Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A day on the West Bluff

It's been a while since I've been to the West Bluff at Devil's Lake. A couple years actually so I was pretty excited to make a day trip back up there yesteray. I drove up with Remo to meet with Nic from Five Ten and Brian(see his write up here). Nic and I had been trying to make plans for the last 6 months or so to try and get up to some of the harder lines at the lake. Finally things came together and we all met at the Ski Hi Apple Orchard.

Nic pulled up in style with the Five Ten van and Remo and I grabbed some shoes to try out. We all piled into the Honda Fit's and made our way over to Alpine Club(V9) and Beautiful Soup(V8/9).

Both of these problems are local test-pieces and I was beyond psyched to get a couple of people on them. The last time that Alpine Club was climbed was more than likely back in 2004 and I'm guessing the same thing for Beautiful Soup. It's sad that these two classics don't get more traffic.

We started out on Alpine Club and Nic figured out the first move quickly with some great beta and looked insanely close on the second move. Each go was so close and after finding a different hold he did the second move in isolation really quickly. We all figured that it'd go down next go but it never seemed to click. I'm not sure how much closer he could have gotten without sending.
Nic on one of his many close calls on Alpine Club

Remo having to actually work for it

Remo made good progress and stuck the first move quickly, as well. Thanks to Nic's beta I was able to stick the opening move for the first time and got closer than I thought I would on the second move. It felt like the "aura" of Alpine Club was unlocked a little bit yesterday. Everything feels much more doable than it ever has before and I'm really psyched on finishing it. For once it feels like it'll actually go down.

After Alpine Club we shuffled the pads up the hill to Beautiful Soup. This Eric Z. problem is very high quality and is a rare dynamic gem at Devil's Lake. The only downside might be the sharp crimp that gave both Nic and I a split tip. Oh well. It's a very worthwhile problem to spend some time on and a classic for the lake.
Remo setting up on the crimp for the big throw

Here's a nice sequence of Nic that can give you a better idea of the whole problem

All of us were able to hit the rail but no one could stick it long enough to kill the swing. Again Nic came absurdly close to finishing the problem but his skin just wasn't quite up to it. It would have been nice if it had been about 10-15 degrees cooler.

After that we went up to the 45 degree boulder for a quick run on the two prominent problems in the upper west bluff talus fields. The problems are steep, fun and short. It made for a nice end of the day and both Remo and Nic made quick work of the problems.

I still feel really strongly that more people need to get on these problems. There was a lot of talk comparing the lake to Dodge and consensus is that the true hard lines are all waiting at the lake. Hopefully I can provide a little more info about these in the coming months.


  1. Cool. Nice post. Excited. ce

  2. Dig the shots Steve, and thanks for showing us around. The W.Bluff bouldering is rad!

  3. That was me, Remo.

  4. top shots have da dopestone... whodathunkit?

  5. Dangerously Brown RobinsonMay 6, 2009 at 9:19 AM

    Good to see both you and Remo actually having to work for a problem. Strong b*****ds. Now are those Projects I see on Remos feet in one of those pictures?

  6. Also, Nic is wearing super secret, must sacrifice a thousand goats/join a cult to find out about: blue shoes. You are going to have to tell me a bit about that.

  7. Remo demo'd the projects and I demo'd the dragons. We both liked them a decent amount actually.

    and I could've told you about the new hotness if you were not a slacker last night. shame on you.