Monday, February 11, 2008
Pebble Wall Boulder Miniguide
The Pebble Wall Boulder is home to a slew of finicky pebble-pimping up-problems that will test your patience and pinching power. In addition, there are a couple traverses that require a couple days worth of learning just so you can start trying them in earnest. Only a handful of people have perservered long enough on these endurance nightmares to taste the sweetness of victory. Do you have what it takes to get Over Yourself? 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 the road opposite the Crown Rock Parking Area. Stay right at the first split and you will walk right up to the middle of the south face of the boulder and the prominent features that give the boulder it's name. Problems are numbered counterclockwise, beginning with problems on the north side which face the Frontside of the Amphitheater.
1a&b. North Face VB (a) / V4/5 sds (b) ... FA: Unknown
Start with #2 on pebbles (a), but trend left under the overhang to pull the lip via an easy topout on good holds. Add a low sds (b) from down and right for a harder challenge.
2a&b. North Overhang V3/4 (a) / V5 sds (b) ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967 *
Climb out the left side of the pebble-covered overhang (a) with a tricky topout. Add a low sds (b) from down and right for a harder challenge.
3a&b. The Cobble Problem V6/7 (a) / V7 sds (b) ... FA: T.J. Burchfield, 2006 *
Climb out the right side of the overhang (a), moving into opposing large cobble underclings and topout directly above on much smaller features. A sds that begins down and right (b) adds a couple moves and a bit of difficulty.
Begin with #3a (a), but veer right from the cobbles to the arête via a heel hook to gain the top. The sds begins directly below (b). Seems reasonably doable until ...
5. West Overhang V3 ... FA: Richard Smith, mid 1960’s *
Start low using an edge and a three-finger pocket and ascend the corner just right of the overhang using several protruding pebbles. This is a brilliant problem, but you will need several pads and/or spotters to protect this adequately.
6. Southwest Corner V1 ... FA: Pat Ament, early 1960’s *
Start at a fin on the right side of a large pod located 6 feet right of #5 and climb up and slightly left to finish.
7. Southwest Face V5 ... FA: Bob Horan, early 1980’s
Seven feet right of #6, ascend pebbles straight up to a thin tricky finish above an uneven landing with railroad tie steps and retaining wall stones. At least one useful pebble has broken off, making the finish for this one harder.
8. Sweet Pea V3/4 ... FA: Jim Michael, 1970’s *
Start the same as #9 above some exposed tree roots, but grab the highest pebble on the face with your RH (which steers you away from #9) and move up and left to a nice finish.
9. The High Step V3/4 ... FA: Bob Poling, mid 1960’s *
Start two feet left of #9 above some exposed tree roots. Do a high-step to start, then climb pebbles to edges over the top.
10. Direct South Face V3 ... FA: Pat Ament, mid 1960’s *
Start above a railroad tie 5 feet left of #11. Ascend pebbles to good edges over the top.
11. Crystal Mantel V3 sds ... FA: Unknown *
These days, everyone begins with the obvious sds on the large flake. Move up to the large crystal five feet up. Possibly use a LH mantel to climb up and slightly right to the lip. This problem has also been accomplished via a RH mantel (Pat Ament - mid 1960's) and a 2-handed mantel (Jim Holloway - mid 1970's).
12. The Zombie Traverse V9 sds ... FA: Will Lemaire, 2007
From the same sds as #11, traverse right through the corridor, round the corner and continue right, staying low, until you can finish across #18.
13. Pebble Traverse V10/11 ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1975 *
Begin matched with #14 at the 2- and 3-finger pockets and traverse left across the entire south face without the height restrictions of #15. The few useful holds that are above 7 feet are pretty much only helpful for short rests. The successful boulderer will arrive at low matching edges just left of the start for #5 after about 60 moves. It's over when you can sit down on the rock. In 2005, Ted Lanzano got a rare repeat of this problem.
14. Over Yourself V11/12 ... FA: Skip Guerin, early 1990’s *
Begin matched with #13 at the 2- and 3-finger pockets and traverse left across mostly pebbles using no holds more than 7 feet up. You will arrive at low matching edges just left of the start for #5 after about 60 moves. It's over when you can sit down on the rock. This endurance nightmare finally saw a repeat by Rob Candelaria in 2002. In 2005, Will Lemaire got the third ascent and then upped the ante by continuing around the corner and topping out #2b.
13. The Original Route / Classic Undercling V1 ... FA: Unknown *
A few feet right of #11, climb up into a two-handed palms-up undercling underneath the flake at the top.
16. Southeast Corner V1/2 ... FA: Unknown
Ascend mostly pebbles and pull over without the undercling/flake out left. Beware of the back-breaking boulder directly behind you as you pull over.
17a&b. Southeast Face V1 (a) / V4/5 sds (b) ... FA: Unknown *
Start standing (a), pull on and do one tricky/powerful move. Once you are established on the face, fun pebble-pulling gets you to the top. For the sds immediately below (b), start hanging with your LH clinging to a crimp in the shallow hueco and RH on a bad grip under the lip. Battle up to establish on the face and do the much easier finish.
18. Strege-Moelter Problem V6 sds ... FA: Bart Strege, 2001/2 *
Resurrected and popularized by Mike Moelter, begin from the same sds as #17b, zoom right on slopers and painful pebbles for 10 feet staying low to topout with #19.
19. Northeast Mantel V2 sds ... FA: Unknown
Start low on good holds, punch right to a shelf and pull up and over via a mantel.