Friday, December 6, 2013

Yosemite Bouldering: An alternative view of the valley

Entering Yosemite Valley is something you can never forget...

The views are sculptured right out of a dream and as the white granite wall rise up all around, you catch your first glimpse of the iconic Half Dome and El Capitan face in the distance.

John Muir once wrote of Yosemite, saying; 

"None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree."
- John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938),

Surrounded by this beauty, It's easy to see how many people over look the many boulders that litter the floor below. On a recent trip I took to the valley, I was lucky enough to be with a fantastic group of people that have embraced both the big wall and boulder culture.

Kevin Jorgeson and Carlo Traversi are childhood friends and have been climbing in the valley together since they were young. Kevin in particular, has been here A LOT. Since the age of 16, he has visited every year, repeating many of the hard problems including the notoriously tough problem Dominated, V13.

Kevin Jorgeson on the ultra classic, Bachar Cracker

During a rest day, they gave me the "Classics" bouldering tour. After a short time, it became clear that there is an incredible mass of established bouldering here and even more than had yet to be climbed. We visited problems such as the The King, Hexentric, Bachar Cracker, The Force, Thriller,  Dominated and everyones favourite, Midnight Lightning!

Can you guess what it is?

If you've never climbed on Yosemite granite, it's friction and density are amazing! The rock deals out incredibly creative problems, on massive boulders that have just the right amount of holds to make them possible. 

The valley offers a lifetime of boulder problems yet to be sent that are easily accessible, but until recently, it had been suffering from a drought of enthusiasm from climbers. That is until a couple of weeks ago, when Carlo Traversi turned up in his magical land dolphin.

Carlo is quite possibly the strongest muthaf*cka i have ever had the pleasure to climb with. He has an incredible ability to seemingly levitate between big dynamic moves with the precision of a surgeon. I think he may also be the only person that has a chance at beating the impossible Gorilla Grip game that was at fair grounds across the UK in the early 90's.

In his first couple of weeks in here, Carlo has establish a V12 FA and repeated many of the hardest problems including the V11 highball, The Shield. He is now on the hunt to find a boulder where he can establish the next level in yosemite bouldering.

Mary Mecklenburg on incredible "Tendons Give"

Carlo is not the only one in the valley sending hard problems. A new wave of strong young climbers has hit the valley and made this a hot spot for new development. Keep an eye on this place over the coming boulder season. I'm sure we'll see some great updates!