The Mantana Expedition from Kevin Volkening on Vimeo.
To all others who define their occupation as "student", I wish you the best of luck at making the most of your last week of freedom. Don't take this precious time for granted, because all too soon you will re enter the world of homework, quizzes, midterms, cramming, sleep deprivation, and an all around feeling like even though you think you control your own time . . . you really don't. Some professor sitting in an office arbitrarily assigning papers, homework sets, research projects, etc is indeed the puppet master controlling nearly how you spend (or at least how you "should" spend) every waking moment of your life.
If I seem to be a bit bitter about the upcoming arrival for school, it is only because my pitiful excuse for an immune system has once again let me down . . . during the worst time it could. The last week before school. Instead of spending the dwindling hours of summer trying to cram in one more pitch, one more day at the crag, or one more guilt free hour climbing; I've been sitting in front of my computer watching people do the very things I'm describing. Dynoing, deadpointing, grunting, sending, scared, and free while I'm sniffling, sneezing, groaning, moaning, and sick.
However, being the self proclaimed optimist that I hope I am, this time of sickened retreat has caused me to do a bit of self reflection in regards to my climbing life. (I chuckle to myself when I use the word climbing life . . . Lets be honest, I don't have a life other than climbing). The result of my introspective state has turned my gaze toward the future of cooler temperatures, sendtember, and rocktober! I hope the following list of desired sends will give me something to report back on in the coming months.
- The Fugitive: I've tried this climb more this summer than any other. As of last week I was able to two hang her. My most coveted send and the top of my list! Amazing climbing with super crimptastic cruxes . . . this guy would be a 5 star pitch anywhere!
- Stranger Than Fiction: Began working this lovely short route last fall and have watched it go from an udder struggle to several one hangs. A great powerful line featuring a gnarly slap to an undercling! Try me try me!
- Irukandji Syndrome: Again, a carry over project from this spring (or winter). Again, another one hang wonder. Hopefully the Boulder River drops a bit in the next few weeks and I can actually get to the base for the first attempt of the summer. Who says Montana doesn't have beautiful limestone? Incredible rock, incredible climbing, don't let the grade deter you from getting on this one, she's a beaut!
- Weapons of Mass Destruction: Got heartbreaking close to sending last winter before I pitched off attempting to make the 5th clip. Thanks to my now wonderful wife, she caught me just shy of the first bolt. This guy will have to wait however until the depths of winter due to the fact that I think there's more friction on a granite counter top than on this climb. Close your eyes and do these moves on some slightly more aesthetic rock and you've got a great climb!
- Songline: Had the wonderful opportunity to top rope this gem of route during the summer of 2009. Haven't been back since, but at the time I was able to complete all but one move. I hope this one falls quick as I'm not super keen on the hike up there! Perched high above all other in the canyon on some incredible stone. Setting up the TR is more dangerous than sacking up and leading it . . . so SACK UP!
- Stigmata: The local list's wild card. Walked by her a million times, but I've never been on her. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful line in the canyon.
- If Peterbuilts Could Prance: Very excited about the potential of this line. I've taken several top rope laps and have the moves pretty well dialed. Think the lead attempt is going to be my next go! The safety rating only applies to the easier climbing above the bolts . . . if you can pull the moves down low than you better be able to pull moves up high.
- Tensleep, WY
- I don't want to offend any of the pocket pulling junkies out there . . . but this place just isn't my style. However, looks like climbing club is going to want to make a trip down there this fall. (I'll try to give everyone a fair warning of when this is happening . . .) Think this trip will feature a lot of attempts to onsight some rad pocketed stone!
- Zion, UT
- If anyone actually reads this . . . tell Marge she needs to get the weekend off to head down there with me! My big goal for this area is getting my beloved on her first mini-big wall!
- Moonlight Buttress . . . Free: Mr. Dyess will be returning to the west for Thanksgiving and has planted another crazy idea similar to the B-Y in my head. But hey, at least this one is just C1 if you fall.
- Indian Creek, UT
- So just in case anyone was wondering, Thanksgiving is in 84 days and thus that means the creek is in 84 days!
- Fingers in a Light Socket
- Sweeden Ringle
- Big Baby
- Quarter of a Man
- Big Guy
- 9 Lives
- Kool Cat
- Mad Dog
- Bad Cat
- Johnny Cat