Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dernier cri

Yet another visit this past weekend to the Dryads yielded some more goodies.  Loni and I brought the Phoenix out - the Dryads proved to have some great camping.  Tom was able to dispatch of his leaning arete problem on the En Vogue Boulder I was able to send my little project even though the two main crimps blew up on separate attempts making it much harder, regardless- Dernier cri is a great problem.  Here are some shots of those problemos from a previous post   We then ventured  further down the trail and discovered some really interesting boulders.  One in particular had this weird feature that we could not figure out for the life of us how to even get established on.  After many permutations of foot beta we finally got something to stick and the Bavarian Bicycle was born.  As Tom figured out the move can be a real shin banger.

Bavarian Boulder - Bavarian Bicycle - Dryad Boulders

Bavarian Boulder - Bavarian Bicycle - Dryad Boulders
(foot beta)

Later on we took a walk and I was able to find a pretty face on another slope to the East.  So Pretty is a stellar warm-up problem.

So Pretty Boulder - So Pretty - Eastern Dryads

So Pretty Boulder - So Pretty - Eastern Dryads

Then the rains came so I focused on scoping some more stuff the next day.  There are tons of boulders there an easy walk from the parking area and some of them are monsters!  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

der·nier cri 
The latest thing; the newest fashion.

[French : dernier, last, latest + cri, cry.]


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dolomite Climbing Bags: Basic Bouldering Bag Review

Bouldering is viewed by many as climbing in its purest and simplest form. Just you and the rock...well that and everything you carry with you.

For some the solution is to just stuff it all into the pad...creating a potential for a trail of gear to pick up on your way out, or a sprawling mess once you set up at the blocs. For others, a bouldering bag becomes a necessity to keep yourself organized.

Dolomite Climbing Bags is a small outfit based in Seattle, WA specializing in up-cycled bags. They were kind enough to send along the Basic Bouldering Bag for our review, not to mention they generously donated to the 3rd Annual Butte Bouldering Bash.

Some thoughts after a winter season of outdoor bouldering with the Dolomite Basic Bouldering Bag as my primary bouldering bag:

The bag is in the style of a messenger/saddle bag, with the ability to open up and lie flat in the bouldering pad. It's somewhat comparable to the Metolius Bouldering Bag in style.

Outside pockets holding chalkpot, shoes & water bottle

The re-purposed fabric initially feels stiff but burly...and the stiffness isn't necessarily bad, just different. The toughness of the fabric is great, especially among the sharp rocks of the Boulder Batholith. I also really like the idea of using re-purposed(up-cycled) marketing banners and cordura. Each bag is unique and living a second life.

The bag features two large zippered compartments and pockets in front for quick access. The outside pockets are nice to be able to quickly tuck away your shoes or grab a water bottle, which is neatly stored and not isn't rolling off somewhere. Storage wise - there is ample space to fit shoes, water, chalk, brushes, and food with room to spare. There is also a small inner pocket along with a key keeper for small items, which I find very useful as I'm always convinced I *just* lost my keys.

I dig the style and aesthetics of the bag, and it's cool having a choice on fabric patterns, I ended up with some glow in the dark accents...a pretty cool addition. The construction is bomber as well, with sturdy stitches and burly zippers, overall it feels solid. As a minor quibble, I'd like the see the should-strap connection just as burly, but currently it seems to be holding up just fine.

I mainly used this bag in conjunction with a bouldering pad, Though bag also carries nicely in the messenger bag configuration with a shoulder strap, making it easy to go from the boulders to the gym with the same bag.  While it would work for a scouting mission, a day exploring without a pad I might opt for a traditional style backpack.

I put this bag through some freeze-thaw torture, often times it would end up on the porch, garage, or left in the rig. I was nervous about the material becoming brittle, but so far the material seems just as solid as when I initially picked it up. In fact, there is very little, if any, wear to the fabric...this stuff is burly!  The fabric also remains rather stiff...but over time I have gotten used to the 'feel' of the bag, and the stiffness doesn't seem to be an issue, it's just a bit different.

Durable up-cycled fabric
Made in the USA
Solidly made
Custom color choices
Fits nicely into a bouldering pad
Works great as a gym bag

Plastic buckles
Not a great option for long hikes without a pad.

Overall, if you're looking into picking up a bouldering bag, this is a great option. A quality product, utilizing up-cycling practices, and based in the USA.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dryad Boulders (Round 2)

Dryad Boulders (Lower Talus)
photo: Jeremy Champion

The Dryad Boulders that Tom, Kalah and I checked out last week is certainly quite the find.  It is going to take a long time to figure out exactly how large it really is.  We focused last week mostly on the lower section of the talus field- this weekend with a larger crew we decided to focus on some of the blocks hidden in the forest below.  A little searching revealed a couple really nice boulders with great landings.

Tom on the En Vogue Boulder
photo: Jeremy Champion

I fumbled around on this difficult transition problem that goes from a cool sit start to a very thin slab.  Had to leave this one for another day.  Pretty rare to see these two disciplines in one problem at least of this quality.

Lower section of a proj - En Vogue Boulder
photo: Jeremy Champion

Upper section of proj - En Vogue Boulder
photo: Jeremy Champion

Ladd styling the Bandwagon Crack - En Vogue Boulder
photo: Jeremy Champion

We also found a pretty nice block with tons of moderate possibilities on it with some bomber patinas.  Ladd quickly gobbled up some FAs.

Ladd on the FA - Patina Royale Boulder
photo: Jeremy Champion

Brielle sampling some of granola and doing her part as ground control
photo: Jeremy Champion

Oh yeah I have not forgotten about this bad boy.  It looks so unassuming from so far away.   I will be back!
photo: Jeremy Champion
You can check out more photos by Jeremy @


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A worthy find for sure...

Enter at your own risk
Tom, Kalah, Bowie and I ventured out on Saturday to investigate a spot that Tom had been thinking about checking out for quite awhile  The theme here is talus somewhat of a rarity in the Batholith.  This locale is loaded with it.  This place is daunting there is so much rock in here and lots of it is climbable.  We did a lot of scoping out and it was pretty obvious that our three measly pads would not be enough for most landings.  Here is just a very small sampling of what we found.

Talus... it goes like this for a long ways
Cool sit-start crack feature
Par for the course here

Crazy bear huggy thing

After walking through some of it we ended up on an upper bench with some great problems.

Star Kid Tech
Star Kid Tech
Bowie found an old shed.  So I stuck it into my fancy shed hunting backpack to fortify the belief in the motocross community that crash pads are super specialized shed hunting packs.

Batholith Shed Hunting Backpack (patent pending)

Oh yeah at the entrance to this area an amazing boulder with an awesomely difficult crack/seam.

Seam project

The aftermath
This area is huge and I feel it will take awhile to even get a handle on it.  There is a lot to be done here.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinco D' Mayo'd

Some crack work up near Split Pinnacle... Some for the bigger folk... Wide projects for the small... Enjoy the warmer temps and longer days!