Sunday, November 28, 2010

South Korea

working the FA of War of the Worlds v11, photo: Andy McKilliam

I've been here in Busan, South Korea for a little over a week now. It has been a real change from the lifestyle that I'm use to. I've been staying with Brenna in the red light district of this city. I have to say that personally this is the biggest city I've ever seen. Although supposedly it is not really that big with only 3.8 million people. It's been really nice hanging out with Brenna again and meeting all of her friends here. They are really cool people and fun to hang out with. I love seeing new cultures and trying new foods. Here the food is very interesting to say the least. They love their kim chi here. They put it on the table with every meal, they put it on pizza and even burgers. Generally I'd say that I'm enjoying the Korean food.
What's more interesting is the fact that 4 days after I got here this country became on the brink of rekindling a war that never officially ended with its neighbor, North Korea. It feels a bit on edge here now as the shit could hit the fan any moment. I'm not worried yet but I hope I don't start seeing explosions in the near future. Hopefully these two can work it out and keep the peace.
I've spent most of my time here training. There are a lot of indoor gyms around here that are really fun training spots. I've been to a few of the better ones and plan on regularly training indoors as much as I can. The Koreans are strong indoors and it will surely be a challenge for me to try and keep up with them. As for the climbing outdoors I have only been to two areas. The Cable Car area is right in town close to the university. This area is ok but does have a real Busan classic called A Language Older Than Words v5 which is an excellent sloper problem on granite with a ton of friction. This area however pales in comparison to the new hotspot the locals have been kind enough to share with me. Yangsan, about an hours drive away, is a park with many temples with a beautiful setting. The rock has no friction and is almost bullet proof. The bouldering is set in a riverbed with pools of moving water surrounded by awesome stone. It is a new area with a lot of potential. I've repeated some area testpieces such as Solid Snake v4, Starkissed v5, and the One Legged Frog v9. This weekend I was lucky to get the first ascent of what might be Busan's hardest line to date. I did a roof link up that climbs a v9, does two hard transition moves, and finishes on a fuckerish v8 with a really sharp crimp at the end. In honor of the turmoil in the country I named the new line War of the Worlds and think it's about v11. The line took me three days to do and I had to dig really deep for the send. There are many more lines that can go in this area, all with excellent quality rock. I am very thankful to the locals for showing me around. Next they are taking me to Nabi Bawi to see Busan's most famous undone line dubbed The Kim Lee Project. This line is supposedly a serverly overhanging compression problem with a tough top out. I can't wait to check it out and see how it goes. Until then I intend to keep training as hard as I can in preparation for a possible winter road trip that will start in Bishop. I have been taking video of Yangsan but need more footage before I have a full movie post. Here are some pictures for a visual.
Hadan Area, city of Busan

The "Amazing Burger" at Breeze Burns
Local powerhouse Christoph on the Spider Project, Yangsan

Monday, November 15, 2010

Off to Asia

I'm on my way to visit Brenna and hang out in Busan, South Korea. I've heard about a lot of great bouldering here and I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself. I also plan on checking out some climbing gyms and doing a bit of training before the winter season. On my last weekend in Tahoe I took my friend Alex Savage out climbing while he was in route to Yosemite. We did a warm up day at the Ronin Boulder where we repeated some of the awesome lines there. I did the first ascent of the sit start to Hidden Dragon v7. It basically climbs Secret Weapon but finishes sooner with a equally desperate exit. I called it Double Dragon and is maybe v11. Another great addition to this area. The next day Alex won the prize when I took him to Noah's rad Tahoe classic Ground Control v11. Alex did the second ascent in about 6 tries. It was really awesome to watch it get done in person. Check out the video to watch Alex do this rad climb.

Ground Control V11 from Savage Climbing on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Activity

Fall is my favorite time of year. Colors everywhere and crisp air. All these things set a perfect arena for great bouldering.The Ground Control area has been getting a lot of local attention these past few weeks. Other problems are being found up the hill that are turning out to be pretty damn cool. The lower problems are settling in with consensus grades and getting a lot cleaner from all the traffic. Still no repeats on Ground Control yet. A few of us are close but it's kind of a mofo. Everyone gets only so many tries on the crux deadpoint before the crimp slices your finger. Up the hill from Ground Control we put up three new lines with a bunch more in the area. This awesome orange patina face overhangs a downhill gully of kitty litter and provides good shade and killer holds. This problem is super good! The three new lines are Gullible v2 *** Fa Dan Draeger, Choose Your Adventure v2 ** FA Adam Young, and Short Stack v4* FA Dan Draeger. Pretty bad ass. I managed to do the low sit start to Gullible which has two really hard moves. Getting off the ground and deadpointing a small crimp from a finicky heel hook seems to be the crux. Next is either a throw or a hand/foot match lock off to a good hold that puts you into the v2. For grade probably somewhere around v10/v11. We have come up with a name for this new spot with Ground Control. We are calling the area Outer Space, due to the fact that it is just outside the Space Invaders crag. So far this place has about 13 established lines with lots more to come.
Another new area being developed is the Beavers. A few years ago I put up a problem called the Beatdown v12 and developed some problems near it with Jason Hogan and Brenna Fischer. The other lines were a good v4/5, a v0 arete and a crimpy dumb v3. We attempted to search the area for more boulders ,but as it was spring , we were shut down by a raging creek filled with downed trees and debris. Our walking ended there. After the Beatdown I wrote the area off as probably done. One year later Frank Lucido wondered on the other side of the creek and found everything I missed which was only 40 more yards. You never know what could be waiting around the next set of trees. This area is very pleasant. Lots of shade in a dense forest with a creek near by giving this place a kind of swiss feel. Very nice bouldering being developed here with a few classics already established to make the first trip worth it. A few of the problems are One eye Willie v7,Spice of Life v6, Race Against Time v6, Avoid the Wart v9, and Wild Pack of Family Dogs v6. All of these are really cool. When this area is fully established it will have one of the raddest circuits in town. Get psyched. Props to Frank Lucido and Jarrad Wycoff for finding and doing all these awesome lines.
Lastly, at the Ronin boulder new problems have taken place. I did the sit project to Jarrad Wycoff's classic v6 My Shit's Custom. I called the low start My Sit's Custom and think it's about v9 but really fun steep climbing.I also added a new problem next to Secret Weapon. It starts on a flat undercling left and decent pinch edge for right and does a hard move to a sloper with a pocket in it and heads leftward towards jugs. I called this one Year of the Rat v7ish. Noah Kaufman also added a couple of problems with cool big moves. Hidden Dragon v7 and Last Samurai v7 are great new additions to this awesome boulder.
It's more fun to put these climbs into perspective with visual aids so I've made a new video to go with some of these new problems. The video features Gullible(from a v8ish start skipping one move on the harder sit start), Dude Where's My Pipe v5 which is a classic at the Freaks; Beaver classics, One Eye Willie and Race Against Time and ends at the Ronin.
I have been doing a lot of bouldering and training. I'm getting ready for my next trip to South Korea where I'm going to visit Brenna and check out the climbing in her new town. I'm very excited as I leave on November 16 and it will be my first trip to Asia. New experiences are rad.

More Activity from Jesse Bonin on Vimeo.