's named this line quite yet, but it comes in around V9/10. So, the south face of the Distillery Boulder went from having one lonely line over the years to having a bunch of awesome lines. Not to mention, there are still a number of link-ups and variations possible on that face.
At about the same time, I was getting busy on the Driven Wall, trying to put an old project to rest. For a couple years, we've been playing on the Driven Direct dyno off a small edge at the bottom of the wall. Being vertically and dyno challenged, I always found the move to be ridiculously hard. Then, at the beginning of the season, I realized that I could reach a sidepull out right and work into the line that way. Soon enough I was hooked and after a long battle with wet holds, skin tearing on the start edge, and overall difficulty, I finally managed to put it all together and add the direct to Driven Stand. The low moves felt very hard for me and adding them to the stand start of Driven makes for a tough finish. In the end I called it Livin' on the Edge and I'm not sure how hard this one is. I think it's the hardest line I've ever done and probably falls in the V11+ range (for the small person beta). I'm interested to see if someone taller or someone with better dyno skills will find the direct dyno beta easier or harder and be able to give a better idea of overall difficulty? Any takers?
After finally managing the send on Livin' on the Edge, I moved all my effort to the Serenity Boulder. The north face of this boulder is beautiful and littered with cool holds. Last year, Jay and Loic put up Heart of Darkness (V8) on the left side of the wall, while I put up Serenity Amidst the Chaos (V10/11) on the right side of the wall. All winter, I'd been wanting to get back to Serenity to see if a direct line would go, and if a connection between Heart of Darkness and Serenity would go. When I returned earlier this month, I quickly saw that both were possible. So, after a bit of work, I managed to send Chaos Amidst the Serenity (V9/10ish) last week. This one starts as for Serenity, but moves straight up the face through slots and edges to a tricky edge and sidepull below the lip.
Me on Chaos Amidst the Serenity (V9/10)
The big move to the very small edge on Chaos Amidst the Serenity
At the same time, I had been putting in a bit of work each day on the connection and earlier this week, I finally managed to put together the full line across the Serenity face. This one starts on Heart of Darkness and moves all the way across the boulder to finish as for Serenity Amidst the Chaos. This is a contender for the best problem I've ever climbed, let alone put up. I loved this thing! I called it Heart of Chaos and it's probably about V10/11. This line needs some action!
Setting up for the big move to the edge on Heart of Chaos
The terrific lock-off on Heart of Chaos
In addition to these great, new, tough lines a good amount of work has been happening all over the Fields. As I mentioned before, a couple areas in particular have seen some concentration. One is the Double Decker area. This is one of the spots already in the bouldering guide, but we sure didn't fill it up a ton when we started developing there. Jay recently added the Distillery lines, Braden and Jay added a beauty new V5 highball, I added a couple new easy lines and there is still a bunch more rock untouched in the Double Decker zone.
Another spot that's seen even more action is the Serenity area. This one's not in the book, but after even a quick look, you can tell this is the next BIG area in the Fields. When I walk around in there, I feel like I'm back 5 years ago when we ran around the Fields in any direction and could put up 20 lines a day! It's so great to see that we can still do that this many years later. Jay, Braden, Ryan, Bennett and I have all been busy out in the Serenity area and it shouldn't be tool long before it gets a bit concentrated.
I also wanted to give a huge shout out to the work the local gals are doing in the Fields this year! In particular Staci, Jess and Manuela. Between these 3 ladies, a bunch of solid lines have seen what I'm almost positive are their first female ascents. Lines such as Full Chub, Surf's Up, The Desk, Pinball Wizard and Peek a Poo have all seen an ascent or two from these lady crushers and I'm super excited to see how they can continue to push their limits in the Okanagan! I have no doubt that it won't be long before they start cranking off some of the solid V7 and V8 projects in the valley.
Staci on Surf's Up
I apologize for the lack of photos/ video. I've been flying solo a lot lately and the camera is busy collecting dust. As always, if you need any info on Okanagan bouldering feel free to email me at okbouldering