Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Green Mountain Bouldering: Working On a New Highball

Highball boulder problems are kinda a thing into themselves. Sure, they are just a really tall boulder problem (or a really short route), but the head games are all different.

First, unless you set up a toprope, there is no way to suss out the top moves. Every time you have to start from the ground up, working your way as you go (I believe this was/is John Gill's moto as well). Similarly, because you are not roped in, but easily getting off the deck, the mental component of the route really comes into play.
Green Mountain Highball Boulder Problem
Yesterday Tara and I went to try out a really nice highball problem that I had noted last fall. Located on the backside of Green Mountain in the Boulder Flatirons, this problem is really a classic.

Start on the arete, pull up with your right hand to a good hold, then reach out with your left to a good sidepull. From here, get a high right heelhook, reach across to a nice three finger hold, and then pop up to a small left hand gaston. From here you are well off the deck and teetering on the final couple crux moves. The top out is 20+ feet off the deck, and the problem does not let up.

It didn't go, but I got pretty close. I'll need to come in with a couple more pads - I only had one Metolius with me and after taking about 10 falls 10 feet off the ground, I had enough. The hike is about 30 minutes, so it is not that bad but long enough to make you think twice.

Lots of other good lines waiting to be done right in the same area. We need some of the strong kids to get inspired by the vast potential still waiting in the Flatirons (some are in the forthcoming Rocky Mountain Highball movie). There are still tons of undone, very hard boulder problems waiting to be had.


  1. Peter,

    I've been to Green Mountain before, but never seen the Boulder in the picture. Is it any of the Colorado Bouldering Books? If not, is it easy to find? Trying to get out tomorrow with a crew, any details would be much appreciated. Thanks


  2. Yep, the boulder is in both Colorado Bouldering 2 and Horan's old Best of Boulder Bouldering. It's called the Butter Maroon Boulder in both and starts on Peregrine (V7 hb) but then goes left up the slopers to an obvious left hand gaston. At this point you work your way up, staying left of the seam for Peregrine.

    Two ways to get there. Go to the Highlander Block and follow the gully down. The easier way is to head down the Bear Canyon trail from the saddle/junction with the Ranger trail just below the summit. At the first real, extended flat part of the trail, look left into the draw and you should see it.

    The real project is further down, on the Balarney Stones. The obvious black water streak looks like it might go - thin, tall, crimpy...

  3. Yep, projects abound for the inspired on the back of Green Mountain. As I know you and Tara like it that way anyway, everyone else needs to keep it dispersed, quiet and low key back there. All of the problems back there are in an OSMP HCA.

  4. Good call Chuffer. The stuff on the ridge is closed from January to July for raptors and the stuff in the gullies are in Habitat Conservation Areas. Just make sure you get the off-trail permit and it is no problem, I've talked to the rangers about this and they are aware of some of the bouldering on Green Mountain and other areas.