Joe’s Valley: Hard Projects
With October on the farm being so busy and life’s demands increase it’s a hard time to fit in little things like fixing a destroyed 1963 camper from the mob of teenage boys who have been “chilling” in it while I was away on my last trip. So Jes & I had to kick it into high gear to prep for the up coming road trip with our friends Amy Langemore from Australia and Nalle Hukkataival from Finland. Ripping the back end of the camper off, replacing all the rotten wood, adding new insulation, and revamping the interior what seemed to be a ‘simple project’ began feeling like we opened a box of worms.
Creating a watertight, wind resistant home base camper the ultimate goal, and with my “rough” carpentry skills I can only hope that two bottles of silicon can help me achieve rain protection. It only took a few trips to the store and about a week of work to achieve the decked-out camper complete with chalk board paint, new flooring, and a now water proof back frame.
After my last climbing trip with Nalle to Australia where we were developing and exploring the Northern Grampians with Dave Graham, we now are taking another trip around the south western part of the country bouldering at some of my favorite crags & stepping foot in a new one. We started in Joes Valley where we were exploring for new projects and cleaning up some unsent futuristic classics. It’s always great to climb with good friends but with so little time Nalle, Jes, Amy and I are trying to focus on what lines inspire us most! Even with the outstanding rock quality in Joe’s Valley it’s been hard to tell whether some of the amazing lines we‘ve found are even possible. After discovering, envisioning and cleaning line after line its always a bit of a bummer when you find out that the moves we’ve previously thought possible were way harder than predicted.
Pimp Mode Project
Grateful I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience years of climbing in Joes Valley I was ready to begin adding great lines here. I always wanted to check out some of the “harder” projects and with Nalle in town it seemed like a good time to test the limits. With so much talk about what is supposedly one of the best projects in the US I was really psyched to see what Nalle had to say about this black wall beauty. Taking us a few hours of cleaning and building a landing the time finally came when we could give what we call the Pimp Mode Project a try. Many falls later we definitely think that this climb goes! it’s just a matter of time investment and not getting injured on the super small crimps.
Black 45 Project
After working every climb on our long list of projects and repeatedly getting shut down we were losing faith that Joes had projects that we could send before our time was up. When shopping at the classy Food Ranch we ran into an old friend who told us about this amazing overhanging wall that he had found close to the river. Naturally, it sparked our interest and set out on the hunt the following day. It took us a sometime to find, but when we finally found it we were psyched. A beautiful 45 degree wall black with solid heinous hold. Every move seemed possible. With only one day left of our trip to invest in this new climb it’s still hard to say what the grade is or even the beta is. Never the less when the climb becomes established its going to be hands down one of the hardest lines in the canyon and will not likely see quick repeats.
Who the f*** is Trent Project
Trent’s Mom is one of the best & well-known boulders in Joe’s Valley. It can only be described as amazing. Personally I never realized what a brilliant project was right next Trent’s Mom. After cleaning we started working it. This project stood out the most to me because I found the colors, holds, and powerful movement fun and fitting to my style. This climb is definitely easier if you have a larger span and involves a massive lock off to a gaston. Someone would say that your hips would take a beating while working this boulder but worth it.
Every climb is time and energy, so unfortunately sometimes our precious skin is put towards what could only be described as almost cool. This is how climbs like Down Jacket are born. I’d say it’s not the worst climb ever but not one worth writing home about. We first heard about the boulder during one of our warm up sessions when a climber walked over and pointed it out to us. It’s located across the river from the Angler Boulder and right of Low Tide check it out if you have the time.
Life of Fritz
During the Thanksgiving break a few of my friends came out from Boulder to get some climbing in during their school break. Matty Hong and his crew drove all through the night and got to our camp site only hours before the snow and wind picked up. Luckily the intense weather stopped and all was good in the hood when the sun finally showed its face. I gave him & his crew as extensive of a tour that I thought was possible considering the limited time given.
Warming up on Brain Damage, a high ball v6, seemed like a great way to start their trip. Shortly after that we added a very nice first accent to the area (right of Brain Damage) that we called Life of Fritz. Inspiration taken from this little tea cup Chihuahua we know. This boulder starts in an already “established” v8 but then works along a very nice head wall to a few hard moves around a roof. We gave this problem a v9 grade. If you’re in the area test it out and let us know what you think.
Sometimes its hard to find new “moderate” boulder problems in an established area like Joes but, Nalle and I got lucky enough to find an amazing line which climbs at about v8/9. Located above the Beyond Life boulder it is one of the sweetest-longer climbs in the canyon. I can see this boulder becoming very popular and a great addition to the classics in the area. The boulder is over 20 moves long and a perfect landing that allows climbers to falls and be safe (thanks to our intense efforts during a windstorm that gave us the inspiration for this name.) I am very much looking forward to seeing what feedback people give us about this stunning line.
I want to bring up this line because I think that the boulder is one of the most beautiful blocks around, with its super strong holds and its stunning solid back wall it is one of the better harder line’s in the area. Each move is not super difficult on its own but when put together the boulder requires balance, power and foot work which is why I agree with grade 8b. Definitely worth writing home about so get your guns out and give it a try before you leave the area.
After having a great day of climbing and sticking a few new climbs like Playmate of the Year and Battle Toads, Nalle and I decided to give a few tries on this traverse project located on the back of the Death Scream boulder. We felt the holds and decided to put on our own climb shoes and test it out. The moves are pretty technical and dynamic move. Nalle sent quickly after the climb was clean and ready to go but, It took me a few minutes of effort. We thought the grade stands around v9/10.
More to come from Hueco