Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Winter Day at Bushwhack

Life is Beautiful
Photo Credit: Jon Alexander
This was my second visit to Bushwhack, a small (or big by Maryland standards) granite and quartzite-banded ridge in Frederick, MD. Predominantly known as a toprope area with some moderate trad routes, it has recently noticed bouldering development and a resurgence of popularity. On my last visit, I was accompanied by my dad and my friend, Mark P. With the little climbing footage my dad took, I crudely made a short video you can watch Here.

Realizing how good the climbing was and how much potential it had for new lines, I new I had to go back. As soon as I could. Luckily, this past Saturday I was able to make it out again with my friend and local climbing badass, Robin Close (check out his blog robinclose.blogspot.com)

It was precisely 9:02 as my dad and I arrived the Earth Treks in Columbia, (give or take a few minutes, my phone doesn't keep time well), and were greeted by Robin at his car. After talking for a few minutes my dad took off and Robin and I were on our way. In the hour and ten minutes it took to get to Bushwhack, we conversed about what we wanted to do for the day. Having made plans already with Jeff and a group of climbers from northern Virginia, Robin wanted to try the high and beautiful line (living up to it's name) Life is Beautiful, knowing we would have enough pads to climb it with a lessened risk of injury. Another problem he wanted to try was Flipping the Bird, a climb he had previously done from the stand but wanted to do from the sit which probably adds a grade and a sick double kneebar sequence.

We met Jeff at the start of the approach and walked excitedly towards Life is Beautiful, the sun finally starting to shine through the clouds. As we warmed up, the group from northern Virgina came walking in and offered to let us barrow their a few of their pads to make the landing even more bomber. SWEET. The sun now fully out warming the rock, I put my shoes on as fast as I could and tried the problem, getting it on my third try and saying honestly as I hit the last hold "I nearly just crapped my pants." at the top. Robin and Jeff wimped out...

Life is Beautiful
Photo Credit: Jon Alexander
Great problem, one of the most aesthetic problems at bushwhack.

Next we decided to go try the sit start to tourette's razor, but it was A LOT harder than I had thought and as cool as it would be to see the whole line go, adding the sit probably detracts from the quality of the line. Jeff got super close to this pretty cool, sorta heinous, traverse into the start.

After spending about 30 minutes there we packed up camp and decided to go to try Flipping the Bird just around the corner. I climbed past the crux, a hard deadpoint from a crimpy rail into a sloping seam, in a few tries but fell on the very last move. Sort of bummed, but I will definitely be back for that one.

We then hiked around and came to the butterbeer slab and Robin, the slab-master, wanted to try the blank face right next to it. It had a horrible tree/ pit kind of landing. Of course. Jeff and I didn't even shoe up for this one. Robin gave it a  few good burns, but decided his life was more important than the glorious send... Right around the corner I bouldered maybe a 20 foot 5.9, (with that being said, it was probably a 15 foot 5.6) which filled my highball hunger for the day.

It was almost four in the afternoon, almost time to go, so the last batch of problems we tried were on our way back to the car - the atonement boulder. Jeff was super close on this one and I'm sure he would have sent it if he hadn't had a time crunch. Robin and I both sent thinking it was around a V5. Bitterness and Shadows, the short slab to the right of atonement took significantly longer for me, even though it was probably only a V2. Gosh I am terrible at slab... Robin started doing laps on it (he says because it was fun but I really think they were just spite sends)...

Robin on Atonement
It was a pretty fun trip, and I hope to be back soon!!!

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