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V8/10* at Farley Ledge. December 3, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in climbing.
Tags: , , , , ,

So my involvement with climbing has devolved into a voyeuristic thing:  I go where the action is and try to glom on to what used to so fully involve me.

At some level, it hurts.  This used to be my raison d’etre.  Now it’s something I observe in passing, like a sunset or a moonrise.  It’s not that it doesn’t matter, but rather that it doesn’t depend on my participation to exist.

Here’s some of what existed today at Farley Ledge in Erving, MA despite my non-participation.

Local man Kai setting up for the big throw on Babies With Rabies,  V10*:

…and here latching that distant hold:

*ed: I called this a V8 in the original posting, but it’s a strong two grades harder.  I should have known – small holds on rock this steep is reeeeally hard.

Most of you don’t boulder, so can’t be expected to relate to the point-of-contact strain revealed in these photos.  But I’ve been there/done that, and feel every fiber of my limbs trying to stick these moves.

Another problem being worked on this particular afternoon was Appetite For Destruction,  a V8 just down the hill from Babies.  Matt was hunting hard for the next hold on the obtuse arete:

…and a bit later, Rajiv pressed on, not “sending” but getting farther along the path:

My focus here was rather soft, though Rajiv’s wasn’t; his targeting of the next hold was exceptional, and landed him a yard of progress, a commendable feat in the Bouldering world.

Thanks to Ollie and my Sweet Sixteen for these shots.  I’m nothing without my tools.


1. Kai - December 4, 2011

Hey, this is kai, im just posting my email if you want to send me those photos, because they’re very nice! my email is kaiweebler@gmail.com
also, i may be wrong, but i think “babies with rabies” is v10

2. littlebangtheory - December 4, 2011

Hi Kai, thanks for the grade info – you’re probably right, it looks stiff for a V8.

I’ll try to send those shots off this evening.


– R

3. susan - December 4, 2011

It is amazing to see these shots. I can tell the guys are very strong and well coordinated to manage these climbs and a fall could be painful even with the padding and helping hands below.

I tend to suffer from vertigo so the only reason I can enjoy looking at them is that they weren’t taken on mountainsides. Yes, I know that’s a whole different way of approaching climbing but I get weak kneed and have to sit down even to watch people climbing heights on television.

4. jomegat - December 4, 2011

Love the names of these boulder features. Reminds me of the names paddlers give to rapids – some not printable in a family publication!

5. Rajiv Ayyangar - December 4, 2011

Very nice running into you on Saturday! I’d love a file of the photo(s). I went back today and put in around 20 tries… stuck the move too. One move closer, three to go. Cheers!

6. littlebangtheory - December 4, 2011

susan, both my work and my play make me take deep breaths and work through my fear of heights. It’s not a “bravery” thing for me so much as a “survive-by-getting-a-grip” thing.

jomegat, there are bookfuls of unprintable climb names, a trend started in the ’60s by the New York climbers’ group known as The Vulgarians. They aimed to offend, and seldom missed their mark(s)! Alas, as they got older and bored with climbing they took up surfing and paddling, adding terms like “Glory Hole” to otherwise respectable rivers, a trend which took hold and blossomed into our present sorry state of affairs. 😉

Rajiv, thanks for stopping by. I thought you might nail that sucker today and almost went back to see it. But hey, having it stand there and sneer down at you is the best motivator I know of. And the battle is indeed sweeter than the victory, so embrace that incremental progress!

The photos didn’t come out great (I think I was too caught up in the effort to focus on my work) but I’ll be happy to forward you the file(s) if you drop me an email at ralphmunn@crocker.com.

7. Julian - December 5, 2011

Alright, Rajiv! Love the picks, Ralph. And Babies is definitely V10. 🙂

8. Paul in ABQ - December 5, 2011

As a total outsider to this, I am very impressed by the challenge, the effort, the skill, and determination. It’s an impressive sport. Y’all are awesome. Thanks, Ralph, for sharing the photos so we can participate at a distance.

9. littlebangtheory - December 5, 2011

Julian, yes. I stand corrected, albeit whilst sitting!

And Paul, it’s the most intense thing I’ve ever encountered/participated in. Those who play at the higher levels are amazing to witness. And participating vicariously is still participating, so… way to go! 🙂

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