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.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dark Side South Miniguide

The hillside labyrinth known as The Dark Side is the collection of boulders lying between Nook's Rock and the Cloud Shadow complex of rock. This miniguide will cover the southern half of the Dark Side's problems, as Dark Side North was covered in another miniguide. Problems are numbered, beginning with problems that are about 30 yards south of Nook's Rock and ending with problems that are about 100 yards uphill from there. Like the rest of The Dark Side, the entire area is well shaded by trees and almost all of these problems face north so conditions can sometimes be quite good when it is hot elsewhere on the mountain. Where: There are a number 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 obvious problems on the right. When Nook's Rock comes into view, you are there. Dark Side South problems begin 30 yards south of Nook's Rock on the left side of the main social trail if you are walking back towards Cloud Shadow Wall. As you are heading uphill on this trail, there are three formations on the left, all within 25 yards of one another, ie: Stage Rock, The Jim Hall Boulder and The Pillar. There are two other formations on another fainter social trail/wash that parallels the main one about 10 yards to the north. To find these problems, walk 10 yards towards Nook's Rock from The Jim Hall Boulder and head directly uphill. Incuts Overhang comes first and is on the left. Continue uphill and Slot Overhang will appear in front of you imbedded in the hillside. The HOH Overhang is up in the talus west from there, as tone's throw from Stranger Than Friction and the rest of the Cloud Shadow's Other Side problems.
1. Exit Stage Left V4 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2001
Left of the Jim Hall Traverse is a small overhanging boulder. From a low sds underneath, start LH on the lowest edge and RH on the undercling. Make a couple moves up and slightly left, then make a long LH move out the left side of the overhang. You can start matched on the lowest edge, but that edge is likely to break if we don't take it easy on it.

2. Exit Stage Right V4 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2001
Start from the same sds as Exit Stage Left, with your LH on the lowest edge and RH on the undercling, crossover LH to the rail and match, then pull out the overhanging bulge slightly to the right. You can start matched on the lowest edge, but that edge is likely to break if we don't take it easy on it.
3. Stage Rock Lip Traverse V0 sds ... FA: Unknown
I left this butt-dragger undone, but someone has done it since. Start low on the far right, lift your ass off the ground and traverse left a couple moves to topout with #2.
4. The Jim Hall Traverse V4 ... FA: Jim Hall, 1980’s * 
Begin down low on the far left and traverse right across the overhang about 30 feet. At the end of the overhang, pull up and over. Variation #1 - Subterranean V10: A 2008 Peter Beal linkup variation to #4. Start across #4, but a little more than halfway through the regular traverse, drop down #7 to the low flakes, slide right and finish up #8. Variation #2 - Sittin' Sideways V9: A variation to to #4 established by Alex Manikowski in 2009. Start across #4, but in the same place that Subterranean drops down, use the good low edge with your RH to crossover with your LH a couple feet into another edge which spits you into #8 for the finish. This problem essentially eliminates all the high and good stuff in the middle of the traverse without dropping down to the low somewhat chossy flakes on Subterranean.
5. Jim Hall Left V0 ... FA: Unknown
There would be a lower start if the meddling boulder wasn't in the way, so just start on the jug rail and surf up and right a few moves to the top.
6. Jim Hall Right V0 ... FA: Unknown
Start at the cool red holds and zoom up and right to the top.
7. Battaglia's Backside V5 sds ... FA: Ben Collett, 2007 *
Begin from a sds on a low RH crimp and LH sidepull and pull the bulge.
8. Battaglia's Bottom V7/8 sds ... FA: Ben Collett, 2007 *
This one begins from a sds just a couple feet right of #7. Start LH on the flake crimp from #7 and RH on a sidepull flake a little to the right. Make a very long LH move to the lip and fight hard to stay engaged, reset your feet, go RH to a toothy crimp and topout up and slightly right. Another possibly higher percentage way to do this involves first matching on the flake, then doing a RH move to a small crimp to start. Try both and see if either way works for ya. This has become a popular little problem.
Variation #1 - Illumination V10 sds: A Peter Beal variation done in 2008 that tacks a short traverse onto the front end and eliminates some holds on the back end. Begin on a smallish crimp down and left of the flake that has the starting holds for #7 and #8 . Get your LH up to a pinch near the lip, then slide right across the aforementioned flake into the start for #8. From there, go RH to the small obvious crimp, then bump your LH up pissy face holds until it arrives at the toothy crimp. The slopey pocket and the lip are off here. Topout up and slightly right. Probably more like V9 without the short introductory traverse.
9. The Pillar V2 ... FA: Unknown *
Start low on opposing holds and climb out the underbelly of this phallic pillar to its end, then pull up and over.

10a&b&c. Deep/Deeper/Deepest Cuts V1 (a) / V4 sds (b) / V5 sds (c) ... FA: Unknown *
STEEP and really fun with different starts to up the ante. Start standing on holds on/near the left arête OR using holds in the middle of the overhang (a), make a big move to a jug and then to another jug before a balancey rollover topout. For a bigger challenge (b), begin from a sds on two obvious large holds just right of the arête and use both arête and face holds on your way to the top. To add a couple more steep moves and a powerful start (c), begin from a very low sds on a good LH sidepull in a crack and a RH undercling jug all the way down at the very bottom of the arête.
11. Serenity Now V6/7 sds ... FA: Unknown *
Begin from the lowest sds with #10c and climb to the top without the benefit of the arête for either hands OR feet. From the starting jugs, go to matching thin crimps, then to a complex RH grip before a big move to the first of the jugs that take you to the top. Cool sequence taking the arête out of play!!!
12. Valkyrie V5 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2008 *
Start utilizing holds associated with a very thin flake at chest height in the middle of the overhang. Pull on and go RH to a bad sloper on the right arête. Reset your feet, maybe switch your LH to a small crimp, then either jump for the high incut  jug - fighting the twisting swing - or use a left heelhook to span the gap to the incut jug. Finally, slide right at the top to some of the finest topout holds on Flagstaff Mountain. See #13 for the full line.
13. Valhalla V7 sds ... FA: Ted Lanzano, 2008 *
Begin from the same sds with #10(c) and #11 and do the first three moves with #11 without the benefit of the arête, then crossover LH to the sharp finger rail and establish on the starting holds for #12. Hang on, now do #12.
14. Orca Trainer V6 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2007
Uphill from Incuts Overhang and just south of the Cryptic Wall is Slot Overhang. Begin from a low sds with your LH on the arête and your RH in a crimpy pocket under the overhang. Surf the lip via multiple heel hooks all the way to topout next to #15. Pants and long sleeves are most definitely recommended, as you will be hugging orca all the way up.

15. Slot Overhang V2 sds ... FA: Unknown *
Begin from a sds under the overhang on the large flake and climb straight out the overhang. Milk some slopers up top to reach for good finishing holds.
16. Hell of Holidays V3 sds ... FA: Andy Mann, 2006
In the talus west of Slot Overhang, find this 45 degree overhang with beautiful lichen. Ascend the middle of the overhang from a high start just below where a confounding 1/4" expansion bolt protrudes from the rock. A couple high gravity moves on good rock will have you at the lip.
17. Gin & Juice V5 sds ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2009
A sds to #16 that adds 2 or 3 moves. Begin slightly lower than #16 on poor holds with a huge shelf for your feet, climb up into #16 via an inobvious sequence on more poor holds, then topout according to #16.
18. Hope Everything Holds V2/3 ... FA: Peter Jones, 2009
About 5 feet right of #15 and #16, find the angled and positive angled undercling a couple feet under the lip of the boulder. Start matched on the undercling with an obvious rail for your feet, make a move to the lip and topout.
19. High Life V? sds ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2009
Begin on holds that are 3 or 4 feet below the large angled undercling that is the starting hold for #18. Originally V8, there is a chossy sidepull here that has broken since the first ascent. Zig-zag your way out the steepness via several suspect holds that unfortunately continue to break and exfoliate choss. This problem's future is most definitely uncertain.


Peter Beal said...

Chip, I was telling some climbers today that Valhalla started at the absolute bottom underclings, the start described as 10c in the blog. According to the description here, I was in error, you have it as 10b, the big blocky undercling, a bit higher. The lowest start is the logical start it seems to me and how I have always done it.

hello said...

Peter, when I did Valhalla a few years ago I started from the absolute lowest underclings. Based on the chalk, it looks like most people are now starting higher.


chuffer said...

You guys are 100% correct ... sorry about that. I remember Ted!

chuffer said...

2 1/2 years later ... I've finally made some revisions to this page at Ted and Peter's suggestion. Thanks guys.