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    Notes and advice from Sean McColl.

Best of the West

After picking up Vikki and my brother from the airport, our Canadian crew had now grown to 6. Since our old car was only a 5 seater, we had to upgrade to a minivan and Jamie took on the role of soccer mom. Our crew was now made up of Jamie Chong, Simon Parton, Sonnie Trotter, Vikki Weldon, Jason McColl and myself. Our 3rd day of climbing was on the 12th. We had a volunteer tour at 930 and we were really psyched to get on a problem on West mountain called “The Feather”. Since it’s the hardest problem to hike to at Hueco, we stopped at some other problems on the way. We started our day on a long problem called Long Dong. This problem was a 25 move V6 with no move harder than V4. We figured if it was a route, it would weigh in the mid 5.12 range. After everyone sent that one, I wanted to go down and check out a problem called Ice Scream. This problem has 3 variations which start at different points on the boulder. Last season I had done the V10 and V11 versions so I wanted to try the full boulder this time. After a bunch of tries trying to remember the finish moves, I sent the high version and then I started working the low. It was hard!! The first move is a full extension deadpoint to a 2 finger pocket then you have to do a massive high step and lock off to the start hold of the V11. Countless tries later I had done every move. After a long rest I got psyched up and climbed through the whole bottom only to fall on the last move of the stand!! After another rest I got to the same move again, falling inches from the top. After that my muscles were too tired from the physical moves of the start so we packed up and moved on. After a brief lunch break where Vikki, Simon and Sonnie played around on a stout V4, we started the hike up to The Feather. We didn’t realize it at first but after 45 minutes of rock hopping, tree fighting and slab climbing, we finally arrived in a the little cave that was home to The Feather. Before trying the problem, we all huddled around Jamie’s iPhone and watched Nate Gold work the moves from the movie “Best of the West”. On my flash burn, I made it all the way out on the roof but couldn’t figure out how to reach out left to a pinch. Jamie was struggling with the throw at the bottom but when I figured out a key toe hook to place before the move, we both could do the move a lot easier. After figuring out what to do with my feet for the top moves, I took a big rest and fired the problem. After a brief rest, Jamie figured out his feet and crushed the problem on his next go. Yesterday, we were pretty tired from the hike out West so we decided to get on a bunch of easier problems the whole day. We spent the whole day on East Spur and did a bunch of realy good V8’s and 9’s. One of the best problems of the day was a V8 called The Egg. This problem started in a knee bar and came around a bulge and up the arret on slopers. I also tried the moves on Coeur Du Leon, but I wasn’t strong enough to do a foot movement in the middle. At the end of the day, we were all really tired but we had easily climbed at least 10 boulders each. Today was another rest day spend at Kristophs’s. Before we came into town, we ran around North Mountain taking a look at the problems we wanted to get on. Tommorrow should be another hot day and hopefully I’ll be feeling strong.

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