Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So Ill Days Tres And Quattro

"Holy shit I need a new crag!! Where did everyone come from???!!! First the Red and now Jackson!" - Rhoads

Could not believe how many people showed up Friday night. We went to sleep and woke up the next morning to 2 new tents in our site and 3 more in the dry creekbed. Amazing.

Wanting to get away from the crowds we figured we'd try and find the Roost on Saturday. The Fit was all sorts of Go and eventually we made it past a ton of full campgrounds to the parking pullout.

After hearing a horror story from Kevin Romanski we were kind of worried we'd get sandbagged. Kevin, I'm not sure what your malfunction was but we found the place without a hitch.

Now. About the Roost. Maybe we were expecting too much. Maybe we were too excited to see it. Maybe it was too hot and buggy out. Maybe we were hoping too much for another Holy Boulders. Whatever it was I'm not sure. All I can say is that we were not psyched on the Roost.

I'm not sure what it was but it seemed like it was just an ok area. Out of everything we saw there the only thing I was interested in getting on was Chuck Norris. That boulder did look cool. The rest though just didn't live up to the expectations. It all looked good, but not as good as much of the other stuff in So Ill.

I think a big big part of it is that we drove 7 hours to get on really good rock and really fun problems. We had high expectations and I can confidently say that I like Jackson Falls and the Holies more than the Roost.

Now, if I found the Roost at DL or Dodge I'd be fucking psyched! But it's not something I would ever drive 7 plus hours for. I'm spoiled, I know.

So, we chose to drive back to Jackson and spend the rest of the morning there. Just standing around the Roost we were pouring sweat.

I'll spare you the details and just say that we were really tired at that point and we only played around on a few things. It was hot, crowded and kinda miserable. Oh well.

Sunday was...well, it was more interesting at least.

I punted. Again. Twice. Same Spot.

My shoulder was cooked after a few tries and I gave up on it. Oh well. Katie also tried Berlier a bit more but just didn't have the gas to link past the last hard move.

Thinking that all was well we went up to our car and noticed that our back tire had gotten even flatter in the few hours from the morning. We've had a slow leak for a few weeks and thought nothing of it. Well now it got a bit epic.

We packed everything up and slowly drove out of the falls. Everything seemed like it was holding up fine. Great. We thought we'd just stop at the general store, get some air and be all set.

Nope. They didn't have air.

So we plugged gas stations into our GPS and saw one a few miles down the road. Awesome. We pulled up after a few gingerly driven miles and saw an air hose. HALLELUJAH!!

Nope. They were closed for Sundays. And the air was turned off.

So we went to the Decider once more and saw a gas station just off 24 that we'd bought wood from. They seemed civilized enough to have air.

Nope. She gave us the craziest look too. "Why would we have air??", she must have thought, "there's all sorts of air outside!! Those fools.".

So we sulked back to the car, past the man sunbathing shirtless in the gas station grass with his two dogs. I love southern.

Then it all got even better. We saw a Citgo on the decider's screen. 3 miles away. Perfect. It's a Citgo! How can the NOT have air???

Well. We pulled up and it was some dudes 3 car garage with his house just up the hill. What the hell?? We figure it must have been a Citgo years ago since there were hours posted on the door.

Fine. Lets pull off the flat and put the donut on. First two lugnuts come off fine. Aces. Second two? Nada. We tried and tried to no avail. Nothing.

So there we sat. Unable to fill our tire. Unable to put the silly looking donut on. Just as we were getting ready to call Triple A a woman came down the hill and asked us if everything was ok.


She brought her husband down since "He's got lots of tools 'n' stuff". He smiled at us nicely in the 90 degree heat and opened up the garage door and pulled out......yep...........you guessed it......a 30 foot hose attached to a massive air compressor.


We find the one dude in So Ill that's got an air compressor in his garage??? Awesome. Just awesome.

He filled up our tire and his wife grabbed us two bottles of water from their fridge. Amazing. I really do love the midwest solely for little experiences like this. Just nice people that are there when you need them. I love it here.

We made a quick stop at Walmart to get some Fix A Flat and an air pump, which promptly broke. Katie's just too strong for her own good.

With a bit of nerves we made it home 10 and a half hours after we left the falls. Fun.

Katie and I talked a lot about So Ill and what kind of a destination it is for us. Being a 7 hour drive from Madison we find it really really hard to commit the time to go there. A big part of that is there just isn't that much to do there. If I went down once more and finished up Zig Zag and Jungle Book, I'd be happy and content not making many more trips down that way.

For every single amazing problem down there I can more than likely name another problem up here that is JUST as classic, if not better. I truly think So Ill is an exceptionally good local area that got blown up as if it was this amazing, world class spot.

This is obviously just talking bouldering, not sport. I would DEFINITELY go down that way for sport. For sure.

But I have a real hard time making the trip down there when we've got such good local areas here. Dodge and DL are rather amazing for what they are. They're really really good. By no means are they world class but you could put any of these problems at other areas and they'd be must do's.

Sandstone Violence
Grounded For Life
The Godfather
All in the Family
Big Bud Arete
Slope of Dadaism
Greatest Show
Imp Act
The Zipper
The Flatiron
Burma Warmup
Beautiful Soup
Alpine Club
Super Slab
Smooth Operator
Tunder Tighs

And I'm sure there are more. I'm sure of it! We are so incredibly lucky to have the areas we do and for years they went unnoticed and unclimbed. Back in 2005/2006 if you had told Kelsen, Huston, Steve Day and I that at the end of 2010 there would be over 500 boulder problems established at Dodge and DL we'd have laughed. We'd have laughed hard.

What's scary is the potential. There are at least 20-30 more problems to be done on the West Bluff Fire Road, if not many more. There are at least 20-30 more to do up at Horse Ramparts on the East Bluff. On top of that there seems to always be more stuff on the South Shore and giant sections of the East Bluff are yet to be searched. It's absolutely insane to me.

What's even more fun to me is that a boulder like the Stache/Dog Walk went untouched during the huge explosion we had last year. How many people walked within 50 yards of that boulder? A ton. I know I walked right past it probably 20-30 times. It's amazing that even now we're finding amazing boulders 2-3 minutes off the trail.

I always hear people rip on our local areas. They talk about how they want to be somewhere else. They miss Colorado or insist that there's nothing to do here. It's absurd to me. We have it so good here!!! So good!

More than anything I hope this rant serves as a little motivator for the upcoming season. Temps are getting good. Projects need to be completed. Entire areas need to be established.

There are ALWAYS boulder problems to be climbed here. No one has done them all. Git on it.


  1. Did you check out or try 'ring of fire', 'screamin eagle' or 'Illinois Biggest Sloper'? to be honest, though i completed 'Chuck Norris' it's a pile of shit. However the stand, 'The Oriole' is super as well. I also like 'Harvest Swing' left quite a bit. Did you try any of those or look at them?

    Personally I think those are some of the best problems I've been on anywhere. There are so many other areas besides Jackson and more being found all the time, which is great. I would far prefer climbing down there then climbing at DL or the Dodge but everyone has different tastes.

    I don't disagree that there are some super problems at the lake and the dodge i just like the climbs in so ill better for the most part. Hell of a job on Zig Zag man. u'll get it next time for sure!

  2. Nice TR Steve. Yeah I've never bouldered at soill but I seriously feel so lucky to live 35 minutes from DL and the Dodge. So good. So so good. Plus the fantastic community up here, as you know. Great blog. So excited fall is here. ce

  3. Sweaty 2 of the problems on steve's best of list are your FA's man! Love it!!!! ce

  4. I know it. That is because I am a visionary egg nuts.

  5. Looked like a great time Steve, Katie is crushing, and Zig Zag is yours.
    I love SoIll for routes and bouldering. The fact that it usually isn't as buisy as other areas in the country and the stone is really good, keeps me wanting more.
    With that said, I love it up here too. The Lake just blows me away! So much rock, so much. But the style is different and turns people off for sure.
    Way to keep us stoked man,

  6. Sweaty, yeah, I totally get all of that. I'd imagine it'd be hard drive 4 plus hours to the lake or dodge. I remember when you were making bi-weekly trips up to dodge and i was always super impressed by it. amazing really. Both of those areas are easy for us being so close. How far away is so ill for you? 4-5 hours?

    We definitely have way different styles and i think it shows in the spots we like! Funny how that works!

    As far as the roost. there was definitely cool looking stuff. The biggest sloper was swarmed with bugs and it was a shitpile back in the hole. We saw screaming eagle, and while it looked rather cool, it wasn't enough to make us drag pads over to it.

    If I lived there, I'd be psyched on it. But coming from so far away I wasn't as psyched. Not to say it's a bad spot, I just wasnt excited about it.

    As for Zig Zag, thanks! I'm very excited about that one. My shoulder however is not. Still sore!

    Remo, looks like you and vince had a good time up on the east bluff! Sick! So much more to be found up there!!!