Friday, August 7, 2009

Great Days Ahead

This one's for you RV

Katie and I had the day off yesterday and we took the opportunity to get on one of the most classic climbs at Devil's Lake. Gills' Flatiron.

We got to the lake around 10 or so, after catching the ferry perfectly, and had a quick hike up the CCC trail. It was actually the most pleasant hike up the CCC that I've ever had. For what reason I'm not sure, but I'll take it anyways. We dropped our pads in front of the Flatiron and took a quick look around the area to check out some of the other problems that I'd heard of, but never actually been in front of.

We checked out the Zipper quickly but didn't try it. It definitely looks "all there" and the last hard move looks spicy! Would like to try it with a crew of spotters and pads. All of the problems up and to the right of the Flatiron look cool and fun. Capitans Traverse does look brutal and a little height dependent. Oh well. I'm hoping to have a Wisconsin Bouldering post up soon about all that stuff.

On another note, people need to bury their shit. On the far right side of that wall someone had taken a poop and there was TP everywhere. Disgusting.

Back to the Flatiron though! A quick bit of history first for everyone who's not familiar with the problem. Flatiron sits atop one of the most travelled trails at Devil's Lake and is passed by thousands of climbers each year. John Gill first did the problem in 1958 or 1959 and named it after the Flatirons in Colorado. It's one of the most famous Gill problems for no other reason other than it's the ONLY problem that he ever chipped. He's talked freely of it many times and regrets what he did but it still stands today as one of the few chipped problems at the lake.

Oddly enough I actually don't know which hold is chipped on the thing. I think it's the last right hand hold but I'm definitely not sure.

The problem itself is a classic line and is a climb that every V4 or stronger boulderer at the lake should take the time to do. Its movement is phenomenal and the problem is striking to everyone that sees it. If you're only going to do one problem at Devil's Lake do this one.

Even with its classic status it's rarely done! By no means is this a gimmie of a problem. You gotta try hard!

With that, we booted up and started trying it. I'd done it a couple years ago and had some issues figuring out which feet I'd used! There are so many!! Katie and I traded turns back and forth for a while and I tried to take some pictures in the heinous lighting to no avail. Pissed that my flash had no batteries i resigned to trying the problem again.

Katie on one of her earlier attempts

I eventually had to call it quits as my skin started acting up again. I'm not sure what's happening this summer but my skin is pissed! Boo!

Katie was making pretty good progress on it but was still having troubles reaching the high left sidepull. She pulled on again and moved into a really high left foot, stood up and latched it! After setting her foot on a good hold she was about an inch from the first hold in the right crack. Eventually she jumped off wondering what to do next.

After a quick bout of utter confusion she figured it out again but heat and repeated goes were taking its toll. We had to leave at 12:45 to go taste cakes (which was AWESOME by the way!!) and at 12:40 she decided to go for one last ditch effort. She made it to her highpoint with relative ease and used a higher right foot to get the high right hand. After reaching up and realizing that she was about 3 inches too short for the normal beta she got an insecure high step and popped off before she could even try the move! And that was it. Done.

She felt really good about the progress made, especially considering she made it further than most people do after a few days. Next time it should go down no problem and I'm actually really excited to try her beta. She made it look easy.

Such a good day up there and I'd forgotten how much fun that problem was! Again, just so excited to be at the lake right now!!

On a separate and funnier note, someone commented over on Wisconsin Bouldering about having some old topos to some of the areas at the lake. I was really curious and finally got to see them today. Turns out that they were my old topos that I'd drawn up a couple years ago!! I can't really believe it. I drew some really crude topos and put them up at Boulders for people to have and never really thought of them again. I kinda can't believe that people actually used them!!

Very funny when things like that come full circle.


  1. Flatiron = very cool! I was befuddled one day in the spring of '08 and about to give up, when along comes Dobbe and his usual posse and offers up some beta (after I asked). They keep walking. I am thinking about the improbability of his beta. Give it a go and lo and behold, done! I remember a wierd far out left foot. That's about all I remember. If you go try the Zipper let me know. I defintely want to give that one some work but sounds like it's best to have multiple pads and spotter(s). Mmmmmm, cake... ce

  2. Yeah what is up with the shit in the woods. I've come across that aswell, not cool! I just found out this year that the Flatiron was chipped, I'm not sure what to think about that. I still think it is an amazing classic and I agree that everyone should get on it, but it lost something for me when I found out the truth. I always just asumed that it was a natural line(frown). Anyway, looks like you guys had fun, and what did you guys decide for cake. Maybe a blog about the cake tasting and pictures of you and Katie throwing it down. LOL

  3. So many feet to choose from? or so glassy your feet refuse to work? Either way, definitely a challenging V4 compared to others out there.

  4. I dunno, it never bothered me to think Gill chipped it. I would also never cross my mind to chip something. Sort of strange that he did it, but here we are decades later and it's still entertaining. Remo you just have much higher standards than me! Defintely challenging V4 but I thought it was easier (less tries for me anyway) than Show Me The Kind and Bark Biter. Not sure I've done any other DL v4's. ce

  5. Good point. I would say that all Devil's Lake V4s are harder than most out there.

  6. Ah, I getcha now Narc. Yes, a DL V4 holds a certain weight, agreed. I think for every problem at every grade I have worked much harder for the same V# at DL than anywhere else. ce

  7. Screw climbing photos, I want to know how the cake tasting went. Mmmmm, cake!

  8. The cake tasting was AWESOME!!!!! We're getting one cheesecake and 7 small cakes for the wedding. Love it!!!

    I'd love to get on the zipper with a psyched crew. We should get a bunch of people together.

  9. I'm in for the Zipper. Soon as it's below 80. ce