Evil Backwards

Posted on 07. Jul, 2011 by in News

Last year, after much effort, I climbed Evil Backwards V14 at Lincoln Lake. This remains the hardest bit of climbing I have ever done. What has not remained is the climb itself.

After I repeated it I expected others to downrate it, perhaps for competitive reasons, or perhaps because they felt that it wasn’t that hard. Clearly grades are subjective, and while I felt it was harder than anything I had previously climbed, I knew that it might not hold at V14. I felt some reassurance when visiting Finnish climber Nalle Hukkataival repeated the problem in 3 days and said “It’s just not V13.” This year a number people repeated the line very quickly, commenting on 8a.nu that it was perhaps soft V13. I was a little surprised and I went back to the problem to check it out for myself. It wasn’t clear if their comments were motivated by a change in beta, a change in the hold, or their honest or competitive opinion of the difficulty. After talking to several climbers it was evident that there was no change in beta and I decided to examine the problem itself. I noticed that the right hand crimp, in which the crux revolves around, had gotten bigger. When I took the time to grab the hold properly, I felt something I hadn’t ever felt before, the back of the seam. I grabbed my shoes and repeated the move in a few tries. It felt easier. It is unclear why this hold changed. Perhaps it had just seen more attention, or perhaps someone had “cleaned” it again. Oh well, I thought. Those things happen. It’s a nice thought to have such a personal achievement “set in stone” so to speak, but unfortunately the nature of bouldering at Lincoln Lake is that problems are often changing.

A few weeks later the problem changed dramatically. The first left hand hold that you jump out to went from being a sloping edge to a full-pad incut, dropping the difficulty down to V12. Apparently it had been “cleaned” with a paint scraper and a screwdriver. I’m not sure there is any logic or intelligent thought in the actions of an individual who feels the need to basically chip a problem that had already been climbed by a number of people. It hasn’t taken away from my ascent. I strongly think that Evil Backwards, in the state I climbed it, was the hardest problem I had ever done. It does however take away from other climbers who were looking for that same challenge, and that saddens me more than anything. I understand as well as anyone the exfoliating nature of the rock at Lincoln Lake, but using a screwdriver and a paint scraper on a problem that has been climbed by at least 8 climbers is unacceptable. Please, take the time to clean things properly and when they are clean, leave them alone.

74 Responses to “Evil Backwards”

  1. Michael

    13. Jul, 2011

    Whats wrong with going off topic to show someone how their comments need improvement?


  2. toivo

    13. Jul, 2011

    has anyone thought about finding those 2 little pieces of rock and epoxying them back in there? all natural again. art++

    doing this properly would require some kind of committee, just to adjudicate it back to where it was. sweet job if you could get it- the upgrading committee.

    think about it.

  3. Philip

    13. Jul, 2011

    I watched James fall on the last move of Small Arms, and I am pretty certain that if he had gone back he would have finished it. Now the problem has been chipped and either doesn’t go or is much harder- either way it’s a completely different problem. The climb was broken intentionally and not by the weight of someone trying it. So please tell me why exactly James should let this one go?

  4. peter beal

    13. Jul, 2011

    Hi Philip,
    I don’t know you but I do know James and we discussed the facts surrounding the problem last night at CATS. I am confident he will move on to bigger and better things now.


  5. Jdre

    13. Jul, 2011

    Alright, so what this person did was unacceptable. I think almost everyone can agree with that.
    The next question might be, what is the climbing community going to do about this situation?

    In my opinion if the person comes forward and apologizes then put him on a short leash but don’t shut him out completely. Yes, if we ever caught someone in the act we would beat them with far larger rocks then they broke off but ultimitely, it’s a rock and they’re a person. They make mistakes. They regret those mistakes (hopefully). Yes, these rocks mean a whole lot to us. Maybe more then they should but you know…a rock!

    Is everyone completely positive it was Chad Greedy? Any history of this type of behavior?

    If it is was (I’m not saying it was him) then I think thought should go into how you all deal with him. He has been around for quite awhile and put up some good vids (Yes, I know everyone hates that stupid “how’d id feel?”) and climbed a lot of stuff and I’m sure helped develop a lot of these areas as well. So, take the high road and be gracious people, even if it’s not deserved. Invite him to go climbing. Express your concern with him and then let it go.

  6. CEK

    13. Jul, 2011

    The question that I have and I think is a bigger issue is where is the line between chipping and cleaning. According to Carlo’s statements that line has been crossed at Wolvo and if that line has been crossed are the majority of lines manufactured there.

    I’m not sure that just because the rock is chossy that that is an acceptable argument. There is plenty of choss in this state does that mean it should be developed with aggressive cleaning so that we can climb new problems and claim first ascents??

    I would like to hear peoples thoughts and opinions on this especially those who may of taken part in the development of the area. B3 What do you think???

  7. Josh

    13. Jul, 2011

    Chipping is disgusting and should not be tolerated in ANY form. There is no argument for it. If you feel the desire to chip a hold, then don’t leave the gym! Inside you can change any route a million different ways and nobody will care. The beauty of climbing is utilizing rocks that have been shaped by natural processes. Chipping a route removes all of that beauty. It removes all of the difficulty, the hard work of those that came before, the meaning of the accomplishment and the sense of achievement that comes with accomplishing something with hard work.

    Quite frankly, if you don’t know what constitutes chipping, then you’re an idiot. It’s a very clear and distinct line. The intention should always be to preserve the problem as much as possible. Yes, some holds will break and that is unavoidable, more importantly, it’s unintentional. Get it?

    On the bright side, no more shitty Chad Greedy videos.

  8. Michael

    13. Jul, 2011

    and if there is something wrong with going off topic to tell you whats right and whats wrong then we can let Jamie be the judge of that, this is his website

  9. Poppa Preach

    14. Jul, 2011

    And dont even try to change the subject or tell me that I need to shut my pie hole, because I’m being serious and I dont even have a pie hole-You have seen the videos and you cant deny I’m an awesome climber. You do drugs and you need to quit…You used to be cool and you are not anymore but you still can be…This goes for everyone that does drugs, including you Skavenger.

  10. slabdyno

    14. Jul, 2011

    this is my take on ll and its ethics; based on co’s pro’s online bickering.. ll is choss, the problems are constantly changing – so important, it was stated twice. its ok to use tools such as a screwdriver and paint scraper to do the initial cleaning of a chossy problem, but once thats done, its not ok to use them for any subsequent cleaning. only a lapis brush is acceptable thereon, per dw. in a scathing rebuttal to je’s indirect personal accusal of chipping live forwards, cg announces je asked to borrow the same instruments to clean the sit start? question, how the hell can you get any lower on that butt dragger? so many double standards, subtle ego-stroking, so painful to read, so many people just gargle je’s balls by default, ignoring it, the brainless mob (that’s why i come here mr, or it could be out of sheer boredom). ct suggests many more problems at ll were aggressively overly cleaned, wait, who was leading the way on the development again je? that sounds like a damaging statement, but considering the source, who cares right? shhh quieter than 10. haha. the original pathetically weak <v9 developers must have lacked such strong tooled vision… and on to the least important thing, michael has had jamies dong lodged in his front tooth gap for more years than any of you. mr, i hope you can take something positive out of this summary of epic coloradolescence from a spectator, if not, please call the authorities. SNORT!

  11. dick masters

    15. Jul, 2011

    I don’t live in CO, i have never been to CO and i will most likely never go there as i would prefer to travel to areas that aren’t filled with people from CO.I recall one story from Joe’s valley…. my wife and i were sitting underneath a problem and i was failing off as usual and we got to talking to this couple from CO (the young man was nice, modest, and educated). This young over privileged teenage girl that he was with (i don’t want to cast a stone about that as i have humped some foul pieces of trash but at least in La they are usually hot) was about shit her prana pants and subsequently stain the seat of her subaru to hear we were from LA and liked it. This young road scholar asked us in a tone of voice that made me want to slap the taste out of her mouth” well what is the biking to work situation like in LA”,, my jaw dropped in utter disbelief as i replied that it is like anywhere you live if you live in riding your bike to work distance (1 mile for some a 100 for others) you can, and it doesn’t snow or rain here, dumb hooker. I read all the climbing news and blogs because i too have no life. In the 13 years i have been climbing i have noticed my trends, but this one is the most interesting to me. It seems that most of the young and strong in CO (unfortunately i have meet a lot of you people out and about in real climbing areas) i have met seems to considered him/herself God incarnate. i find it interesting that 18 and 19 year olds are stating there is the 1 acceptable practice (i.e. daniel woods lapis brush only, haha). last time i checked most younger children severely need there ass kicked back to reality. Just to be clear 19 year olds should shut the f-up, listen, and learn about the world before they speak (p.s. didn’t he name his hardest problem for the middle name of his now ex-girlfriend, hahah way to go buddy!!! but to be fair i did that stuff when i was young too), but i digress. Why i find this interesting is they become famous these days because they down rate someone else thing and all of a sudden we sheepeople are like OMG you down rated that v15 you must be smart, good looking, funny, and shit gold. Take for example most of the strong CO youth (or at least that’s how they come off in there interviews, and self promo videos and ps. Stop using the term next level you know the second you use that word the down rating sharks are cleaning there shoes and rating your problem on 8a), there sole mission is to repeat something done years ago and down rate it to make themselves a bad ass. i heard one prominent CO climber talking about wanting to do lucid dreaming and down rate it. Which to be honest really doesn’t effect me, but i see it as a bunch of crabs in a pot pulling everyone back in. It is getting to the point that i do believe your community out there in Co may actually implode and all problems will be v4+ (which if i hate CO so much why would i care? good point i just had a shitty day and needed to vent anonymously over the internet). Just to educate the young people, no one cares about what you have to say accept your parents. If you go down rate something that has been V14 for 16 years you aren’t stronger than the person who did it 16 years ago and you opinion still doesn’t matter, i understand your penis is small/ clitorises is big (can’t forget about the ladies) and that makes you mad, it makes me mad too but I don’t scream about things in public to delude people into thinking it is bigger/smaller (I assume girls want a smaller clit?). And to the people that have had there boulders chipped yes we all know that you are a bad ass purist and you did a v14 ( everybody stop and pretend that you care, now feel better about yourself). Keep up the good work and remember to ruthless talk shit behind everyone’s back, down rate everything, take it seriously and don’t have fun!

  12. cardboard_dog

    15. Jul, 2011

    i want to see campusmang and Criz tie their wrists together and have a dancing knife fight with Beat it playing in the background. That would almost be as entertaining as this CO dramaramathon.

  13. adam strong

    15. Jul, 2011

    their. listen to your elders.

  14. toivo

    15. Jul, 2011

    ok this is getting more reasonable. a real ethical discussion needs a testcase, situations pushed to unreasonable extremes (like thought experiments), and this often requires crackpot egomaniacs. we’ve got all that.

    on the one hand, there’s the position of the pure soul. so, holds only get brushed with the softest of rodent hairs (what is a lapis anyways? are they cute? tasty? google says little blue animal: http://www.moboid.com/lapis/ )

    on the other hand, the jerk, ready to trundle boulders onto your bivouac. we know who those are.

    caught in between is the person just looking for a decent time out in the wilderness, experiencing something beyond themselves and a ziploc world. looking for a little divine uselessness, arbitrary amusement, free movement. and instead finding people arguing about screwdrivers.

    how prepared for desecration would a person have to be to put a screwdriver in their pocket, setting out the door to do a project? if it were a FA it would just be a simple lack of courage. but if someone had done the climb, it indicates so much more hubris, and so much less consciousness.

    time flows over us too, as it does to the rocks, but it usually isn’t jabbing at us with pointy objects, trying to dislodge a piece of us. there’s an ethic in there, but it’s more inclined to meditative naps in the forest than grade wars. in spite of all of this, the boulders are above it all, totally careless, indifferent to crushing any one of us if they went the littlest bit off balance. lucky thing is if we do the same worst case scenario someone nearby gets bruised or offended. in the end the boulders are indifferent to us, even when we do amazing things.

  15. Michael

    15. Jul, 2011

    I love you guys

  16. big poppa chosscrush

    15. Jul, 2011


  17. Michael

    15. Jul, 2011

    I know that one day you will stop being fools

  18. big poppa chosscrush

    16. Jul, 2011

    tovio lies. time does try to stab me and chip away pieces of me. time is eternal torment.

  19. Paul Dusatko

    16. Jul, 2011

    It’s V14. I sent that thing last year and can vouch for the grade.

  20. XOXO

    16. Jul, 2011

    Gossip Guy here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of the Boulder Bubble’s elite. Who’s chipped what? Was it in fact JE??? And who am I? That’s one secret I’ll never tell. You know you love me. XOXO, Gossip Guy.”

  21. toivo

    16. Jul, 2011

    the point i was trying to make big poppa is that there is no intent to time. time doesn’t “try” to do anything. in general terms time is a simple horizon of unfolding potentials, and for us, the mortal margin of our finitude. when intent or purposiveness become involved, when human beings start messing with time, then one encounters this whole wild profusion of things people do.

    point taken- sometimes time is tough on us, and the world has some sharp pointy bits to it also – but to be clear, when we come up against those it’s not so much a matter of being chipped away at by time, as it is a consequence of bumbling stumbling our ways through the world. so, we can make mistakes, whereas time cannot.

    how could we learn from this situation, caught between our intents and a moving image of eternity? maybe by seeing our accomplishments as being undone, refreshed to nothingness at the end of every act. short of dying at the precise moment when you’ve done your greatest thing, this would be a way to dwell closer to that horizon of potentials, getting along with time and being more of a friend to the world.

  22. cardboard_dog

    16. Jul, 2011

    Toivo you gah damned pot smoking HIPPPPPPPAAYYYYY!!!!.

  23. Michael

    18. Jul, 2011

    stop being evil & live

  24. Aggromeister

    25. Jul, 2011

    I have down climbed V10 and I still have difficulty deciding where cleaning starts and chipping begins, This stated I would add that I believe the answer is both obvious and ever changing. It is all about “perspective” fellows!! Damn the torpedos seriously. If you start cleaning a problem it is best to remain focused and alert and never cross that line where cleaning becomes chipping and once you have that figured out then blog topics like this will be not needed, not needed at all I say! Remain Strong!

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