Monday, October 3, 2011

The Greatest Pebble On Earth

Before I start any other conversation I want to say how incredibly cool it was that we got to see the crux move on Greatest Show done 4 times on Saturday. It was an impressive showing by a motivated group of individuals and I'm happy for all three of the guys that stuck it. In particular, Aaron and Chris who have spent many days on the line. It was so nice seeing their hard work rewarded. This is not to say that Jeremy's stick wasn't impressive, it was, but it was great seeing those guys stick the move for many reasons.

I'm incredibly happy for Chris as he was the only one to do the line. He worked hard for it and I'm happy he stuck to his guns and did the direct exit.

Watch the video below please, before commenting any further:

1 - Aaron. What a punt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! One of the most heartbreaking things I've seen, given what happened 10 minutes later. I truly hope you don't turn into an alcoholic.

2 - The Pebble. Wow.

I think we all knew in the back of our minds that it was gonna break someday but I honestly didn't think it would happen on Saturday. Earlier in the day I insisted, to Jeremy of all people, that it wouldn't break for a long time. I was dead wrong.

Immediately after the pebble broke the conversation came up of whether or not to glue it back in. As of right now Chris has the pebble in his possession and no decision has been made. I want to preface this with the request that we stay as drama free as possible here, if anyone comments at all. I've brought up a number of topics throughout the years and have always appreciated the respectful discussions we've had. The Alpine Club post was a perfect example of having a nice talk with many voices and opinions whether that be Remo, Ian, Runnells, CE, RV and whoever else.

Gluing holds is always a tricky debate and is something that we've largely stayed away from here in the midwest for a number of reasons. Namely that our rock is either too hard(quartzite) or too soft(dodge) to warrant any need. Greatest show is an odd example since it was a quartzite pebble that stuck out of a relatively soft layer of sandstone.

It's a hold that many thought would probably break and this increases the difficulty at the very least 1-2 number grades, which is a substantial jump. Not only was it a key handhold, it was a very key foothold.

On my front, I'm 100% neutral in this. I'm not invested enough in the problem to want to throw anything out there. We have many other local climbers that are much more invested in Greatest Show that should have a greater voice in this than I. That's not to say that I don't have an opinion about glue, but I'm leaving this up to others.

It's easy to come up with a knee jerk, blanket reaction, much like I did on Saturday. I spoke at length with Katie about it on the trip back and I can honestly say that I don't know how I'd feel if a hold broke on a problem that I cared about deeply. Say, Moj. If the right hand juglet broke off I would be pretty crushed and incredibly sad. I can't say what my opinion would be but it's safe to say that I'd be conflicted. That problem means so much to me on a deeper level than anyone will ever know, which would only make the decision harder.

The scary part to me is that it's actually a potential on that problem. Rock directly below that hold has broken twice now and there's a crack in the back of it. Water seeps through there and I can see that happening at some point in the future.

On a lighter note, here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the afternoon:

- "Where's the good hold?!?!?" - Aaron, after sticking the crux a second time, looking for the jug undercling around the corner.

- "You better do it now!!!!!!!!" - Pat, laughing hysterically, after Jeremy stuck the crux and broke the pebble.

- "Too many donuts...." - Jeremy, after breaking the pebble.

- "He's like a Barrel!!!!!" - Katie, after watching Aaron rocket to the ground shortly after exclaiming, "I'm losing it".

- "Keep spotting guys...." - Chris, on the mossy, wet slab after the crux, listening to everyone screaming happily that he'd done the problem. About ten minutes earlier I'd faceplanted on the topout while on rope when my foot slipped on an otherwise dry hunk of rock.

I'm gonna leave this with one thing. Please be courteous to everyone's opinions. There is no right answer and there is no wrong answer.


  1. First of all it's cool to hear of so many people trying the problem and especially cool to hear that Chris did the direct finish.

    With respect to the pebble it's definitely unfortunate since it seems possible that the problem may not even go anymore. Despite the sub-par rock quality that problem is relatively unique to the Lake. Hard, tall, dynamic, sandstone-ish, etc. That said, I would be inclined to leave things as they are. As far as I know this would be the first foray down the path of glue anywhere at the Lake and given the nature of the rock on that boulder other changes are likely to happen. At what point would any attempt to "fix" the problem end?

  2. in a respectful manner...yeah that thing needs to be left as is. chances are good that the glued hold would just crumble off as well. that is the problem with that pebbly conglomerate shit. it is pretty fragile unfortunately. that pebble is probably not the only thing that is going to break on that thing to be quite honest.

    without respect... you all suck, fuck yourselves.

  3. No glue. It will still go.

  4. I am in agreement with the comments above. Rock will break at some point or the other. Whether it's due to it seeing climbing traffic, rain, hail or snow.

    That pebble was going to break off at some point or the other. Especially given the vast amounts of ice-cream mid-west climbers consume. I am actually surprised Steve didn't break it off long time back (yeah, that's right, I called you a fatty). Heartbreaker?! Sure! On the bright side, there is now a new hard problem at the Lake! Let post break FA fever reign! It will still go.

  5. ALSO OF NOTE!!!!

    I will be in Wisconsin on Wednesday and was looking to get out in the afternoon and evening after visiting some accounts... Anyone down with that shit?

  6. Cool to see you guys getting so close. Nice work Chris!

  7. I have no dog in the fight, if there is a fight. I would like to hear what the Gentleman has to say on the matter of glueing the pebble back in. Objectively I would say don't glue it, but Aaron's opinion would hold a good amount of weight, since he has time and energy invested, and was SO close. No doubt it would still go as-is... ce

  8. Sweaty, you suck. a lot. but we should communicate about a possible reunion of sorts. It'd be fun.

    RV - I hate you. you're lucky you didn't break it. Honestly, i feel the same way. think i actually told jeremy "if i didn't break it, you won't".

    CE - how was so dak????

    Every time I watch that video i get more and more sad for Aaron. Wow dude.

  9. have you gotten a new phone? can i call you?

  10. LOL sweaty, what is this junior high? I would go out if I could but certain I cannot.

    Steve SD was great. Perfect weather, which it seems it was here too. AND after a day of climbing scary 5.3 to 5.5 runout "trad" I got 2 sick FAs on my buddy's garage wall!

    :) ce

  11. ce: at least you know where the true projects lie...

  12. well Gnar has a jacked piece that he calls a phone that doesn't work.

  13. No glue! Think about it this way, now you all have a nice new project to work on.

  14. Steve! How's it!?

    To the pebble I would say you gotta leave it as is... Natural progression, no glue man.

    I found your blog through the traffic visits to my blog! HA! Thanks for the mention. Take care mang!

  15. Indeed. My phone blows. I figured out that i can talk on speaker phone. makes shit fun and interesting.

    Jon, nice! Glad you stopped by!! I was psyched to see you post up a link to your blog. Hope your trip out west is good. You'll have to stop by on the way back through if theres no snow.

  16. On another note,

    Minnesota is going off.. I could see 3+ new 8a and above getting done. Can someone do a new projects post..? Why has no one done crack of doom?


  17. I think crack of doom should go this fall. A little warm this week, but soon. My guess is Remo or Travis will put it away. Ian surely could too but I don't think he was super psyched on it the one day we tried it. Don't know if Peter has tried it. ce