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Wild Iris

Posted on 23. Sep, 2011 by in News

This weekend I am headed to Wild Iris, outside of Lander, WY, to try my hand at climbing a hard sport route. For over 10 years I have been exclusively bouldering, only flirting with sport climbing occasionally. It has, however, been a dream of mine to climb 5.14 someday. That dream is one I am determined to make happen.

I have in the past tried to motivate myself to go somewhere and try. But the lure of short, hard boulder problems has always pulled me away from tying in and it seemed as though my ability to manufacture an excuse not to sport climb had been perfected.

One facet of my job as a routesetter is to forerun the routes I set and it is the least favorite part of my work. Not because I don’t enjoy the climbing, but I am uncomfortable on lead, my route climbing technique is poorly developed for how much time I have spent climbing, and I hate falling, even in the relative safety of the gym. It has been so much easier to go bouldering and climb in a way that is comfortable. Climbing routes for me is challenging. Extremely challenging. I am not inclined to have good endurance and it is intimidating that I may fail miserably. Regardless, it is a goal I wish to see through, perhaps because it is so challenging.

This past week I spent roped climbing in the gym, in an effort to build a little endurance but more importantly to familiarize myself with being tied in and on lead. It is humbling to fail on routes that many of my peers consider warm-ups. However, I shall not be deterred. If projecting boulder problems for weeks and weeks has taught me anything, it is patience.

Currently, my hardest redpoint on a sport climb is 5.11b and that was in 1999. And so this weekend I will head up to Lander to try Thowin’ the Hoolihan 5.14a. I would like to climb a few 5.14s of different styles and since this one is shorter and more bouldery, it seems to be a good choice for a first hard route. Even if I fail miserably, Lander is an awesome place to hang out.

Does this mean I am finished bouldering? Hardly. I am more psyched than ever on all of the new bouldering in WY, finishing Flux for Life V13 at Endovalley, and a Nov. trip to Hueco Tanks where I have my sights set on Esperanza, the benchmark V14 in America. Do I think that climbing some hard sport routes will help me become a better climber? Unquestionably!

19 Responses to “Wild Iris”

  1. chad

    23. Sep, 2011

    awesome…. good luck. If things get scary just stick clip your way up then work the route on TR, Next, pull the rope and send. I think they call if headpointing….:)

    have fun

  2. Daniel Woods

    23. Sep, 2011

    Take that shit down man! good luck… sendtember never fails.

  3. tendon

    23. Sep, 2011

    hmmmm…epic fail…oops i mean good luck!

    11b to 14a in a wknd….come on

    picking Hoolihan as ur first 14a? good call.

    prove me wrong hippie!

  4. cardboard_dog

    24. Sep, 2011

    I have to empathize .. I lost my lead head the day I started bouldering full time. I’m actually more freaked out in the gym for some odd reason. Being outside tends to focus me more .. something about the serious nature of it. Like Highballing. only with a rope.

  5. chuffer

    24. Sep, 2011

    Wow, skipping 5.12 and 5.13 entirely … it might be the first time anyone has ever done it!

  6. TheDan

    24. Sep, 2011

    Some extra endurance may come in handy on Esperanza; good luck!

  7. AB

    24. Sep, 2011

    I have the same outlook as you on the sport climbing Jamie, people always ask me, “why dont you rope up?” and I repeatedly say that I simply”dont enjoy it as much as bouldering” but when it all comes down to it I think my reasons are more alike those reasons you stated above.

  8. Zach Wahrer

    24. Sep, 2011

    It’s awesome you’re going to send 5.14! While I’m nowhere near that exalted grade, I can sympathize with the nervousness of crossing over from bouldering to roped climbing. I’ve recently went from a long stint of bouldering back to trad climbing. Talk about the head game!

    You’ll get 5.14! You can do it!

  9. Danny B

    24. Sep, 2011

    this was a great post jamie. good luck

  10. bearded J

    25. Sep, 2011

    I recognize your feelings concerning roping up, something I am trying to do more of these days but with the same anxieties you mention above..Good luck!

  11. Danny B

    26. Sep, 2011

    I strongly recommend TenSleep while your in Wyoming. Its gorgeous, powerful and worth an extra 1 and a half hour drive north east just before the BigHorn mountains.

  12. Jake

    26. Sep, 2011

    I imagine this is a very relatable subject for many avid boulderers (me included). To hone your climbing abilities and physical strengths to new levels and be unable to apply then when on a rope is frustrating to say the least!

    “None of the holds are that bad, none of the moves that hard (relative to one’s bouldering limits), why can’t I execute?!?”

    I have been there, typically one time per summer. Good luck to you Jamie, hopefully your success will spur the motivation for others’ as well!

  13. incredulous

    26. Sep, 2011

    so what do you plan on warming up with? typically a 5.14 climber will warm up on .12s, and 13s. just skipping the warm ups too?

  14. jabroni

    27. Sep, 2011

    Boulderers don’t warm up. How can you blame your finger injury for not being able to send your proj if you never do the injury in the first place?

  15. Michael Rathke

    28. Sep, 2011

    practice on mono’s

  16. Adam M

    29. Sep, 2011

    If you skip 12’s and 13’s and go to 14, there will probably be a poll or something on 8a about records, slash grades, being brave and humble, and setting some kind of standard about routes, then starting some big ass controversy about whether boulderers should do routes or vice-versa, or whether being a boulderer is the “future” of sport climbing, or if sport is worth it, or if wild Iris is the future of high ball bouldering.

    Should be kind of funny sitting in this position knowing that you just want to go rock climbing. But MAN, i’ll bet the masses will just explode! Go get em jamie! Start some shit with Jens!

  17. Jared Lavacque

    03. Oct, 2011

    I am not really seeing the problem here. The main factor is endurance on Throwin’ the Houlihan. The requisite power to do the cruxes is in the bag, so to speak. I hope you have been training on pockets. Houlihan is about 70 feet long, with dynamic mono cruxes. A shorter route would probably be a better option. Even if it is a hard .13…like Hell Comes to Frogtown at VRG, or Skull Fuck or Dumpster BBQ at Rifle. Years ago(1997 or 98) in Hot Flashes, a similar individual individual, comparing bouldering to sport, climbed Skull Fuck at Rifle after only bouldering, and the climbing community tripped a bit over it. Cheers Jamie…Good Luck!

  18. Greg Echelmeier

    06. Nov, 2011

    Good post

  19. Greg Echelmeier

    08. Nov, 2011

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