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 7, 2010

Down the Mountain Cliffs Miniguide

Down the Mountain Cliffs refers to a series of north-to-south ridges of of boulders and walls uphill from the Hobo Cave which overlook Boulder. There is a lot of rock and tall slabs here, but the majority of good sandstone for bouldering is concentrated in a little zone towards the bottom of the two west-most ridges of rock. Most of these problems are easy moderates, but several of them are quite fun and it remains quiet and peaceful here most days. Bring a beginner to the Plain Sight Wall with a couple pads for an excellent time. There is a lot of other rock in the area, some of it quite chossy. Several other unworthwhile problems have been done and not included herein for that reason. If you do something pretty good or noteworthy, please let me know and I'll try to include it. Where: There are numerous ways to get to these boulders, but I will give general beta for two of them: (1) park before crossing The Armstrong Bridge at the base of the mountain and walk 10-15 minutes up the Flagstaff Trail, passing the Hobo Cave on your right, then up 3 or 4 short switchbacks, passing numerous ridges of mostly chossy rock to the north until the trail turns north once and for all and brings you up to the base of the Plain View Ridge, the Front & Center Boulder and the Hueco Wall Ridge; or (2) access the Flagstaff Trail from the west (further up the mountain), by parking on the street 0.9 miles after passing over The Armstrong Bridge (there is room for about 6 tightly-packed cars here on the right hand side of the straightaway) just before the Flagstaff Trail crosses the road. When accessing these problems from the west hike down the Flagstaff Trail 1-2 minutes from the road until the trail turns south and brings you to the Plain View Wall Ridge, the Front & Center Boulder and the Hueco Wall Ridge. The Staircase is located 60 yards to the south of these problems. Find it by following the ridgeline south past some small outcroppings until you come to it. Half-Pint (problem #1), on the other hand, is found near the northern terminus of these cliffs, a couple hundred yards away from the rest of the problems, and explicit directions for that problem are provided below.
1. Half Pint V8 sds ... FA: Will Lemaire, 2008
At present, this problem is off by itself and has only seen a couple of ascents. Start under the roof on the right on obvious edges with sparse feet. An obvious face hold behind you will bridge the gap to the lip, but the trick is sorting out the 3 moves necessary to get into position for the finishing mantel. This one might be easier than V8 if you can skip the first move to the obvious hold on the face. Find this problem by leaving the main concentration of problems at the Down the Mountain Cliffs walking northwest along the Flagstaff Trail up towards the road. After about 40 yards (and about 50 yards before you get to the road), turn right on a designated trail that heads north towards Panorama Point. After about 30 yards, turn right down a rocky wash (not a trail) that trends downhill with a bunch of outcroppings on your right. After about 75 yards, as you near the northern terminus of the Down the Mountain Cliffs, a large dead tree will block the wash. Turn right and walk directly uphill from here about 20 yards. As you crest a small hill, the small northeast-facing little cave that is home to this problem will be obvious.
2. Plain View Scramble VB ... FA: Unknown
Pull on at the shelf and scramble up this low angle spire using mostly good holds with big feet.
3. Plain View Lowball V0 sds ... FA: Unknown *
An overhanging problem with nice grips, but alas it is only 6 or 7 feet tall. From a sds right on the trail, pull on with obvious edges in solution pockets. A couple moves later, you'll be at the lip, which is the crux and may require a RF heel hook and mantel maneuver to pull up top. An OK little problem. One may also finish the traverses described in #13 and #14 here.
4. Hiding in Plain View V1 ... FA: Unknown *
From a stand start between the seams, ascend the overhanging face with good - although hidden - holds in the opposing seams and then again over the lip. A block awaits in the landing area if you blow the topout, so pad it up accordingly. An excellent problem for the grade. One may also finish the traverses described in #13 and #14 here.
5. Left Plain View Arête V0 ... FA: Unknown *
Begin from a stand start on an incut rail and ascend mostly jugs up the arête. When you reach the top of the arête, trend right until you reach an obvious place to pull over. An awkward sds adds nothing. The traverses described in #13 and #14 finish here, but they can certainly finish on other problems (see e.g., #3 and #4).
6. Hueco Rancheros V4 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Begin from an absolutely awkward and powerful low sds just right of the arête with your LH in the lowest hueco and your RH on the low rail. Do the crux move to the next hueco, then go to the incut rail at 7 feet. From there, take your time finding small grips hiding on the face on your way to the top. Skip the first move and climb straight up the face for ~V1.
7. Adjust Your Sights V1 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Begin from a very low sds just to the right of #6 using the low LH crimp on the rail and the large but low RH sidepull jug. Throw your RF heel onto the shelf, pull on and throw hard with your RH for the incut fin/rail. From there, trend up and left on big obvious holds with #8 to the same topout as #5 and #6. You can skip the first move for VB or just do #8.
8. Plain View Left V0 sds ... FA: Unknown
The line of least resistance on the wall from a sds. Start matched on the shelf with #9 and #10. Move up and left to the incut fin/rail and cruise up and left on big holds to the top with #7.
9. Five Crimps V2 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
A bit contrived, but a nice contrivance with an obvious rule (the huge incut fin/rail out left and useful for #8 is off). Start matched on the low shelf with #8 and #10 and make a beeline up a series of 5 obvious crimps that are almost in a straight line. This will bring you to the halfway point on the wall. From there, this problem continues up inconspicuous holds to pull over all by itself in the middle of the wall.
10. Sideswipe V2/3 sds ... FA: Unknown
Start matched on the low shelf with #8 and #9 and make 1-2 moves up the crimps used on #9, then veer up and right via a big move to a funky shelf of sorts with lots of friction. Match and continue with #11 to a nice topout on jugs on the right side of the wall. Finishing up the high arête is optional, low quality and adds nothing.
11. Plain View Right V0 sds ... FA: Unknown *
One of the nicest problems in the area. Begin from a low sds just below the large hueco. Pull on using two opposing sidepull edges and make a move into the large hueco. From there continue up good edges and crimps to the juggy topout. Beginning from a stand matched in the pocket is also ~V0, so you might as well just do the sds. Finishing up the high arête is optional, but adds nothing.
12. Right Plain View Arête VB ... FA: Unknown *
Begin from a stand start on the very far right and surf up the arête to the topout with #10 and #11 on jugs. Another nice easy problem. Finishing up the high arête is optional, but adds nothing.
13. Plain View Traverse V1 ... FA: Unknown *
Begin on the far right and traverse left across the wall using anything and everything to attain the incut fin/rail. A couple more moves to the left and you can finish up #5. It is also possible to continue around the corner and finish up #4 or #3, but stopping at #5 is the most obvious choice.
14. Plain View Traverse Low V5 ... FA: Unknown *
Excellent and sequential. A couple holds are sharp, but the rest are perfect Flagstaff grips. Begin on the far right at the arête and traverse left across the wall, using no holds above 5 feet. Drop down low after a few moves and complete the traverse by using the low huecos instead of the incut fin/rail to reach the left arête and finish up #5. You may continue around the corner and finish up #4 or #3 instead, but this adds nothing.
15. Up & Right V1 sds ... FA: Kevin Cropp 2002
The west-facing Front & Center Boulder sits 20 feet west of Plain View Ridge, facing away from the trail. Begin from a sds down and left from the obvious and undercut fin on sloping edges, slide right to attain the fin and surf up and right to finish with #16.
16. Up and Left V3 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Pull onto the lowest part of the right side of the fin and battle up and slightly left to topout. Harder than it looks and - although sharp - it is fun..
17. Fin Jam V1 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
The Hueco Overhang Ridge refers to the spine of rock immediately behind The Plain View Ridge. This problem is located on the far left hand side in a little alcove of sorts, Start below a south-facing crack and move up to a handjam between two fins. From there, stretch for the top and pull over.
18. True Colors V2 sds ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
On the west face right of Fin Jam, begin from a sds just right of the incut rail. Climb straight out the bulge without the benefit of the rail, finishing slightly left of the highest part of the wall.
19. Alcove Crack V0 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
Ten feet right of #18 and just left of a small pine tree, pull up into a small alcove and stance and make a few moves out the overhanging crack system via good holds up and over. The downclimb from the top of Hueco Overhang comes over and down into the base of this problem from the right.
20. Layback Bulge VB ... FA: Unknown
This problem starts ascends a short seam to the top. Go left to the downclimb.
21. Crumbs V1 ... FA: Kevin Cropp, 2002
From two obvious finger pockets in the middle of the overhang, pull on and trend slightly left up crumbling sloping edges to the top.
22. Christmas Tree Massacre V2 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
Begin with #21 at the two obvious finger pockets, move straight up to edges, perch, reach into the remnants of a hueco system near the top and pull over on jugs.
23. Christmas Tree Mystery V3 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
Begin 5 feet right of #22 at a large and low flake. Go up using edges, then reach high and left for the remnants of a hueco system near the top and pull over on jugs with #22.
24. Deliverance V2 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2007
Almost as disturbing as the movie of the same name. Climb the far right side of the wall at the dihedral/arête to the top. There are lots of good features, but I never got around to cleaning it properly. A lot of lichen and quite a bit of choss is still lurking. The fall is multi-tiered and hideous. For all these reasons, this is NOT a classic.
25. Hueco Overhang Traverse V4 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002 *
Traverse right to left 10 feet from the arête and finish up #23. We originally started from a sds around to the right, but in hindsight it's downright stupid to do so, so just start on the arête.
26. Full Hueco Overhang Traverse V4... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Traverse right to left 15 feet from the arête and finish up #21. This one has great grips until the last sloper or two at the top of #21. We originally started from a sds around to the right, but in hindsight it's downright stupid to do so, so just start on the arête.
27. The Escalator V6/7 ... FA: Peter Jones, 2010 *
Begin with #28 and #29 in opposing and obvious hand cracks at chest/neck level. Slide left across an obvious rail with three decent holds on it. Throw your right heel up and make a huge move out left to the far left arête and battle your way up with tension to the top.
28. Project
Begin with #27 and #29 in opposing and obvious hand cracks at chest/neck level. Slide left to an obvious shelf, then make a hard move up to a sloping edge next to a seam before gaining the top.
29. The Staircase V1 ... FA: Chip Phillips, 2002
Begin with #27 and #28 in opposing and obvious hand cracks at chest/neck level. Make a move or two up to a good hold at the lip and steer left up the high arête on jugs to the top.
30. Miami Vice V3/4 ... FA: Ashley Overton, 2010
Begin matched down and right from #27-29 on a large sloping shelf. Surf up and left up the rising arête to the top.

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