A few days ago Dave Graham once again made the FA of the hardest problem at Elkland, aka The Nicky’s Boulders, aka The Billiards in Estes Park. The Bridge of Ashes V15 is the newest addition in a long line of well documented hard problems that now exist in Colorado. Well done. Dave spent a number of days on the slightly overhanging compression rig, and comments this on his 8a scorecard:
(The Bridge of Ashes is) One of the most challenging projects I have ever completed. I found and cleaned this line over a year ago, and have been trying intermittently ever since. Once I found the right method and realized the boulder was actually climbable, I thought it would be just about having the right skin and conditions. I thought it was in the bag. Oh how I was wrong!
The problem proved itself to be much more difficult than I thought, and the skin situation was heinous. Each session ended in utter destruction, and there were always cuts to heal. After about 10 days in the last three weeks, battling freak cold spells, snowstorms, and heat waves, and maybe another 15 days spread over the last year, this felt really good to finally take down. Unlike many hard boulders, it did not feel easy when I finally did it. It felt desperate in fact! Im looking forward to the next projects and to finishing the video for you all, soon to be up at www.island.io
Here are a couple nice photos and some more words about the problem for now! STOKED!!!!!
Interestingly enough, in regards to Dave’s comment about his skin, a number of climbers have commented on the quality of the line, as the rock tends to be rough at Elkland, with one Facebook commenter going so far as to suggest:
The worst v15 was climbed today. We talk a lot about contributions to our sport. Today was a low point for all of us.
Do professional athletes have an obligation to do things that inspire everyone? Are they not paid to do what they deem right, and to try what projects they please? Is there any merit in questioning the quality of this boulder problem?
Dave’s efforts in finding and cleaning these incredibly difficult lines is something I’ve often admired and it has been a source of motivation for me. His perpetual psyche for hunting down and discovering new and difficult rock climbing is to be commended. I actually have lost count how many times he has told me about some new boulders he’s found or cleaned and sure enough I’m there a few days later making the second ascent of some problem I walked by for years. Afrika Bambaataa V12, Want Egg V10, The Elegant Universe Sit V11, Dead Racoon V11, not to mention countless others I can’t do. The list goes on and on. For me Elkland is an amazing thing to have. Perhaps some find it unmotivating, and having been to Switzerland, Font, and South Africa I can appreciate good rock quality. But I think Dave should do whatever he wants, and he’s put a lot of time and effort into this climb and it’s great that he’s climbed it.
To make matters even more interesting Daniel Woods made the second ascent yesterday in a day. No word yet on his assessment of the line (either it’s quality or difficulty), but his recent failure on Lucid Dreaming (albeit a ridiculously short trip) suggests it maybe easier. Only time, and some honest opinions, will tell.