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Archive for the ‘Boulder Problems’ Category

Bishop Bouldering: Happy Boulders

Some problems from the Happy Boulders in Bishop, CA. In this video Prairie climbs Last Dance V9. This video also features Redrum sit, Serengeti, Morning Dove White, Gleaner, and Acid Wash right.

Bishop Bouldering: Happy Boulders from Walker Kearney on Vimeo.

Rupture V7 – Morrison, CO

Mercedes Pollmeier on Rupture V7. Photo by Jamison Burt.
Like the red beanie?

Rupture V7 is one of the better problems found in the Morrison area. It’s set high on the ridge of the Dark Side (South Side Morrison) but can be difficult to find because its in a crevice.

The Beta:

  • Start with left hand in the slot, right hand on undercling, left foot low, right foot smear.
  •  Big move with left hand to big rounded hold, move right foot up just below starting hold slot. right hand moves to sloper rail, left foot moves to starting hold slot and match hands on sloper.
  •  Move right hand to next sloper on rail. bring left foot up to rounded hold, press hips up and cross left hand to shallow pocket.
  •  Right foot finds a small edge out to the right, move right hand to good crimp next to the left hand.
  •  Left foot heel hook (you need to place it where you can get the most purchase for the next move), right foot on tiny jib. Big slap to sloper (its a bit further than you think, get the hand all the way around the feature).
  •  I moved my left heel in a bit more so that I could perch for the next two moves. Right hands moves again to the upper part of the side pulling edge. Perch a bit more n the left foot, left hand goes to small crimp on the face.
  •  left foot turns to a toe, left hand goes to left side of next edge right above you (the left side is not as good as the right side). Switch feet and bring right hand matched to the right side of the edge.
  •  Right hand extends up to the lip, switch feet, left hand finds a fairly good edge on the left side of the lip. Top out to the left, it’s less sketchy.

Linville Gorge, NC – Developing Boulder Problems

by Lisa Hummel

There seems to exist a sort of incredulous disposition about climbing in the southeast—vast amounts of land harboring equally prodigious amounts of bullet hard rock, that are safeguarded by one or more thwarting groups; the infamous “Billy Bob,” his hound dog and a sawed-off shot gun,  a stuffy old country-club member, a state or national park service, or other climbers who fear your big mouth is going to ruin it for them and their secret area.  These are all valid arguments, and are integral to why there is no printed guidebook to any specific area.  Several boulder fields are access sensitive, and could be closed if high traffic becomes an issue.

 Enter Linville Gorge: wild, free, and totally accessible.  Linville Gorge is known as the Grand Canyon of the east, which encompasses about 12,000 acres of virgin wilderness. Riddled with rock cliffs and boulder outcroppings, the possibilities are truly endless.  For the last five years, give or take, a handful of dedicated climbers have been traveling down to the river bed at the bottom of the Linville Gorge.  With a thirst for new boulder problems, what they have found is miles of river, dripping with boulder field after boulder field.  This deluge of boulders has, and will continue to quench any thirst for a new and rad bouldering experience.  I was lucky, or unlucky enough (in the beginning), to witness and experience it all.  Lucky enough because I did not realize at the time, but I was part of the most recent Golden Era of bouldering in Boone, NC.  Unlucky, because at first, I was only reluctantly following my boyfriend through labrynths of rhododrendon thickets and free-style walking over sketch river crossings, to scratch his itch.

Yet, I endured.  I sucked it up and hiked down into the gorge, and stuck it out with all the “real men,” time after time, year after year.  Developing a new area is tricky, especially being a lone wolf female.  There are no chalked boulder problems, no guides to revert to, and no boundaries defined.  All that existed between this 12,000 acre wilderness and me were two to ten salivating Appalachian Hardmen , with that wild look in their eyes, closing in on one prize line after another. Let me clarify that now and again through the years, a stray female would find herself in the gorge, at the mercy of the pack—I wasn’t totally alone; and the whole pack heard my cries of frustration.  But alas, at the end of the day, I could not stop thinking about the perfectly set up boulder problems on the kindest, finest grain metamorphic sandstone, polished smooth by eons of river flow.

While I cannot claim many rad FAs, I did snag a lot of ultra classic FFAs, including “Red Dawn”, “Like Water for Chocolate”, “A Whale’s Vagina”, “Little Scoop”, “Helter Skelter”, “Ephervescent Elephant”, and “Spence Ridge Fin”, to name a few.  And I also took it upon myself to name some FAs, where there was a need, such as “Zipper”, “Helter Skelter”, “A Whale’s Vagina”, and “Bull in a China Shop.”   All of these problems are truly classic, and don’t even scratch the surface of development that has taken place.

And every heinous hike,  every fall into the river, every rainy night camping without a tent was worth it!  Developing and test driving the Linville Gorge for the past five years has opened my eyes to some of the best quality and quantity rock climbing out there.  And the best part about it, is that is actually super accessible, now that the hard work is done, and wide open and free!  So gals, grab your guy and make a real man out of him—tell him you want to go boulder on the Linville Gorge Riverbed.  I’ve got all the beta you need.


There are several resources to get you down on the river and get some climbing done.  First, Linville Gorge has its own maps, GPS, directions, beta, etc., as it is a National Forest and Wilderness area, so check them out online.  I recommend

You can pick up a detailed black and white sketch of Linville Gorge Boulders at Footsloggers in downtown Boone, NC.  Joey Henson, who is one of the main developers, took all of his knowledge and experience and drew a very detailed map of lots of the boulders and problems.  You can also check out Mike Stam’s blog at  Mike Stam, another main developer, has taken photos and added lines, grades, descriptions, and names to boulders and problems in Linville Gorge.  And most importantly, use your imagination, and have an open mind…put up your own problems!

Spence Ridge Trail is the route you want to take on your first bouldering experience down to the gorge.  This is on the other side of the gorge from Linville Falls, accessed by 181.  Again, look for a smaller brown sign pointing you towards Table Rock, which is on the second Gingercake Rd.  Spence Ridge trail pull off is about six miles down the gravel road on the right.  The trail is just under 2 miles downhill.  The trail is super casual, my grandma has hiked it, but start early or plan to camp on the river bed to maximize your day.  Spence Ridge Bridge area bouldering encompasses both sides of the river, upstream and downstream a quarter mile each way from the bridge.  Using will help you seek out problems around the Spence Ridge Bridge.

I recommend two areas upstream and downstream of the Spence Ridge Bridge.  First, Red Dawn area, which is downstream of the Bridge.  Hike about 2/10 of a mile once you have crossed the bridge downstream.  There are several steep fishermen’s trails that cut down to the river.  You want to take the third most obvious one on the left.  You will be above the river, so you want to get down to the river.  You will see a big blank slab with one hueco above water across the river, and there are a series of small roofs on yourside of the river.  Look for these as landmarks.  Direclty to the right, or downstream, of the big blank slab is the Red Dawn Roof.  So when you get to the river you will be looking directly across the river at it.  Essentially, you will have to hike a few hundred yards further downstream to the most accessible river crossing, and then cut back up to the roof.  Red Dawn is a classic V5 and tops out.  The Glass Rail is the left to right traverse that ends on Red Dawns same topout.  From here just hike downstream, back across to the roofs, and upstream to climb.

The second area I recommend will be upstream from the Spence Ridge Bridge.  There are about 6 different problems, one of which is “A Whales Vagina,” that I included the Vimeo clip of.  Instead of crossing the bridge, continue straight on the path beyond the bridge on that side of the river.  You will traverse across rock cliff ledge, and hike the length on top of two fallen huge trees.  Further upstream here you will see an obvious huge triangle boulder coming out of the river with a little beach under it.  This is the Spence Ridge Fin Boulder: ultra classic V3 all the way up the arête left.  Keep skirting the river to a couple of ledges with a fallen small tree.  You want to use the tree, and get up over these ledges.  Continue approximately 100 more yards on top of the rocks.  It should spit you out at the roof with a large platform built of driftwood under it.  “A Good Days Work” V8, “A Whales Vagina” V6, “Bull In a China Shop” V8, and many more variants are here.

Don’t’ let the big numbers scare you, there are always boulders to just play around on.  Most of all, just get down there and take advantage of this wild and free area!


Lisa Hummel climbing in Linville Gorge from Carl Stam on Vimeo.

Problem in the Gunks – Scrambled Egg V3

Canadian climber Sierra Allen sent us this video from the Gunks. Check out more videos from Sierra in the Beta by Area section of our site. This is a variation on the classic problem The Gill Egg v4.

The Gill Egg – Gunks Bouldering from Sierra Allen on Vimeo.

Thomasina Pidgeon climbs Chbalanke and Dark age – Heuco, TX

Thomasina’s hard work in Texas has paid off by completing who tough problems. Thanks to Melissa Strong of Wagon Wheel Co-op for the footage.


Nina Williams in Joe’s Valley

Veritical Girl  athlete Nina Williams is from Fort Collins, CO. She has been doing the comp circuit for years, but now has taken her talents to the beautiful sandstone boulders of  Joe’s Valley. Her hard work is paying off.

Nina Williams Sends Two 10′s in a Day from Beau Kahler Media on Vimeo.

Frisco Buttress V7 – Frisco, CO

Photo by Jamison Burt

It’s a relatively cool day; I’m nestled in the Aspen trees, over-looking Interstate 70. I sit on my Organic crash pad – in my Vertical Girl Signature Bra, look up at the black and tan rock, and start to visualize each move of the Frisco Buttress. I go through the foot movement and placement. The reason why I haven’t sent this in the past is because my feet would cut at critical moments, and I would swing out violently, making the fall to the ground, the over shadowing back drop in my mind, very scary.  As I slip on my SCARPA Vapor S‘, the crux of the problem dissolves, allowing for greater determination and anticipation for the top out. As I climb, the rising confidence in my shoes, the ability to toe down on the small edges, and the friction of sticky rubber, the two crimp moves on the overhanging arete becomes the fun part of the climb, a viable challenge. I topped out, into the aspen grove and exhaled. I finally did my long-standing project. Thanks to SCARPA for creating a flexible, comfortable shoe, that allows for greater sensitivity while still having the air of an aggressive down-turned climbing shoe.

Rupture V7 – Morrison South, CO from Mercedes Pollmeier on Vimeo.

  • Start on right lower side pull and left obvious side pull. feet stay low, left foot on a ledge.
  • Right hand to gaston, left hand to slopey crimp.
  • Left foot moves just a bit higher and right foot moves up about two feet to good edge.
  • Right hand hits intermediate, small shallow pocket, before hitting the two finger side pulling pocket. You can make this into a pinch once you have a hold of the pocket.
  • Quick left hand switch to side pull right (next the slopey crimp).
  • Switch right foot with left foot and flag/scum with right.
  • This next move is quite cruxy, stay tight and move left hand to the sharp crimp.
  • Right foot finds a rounded edge next to the left foot, and flag left foot.
  • Right hand goes for a rounded jug. cutting feet here was neccessary for me to place my left foot high on a very shallow dish.
  • Big left hand move to a JUG! Expect feet to cut.
  • Right foot high and go right hand to incut crimp (intermediate) before hitting the horizontal pinch.
  • Switch feet and match pinch.
  • Top out is committing. Right hand finds its way to the horn (which is a shallow dish, but good enough to pull on).
  • Move left foot high and mantle up. I grabbed a left small tiny tiny edge that gave me enough leeway to get my right foot on the pinch to top out the problem.

    Girl Beta Climbing Clinic in Seattle, Oct 28th 2011

    Dairy Canyon & Raiden Areas – Joe’s Valley, UT

    Last weekend, the weather was looking bad for the Denver and front range areas, so some of the Girl Beta crew decided to take that opportunity to make our first trip of the season to Joe’s Valley, Utah. The goal of the trip was to scope out some of the “newer” areas and decide how well written and accurate the new Utah Bouldering guide was. For a more elaborate description of our journey, check out Ivelin Penchev’s site, Lovech Climbing. In general, the new areas were a good change-up, but the new guidebook seemed to be very misleading in terms of grades. As a positive to the new guide, it has great photos, fairly good start hold description, and good map layout. Below is a video of Sara, Mercedes and Ivo climbing DK’s Buldge V1, Balwin Bash V7, Big Cheesy V5, Taking the Stairs V9, & Dunkin Donuts V10.

    More From Hueco Tanks TX

    Another great video from Walker Kearney of Lina Climbing Lobster Claw v5 and Moonshine roof v4.

    Two from the Tanks: Lobster Claw and Moonshine Roof from Walker Kearney on Vimeo.

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