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BoulderingTrip Journal

Daniel Woods on Lucid Dreaming

By March 8, 20134 Comments

Unexpected messages pop up sometimes. It could be an old Facebook friend, a spam phone call, a LinkedIn invite. This time it was Beau Kahler, our friend from Fort Collins whom we also climbed with in Joe’s Valley. He knows photos, and is now trying to know video. He hit me up on the ‘Book on Monday, asking if we had any extra Organic pads.

The skinny: He and Daniel Woods schmobbed out to Bishop from Boulder in a 15 hour push with the singular goal of climbing (Daniel) and filming (Beau) the second ascent of Paul Robinson’s Lucid Dreaming (V15/8C). They had three days. I offered my help on camera #2.

We met up at the boulders on Tuesday morning. We snapped some photos and got some video of Daniel trying the standstart, Rastaman Vibration (V12). He quickly did the crux jump move, and we moved into position to film the attempts from the start.

Beau Kahler, showing he knows video too. Check out

Beau Kahler, showing he knows video too. Check out

Daniel had more trouble that expected with the sit-start moves and transitioning into the stand. The crux consists of the first four moves: a hard pull into a sharp, tiny undercling with the right hand, coming in to match on top with the left, standing up tall on the undercling to reach up to the infamous glassy left-handed micro-pinch, and finally the hard move from the pinch to the crimp that defines Rastaman.

One of the worst holds I've ever seen a person use.

One of the worst holds I’ve ever seen a person use.

After watching several attempts, it was clear that grabbing the tiny, sharp, toothy undercling from below meant that he was holding it in the wrong position to be able to stand up to the micro-pinch. Still, he made great progress and nearly stuck the crimp from the sit start.

The next day, Wednesday, was cold, windy, and miserable. We tried to escape the wind by sitting in a cave, but soon retreated to our friend R Tyler Gross’ van for warmth. He’s a very talented photographer from Santa Barbara, and he’s shooting stills of the Lucid project. We shot the shit and enjoyed ourselves, but the wind was gusting around 50 MPH, so we called it.

Thursday was much better. The temps were perfect and the wind was from 0-10 MPH with a touch of humidity. Daniel said that the holds, particularly the crux pinch, are so glassy that they require a bit of moisture to feel any tackiness, ergo the humidity was a good thing.

After a thorough warm-up DWoods started trying the problem from the sit. He was having trouble getting through the opening sequence to feeling solid on the move to the pinch, and after dozens of tries he cut a hole in his left index finger. After a couple of attempts with tape on the wound, he resorted to nixing the index finger entirely and began giving attempts using only two fingers on the sharp undercling. As someone who has bouldered a fair amount, I have to point out that watching someone crush a tiny undercling with only two fingers was a sight to behold.

One of the sharpest holds I've ever seen a human being use.

One of the sharpest holds I’ve ever seen a human being use.

Told you it was sharp. Those are Daniel's fingers for scale.

Told you it was sharp. Those are Daniel’s fingers for scale.

Still, the problem eluded Daniel, and after over 50 tries, he threw in the towel for the day. That left Friday, the day that he and Beau were scheduled to leave.

Sadly, the storm that had been threatening Bishop for the past couple of days finally unleashed some snow this morning, and the boulder was soaked by 8AM. Beau and Daniel packed into the car and headed back to Boulder.

Daniel can definitely do the climb. Every go seemed like it would be “the one,” but the climb requires such precision for several consecutive moves that it could’ve been the next go, or it could’ve taken a hundred more tries. Add to that the pressure of a short trip and changeable weather, and you’ve got a tough order indeed. So for now, Lucid remains unrepeated. I imagine he’ll be back to try again though!


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