A Peak Day
I began my struggles with Hercules many years ago. To be exact--well, I can't be exact--it was fall of 2009 or 2010.
The usual suspects were all gathered at Sugarpine on the West shore of Lake Tahoe: Jimmy Haden, Dave Hatchett, David Outcalt, D-Griff and Warren Digness to name a few. We were deep deep in the pine, developing a satellite of Sugar 2 called the Hercules Cluster. Many a fine BP exist there including several 3 & 4 star lines on perfect granite. This is rare for anywhere to have a condensed cluster of such high quality (except maybe Yosemite, of course.)
Fortress V6, Butterfly Effect V8, Sissyfis V8; all amazing 3-4 stars...
It was my first day there. The crew had only been a couple times and they showed me a really cool hard project. A face. A beautiful and improbable yet simple and profoundly aesthetic line! I was instantly enamoured. "Is this the Hercules proj?" I asked? "No name on that rig" Dave replies. "Any lines here called Hercules yet? (no) So this is the Hercules project!" I was psyched.
I instantly recognized the line as being pure and very difficult as well as being morpho and a fat kid's dream. Long Spans and compression on a face are unusual.
Jimmy Haden and I set to work. The first day went well. I found a sequence to the crux that worked if you were tall. David O. found a sequence that worked if you were even taller.
That said, I can't recall if I stuck the crux that day. The beta is tricky and great shoes help as the first crux revolves around power toeing onto a slopey jib divot. I'm climbing in La Sportiva Muira VSs that are the best shoe I have ever worn. Better than anything Mad Rock for technical granite and even a bit better than my evolvs that I loved and wore for years (disclaimer: I am not sponsored by La Sportiva or any shoe company any longer. All Tahoe climbers have fallen in love with theses shoes: they are almost perfect!)
Over the next 2-3 sezuans I worked the line with various friends and we were all convinced that it was techy, beautiful and quite hard.
The temps were cold and I was in good shape having recently returned from Rocklands. I had several V11s and 12s under my belt, so I began to wonder if Hercules was a bit harder than I had initially suspected. I didn't do the line that year. Or the next, or even the next.
Fast forward several years. Summer 2013 I decided it was time to put Hercules down. this project had been in the back of my mind for many years as you can tell. I actually thought it would be near impossible in the heat of summer, but after three days of effort (mostly solo missions,) I did it!
Hercules is an amazing and techy problem at sugar 2. Tom Fern, in fine fashion, was the first to send in one sesh for the second ascent. It was totally different beta than I used, but really cool and still very difficult; most importantly, it paves a beta-path for shorter climbers. Tom had to Try Hard to get'er done. Kyle O just sent the problem as well recently (2nd day on the rig) and Jon Thompson is climbing quite strong these days and is also very close.
You won't be surprised to hear that we found/were shown another amazing area down near Echo Summit... All the bees are busy plucking plums once again.
Siemay and I are taking a break and going to the Playa. Burning Man is ironically happening this year while the Rim Fire has Yosemite shut down and Tahoe under a filthy veil of dense stinky smoke. Also, the next line I want to do is also a multiple-year project that is likely in the V13 range. I have done the moves, and I did the stand start crux several times, but I simply need cooler temps since the problem has claimed numerous split tips and wobble-fingers.
Once it's 45 degrees out though, it'll be game on!
Tahoe development continues on the West, East, North and South Shores, and it seems that somehow we have actually accelerated in zone-discovery.
The amazing new and aptly named V9, "Smokey Treat." Yes you sit start on the lowest hard-to-see white holds. This line is one of the Tahoe greats.
Siemay working out the moves on a yet undone V10 compression proj (which Jon or Fern will likely do very very soon. This is the sit to an established V4 stand (probably. Sketchy history on this one, but I scrubbed the obvious starting jug...))
Wish us a good burn! This final fall in Tahoe should be amazing and I'll ramp up the blog to bring the play by play. Then in December we move to Fort Collins, CO and I will likely start training more specifically for next season's American Ninja Warrior...
Seek perfection of character, respect others & Try Hard. Noah as usual.
PS. if you have any interest, I will be on NBC's American Ninja Warrior on Monday night Sept. 2nd. It should be a good show! Tune in to find out what happens!
11-6-17: Lower Yosemite Falls
5 weeks ago