The author expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express and implied, that any information contained herein is accurate. There are no warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This guide should never be considered a substitute for professional instruction or years of experience making smart climbing decisions. Your use of the Flagstaff Mountain Bouldering Guide indicates that you are: (1) assuming the risk that errors exist in this guide; and (2) acknowledging that your safety while climbing and bouldering on Flagstaff Mountain and elsewhere is solely your responsibility.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Red Wall Boulder Miniguide

The Red Wall refers to the southwest face of the Red Wall Boulder which is comprised of some of the nicest stone and holds on Flagstaff Mountain. Considering how many problems have been contrived on this one face, you might expect that the Red Wall Boulder would be larger than it is. Nevertheless, there's tons of history here and lots of problems to try. The best story involves Bob Williams, Steve Wunsch, epoxy and the soapdish hold on Pat Ament's notoriously frustrating problem known as Right Side. All but solid double-digit boulderers can spend dozens of days sussing out all the Red Wall problems' subtleties.  If you don't enjoy boulder problems with rules, approach this wall and just do what comes naturally cause the rock is pretty nice. After you spend dozens of hours on this wall, all the contrivances will come naturally to you as well. Where: Head up Flagstaff Road. 1.6 miles past The Armstrong Bridge (located at the hard right hand turn at the bottom of the mountain), park at the Crown Rock Parking Area on the left or the dirt lot 75 yards further up the road on the right. Hike 2 minutes up the trail on the north side of Flagstaff Road. Stay right at the first split, pass the Pebble Wall and North Rocks on your left and you'll be looking at the namesake face of the Red Wall Boulder.
1. Left Side V4 sds ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
Begin from a sds on the very far left with your RH in the obvious pocket. Climb straight up the short face utiilizing mostly pebbles and a small pocket.
2. Griffith Problem V4 ... FA: Christian Griffith, 1970's
From a stand start on small holds, establish on the face, then possibly use the small but obvious shallow pocket up high for your RH on your way to the top.
3. Griffith Direct V5/6 sds ... FA: Unknown *
Begin from a sds direcly below #2 with your LH in the pocket. A high and powerful right heel-hook is the key to getting up into the starting holds for #2.

4. L->R Red Wall Traverse V9 sds ... FA: Peter Beal, 2002 *
From the same start as #3, with your LH in the 3-finger pocket, traverse right until you can go RH to the crimp immediately below the soapdish and LH into the soapdish and finish up #14.
5. Center Left V5 ... FA: Unknown *
From the incut flakes, utilize a heel hook in the pod to get your RH into the 3-finger pocket. Turn the heel to a toe, stand up on it, match left foot to hand and go up smoothly but quickly to catch the crystal pinch with your LH before the topout. This problem was originally done starting RH in the pocket. Erosion makes this all but impossible today unless you're tall or standing on multiple pads.
6. Standard Route V4/5 ... FA: Bob Culp, late 1950's / Low Start: David Breashears, mid 1970’s *
With your LH on the incut edges and RH in the left side of the pod, stand up tall and quickly sink your LH in the 3-finger pocket. Get your feet up and make a long RH move to the potato chip before topping out. This problem was originally done starting LH in the pocket. Erosion makes this all but impossible today unless you're tall or standing on multiple pads.
7. Red Wall Direct V7 ... FA: Christian Griffith, 1980's *
Start matched any way you want in the large pod. Go up hard and fast to snatch the sharp 3-finger edge with your right hand. Now do an unbelievably long move up and left to the potato chip and then the top. A nice problem, but be careful with the dynamic first move to the sharp 3-finger edge.
8. Varney Direct V6 ... FA: Eric Varney, 1968 *
Start with your RH in the soapdish or on the crimper just below it, pull on and go LH to the 3-finger edge. Now get your RH into the shallow 2-finger divot above it so you can slide left to the potato chip and the top.
9. R->L Red Wall Traverse V7 sds ... FA: Unknown *
Start matched on the starting flake for #10. Traverse left across the rail into and up #3. It's possible but silly to start a couple moves down further to the right. See also the variation to #17.
10. Moffat Direct V8 sds ... FA: Jerry Moffat, 1982 *
With both hands on the flake just down and right from the large pod in the center of the wall, do a long move up to the soapdish or the crimp just below it and finish via #8. "The pod" is off for your LH as an intermediate when making the opening move. Variation #1 - Varney Super Direct V10 sds: A Peter Beal problem first climbed in 2001 that is beta-intensive, rule-intensive and difficult to describe, but here goes ... Instead of starting matched on the good flake with #s 9-11, begin from a sds down and right on two very low, thin and miserable sloping crimps and a poor right foot (that used to be really good). Once you've got the starting holds, climb up and left into #8 and topout without using the pod or the starting flake for #10 for hands OR feet. Peter Beal's beta: from the bad starting holds described above, bump RH up a bit to the razor sharp sidepull crimp, bump LH to a thin crimp about a foot below the soapdish,  then RH to the crimp just below the soapdish, LH into the soapdish, then go left again with your LH to the sharp 3-finger edge and finish up #8. Remember that the pod and the starting flake for #10 is off for your feet to finish, e.g., think of it as a tracking problem.
11. Beal Direct V8 sds ... FA: Peter Beal, 2002 *
Begin from a sds matched on the flake with #10. Go right hand to the crimp just below the soapdish and then get your left hand in the soapdish. Now do #14.  "The pod" is off for your LH as an intermediate.
12. Crossover V6 ... FA: Unknown
Start with your LH in the soapdish (or the thin crimper immediately below it) and your RH in the 2-finger divot. Get your feet in the perfect place and do a wild crossover move with your RH all the way to the 3-finger edge. Now do the long move up and left to the potato chip and the top. This one looks and feels improbable until your right foot is and stays where it needs to be for the first move.
13. Ooze Pig V7/8 ... FA: Christian Griffith, 1980's
A very slight historical variation to #14. Start with your LH in the soapdish (or the thin crimper immediately below it) and your RH in the 2-finger divot and fire up and into a shallow 2-finger pocket just left of the bad pinch on #14. From there, go again with your RH just a couple inches up to a bad shallow 3-finger pocket before topping out. Both of these shallow pockets are hard to see, but are just left of the bad pinch and deep pocket at the top of #14.
14. Right Side of Red Wall V5 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967 *
Start with your LH in the soapdish (or the thin crimper immediately below it) and your RH in the 2-finger divot. Smoothly flow up RH to the distant bad pinch and go again to get into the deep pocket above it to top out. Variation #1 - Firewall V9 sds: Another low start added by Peter Beal in 2008. Instead of starting on the good flake with #s 10&11, begin from a sds a little further to the right just below #16 on a small LH crimp and RH 4-finger edge. Once you've got the starting holds, climb up into #14 and topout. Peter Beal's beta: from the starting holds, go LH into the 2-finger divot, RH to a tiny razor sharp crimp, LH to the crimp below the soapdish, RH into the 2-finger divot, LH into the soapdish and finish #14.
15. Far Right Side High V4 ... FA: Unknown *
Begin next to the tree with your RH on the high 4-finger edge 7 feet up and your LH in the 2-finger divot. Move left to the finishing holds on #14, grab the top and pull over.
16. Far Right Side Low V6 ... FA: Unknown
Adds only one move, but an interesting one. Start with your RH on the low 4-finger edge at waist height and LH in the 2-finger divot. Go RH quickly to the high 4-finger edge, finishing up #15.
17. Far Right Side Traverse V8 sds ... FA: Skip Guerin, 1990's
Begin from a sds a few steps down to the right past the tree. Traverse up and left to finish via #15, with a couple tough moves getting your RH onto the high 4-finger crimp and accessing the finishing holds for #14. Avoid the lip until you've established on the finishing holds for #14. The landing before the very end is a disaster involving rocks, a tree and a steep ledge. Variation #1 - Just Another Traverse V10 sds:  Thank Ted Lanzano for this nightmarish problem completed in 2008, which links #17 into #9. From the same start as #17, traverse left to the high 4-finger edge (avoiding the lip), but instead of topping out, slide left to the soapdish and crimp, drop down to the rail and traverse left across #9 which finishes up #3 on the far left of the wall. 
18. Far Far Right Side VB sds ... FA: Unknown
Begin from a sds a few steps down to the right past the tree. Ascend good edges and cobbles to the top.
19. East Overhang Left V2 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
On the left side of the back side of the Red Wall, above a railroad tie, start using slopers at the lip, heel-hook and pull over onto the slab.
20. Sleeper V7 sds ... FA: Will Lemaire, 2001 *
Begin from a sds with both hands on the obvious low shelf. Get to the sloping lip via an intermediate crimp and pull over as per #19. Short and burly sweetness.
21. East Overhang Right V3 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
Begin at the obvious protruding pebble and pull the bulge more or less straight up.

22. Guy’s Overhang V7 sds ... FA: Ted Lanzano, 2006
Begin from a low sds just down and left from the protruding cobble. With your feet out left, pull onto a crimp as a bizarre undercling, do an improbable-looking LH crossover behind you to the protruding cobble, uncoil, match and then top out via #21. The LH crossover unlocked the sequence for the first ascent, but until you've done this move, it will seem quite strange and inconceivable.

23. Surf and Turf V6/7 sds ... FA: Peter Jones, 2005/6
Six feet right of #21, pull on utilizing funky cobbles and surf left via a few tough moves on cobbles into #21 and top out.


Peter Aretin said...

I knew Eric Varney, who was also a very good skier. I was walking down Pearl St. recently, and as I passed the poster shop I noticed they were selling copies (probably unauthorized) of his "Ski Stoned" poster. Eric is the skier on the viewer's left, reaching for the joint. He originally had these printed in the late 60s and sold them himself to ski shops in the west. The last time I saw an original one in the wild was sometime in the 80s in the fire station in Winter Park.

Lon Ball said...

Yes, I bouldered with Eric Varney and Jim Sharp. The Ski Stoned poster was a creation of Jim Sharp who did several including one I shot of him on the Hang It Out poster. Eric sold them and was in the photo and I think it might have been Jim's twin brother, Joe who did the camera because dJim was sitting next to Eric. I want to know what has happened to Eric; does anyone know where he is or his contact information? He was wiry, even skinnier that I was as well as shorter. I was Lon Johnson then and hanging out at the Sink with Eric one day and he admired the Goodwill motorcycle jacket that I had on with a faded woman's figure on the back. It was too tight for me, not a good fit, so I took it off and laid it on him for a perfect fit. Eric didn't do long climbs with us or anyone because he didn't like the exposure. Se he became the boulderer supreme; challenge for anyone to follow, some routes no one else could do.

Lon Ball said...

Varney's nickname was "The Fly".