Upper Upper Chaos

Upper Upper Chaos

Posted on 12. Jul, 2012 by in News

This weekend was rainy both days and I stayed inside and studied. The clouds finally cleared and Monday I ran up to Upper Upper for a quick session on a project I found last year. Justin Jaeger and I had been roaming around the talus last fall and had found a number of worthy projects. I thought most of them would be buried until September, giving me time to sport climb, however the lack of snow this winter and the very warm weather in June left them open and ready to go.

One of the best projects was a steep overhang with a perfect rail slicing the middle of the wall. Jaeger dubbed it the Death Rail Project and it was one of the best we had found. I tried it a few days earlier this year and it seemed doable. But first a little back story…

Over the past few years it’s been moderately frustrating that I have made a big effort to hike around, clean and prepare a number of problems only to have a stronger climber (and typically one who has not previously or later gone on to establish other problems in Chaos) step in and snake the FA. Not being one to hide things, it’s not really a big deal, and I don’t hold it against any of the climbers that have done so, but the pattern has happened so many times that I do begin to lose a little motivation to look around and clean things off, especially when none of the climbers are sharing any of their projects with me. This happened on Blood Money, Wildcat, I Comb My Hair Like God and Pterodactyl, all of which I spent a lot of time cleaning and preparing, all of which I think are now classic Park problems, and all of which I have gone on to climb (often just after the FA). Now I don’t think that finding or cleaning a boulder gives me the right to the FA at all, but I do put in a lot of time, effort and work (because I like putting up new boulders), and it does get frustrating when another climber who hasn’t spent any time looking around, cleaning, or sharing steps in.

The Death Rail project was a good one and I really wanted a least a chance to try and do it first. It was the kind of problem I spend hours and hours looking for, and one I was incredibly psyched to stumble upon. When I showed it to Jaeger he seemed equally excited. I finally tried it one day this year and it felt excitingly doable. No one seemed interested in going up canyon and I thought I had time. The next day I went up I happened to run into Jimmy Webb. Jimmy is in incredibly good shape, fresh off an incredible trip to Font and his recent send of Warrior Up V14/15. He asked where we were going and I told him, up high in the canyon. Jimmy is a friend and I really enjoy getting out with him so I was happy to have him join us. I told him there were a number of amazing projects and he seemed psyched. Even more so when we reached the Death Rail Project. I had seen this before and cut it off before anything more could be done. After warming up by hiking the crux move, he shook my hand, agreeing not to do it first. It was a gracious and respectful gesture on his part, almost uncommon from the youth of today, and I thanked him profusely. I couldn’t quite put it together that day, but to ease his pain of having to wait I shared with him three of the best projects I knew of. He climbed two of them, The Shining and an amazing new V10 called Roundhouse, which was repeated by Ryan Silven and Collin Horvat, just up the hill from The Shining. The third remains. We walked around and cleaned off more projects together and had a great day in the mountains.

Monday I returned and climbed it, naming the line Lonely Mountain V10. Here is the uncut footage of the FA:

Brian Capps made the second ascent soon after.

Thanks to everyone who has been going up there to check out the new boulders. It’s awesome to be part of such a motivated crew, and I’m sure there is more to come this summer!

18 Responses to “Upper Upper Chaos”

  1. Punter

    12. Jul, 2012

    Glad you got your First Ascent Jamie, nothing but good manners in the story above

  2. walker kearney

    12. Jul, 2012

    Exploring is generally a thankless and lonely pursuit with very few people willing to do the actual work needed to develop. Those that scoff at the work of developing boulders have obviously done very little and have no idea what it actually entails . Hats off to you and the few others that contribute the vast majority of the bouldering that the rest of the community to enjoys.

    It is a bit disconcerting that some people keep areas secret (unless access issue are involved of course) and I hope that their selfishness doesn’t negatively effect other developers.

    And while I don’t believe in closed projects I feel if anyone deserves to get an extra day to get an FA it is Jamie. Great job.

    Thanks again for all your contributions. And if you come to Sweden I’ll return the favor with projects already found and prepared.

  3. sidepull

    12. Jul, 2012

    Awesome send. Congrats!

  4. chorvat

    12. Jul, 2012

    Well done and nice write up Jamie!

    @ Walker: very nice response…but more importantly, are you in the states right now, more specifically CO? If so come up to upper upper! I think you will love it!

  5. big poppa chosscrush

    12. Jul, 2012

    personally, i take most pleasure in snaking FAs from emerson. “civil theft”? “old religion”?


    jamie didn’t mention these snakings because they torment him more so that the others and are the subject of his night terrors and intensive psychological therapy sessions.

  6. TK

    12. Jul, 2012

    The combo of superlative descriptions, locations, and photos would temp most I think, even those who don’t typically develop.

    Good looking stuff out there, and plenty of strong folks to get after it. Cool you’re so open about the projects out there, and cool to hear updates about these rigs going down. Props!

  7. JS

    13. Jul, 2012

    I have to say, I have been developing new areas and problems on the front range for years now, and I can sympathize with Jammie on the effort put in by developing and the lack of appreciation on what it takes to get a fresh boulder climbable. not to mention accessing new areas. I always like to open up the new areas and problems, but not before its time. I also feel like its nice to go somewhere with my kids and not worry about a pack of 15-20 person crews crashing the family time.

  8. Jabroni

    13. Jul, 2012

    Let’s be brutally honest here. It can be a pretty damn lazy lifestyle climbing really really, stupidly hard (zoolander reference), at least in terms of first ascents. Take photos, post self-promotion, log climbs on 8a.nu, get money, plan trips, fly out, put up first ascents others have found for you or repeat hard problems that locals line up to show you.

    Compare that to the typical developer/community-minded climber. He or she is a weekend warrior, has been climbing hard all their life but doesn’t have the genetics and tendons to do V16. This person spends hours, days, months and years just to find some of the areas that get gang-developed in a matter of 20 seconds. That still doesn’t stop them going out, putting up FAs, cutting/renewing tracks, bolting, checking bolts, etc etc…

    Some of you may mistakenly read this as envy, because I have a full time job, wife, commitments, etc. Hell no. If it were a choice between being the badass helicopter climber (swoops in, steals all the good FAs, calls them 8C+) and being the Jamie type, I’m very happy being the Jamie type. And some are true pioneers who do a great job of both – Dave Graham’s name comes immediately to mind.

    I don’t blame anyone for wanting to travel extensively and climb on all types of rock in all countries, I just think that there’s something noble and inspiring about finding and putting up first ascents under your own steam, that you discovered, and that are close to your limit. Compare this to walking up something in a few attempts that you could flash with the right beta. I think it’s only right and proper that Mr Webb did what he did, and I kind of wish we had a sport where people could earn a living without being slavishly devoted to finding new V13-15s to climb. I know it’s not ‘news’ if Paul Robinson repeats a V14 he’s done before, but it’s not like it’s going to be so easy he can do it in approach shoes!

  9. Wes

    13. Jul, 2012

    Nice work man!

  10. kynan

    13. Jul, 2012

    Well put, Jamie.

    It’s refreshing to hear about a climber like Jimmy behaving like the honorable man that he is in this situation.

    There are always opportunities that present themselves in this world: the true measure of a man or a woman is whether you take advantage of these opportunities at the expense of another person’s emotions or feelings. Especially the emotions or feelings of someone that you consider a friend.

    However, the capitalist in me thinks that if snaking that FA could be monetized in some way, Jimmy should have done that shit right in front of you and left you crying in the fetal position at the base of the boulder.

  11. slabdyno

    14. Jul, 2012

    when are you going to blog about nalle downgrading the shit out of prob’s stuff in SA?

    I bet nalle would have SNAKED!

  12. B3

    14. Jul, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Kynan. Perhaps Jimmy will make more money in the end because his sponsors know he is a trustworthy person?


    15. Jul, 2012

    B3- You seem like a pretty intelligent person. Why do you complain about people snaking up on you and stealing your projects? You live in CO man…home of the climbers who move there just because of the scene. Yea…it’s almost too ironic that you created something that brings you down. Just like I hate climbing traffic because of other climbers. You seem one step behind the game and you need to make up your mind.
    I’ve been reading some of your recent blogs and it sounds like your going to school. Awesome! I dig it. So now is the time to decide what you want to do. Do you want to motivate a bunch of idiots that are gonna make you hate what you created, or do you want to live in solitude and be a real mountain man, or help the world in some way?
    “Nice Work man!” is a comment you get for doing an F.A. We call that being a suck-up where I come from. “Oh yea, well were just a hunky dory tight super friendly climbing community” you say. No man, these kids are just sucking up to you because your strong, as you suck up to others to complete the bureaucracies of climbing. I get it that you love climbing and will do anything to progress yourself, but you need to realize that what is happening in your area is affecting things thousands of miles away. Scene is a virus and spreads to all ends of the world. Money holds power and your sponsors got it.
    “It’s refreshing to hear about a climber like Jimmy behaving like the honorable man that he is in this situation”. So not being a dick is considered honorable? Your on it B3, I can tell (i.e the ethics,etc)…but your leading a herd so it will take longer to catch up. Direct them well.
    You can either laugh this comment away and make fun of it with your friends, or I can read this article to my friends and have a laugh. Balance is necessary after all.

  14. Michael Rathke

    16. Jul, 2012

    If someone has a problem then there is no need for us to have a problem also.

  15. jf

    16. Jul, 2012

    BEETHREE (not Jamie, the other fella)..

    “Not being a dick is considered honorable..”

    It’s up to Jamie, the one who invested the effort, what is honorable and what is not in that scenario. If you were there and it was your problem, you would get to decide. Jamie’s a stand up dude and made a stand up decision.

    There’s two parts to this.. bouldering is a social sport, and it’s necessary to maintain that aspect that we communicate on some level. Talking about projects and areas on the internet isn’t necessarily integral to that concept, but it’s definitely been a catalyst for the sport’s recent momentum, especially in places like Boulder.

    Second, if you post a picture of your project online, that isn’t an invitation for people to climb on it. There has to be grey area between a project being known about, and being open for everyone to climb on. If I post a picture of a pie on Facebook, that doesn’t mean my friends can come over to my house and eat it without asking. And if I put the time in to bake the thing, you’re damn right I want a slice.

    That metaphor may have derailed, but I think the point is made.

  16. Michael Rathke

    17. Jul, 2012

    Man, trolls these days… Whats the best way to take care of a troll? Be real with them…my previous comment is direct towards BEE THREE though it is in context to Jamie so its for B3 also :-)

    FYI Dont treat a fool the way they are treating you

  17. curious

    22. Jul, 2012

    Since you already sent it, how do you get to it?

  18. Stick

    26. Jul, 2012

    This post makes me think of an old project of mine…a classic for the area, would be in any area for that matter.

    I was close, but not quite there, and a visiting pro nailed it. He’s a friend, and I’ll be psyched to hang or climb with him whenever that may happen.

    The thing is, it bugged me that he showed up and chose to go after the local’s project. This is in an area with many projects that were, and still are, beyond the locals’ reach..projects he could do quickly. Why did he choose to send our project (?)…when as another old strongmo friend of mine had previously said (about another similar situation)…”I didn’t get on their project because it was just another v10 for me, a cool problem for sure, but for them it was really special.”

    Props to Webb for being a considerate person. And props to you, Jamie, for sharing so much of your hard work.

    As far as that previous comment about the scene…well, the scene sucks balls! but it is what it is. I like to climb with my homies in low key areas…it’s the best!

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