Lifetime Ticklist

Posted on 10. Jan, 2012 by in News

I don’t hide the fact that I enjoy lists, and most serious boulderers I know make tick lists of all kinds. Every year I make a list of problems I’d like to do in Colorado for the summer and the winter, and then area specific lists for places I think I may visit, e.g Joe’s Valley or Hueco Tanks. However, it is always fun to dream of far off places, to think about lines I’ve seen or tried before, problems I have seen videos of, or others I have only heard about. Some are in new areas and others I’ve visited hundreds of time. Bouldering has provided me with nearly endless possibilities to explore and interact with the world and it’s always just a little exciting to take the time and write down those options (especially when the weather has been as cold and as miserable as it has been here in Colorado). I have split this list into an American section and an International section, and I will write a later post on the international ones. There is some part of me that would literally climb every single problem in the world if I were given the chance, however that scenario is unlikely. More realistic is that there are a certain few problems which rise to the top (for a variety of reasons) and its nice to think about trying to climb those. Here is my lifetime ticklist. The asterisk designates ones I’ve already climbed, and I’ve written a few stories or interesting facts about several of the problems. I’m interested to hear about your dream problems and I would encourage you to write about them in the comments!

Dominated V13, Yosemite NP
Dominated is a nearly perfect overhang. Simple, powerful and hard. There is a fabulous article in an old climbing magazine about Jerry Moffat doing the FA of the stand, The Dominator. Just a stone’s throw from Midnight Lightning.

Yabo Roof V12, Yosemite NP
In 2003 I visited Yosemite NP with Angie Payne. I was injured and didn’t climb much but I spotted her on her send of the iconic Midnight Lightening, also on my list. We met up with Tommy Caldwell, and after running laps on many of the classics, he took us to an incredible project underneath El Capitan. I was blown away. Tommy had been trying one of the best problems I had ever seen, and it was just off the road. He got close that day, and as I recall I helped figure out a new sequence which he used on the send. Tommy climbed the problem later that year, naming it after the iconic Yosemite climber John “Yabo” Yablonski.

Thriller V10, Yosemite NP
A classic and beautiful problem, with a perfectly flat landing (although rumor has it Ron Kauk, the first ascentionist, may have stacked pallets on the jumble rocks at the base to make the landing more flat, covered them with dirt and no one would know or care.) Many feel this is a better problem than Midnight Lightning.

Midnight Lightning V8, Yosemite NP

Black Lung V13, Joe’s Valley
The classic Ben Moon FA from Joe’s Valley. I’ve tried this one off and on for years and had my fingers in the last hold. Good conditions are imperative. For me the beauty of the line, the quality of the rock, the history and the difficulty all make this very appealing. A great name from Steven Jeffery, I might add. Here is a worthwhile video (although the quality is poor) of the FA.

Trent’s Mom V10, Joe’s Valley *

The Wind Below V7, Joe’s Valley *
This is probably the best V7 in the country. An incredible problem.

Beyond Life V10, Joe’s Valley *
The first trip I took to Joe’s Valley I stumbled upon this beautiful problem. Aesthetics for me are very important and this is one of the most aesthetics walls in the country. The defining feature is the beautiful blue streak which drips down the middle of the black wall.

The Shield V11, Little Rock City
Voted by Urban Climber Magazine as the best problem in America. I disagree (the landing isn’t flat, it’s contrived, I digress) but it is gorgeous and the rock is immaculate. One of the most aesthetic pieces of rock anywhere. Another problem I tried as a project, and Tony Lamiche, the visiting Frenchman did the FA a year later.

Golden Harvest V10, Rocktown *
Golden Harvest stands out as a classic among classics in the perfect boulderfields of the South East. I climbed this problem in a session in 2006 on a quick two day trip to Chattanooga.

Golden Harvest, Rocktown from derek thatcher on Vimeo.

God Module V11, HP40 *
Four perfect moves on perfect Alabama sandstone. Perhaps the most coveted tick in the South East. Climbed in 3 days in 2006. James Litz climbed the problem in his tennis shoes.

Millipede V6, HP40 *
Landslide V9, HP40 *
Bushpilot V11, RMNP *

Nuthin’ But Sunshine V13, RNMP *
This problem, more than any other, motivated my move to Colorado in 2001. I spent 3 years and more than 90 days of effort to climb Nuthin’ But Sunshine. It is probably more important to me personally than any other problem I have ever climbed. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of hard climbing and alpine bouldering. Although there is now an easier heel hook method, I did Dave’s original beta, making the crux move one of the sweetest around.

Whispers of Wisdom V10, RMNP *

Right Side of the Red Wall V4, Flagstaff Mtn.
There is a story in Stone Crusade (the classic John Sherman tome) about Pat Ament climbing this devious problem in penny loafers. For this reason alone I went up one blisteringly cold afternoon 9 years ago and climbed this less than classic line.

Pinch Overhang V5, Horsetooth Reservoir *
One of the most classic and historical problems in all of America. The mantel is every bit as tenuous as advertised, and the pinch is one of the coolest holds around. Although the jumpstart is considered valid, I made a point to pull on and do the move to the lip static, ala Holloway.

“Pinch Overhang” Flash Attempt, FAIL from Thrice on Vimeo.

Sunseeker V13, Mt Evans
Flux for Life V13, Endovalley
Top Notch V13, RMNP
No More Greener Grasses V12, Mt. Evans *
Right Martini V12, Hueco Tanks *
The Shining Path V13, Red Rocks
Wet Dream V12, Red Rocks
Stand and Deliver V11, Red Rocks

Slashface V13, Hueco Tanks *
The first climbing video I ever bought, Free Hueco, finished with Chris Sharma climbing this iconic Fred Nicole line. I still remember sitting in my college dorm in awe and never thinking I would even see the problem, let alone have the chance to climb it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed with this one, and I almost did it on my second day. The stress built greatly on the next two days, after negative progress and I wasn’t sure it would happen. I knew something needed to change, and I took a step back, and remembered how lucky and motivated it made me feel to have come so far. The last thought I had before I stepped on the wall was that there was no place in the world I would rather be, than standing underneath Slashface about to climb it. And I did. For me it was one of my best moments as a climber.

Full Service V10, Hueco Tanks *
Right after I climbed Slashface I walked over and did this, and then finished my day on the Maiden. It’s a rare day to climb three 4 star problems in Hueco Tanks and this was one of my best days ever.

The Feather V11, Hueco Tanks *
Jingus Bells V5, Hueco Tanks *

The Spectre V13, Bishop
I’m not a huge fan of the rock in Bishop, but this one is so pure, so stunning and so proud that it has to make this list. This maybe the problem I’d most like to do on the American list that I have yet to climb.

The Mandala V12, Bishop
The Swarm V13, Bishop

Something from Nothing V12, Great Barrington *
This problem is, in my opinion, one of the best I have ever seen. The rock is nearly perfect, and although it is somewhat short, the directness of the line, the flat landing, the obvious staring hold make it a solid 4 star problem. Much better than expected and I was glad to climb it, before it broke, and in a day.

Satan on a Halfshell V10, Rumney
A beautiful swirling overhang at the bottom of the hill, I tried but failed in 12 degree weather.

Child of the Storm V13, Pawtuckaway

Iron Resolution V13, Joshua Tree

Ghetto Methods V10, Red River Gorge *
A long time ago there was a blurb in a Climbing Mag. about some new bouldering that had been found in the Red River Gorge and this was the hardest problem that had been established at the time. I tried it when I had no business being on it, so it was nice to return years later and dispatch it fairly quickly. I would never recommend the problem for its quality, but I really enjoy visiting obscure places like this and climbing these sorts of things, even if they are cliff band dropoffs.

Bang On V12, Black Mountain

The Ecoterrorist V10, Castle Rock
I’ve been to Castle Rock in California on two separate occasions to try this one, and both times it was pouring rain. This sloping problem was featured in one of the first climbing movies I ever owned “Rampage”, and Chris Sharma has the FA.

Kratos V12, Boone

Brown Recluse V9, Southern Illinois
The sandstone in So Ill is oddly underrated, with the boulders in Chattanooga and Arkansas getting much more press. This impressive problem climbs 18 ft over a flat landing on near perfect rock. I tried but did not succeed on a one day visit in 2006. A beautiful Jason Kehl FA.

Brown Recluse, V10 from So Ill Bouldering on Vimeo.

The Raven V12, Sandstone
Nic Oklubzija has the FA of this gorgeous and unlikely classic from Sandstone, MN. It is claimed by those who have seen it that it could potentially be a 5 star problem. I really hope to get out there someday and give it some effort.

The Receptionist V10, Priest Draw

This is not the full list but most of the important ones are on here. Some problems are not listed for various reasons (access mostly) but it gives you a general idea.

And finally King Air V10, Yosemite

49 Responses to “Lifetime Ticklist”

  1. b

    10. Jan, 2012

    whoa….intense pinch overhang fall! nice lifelist though, i always find them inspirational! there are so many amazing boulders in the world it’s sometimes overwhelming….

  2. JamesO

    10. Jan, 2012

    I think you forgot one.

    Starts with Green and ends with Toad.

  3. Hayden

    10. Jan, 2012

    Nothing from Washinton? Hagakure and The Teacup are both -star V12s. Why Child of the Storm? History? I find that problem ugly and painful.

  4. cardboard_dog

    10. Jan, 2012

    the first time I met you, you were working Beyond Life and so I ended up working Beyond Life and I haven’t stopped thinking about that problem for the last 5 YEARS!. dammit I have to get back to Joe’s.

  5. Davin

    10. Jan, 2012

    Nothing from Wyoming?

  6. peter beal

    10. Jan, 2012

    Jamie, the Red Wall story is actually associated with First Overhang. Red Wall has another interesting story, regarding a boulderer applying glue to his fingers to stay on the first hold.

  7. wk

    10. Jan, 2012

    it actually seems like a manageable list. of course that list probably grows every time you visit a new area and you only covered the states. i guess one needs to keep crushing well into there 50s to come close to accomplishing the tick lists made when they are 30.

  8. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    This is not a list of the best problems in the country, it’s a list of problems, for personal reasons I’d like to do. There is nothing from Washington or Wyoming on the list.

  9. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    Peter, the story and photo I am thinking of is Ament on the Red Wall, and not first overhang..

  10. Davin

    10. Jan, 2012

    Too bad.

    Lord of The Forest V12 is a 4/5 star classic! There are a few others, but that one would be a gem anywhere.

  11. Hayden

    10. Jan, 2012

    Fair enough on Wy and Wa. What are the personal reasons for Child of the Storm?

  12. thomas

    10. Jan, 2012

    i know it’s a list just for you, but i hope karma makes the international list

  13. EP

    10. Jan, 2012

    Awwwwww man.

    Your one Boone problem to do is KRATOS!!???? Have you ever seen this thing? Sure, it is a splitter line and very hard but it is not that tall, crazy sharp, and overall not that inspiring. There are plenty of other more worthy problems in Boone.

  14. EP

    10. Jan, 2012

    and yes, I read your post about this being a personal list of problems to do and that is fine. If it is the lore of James Litz pulling you in, there are plenty of other classic, hard, pretty Litz problems around in Boone for you to do. example: Full Throttle.

  15. peter beal

    10. Jan, 2012

    Jamie, I went back and checked and yes John Sherman notes in Stone Crusade (p 27) that Pat Ament could do this problem in penny loafers. However in a more recent interview ( Ament makes a clarification.

    SGPT: Ditto for bouldering. There is a famous story of your climbing the Right Side of the Red Wall in your penny loafers? Is that true? Story?

    PA: I probably did the Red Wall in penny loafers, or more probably in my Tretorn tennis shoes, but there were other climbs I know for sure I did that route in the penny loafers, such as First Overhang (there is a well known photo of me on that route). Sometimes the ground up there was muddy, or it had snowed, and there was no point in wearing climbing shoes. So I’d use my loafers. If I was in good enough shape it wasn’t too bad.

    Here’s the photo of First Overhang at

    I have never seen a photo of Ament on Red Wall in penny loafers.

  16. Rajiv

    10. Jan, 2012

    Very inspiring list! Have you been on/done Speed of Life at Farley?

  17. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    If Kratos or Child of Storm aren’t on your list that’s fine, this is my list and again, it is not a list of the best problems, just the ones I really want to do for personal reasons, although sometimes those personal reasons are easier to justify when the problems are so classic.
    Child of the Storm is on the list for a number of reasons. It is one of the best hard problems in New England. It is uncontrived and the rock is good, and it represents to me why New England is an amazing place to visit and climb. I really like the name, and it’s hard not think perhaps Dave sees himself as “The Child of the Storm”. I also saw the video a long time ago of Dave doing the FA which I thought was a great video, because it was obviously miserable out and they were out there putting up new problems, and so in that regard, the problem became emblematic of that spirit. I tried it and didn’t do it. I like that is uncomfortable to climb on, that makes it more appealing for some reason in this instance.

  18. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    Thanks for the info Peter, again my reasons stemmed from what was written in Stone Crusade, accurate or not.

  19. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    I have not done the Speed of Life, and I would like to, but not every problem can be on the list, and that one doesn’t make the cut. Maybe that would change if I saw it in real life and I am open to that.

  20. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    Davin, why is it too bad there are no problems from WY? What does it matter? That doesn’t mean WY has bad bouldering. It’s just my arbitrary preferences, that I can sometimes justify and sometimes can’t.

  21. Sean P

    10. Jan, 2012

    Hey Jamie, I’m taking my first trip to Joe’s in a couple months and I’m wondering if you could recommend some 8s, 9s, and 10s that must be done, besides the few you listed above. The only thing I have my sights set on right now is Worm Turns…

  22. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    Trent’s Mom. Beyond Life, Eden are at the top of my list. I like the Lumberjack as well.

  23. AB

    10. Jan, 2012

    James Litz has climbed god module in tennis shoes AND with a crash pad on his back … you forgot that part!!!

  24. B3

    10. Jan, 2012

    I asked him specially about that and he said he hadn’t done that AB.

  25. peter beal

    11. Jan, 2012

    BTW loved this list but wondered why Jade and Top Notch are not on it. I always take inspiration from the 90+ days on NBS. Don’t know if I will ever do it but it’s on my list for sure.

  26. PME

    11. Jan, 2012

    I heard James Litz climbed God Module blindfolded and again with one hand behind his back.

  27. @EricP

    11. Jan, 2012

    Full throttle is a great problem but many others that I would recommend to those visiting from out of town. but then again not really trying to blow up the spot.

  28. AB

    11. Jan, 2012

    He’s a liar!

    Just kidding … I heard that but I guess it was just an urban legend.

  29. Davin

    11. Jan, 2012


    It really is a personal preference and the State that holds the particular problems doesn’t matter at all. It really doesn’t matter. By you not having Wyoming or many other states on the list is definitely not an indicator of poor bouldering in those locations. Good bouldering abounds everywhere, as does the bad.
    I drop Wyoming comments on your posts as a random reminder to get you and others up here or back up here. Sort of a Johnny Bouldering Seed hint if you will? Simply, it has been nice in the past to have visitors get on the local stone and maybe add a life list problem to their list. Lord of The Forest V12 is a seed I’ve tried to plant for anyone out there.

    A personal life list is an interesting topic to post. Such a window into an individual boulderer is sure to stir deep inside all who boulder. Agreements and disagreements on individual problems will mix the pot enough without adding locations. A life list of bouldering destinations would be another topic entirely.

  30. B3

    11. Jan, 2012

    Awesome. I haven’t forgotten, but I assume you guys are probably snowier and colder than we are, and this mornings weather isn’t motivating. I have plans to come up to Lander when things warm up, and def. to see all the new stuff around Laramie! I’m psyched! It just needs to stop being so miserable.

  31. Praxeology

    11. Jan, 2012

    Sean P.

    To add to jamie’s list…..Black Dahlia, Resident Evil, Worse case scenario, The wind below, best v6’s: Maxipad, planet of the apes.

    Have fun man…

  32. Davin

    11. Jan, 2012

    Until last night we actually had no snow and some great days out. Perfect conditions.

    Now it is winter hell and my seasonal depression is as nice as the weather. See you when it warms.

  33. big poppa chosscrush

    11. Jan, 2012

    three important announcements:

    1. tretorn sneakers. BWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAA!!!!

    2. speed of life is too tall for jamie. and brian camp.

    3. omg davin, wyoming? GOT METH?!? face it: wyoming is TOTALLY AWFUL. i do not in any way look forward to the many days i intend to spend in that poor excuse for a state this spring, summer, and fall. YOUR PROPAGANDA IS TRANSPARENT AND INEFFECTIVE. please keep all this talk about worthy lines to yourself. and me.

  34. Peter Hill

    11. Jan, 2012

    Glad you got one from So Ill. Place is super duper underrated.

  35. Michael Rathke

    12. Jan, 2012


    I cant find any videos of someone sending Frankinstein B2
    at Wild Iris, do you know of any?

  36. B3

    12. Jan, 2012

    Here is video from the Llyod Climbing Blog, which is a great source of info on bouldering in the Lander area.

  37. Michael Rathke

    12. Jan, 2012

    No wonder I couldnt find it

    ” Frankinstein B2 ”

    Tim Toula spells it that way in his first edition of
    Rock N Road

    I’ll ask him what the correct spelling to his climb is

  38. David Lloyd

    13. Jan, 2012

    Thanks for the link Jamie.

    I didn’t realize Frankenstein (sp?) was put up by Tim Toula. If you get a hold of him, Michael, I’d like to know where the official start is. There is an obvious jug that we started on in the video, but the pockets keep going under the roof, and it could be started in many places. The difficulty increases, but the quality decreases as you go deeper under the boulder.

  39. B3

    13. Jan, 2012

    David, I know you aren’t posting about the raddest sends on your blog, but it is one of my favorites to visit. Always informative and I like to hear what’s going on in the Lander area. Keep updating! There is at least one climber in Colorado following along. And if you get a chance to get out to the Devil’s Kitchen this spring, I’d love to show you around. It’s a great place are there are thousands of climbable boulders.

  40. David Lloyd

    13. Jan, 2012

    Let me know when you’ll be here. I can’t wait to get into Devil’s Kitchen, and I’m very excited to see what gets put up this year. We’ve got three great areas near Lander, and a few more good ones that need attention. Devil’s Kitchen, the Falcon’s Lair, and Sweetwater all have some incredible lines still waiting to be done.

  41. smilingweswalker

    14. Jan, 2012

    “There is some part of me that would literally climb every single problem in the world if I were given the chance.”

    …that’s the most classic quote I’ve heard so far in 2012! Love it.

    Jamie, congrats on your recent send of The Feather and thanks for sharing your list with the public…I def. made note of some of the unfamiliar names. Peace up!

  42. coda g

    15. Jan, 2012

    That was an epic fall on pinch overhang, Guy alright?,,,,no answer in vid ha

  43. colin

    15. Jan, 2012

    This was an awesome post, Jamie.

    My personal list includes:

    Andrew Roof in the Gunks – I saw someone work this one hard, and finally send at the end of the day with bloody, taped up fingers. I was a total gumby at the time (still am, I suppose) and it opened my eyes to what the upper levels of bouldering were about.

    Full Service – Why not? Classic problem with an interesting story behind the first ascent and the name. Haven’t been to Hueco yet, maybe this year.

    This Side of Paradise – ’cause to send a beautiful highball like that would be an experience I’d never forget.


  44. Davin

    16. Jan, 2012

    big poppa,

    If that’s how you feel about it, then fine! Give me a call and we can make a plan not to look forward to. Maybe even this next weekend?

  45. big poppa chosscrush

    17. Jan, 2012

    the big poppa is playing poppa and local shady dweller until early march. at such time, weekend climbing will recommence.

    i have watched kung fu panda with my kid 10000 times in the last few months. this gives me hope that i will be able to climb rocks successfully in march, despite my winter diet.

  46. Eric

    17. Jan, 2012

    Hey Jamie, you mentioned the article about Moffatt’s ascent of The Dominator. I started trying to think of other classic articles on bouldering. Obviously there is”Pumping Sandstone,” and “Pumping Granite.”

    What other articles can you think of that would be considered must-reads for the boulderer; either because of their literary merit, or description of a classic problem/area?

    Thanks. This was a great post. Keep it up.

  47. Blake B.

    21. Jan, 2012


    What are your personal reasons for not being too fond of the rock in Bishop? I have never been and am contemplating a trip there after I recover from surgery. I have just been trying to get some opinions about the place. Obviously many people love the area but I have also heard some not so positive opinions as well. Thanks

  48. B3

    21. Jan, 2012

    1. It’s really sharp.
    2. It’s really slick.

    That pretty much sums it up. The weather is good in Bishop, there are a lot of problems, but rock quality is probably the most important factor when I think about good problems or areas so Bishop is not nearly as nice as the South East, or Hueco, Joe’s, Yosemite, etc

  49. Austin

    17. Sep, 2012

    Not interested in the still undone project at the ledges in your home state?…that thing can go lol

    As for my current list…

    Niagara Glen:
    Antica V9?
    One Inch Punch V8
    Black Eagle V9
    Zozorba V12
    Old Man Gloom V10
    The Phoenix V12
    The Stasis Project

    and anything else with fun and aesthetic movement lol

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