New Lines and Good Times

Winter is here! Maybe. Temps were -4 on my bike ride to class this morning.  Fortunately, Tuesday I got a chance to get out and boulder in what I think were the best conditions I’ve ever experienced at Blue Mounds State Park, MN.  Jon Marek has been heading up a reform of the Blue Mounds bouldering scene over the last year or so.  The crag has gone rather unnoticed as far as I know and it’s awesome that Jon is working so hard to make it better.

Logan trends right into the crux of Nike V3

For most people, Blue Mounds is a top rope destination, and for some it’s a hairy, but short trad destination.  Bouldering never really had a niche at Blue Mounds except for the infamous Quarry Boulder and it’s classic lines.  Jon however has graciously started to compile a bouldering guidebook which he is even more graciously giving away for free.  The guidebook has 24 pages and a staggering 80+ problems in it now.  Yeah, 80 problems at Blue Mounds, who knew?!

Anyways, Jon invited me down to try some projects that as far as he knows hadn’t seen an ascent yet.  So my buddy Logan DeBoer and I loaded up our three giant pads and one baby pad and headed down to join Jon.  The weather was phenomenal.  The sky was devoid of any sign of white, the temps leveled out in the mid 50’s and there was barely a breeze .  On the glassy quartzite of Blue Mounds, friction is everything and when the temps are in the 50’s it’s never better.

Logan eyes the three finger crimp he has to dyno to

Jon introduced us to a few warm up routes, which had never been sent because of the very sketchy landings, with six pads we didn’t struggle to stuff the holes and even out the treachery.  We then moved on to a project that had yet to be sent.  After some hard work we finally had the beta down and dubbed the problem TheRapist (or therapist however you wanna read it ya perv), V5 and moved on.

We then moved to a project known as the Prow.  Jon had spent some time trundling boulders and clearing the landing so this one wasn’t quite as sketchy as the others.  The crux of the route was a strenuous off-balanced throw to a small sloping crimp.  The route topped out 15 feet off the deck.  We worked that one for a while and dubbed it a V5 as well.  To finish up our day we moved up to what Jon was calling the Sunset wall.  The problems had excruciating landings that we draped all of our pads over to make them a little scary instead of  a lot scary.  We called both V2’s and left Blue Mounds after 5 new problems had entered the guidebook.

Jon snagging the crimp

Bouldering in January, in Minnesota, oh yeah!