To Winter or Not?

Augy Cohn shows some technique squeezing Pipedreams V9

When I got back to New England the week before Christmas, Pat Dyess and I took advantage of the mild New England winter and took a day trip out to Pawtuckaway to give Pat a taste of bouldering on pure granite eggs. We ventured over to Blair Woods, where all the boulders are spread throughout a circular path. Where both of us floundered on The Method boulder putting attempts into Fuck the Method and Check the Method, V6 and V8 respectively. After being thoroughly beaten by the technical nature of the boulder we gave up and walked over to General Lee V2 for a fun sneaker ascent of the shear sloping arete and top out. Finally topping something out felt amazing and lifted both of our spirits as we walked on to Burt Gives Blow Jobs V6 which I was able to flash thanks to some actual handholds on the overhanging face.

Then we moved on to is a three star V7 by the name of “Grand Torino (AKA The Bitch)” just uphill from Burt with a picture of a couple of people hanging out around a single person trying what looks like an aesthetic sloppy topout. When we got to the boulder we burst out laughing because the boulder is 4 feet tall at best. We opened the guidebook again to make sure this was the right boulder and sure enough it was with the description reading “… when you fall off, make sure you swear at the Bitch.” Sure enough this little traverse lives up to its nick-name, both of us only tried it a couple times before losing interest inbetween boughts of laughter from our situation; trying to conquer this pea sized boulder.

We finished out the loop by heading over to the Swirly boulder, a beautiful boulder that overhangs on all sides and has very smooth features the whole way around making most of the climbing very hard. It holds the majority of the difficult climbing in Blair: three problems V11 and above and two more just below V10. After The Method boulder Pat and I weren’t too excited to try anything uber hard so we tried a classic, The Rose, V6-8. I looked at a close up in the guidebook of a local using the old V8 compression beta. Not knowing of the other direct method I worked away trying desperately trying to grab a small three finger nonhold dimple and then throw my weight around, hugging my way up the arete, to the final techy mantle. A mini epic ensued falling everywhere before sending as the last bit of light passed over the hill.

That night Pat drove the two of us down to meet up with Fletcher and his friend Augy Cohn to head out to Farley, MA the next morning. Despite bone numbing temps of 24 degrees we tried Pipedreams V9, Appetite for Destruction V8, Big V8, and Chronic V5. The only thing Pat and I could climb was Chronic, but Augy was able to send Appetite for Destruction in spite of the cold. I’ve never experienced such a split between having cold hands (not climbing) versus having numb feet (climbing) and having to warm up on your projects after every break that lasted more than 5 mins.

Pat watching Fletcher give a go on Appetite for Destruction V8(?) above a sea of pads

After that weekend of nice temps the weather has finally turned toward the chilly side hovering just above freezing and rain/snowing. Which has been nice to force me inside where I got to reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen in a few years and I got my Christmas shopping done!

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