Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mike Stam is Bouldering...

I just got back from a long weekend in Charlottesville and Lynchburg Virginia. I was setting for a new gym called Rise Up that is owned by Dan Hague in Lynchburg. It was great to set with the new Climbit features and i think i was able to put up some really inspiring lines...

These holds are sick to set with on 20-30 degree overhangs and force some creative matching with heel and toe hooking, so cool.

Yesterday i was lucky enough to get in touch with Mike Stam, who was in town for the week, and we assembled a large crew and headed out to Blowing Rock. The goal of the trip was to try and repeat one of Mike's boulder problems on the 45 degree roof just right of Flagyl called Sledgehammer (V10).

We Went out with Brian Clevenger, Mike Stam, Andy Fulton, Nate Draughn, and Jay Tilly and a huge pile of pads and some webbing. As most of you know, Stonehouse has a weird and kind of scary landing but Sledgehammer is another story. Perpendicular with the lip of the roof, the landing drops 8 feet down to dirt making a fall off of the crux potentially huge and the topout is committing and nearly unprotected. The way that Mike had protected the fall in the past was with a back height piece of webbing that is strung between two trees over the void and spotters can lean against it to give the illusion of safety. Where the fall from the crux is protected by spotters leaning on the webbing, the topout would yield a tremendous fall onto the webbing and off the ledge in a "cut the climber in half" magic act... Surprise!

Sledgehammer starts just right of Stonehouse and makes a few dicey moves on bad holds with a monster heelhook. The crux revolves around a two move sequence that has you trying hard over a very weird landing causing you to fall upside down if you blow it. A big move to a left hand edge sets you up for an even bigger move out right to a descent hold and then you have to hold an awkward helicopter swing out over the void.

You will just have to see the video to really understand what I'm talking about but really the video doesn't even do it justice. Go to Blowing Rock with 3 friends and 5 pads and one 30 foot section of webbing and have the time of your life. You wont be disappointed.

Sledgehammer (V10)

I have to give major props to Mike Stam for finding this and many other lines in the Boone area. This boulder is so much fun and went unclimbed for many years in one of the biggest and most popular areas in Boone. James Litz did a variation that goes left and is a bit harder but Mike chose the more direct line out the proudest section of the bloc creating his masterpiece. Mike put a couple years into Sledgehammer before finally sticking the first crux move and he said he did it 3rd go after figuring out the beginning. As a First Ascentionist he put a lot of time and effort into a problem that, for all he knew, might never go. This problem is in no way at Mike's limit but being the first to do it took a lot of time and skill to unlock the sequence, protect the landing and have the head for the topout on such a proud first ascent...

Much respect Mike. Get better soon! We want you back at the boulders...

To finish off the day we played around on another Mike Stam problem called Movement On Stone, located just above the Colt 45 boulder. I nearly broke my foot trying to get this heinous kneebar start and called it quits. Next time...

The Remier of Satisfaction is happening in a big way next Tuesday so get ready. There is a very stacked pile of raffle prizes from Mountain Hardwear, Outdoor Research, Evolv, Friksn, Crank Forearm Fuel, La Sportiva, etc... There will be booze.

This weekend looks like it i shaping up to be a real climber family reunion with Matt O., Dave T., Hot Rami, and Dan H. coming into town so I'm sure there will be some insanity. Nate linked moves on Kaleidapuss and sent Y-Crack... Neat.

"Light rails for mosquitoes!" ~ Stam


  1. Good job on the 2nd Ascent. The constant video updates are awesome. Makes me wish I had made my way down to Boone when I was on the east coast.



  2. If you can call looking at boulders and touching holds bouldering. I wish. I'm considering taking up the sport of channel surfing