Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chaos Canyon, take 3

Looking back on my first post on bouldering in Chaos Canyon, lack of enthusiasm for the area was clearly evident. Well, yesterday I was back up there with a few others and, needless to say, I've warmed up to the area quite a bit. Despite the hour plus drive and decently long hike, this area just draws you in. As with anywhere, it took a little while to get used to the rock, but I think I mostly underestimated myself and the quality of the bouldering.

We left Boulder a bit after 8am, lucked into a great parking spot in the packed Bear Lake lot and demolished the hike up. We warmed up on the Potato Chip Boulder then headed over to the Gobot area to finish up some projects.

Me warming up from Doug Lipinski on Vimeo.

First up was Paul's project of several sessions, Autobot. This is a great V4 or V5, depending on who you ask. It climbs up out of a slot between two boulders. A couple difficult moves lead to a V2 topout with a perfect view of Lake Haiyaha. The problem climbs incredibly well and although it looks like a fall would send you tumbling down into the pit below, you can actually just lean back on the pads behind you. A must do if you're in the area. Congrats on the send Paul!

Paul on Autobot, V4, Lower Chaos from Doug Lipinski on Vimeo.

Next up was Revenge, V6. This problem climbs compression moves out of a cave near Autobot. The problem climbs much better than it looks and if it weren't for the strange topout (head left via a heel hand match) it would be a classic for sure. This was an end of the day problem last weekend and I felt sure it would go down quickly this time. I was able to dispatch it on my first go of the day, followed immediately by Brock with his send. He would have gotten it on his first go too, but got a bit confused on the topout.

Brock on Revenge, V6, Lower Chaos from Doug Lipinski on Vimeo.

Paul and Sarah made some good progress on this problem as well, but it will have to wait for another day for them. We decided to head over to Geeks of the Industry (V7) next. After working this for quite a while last weekend and even falling after slapping the lip on one go I had high hopes, but the problem felt really hard on my first few attempts. Our time at this boulder was very much up and down. It started feeling easier after a few goes and I even worked out some new beta for the last hard move. As soon as I started feeling like the send could be imminent it started raining and hailing. Fortunately that was short lived, but it raised the humidity enough to make the holds feel greasy. Finally, I worked up some motivation to give it my all and fired through the problem, feeling solid the whole way. Just like on Revenge, Brock followed up with the send on his next go too! Nothing like some extra psych to get you up a project.

Me topping out Geeks of the Industry (V7) on the send!
Despite the top out through the pine tree branch and the relatively short height of this boulder, I LOVE this problem. Crimps on a 20 deg. overhang requiring precision and control, a perfect landing (two pads is overkill), many options for different beta, and skin friendly despite the small holds! Get on it!

This is probably the hardest problem I've done and I was super psyched about it, but it really brought home to me (again) how much of this sport is mental. I know I fell numerous times on this problem simply due to lack of focus or effort at key moments. Just a little more precision or a little more use of your core muscles can make all the difference. Sometimes it just takes total commitment to the moment to make it happen. I can't wait for fall conditions to see what more I've got in me!

Many thanks to Paul and Sarah for the great pics and videos from the day! So psyched to spend more great days in the mountains!


  1. intense. I'm glad you get to enjoy Colorado like this :)

  2. Nice post Doug. I'm *still* pretty pumped about Geeks. We'll have to get on Mikala and/or Tommy's next time up there.

  3. @Mandy You know what I always say, go big or go home.

    @Brock I'm up for either. Potato Chip too. Looking forward to it.