Bouldering in Joe’s Valley in the spring: The land felt fresh and the wildflowers were in bloom. The snow was melting fast from the tops of the hills and the river in left fork was so high it was impassable. We had over 12 hours of daylight to work with each day.
We seem to be testing the Joe’s season. In 2015 we stayed until mid March. In 2016 we stayed until mid April. 2017? We’ve just wrapped up four weeks ending in mid May.
There were many moments to remember this year.
The night terrors (don’t ask). Dutch oven apple pie. Locking both sets of keys in the van. Send donuts. Graham’s first V12. Golden reflectors. New friends. Old friends. Putting down old projects. Guitar free-styling. Movie night in a tiny van with seven humans and a dog. Potato-carrot-bacon-onion-mushroom-masterpiece. Roscoe and Shep “voluntarily” snuggling. Campground fingerboard work-outs.
This trip to Joe’s was so different from our previous visits. In the past we came, we bouldered hard, and we left shortly afterwards. We craved getting to know Joe’s Valley better, so this year we stayed nearly a month. We explored both forks in ways we hadn’t before and we settled into big projects. Some of these got away (as they always do), but we were fortunate for the opportunity to climb to the top of many others.
I had two main goals for this trip to Joe’s: Wills Of Fire (V6) – a problem I had tried back in 2015, and Planet of the Apes (V7) – a problem I had worked extensively in both 2015 and 2016. I am psyched to say I climbed both of these within our first week here! I sent Planet of the Apes first try on my second session this year, and Wills Of Fire within just a few attempts.https://www.instagram.com/p/BTFxaewjMkw/?taken-by=steiff.life
Water Painting (V7) became my big project for this trip, taking me seven days of work. The problem is beautiful, with very sustained, steep, powerful moves from start to finish: my anti-style. On our first day there I only did about a third of the moves, and wrote the problem off as improbable for me. I am so glad I changed my mind.
Graham did a ton of sampling in our first two weeks in Joe’s Valley, trying as many problems as possible in all the new areas. Despite sending loads of moderates and pulling tons of different hard moves, he was feeling like he couldn’t grasp the Joe’s style. And then one evening, on his fourth session on the problem, he sent Fingerhut (V10).
Something clicked! He went from being stumped to seemingly mastering the pulling style required in Joe’s Valley. In only a week and a half, he went on to send Beyond Life (V10), Eden (V9/10), Monarch (V11), Lactation Station (V10) AND Beyond Life Sit (V12 – his first of the grade).
The Joe’s Valley psych is high. The community of climbers here is awesome and so many of the problems are top-notch quality on impeccable stone. With many boulders still being developed and a new guidebook coming out in the spring of 2018, exploring what Joe’s has to offer feels endless. We can’t wait to return and make more memories.