|LA owns everything; it even owns you|
In keeping with the spirit of my recent rant about how shitty and boring climbing blogs are, I will endeavor to frame this post in a more flattering light, hopefully providing some mystical insight into life, the world, the universe; anything to give this bloated depository of bric-à-brac one iota of reason for existing. In reality, the post might be boring but it has a lot of pictures. The carrot with the stick, I say, or something like that.
|The geology here is intensely interesting|
So, it follows that the real topic here is not injury but fear. Climbing and fear is a topic I've almost certainly written about before. For some, risk and its associated response, fear, are unwanted intrusions in climbing. Bouldering and sport climbing are avenues through which climbing can be pursued with relatively little risk and, in turn, far less fear than types of climbing that have true objective hazards and require far more attention towards safety. They appeal, I would think, to the largest number of climbers because of this accessibility. Of course, one can easily blur the line in bouldering by climbing high off the ground; sport climbing, however, is by definition 'safe' if all other risks, like flipping upside down during a fall or a bad belayer, are considered equal. Some of us seek to cultivate an actual fear response more often than others. In climbing, though managing fear is necessary globally within the activity, specific types of climbing like climbing at height without a rope require far more focus in this category.
I think all of us thrive on some level of fear and the sense of power gained via our response to it. In a way, this jives with the way we're wired to adapt to new stimuli. If things are too safe and familiar, we don't make adaptations and can't improve. Not that we always need to improve, but I think it's pretty well established that our mental and physical health are somewhat dependent on change and adaptation. This can apply to many things, from physical activities to jobs to fine motor skill activities. Without a sense of advancement in many of these arenas, a lot of us feel stagnant or frustrated.
|Suspended in Silence is a good introductory tall problem because it gets easier the higher you climb|
In the Buttermilk area of Bishop, the boulders are often tall enough to necessitate switching this fear mitigation on, depending on the nature of the problem being attempted. The most inspiring lines for me on the boulders here tend to be the tall ones. With this thankfully mild finger injury, I've taken to exploring some of the areas that have more of these taller, if easier, lines. I started this journey into the land of fear, really, with Transporter Room on the Grandpa Peabody a full month ago. With moderate climbing but questionable rock 30-35 feet of the ground, it fully caught my attention! More recently, I went to the Pollen Grains area to do a couple of classic tall lines. Suspended in Silence is tall but gets easier the higher you climb, so didn't adequately provoke a fight or flight response. The Beekeeper did simply because each of the holds at the top felt extremely friable. Today I journeyed to the Secrets of the Beehive area, which contains the eponymous tall boulder problem, another tall (and harder problem), Flight of the Bumblebee, and one of Bishop's most difficult lines, The Swarm. The best way to face fear, obviously, is to face it alone, so I went to the area solo with the intention of at least climbing the Secrets of the Beehive problem. It certainly didn't disappoint! Just tall enough to be slightly dangerous and just hard enough at the top to grab the attention, it took a few 'practice' runs and a ten minute meditative break before I convinced myself to forge ahead. Interestingly, I found it extremely hard to calm myself and lower my heart rate enough to climb smoothly. At the final move, a tricky mantle, I found myself doing a delicate, off-balance move. Not too hard, but definitely some good adrenaline to be had!
|Secrets of the Beehive is a problem that is tall and a little scary at the top but not all that difficult|
|Flight of the Bumblebee is a problem that is tall, scary and, from the look of it, at least slightly difficult. The landing zone is pretty treacherous as well|
|The Swarm is a problem that appears simple and at the same time extremely difficult|
|Large, colorful boulders are what define the Buttermilk areas|
This post is already getting away from me so I'll tighten it up a little bit. Like all areas in Bishop, the Secrets of the Beehive sector is quite beautiful, with picturesque views.
Though expansive, the area lacks the plethora of boulder problems found in other areas of the Buttermilks. What it lacks in volume, however, it certainly makes up for in magnitude.
|Kind of a crap picture, but the profile of the shear 40 foot north wall of the Luminance boulder is stunning|
|Golden Rule looks like a great climb--just so long as none of the crispy looking holds at the beginning break|
|Luminance is a great looking climb with a vexing landing: the height relative to the ground is what's important in this case!|
Though my devotion to rock climbing sometimes wanes and I certainly get tired of it sometimes, there is a still certain magic in working up the boldness to try some of these dicier lines. The reward, of course, is not easily quantifiable nor the justification of risk entirely explicable, but suffice it to say that it's one of those things that speaks for itself--if you're into that kind of thing, that is.