Pilot Mountain Bouldering

Yesterday Chris and I headed up to Pilot Mountain to meet up with some folks and have a mellow day of roped climbing. We even geared up with that in mind, and started down the trail. We decided we wanted to take a look at the trail-side boulder, since I had never even looked at it. As we came around the bloc to see the overhanging side, dry as a bone, we started feeling holds. One thing lead to another and before you know it we were hiking back to the car to get pads.

We did just about every possible variation on the trail-side boulder, including fun problems from V0 to about V2. From this boulder we wanted to check out the stuff above the trail, specifically a V4 which Chris had heard about from JP. To get to the V4, hike directly uphill from the trail-side boulder. Not directly away from the cliff, and not 90 degrees up from the trail, but up the hill.

We hiked up to find a really cool looking overhanging line, that appeared to top out through mossy slopers. We got to cleaning and what we ended up with we think is a V6. It starts way at the back of the roof, two moves lower than any chalk we saw. You have to make two body tension moves to establish on obvious jugs, from which a big left hand throw is made to a sloper, feet adjust, then bump left hand to a sloper with a nub which is actually pretty good. From there you work yourself up to be established on two pretty good sidepulls, crank a seriously high right foot, then make a series of three left hand bumps, all of which are tenuous, and the last of which makes the climber fly violently towards an amazing pinch feature, like some sort of Kung-Fu move, from which the problem is basically over.

Chris was able to do the problem in about 45 minutes, I think I would have sent but on one of my full out burns I ripped a little edge off of one of the left hand holds at the top, I came flying off the problem along with the little edge. I never felt as strong on it after that, the problem is seriously power endurance intensive, and the top moves may not be the most difficult, but on link they are definitely the crux. This is a 5 star problem.

There appears to be an alternate finish which goes to the left, I feel that the lower start and more direct finish completed by Chris is a more logical line, we'll definitely be back to check out a finish that goes to the left. Its conceivable that starting on the obvious jugs in the middle of the line we did, and finishing left would result in a V4. There also appears to be potential for one or two additional lines just to the left, on the same boulder. Not to mention the numerous other boulders in the near vicinity, which we did not explore in depth.

At this point we were basically committed to a day of bouldering, and working the V6 line on the roof gave us perma-grin for the rest of the day, what a quality problem! We went down the ridge trail until the fork, and turned left, where the trail turns to head back up the bottom of the ridge. A few hundred yards back up the hill there is a trail which cuts down the mountain, and is marked with a sign that warns hikers of strenuous hiking. This is the trail for the boulders below.

The hike is really not too bad, though we did stash our rope gear before going down. It was probably less than a 5 minute hike from the trailhead at the bottom of the crag. Neither of us had ever been to the main concentration of boulders at Pilot Mountain, and we were quite surprised with the quality and quantity! The lower boulder field has some of the most high quality rock I've seen anywhere at Pilot! There were tall lines, great rock, steep lines, featured vertical faces with good tops, and more, and all in a very concentrated area.

Chris did some highballs on the obvious juggy highball boulder which faces the trail, before we turned our attention to what we think is a V7 on a short steep face. The face is obvious, is just uphill adjacent to the trail, and is in the row with the main group of boulders in the field. The line we worked started towards the right side of the roof, all the way at the back. One move to a left hand crimp leads to a very barn door move to a right hand pinchy sloper, and from there Chris was the only one of us able to top out, using a fully dynamic throw, feet flying everywhere, to a left hand just over the lip, sick!

We ended up discovering two great lines, one V6, one V7, and we'll definitely be heading back to Pilot to unlock more!

Here's a list of most of the problems we did...

Trail-side boulder
* V0 - start just left of the vertical break in the rock on the face to the left of the overhang, finish straight up
* V1 - start just to the right of the vertical break, on the shield feature, go left and top out as previous
* V2 - start on the shield, finish straight up
* V2 - start to the right of the shield, finish straight up
* V2 - start on the right center of the overhang on a right hand slopey edge and a left hand sidepull, go straight up
* V2 - start on the right side of the overhang, finish straight up

Above the trail boulder
* V6 five star problem

Steep face boulder
* V2 on the left side of the overhang, up obvious jugs
* V7 on the right side of the overhang