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.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dark Side North Miniguide

The hillside labyrinth known as The Dark Side is the collection of boulders lying between Nook's Rock and the Cloud Shadow Wall. This blog entry will cover only the northern half of the Dark Side's problems. Problems are numbered, beginning with problems that are just a few feet from Nook's Rock itself and ending 150 yards uphill with problems that are just a few feet from the guardrail at the hairpin turn near Capstan Rock. The entire area is very well shaded by trees and almost all of the problems face north/northeast, so conditions can sometimes be quite good when it is hot elsewhere on the mountain. Where: There are a myriad of ways to approach these boulders, but the best way - from a social trail and user impact perspective - is to head up Flagstaff Road and park on the left 1.2 miles after passing over the Armstrong Bridge at Capstan Rock. Walk up the road 50 yards to the guardrail at the hairpin turn, step over the guardrail and drop down to the southeast to Cloud Shadow Wall. Walk to the end of Cloud Shadow Wall, turn left and follow the obvious social trail for 5 minutes to the north/northeast, dropping downhill and passing a handful of established problems on the right (covered later). At the bottom of the hill, you will be deposited at Nook's Rock, which has a prominent northwest face with a number of tall moderate slab problems on it. That Flakes It Overhang is a mere 20 feet from Nook's Rock's southwest corner. Once you locate this, the remainder of the problems lie on the left side of a faint social trail that heads west ... directly up the hill to the hairpin turn. When you've reach the guardrail, look left and #14 will be right there.
1. That Flakes It V1 sds ... FA: Unknown *
From a sds around on the far left, hand traverse up and right up large holds to the corner, then pull over.

2. That Flakes It Direct V4 ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1974/5 *
Start on good holds under the overhang. Keep your feet off the right wall as you do powerful moves out the overhanging face. A sds looks possible.
3. That Flakes It Super Direct V10 sds ... FA: Dan Smith and Dan Howley, late 1990's *
A sds that begins on a thin LH hold and microcrimp for the RH. Trend up and slightly right, merging into #2.
4. Mossy Slab V0 ... FA: Unknown
Ten yards uphill from That Flakes It is a east-facing slab with a few clean holds. Avoid the moss clods on your way to the top.

5. It Is Now V3 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
Start up a slab, then veer right up a seam to a jug at 16+ feet, regroup and pull up and over the bulging 20+ foot top-out onto the slab. The crux is pulling over the top and not precleaning it could spell disaster.

6. Cryptic Grips V6/7 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Begin on the two obvious matched starting holds. Move directly left to a incut LH sidepull, do some fancy footwork and go up with your RH to something bad (there are multiple small pebbles and finger divots). Fight the barndoor and make a move to a jug and reasonable topout out left ... assuming you brushed away pine needles that tend to accumulate here.

7. Cryptic Tips V5/6 ... FA: Stevie Damboise, 2006 *
Begin matched the same as #6, perch and head straight to the top, doing some harsh pebble-squeezing along the way. I took the liberty of naming this nice line for Stevie.

8. Cryptic Magician V7/8 ... FA: Justin Jaeger, 2002 *
Start squeezing at half-wingspan using the lowest LH sidepull crimp and a RH pinch at the bottom of the rounded northeast corner. Pull on, bump your LH up, then go RH to a bad and hard-to-see undercling pinch around the corner. From there, go RH hard again to a better but sharp undercling, do some fancy footwork and 2 LH moves to attain a white crimper edge. Uncoil, perch on a bad LF and perform a RH crossover to a sloper jug, where you can regroup for the thin but reasonable topout. Tricky, balancey, footwork-intensive, sequential, unforgiving and frustrating. In a word, "cryptic!" Variation #1 - Voodoo V8: Established by Alex Manikowski in 2009, pull on with #6 and #7, but make a couple moves to the the right across sloping crimps with poor feet until you reach the start for #8.

9. Cryptic Crimps V1 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2001
About 15 feet right of #8 up on the ramp, find good crimps and head straight straight up on edges that get progressively smaller as you approach the top. Falling is not an option.
10. Creeping Death V3 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2007
On the far left of the wall is a low sds on a horizontal incut and this tricky problem where the object is to awkwardly pull around to the left and then topout.
11. Creeping in the Dark V2 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2007 *
From a sds on the horizontal incut on the far left, go up and right to the nice rail, then use small features at the lip to move for a jug up and right over the lip. A good problem!

12. Creep to Safety V0 ... FA: Unknown
Left of the start for #13 is a moderate up-problem that heads up to a ledge.
13. Creeping in the Dark Traverse V6 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2007
This problem begins just down from the guardrail. Start on the far right and traverse left, staying low, about 40 feet to finish with #11. This one required an epic cleaning effort to make it climbable and worthy of repeats.
14. Be Very Wary V2/3 ... FA: Andy Mann, 2006
Ascend the very chossy and lichen-infested spire feature above the start for #13. Trusting the frozen mud this spire is composed of above that landing is at a minimum worthy of a Flagstaff Merit Badge.
15. Pawn V5 sds ... FA: Andy Mann, 2006 *
This surprisingly good problem was no doubt overlooked due to its close proximity to the road and short stature. Located just past the middle of the turn past Capstan Rock on the right, this short overhang faces the guardrail just left of a yellow reflector on a tree. Begin from a sds on the arĂȘte and move up and right past slopers to top out without using the adjacent block for feet. Short, yet really really nice.


Peter Beal said...

The SD start for That Flakes It is probably V10

Peter Beal said...

I started Voodoo matched on the farthest left crimp just right of the boulder which solidifies the grade a bit and completes the line