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Nicky’s Boulders

Nicky’s Boulders

Posted on 23. Jan, 2012 by in RMNP

This weekend I was feeling a bit under the weather, but it wasn’t enough to stop from getting out to scope a “new area” practically in Estes Park. The reality is that the Nicky’s Boulders (aka The Billards) have been climbed at for a long time. In fact I visited the area in 2002 when I first moved to Colorado, as I worked my way through the then fairly new Colorado Bouldering Guidebook by Phillip Benningfield. Thankfully a new edition of that book is on it’s way in the coming months from Sharp End. What’s in Benningfields old Guidebook wasn’t much in the way of what I was interested in, and I didn’t bother to hike up the hill, although there seemed to be more rock.

Cameron Maier, who has worked on the RMNP trail-crew for a number of years and had lived in Estes Park knew of a project there, and a few weeks ago took the ever-psyched Dave Graham up to check it out. Dave climbed the FA of Memory is Parallax V14, which is one of the best hard problems in Colorado. I was anxious to check it out, and there was word that several other difficult lines had gone in as well.

Saturday I went there with Daniel Woods, Courtney Sanders, and Brian Capps. We made the relatively short approach, and saw a small cluster of boulders, some good problems, some good projects, and got to work.

Daniel and I climbed an awesome traverse put up, I think, by Dave, called The Desperate Houseboys Traverse V10. Daniel climbed it first try, and it took me perhaps 2 hours to piece it together. While not cutting edge, these kinds of contributions go a long way towards cementing Dave’s commitment to find and establish great new problems for the community here in Colorado. Development is rarely done at the highest level (and although important), it’s these quality lower level problems which really make an impact.

Brian did all the moves but couldn’t quite manage the link of The Desperate Houseboys Traverse V10, after a training day.

We also saw a really nice project cleaned up by Dave that could be V12-V14. I would like to try that one on my next visit. We then walked down the hill to try Memory is Parallax V14. I struggled to do anything, but Daniel quickly did all the moves. The problem has some very intricate footwork, and eventually DW sorted it out. By this point the wind had picked up and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were gusts of 50 mph. Snow was in the air, but we were relatively sheltered and Daniel managed the second ascent, in a day. It was a great effort. Here is some fairly raw video of his ascent:

I don’t know much else about the area, except that it was known to several Estes locals for this significant project that was very difficult. If someone has more information about the history of the area I would love to hear it! Estes Park is one of my favorite areas in Colorado, not just for the bouldering in Chaos Canyon, but the scenery, the wildlife and the hiking make it a great place to spend an afternoon.

35 Responses to “Nicky’s Boulders”

  1. cardboard dog

    24. Jan, 2012

    umm .. calling V10 lower level, even though it is not news worthy or in the realm of V14, is incredibly insulting to the people who work their asses off to be able to climb the grade. Although obviously not as hard as V14? You can’t just put on a pair of shoes and stroll up to a V10 and send .. as demonstrated by Capps, an inarguably strong climber, not sending the V10 in your post. You have to be fit, you have to know how to climb, and you have to be dedicated, still, to climb V10. I know you are aware of this, but in that number chasing haze, the media has seemed to have forgotten this. V14 is the media darling, but V10 has always been, and always will be, the measure of a climber who has taken it to the next level, in my, and in most climbers, humble opinions. Just saying.

  2. Phillip Carrier

    24. Jan, 2012

    completely agree with ‘cardboard dog’. You are out of touch. And while he has given you the benefit of the doubt by saying “I know you are aware of this” you are undeniably part of the “number chasing” climbing media that he mentions immediately after. We all know Daniel is on another level and I’m not detracting from his accomplished send. And you do a fine job of reporting on the elite – but you have completely lost touch with your audience. While “hard” is a relative description, you must realize that anything you deem as post-worthy here is probably out of the realm of most of your audience.

  3. Phillip Carrier

    24. Jan, 2012

    And yes, we do come here to read about the new hard sends, but no, we don’t come here to get shit on by your self described “lower level” opinions.

  4. m

    24. Jan, 2012

    it’s not insulting at all, and lower is only meant, comparatively, to describe a problem which is easier than the “highest level”. can’t find any malevolence or contempt in mentioning that v10 is “lower” than v14, or is there?
    wanting to find something insulting in b3’s post is just laughable, and totally uncalled for. but maybe you haven’t read the whole post? or just cherry picked the word “lower”, taking it out its context?

  5. me

    24. Jan, 2012

    this blog has gone to hell over the last year i feel like. i used to refer it to other people as a benchmark for how to run a blog in general. it feels bloated now

  6. TheDanDan

    24. Jan, 2012

    You guys are ridiculous. Like m says, it’s a comparative term used here to describe how V10 relates to the “highest level.” Don’t be so sensitive, and maybe work on the reading comprehension a bit.

  7. Jill

    24. Jan, 2012

    I fail to see how referring to V10 as ‘lower’ level in context of V14 as obvious ‘higher’ level could be insulting.
    (Especially since JE points out he ‘struggled to do anything’ on the V14).

    Also I enjoyed watching the video with DW.

    I don’t know, but it seems to me anything said on this blog gets cherry picked to find something negative in it.

  8. Matt

    24. Jan, 2012

    It’s nice to get some updates on the colorado bouldering scene. It seems that this year is much more “dull” than last year. Obviously still exciting with the recent V14/15s, but compared to previous years, there just isn’t much news going around. That is the downside of not living in Colorado I guess. I have to wait for someone to post something about what is going on =\ So post more often! >.>

    I agree with M. The use of “lower level” is completely miscontrued. Sure if Jamie just said “V10 is lower level” it can be completely condescending. What was said, very clearly in my opinion, was “V10 is a lower level than V14” which is fact. Its not being called a moderate. It’s not being called a warm-up. It is just simple context that has no reason to be able to cause a fuss.

    Even if it did just say “V10 is lower level”, is it really worth it to stir up an arguement over it when you are a consistent reader of this blog and know what Jamie is on about? I would easily take that as a “Mr Emerson, one of the most politically correct blog writers out there, missed something of importance”

  9. training

    24. Jan, 2012

    Get off jamies nuts, this blog is dope!

  10. PaulC

    24. Jan, 2012

    While I understand the annoyance at seeing something that people like me are currently striving to do referred to as “lower,” in this context… well, it is.

    I think what was meant was simply that Dave took the time and effort to establish a problem, and seemingly many problems, that hold much more significance for the general population than himself. Sorry, but V10 does not seem to require a tremendous effort for mister Graham, and compared to his seemingly weekly accomplishments this grade is certainly “lower level.”

    It really seems like people are quick to jump on Jamie here. The guy is obviously a great resource to have at any climbing locale. Seems like just as much fuss is being made over one stray phrase as has been made over the many many things he has done to benefit the community.

    Complain by not coming on here, or ask for your money back… oh wait.

  11. big poppa chosscrush

    24. Jan, 2012

    oh man. here we go again, defending jamie’s virgin honor.

    cbd and others: v10 is lower level to david. hell, with the state of the sport, v10 is starting to push into moderate territory generally speaking and not just in relation to david, just the way gill intended the scale to constantly shift.

    ultimately, the debate here is what is still ‘cutting edge’ and what is now ‘moderate.’ before anyone gets bent out of shape about the nuances, consider first whether essentially calling v10 moderate is more of an expression of ego on jamie’s part, or more so on the part of those upset by it.

    does v10 need to be considered “hard climbing” to satisfy you and substantiate your performance and place in this passtime?

    if so, do not pay attention to any media of any kind from now on and retroactive to 2007ish.

    i can’t lie. waking up and realizing that my best climbing efforts are insignificant in the grand scheme of what has become “hard climbing” hurts my ego and self esteem.

    coming to grips with that fact and continuing to brutalize myself on my projects, suffering the defeats, persevering to achieve success, and laughing at myself through it all is what makes me a climber. not the grade level i’ve achieved.

    ultimately, what someone else deems worthy shouldn’t sway your opinion and crush your ego much. if it does, you’ll never be a ‘lifer’ and will probably not be content in any sector of life.

    trust me. i struggle with it daily in all facets.

    metaphorical gnashing of teeth is right, bitches.

  12. bpc again

    24. Jan, 2012

    just re-read the text while watching daniel camp out on holds i cannot use fleetingly…

    seems like jamie’s comment is pretty clear. stuff lower than v14 will get more traffic and will be utilized as an apparatus for fun and adventure by more people.

    pretty clear and ultimately dead on accurate.

    the stuff at endo above v10 gets attempted rarely in relation to the stuff under v10 that gets gangbanged all day every day pre and post alpine season.

    in this context, jamie’s comment applauds development work of the mid-grade rigs.

    he just texted me that his next post will be a lengthy piece on “wages of sin” at lincoln lake and how important it is to the entire earth of rock climbing humans and non-human creatures, such as spiders, monkeys, lizards, and mosses. he is in the process of getting legal rights to the cycle of life song book from the lion king.

    it will be AMAZING!

  13. Powell

    24. Jan, 2012

    I could see how if one trained and sacrificed and couldn’t climb a particular level, which many other people could climb, and someone said that level wasn’t significant then one would be upset. Difficulty in climbing is subjective and relative to each person. So I wouldn’t be upset if Jamie, or anyone else for that matter, was speaking directly to me in an even more aggressive tone, because I am on my own path. One of the cooler parts about climbing is that we can all share what it feels like to dominate a climb and what it feels like to barely do something you once thought not possible. The feeling Adam Ondra had on Gioia is the same shared by those finally able to stand atop Bum Boy after many sessions. The point is that climbing is individual and each person’s experience and journey is unique and in some ways wholly unto itself.

    I remember when my brother told me of this website and 5 years ago. I was so excited for climbing back then and, looking back, feel like I was a large demographic who follow this blog. Those two sites have been very large influences in my climbing, and like so many others I get a lot of joy out of the stories, history, and information divulged. I hope Jamie continues to take time out of his day for this website to post and others do the same to comment , because that’s what makes this worth visiting.

    Jamie, just remember your demographic and that you can charge more!

  14. Davin

    24. Jan, 2012

    But how does mister Capps look and mister Woods? Are they enjoying the day or bitching?

    Looks like they’re enjoying the day to me, and it doesn’t really look like a lower end or higher end problem debate going on for them, but a problem worth trying/climbing.

    Obviously grades are relative to the individual climber, but relative to the sport at any given point in time as well. As a whole and at this point in the development of boulders, V10 is mid range and absolutely lower end for the really strong.

    Try enjoying the climbing first.

  15. bongowurm

    24. Jan, 2012

    “V10 has always been, and always will be, the measure of a climber who has taken it to the next level, in my, and in most climbers, humble opinions. Just saying.”

    That is the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever read on here. What a bunch of trash from the first two replies.

    How about that hardcore bouldering on MiP! That’s what I’m talking about

  16. B3

    24. Jan, 2012

    thanks for the kind words everyone.

  17. Rockdisc

    24. Jan, 2012

    V10 is indeed “lower level” than V14. V10 is around my limit and I didn’t find that phrasing insulting. I think he was just saying that developing an area involves establishing climbs that are below the “elite” level of difficulty.

  18. Peter Hill

    24. Jan, 2012

    Jamie’s blog gets nit picked on the most retarded things. He could not share anything, think about that. Nothing is lamer than anonymous blog trolls yo…

  19. Nick k

    25. Jan, 2012

    Jamie’s blog gets nit picked because he is a nit picker…

  20. nerd

    25. Jan, 2012

    What are you guys talking about? I would say the general benchmarks are v5, v8,v10. Leveling up every grade after v10 would be considered a new bench mark. Considering v10 a lower level is truthful in various ways. Not many people that are psyched and have climbed for many years (and remain fit throughout the process) climb lower than v10. Finally climbing double digit is graduating school and then you level up, which means your a freshman again. And there’s no need for a person to be offended about not climbing v10…it’s all about classic features and fun movement… not grades….right?

  21. Joaq

    25. Jan, 2012

    “Not many people that are psyched and have climbed for many years (and remain fit throughout the process) climb lower than v10. ”

    So now we need to define psyched, right?

    Sarcasm aside, development is about all levels of climbing, not just v10, v14 or v1. I think Dave Graham’s contributions in all those areas are what B3 is getting at, and his use of lower level is specific to the climber doing the development.

    Furthermore, if a v8 climber complains about v10 getting referred to as a lower level, do they get to call v4 a lower level? How about the v3 climber, what do they call v0? What are the ethics of warming up on other people’s projects? Seems like complaining at this juncture is opening a big can of worms.

  22. Hardin

    25. Jan, 2012

    Cardboard and Phil need to hike up their skirts a bit, you’re really offended by “lower level”? If you spent more time training instead of complaining you might actually get somewhere. I don’t want to follow a blog that reports on v10 ascents. It’s not number chasing it’s just entertainment.

  23. […] Over the weekend Daniel Woods was out near Estes Park at the “new” area Nicky’s Boulders to take a look at a few problems recently established by Dave Graham. Woods made quick work of Graham’s brilliant new V14 Memory Is Parallax, which you can see in this video. Jamie Emerson was on hand to record the aforementioned video and share his elitist totally reasonable perspective on the rest of the day’s activities. […]

  24. joe

    25. Jan, 2012

    I was just wondering, how many of you guys agree with the statement,”Not many people that are psyched and have climbed for many years (and remain fit throughout the process) climb lower than v10.”?

  25. now average

    25. Jan, 2012

    V10 is a lower level than V14?!? But I’ve climbed V10 and I’ll never climb V14….NOOOO!!!! I’ve peaked and the rest of the world isn’t going to wait up. I am insulted.

  26. cardboard dog

    25. Jan, 2012

    to anyone who thought i was being unfair in my criticism .. needs to go back and read my post again. Was I slightly offended? yes and I may have misunderstood the context of the use of “lower Level” however, please forgive my emotions clouding my reading and comprehension abilities. I am .. human. HOWEVER. V10 is the standard bishes. know this.

    @ B3 .. NO KIND WORDS! (takes off white glove .. slaps B3) again .. THE STANDARD.

    JJ .. no comment. THE STANDARD.

  27. toothbrush

    25. Jan, 2012

    Just wanted to throw in my support for JE here. The bashing is totally unfair. JE mentions that Daniel flashes the V10 that took him 2 hours to piece together. Not sure where the elitist attitude is there. Do you have fun climbing with people that make your hard work look easy? The answer is likely a bit of yes and no – i’ts motivating but also extremely frustrating and takes a lot of patience to keep going. Be thankful JE is out there with these guys and providing us first person feedback of the events. Keep it up dude. Don’t change a thing.

  28. jf

    25. Jan, 2012

    Irony: All this bruhaha over the “only V10” comment, and meanwhile Dave listed the FA as V11 on his scorecard.

    Kvetch and dance, amusing trolls! Dance!

  29. colin

    25. Jan, 2012

    I’ve always thought V0-V5 is beginner/intermediate territory, V6-V10 is intermediate to advanced, and V11 and up is expert territory. Ticking a V10 certainly gives you some bouldering street cred, but it’s not a superhuman feat, and is possible for lots of fit, dedicated climbers.

    To be clear, V10 is over my limit. I’m quite average, but I’m working on it. Add me to the list of lower-level climbers who are not offended by your post, Jamie.

  30. cardboard dog

    25. Jan, 2012

    whats great about this is .. More people have responded to my “V10” comment than to the actual content of the original Post.

    I consider this a win. Cardboard dog WINS.

    Bigger than Dave Graham? probably.

  31. big poppa chosscrush

    25. Jan, 2012

    “I consider this a win. Cardboard dog WINS.

    Bigger than Dave Graham? probably.”

    i’ll give you the win, old pal.

    now that jamie has been the benefactor of enough rays of sunshine, i will even re-focus on mocking him, striving to attain the great jemerson mockery heights of one mr. bennett scott.

    something along the lines of “good job spraying about that overgraded lowball traverse, schmamie. strong!”

    still working out the final draft…

  32. B3

    25. Jan, 2012

    Jaeger you’ve just lost all beta privileges. and a tour of elklandia with your favorite michiganderia wolverinelander

  33. das bpc

    26. Jan, 2012

    whatever, dood! i haven’t seen a single v7 from this joint.

    worthless choss are two words that come to mind.

    not that i even care about climbing anymore.

    i landed 5 360s at the skatepark on my new bmx rig. sure, i was only about 4 inches off the deck when i whipped them around, but i did it.

    point: because of those rad tricks, i’ve got riches, my wife consented to accepting the multiple lady suitors into our marriage (think utah), and i have gained ninja power.

    climbing? who needs it!

    i’m good.

  34. cardboard dog

    26. Jan, 2012

    Apparantly … there were not enough rays of sunshine. I’m sorry if I cost you the dope beta there, Big Poppa. Some people are just never satisfied with a high ratio of compliments to mockery. Compliments > mockery ? beta for Big Poppa chosslove.

    I fully support your newly revamped mockery efforts.

    BTW .. I was just watching the American Idol auditions in Aspen and I didn’t see your audition?? WTH.

  35. cardboard dog

    26. Jan, 2012

    The illusive SISTER WIFE!!!!!!

    I’m close to gaining the necessary approval for a sister wife. Actually no I’m not. Not anywhere close to gaining approval for a sister wife.

    You have achieved God status.

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