Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pawtuckaway State Swamp/Bog...

Yesterday I made my third trip to Pawtuckaway and like the other two times the boulders were soaking wet.  I guess I'm 0 and 3 for that place.  Now its raining for what looks like the next 2 to 3 days.  This is the New England I'm used too...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gunks Round 2...

Back to the Gunks I went.  This time I satched up Agent Orange, V13.  This was first climbed by Paul Robinson, maybe 3-4 years ago.  I don't think it's seen a repeat so I might as well say I got the 2nd ascent.  I had the send on video but like a total punter I erased the clip.  These stills are from the clip I was trying to erase.  Oh well the footage wasn't that good any way.   

Monday, March 23, 2009

Owl's Layer Proj...

Thanks to Brandon Quinn, a recent transplant to Boston, here is a sequence of the "best" V11 in Ct.


This past weekend I spent warping up a few PJ's from the past.  First off was this brilliant V11 down the road from Bradley, called The Owl's Layer Project.  This problem is very much like the Gobot in RMNP.  Obviously the rock is different but it shares some similarities, such as a hard start, to a easy middle, to a hard last move.  And there is a slab at your back for the first part and the middle.  Hopefully I'll have some pictures of this climb up soon.

On Sunday Nikki and I went to this amazing lil' area in Connecticut about a 30 min drive south of Great Barrington.  There are a few good established problems here and a few fa's left.  I was sycked to establish an old project of mine called the Hydro Cloud.  Its a cool roof with side-pulls and an amazing starting hold.  I can remember when I first tried this boulder many years back and thought it might be in the 8a+ range.  Coming back to it now, it felt more like like 7c.  Finally I wanted to wrap up this boulder called Quasimoto, v11.  Quasimoto is a nice mini problem on bullet rock.  I heard that a foot hold broke and was now harder but it still felt like v11 to me. 

All in all another nice weekend in New England... 

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Yesterday my friends Neil, Dan, and I went bouldering in the Gunks.  The bouldering there is good but not the best in my opinion.  There are good lines to be climbed and I would recommend it to any one, but it’s a bit too sharp for me.  The Gunks is a trad climbers paradise.  Still, I was sycked to finish off a few problems.  First on the list was Venus and Scorpio, V11.  In my opinion this may be the best line at the Gunks, technical and powerful on side pulls and pinches.  Next was Crouching Dragon, V11.  Another one that for me is one of the best.  Roof climbing at its finest, when climbed correctly.  I’d been on both of these climbs before so I was lucky to get them done.  

Since there’s still feet of snow up north I predict a few more return visits to the Gunks, it’s not that bad.

Gunks from Phillip Schaal on Vimeo.

Friday, March 13, 2009


With all the bad news at Bradley I’ve been going to Great Barrington quite a bit.  2 trips this week and with that I’ve finished the last established problem on the speed boulder.  The last one to go was Double Down, V13.  Double Down was first done as a stand and it was the first problem on the boulder.  I’m not sure as to the date but I know it was at least 7 years ago, probably more.  The sit start was put up by my good friend Dan Yagmin maybe 3 years ago, possibly sooner.  Its is a 4 move power problem which may be my new favorite of the boulder.  When we arrived to the speed boulder it was wet, shocking.  We spent a good 40 min drying out the holds and eventually got them dry enough to climb.  Notice how my left hand blows off the wet crimp at the top almost sending my down the steep hill.

After my quick send I decided to give Something from Nothing a repeat burn which I successfully did.  Something is quite a bit easer but still has all the qualities of a great problem.  After the speed boulder we all went over to Kindered Spirits, V9 and True Bleau, V10.  I wanted to do True Bleau for some time now and today was the day.  After falling on the top a couple times I desperately got my ass up it in true font style, schetchy.  

The weather looks good for clear into next week so we’ll se what happens next.  

Enjoy Double Down,

Double Down from Phillip Schaal on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Smell them roses...

With a damp cold wet feeling in the air, Nikki and I decided to make a run for Great Barrington.  As we got closer the roads and trees looked wetter, but we'd all ready gone this far so there was no turning back.  I figured we would walk to the speed boulder to find it completely soaked.  To my surprise it was about 65% soaked and the holds on Roses and Blue Jays were relatively dry.  Finally the day I've been waiting for had arrived.  After changing my feet around for the last move I ended up with the send 3rd try today.  After that I tried the only other dry line on the boulder, The Speed Dyno.  And again after changing my feet from the ones that I had used for so many previous attempts, I make the send. 

The weather looks good for this weekend but its my lil' bro's 15th birthday so I might not make it out.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What a day...

The last few days have been warm, compared to the previous arctic weeks.    After sending my longest running project, the sit start to Busted Shadow, known to all as Serendipity moment.  I moved on the sit start of that.  Well it actually turns into a crouch start.   

The sit start

The coruch start

This new start was added by Dan Bates, a few years ago and supposedly, bumps up the grade to 8B.  I figured out some micro foot beta and hooked it up with the quickness.  This was the third accent from this “new” start. I’m not sure how hard it is, since I’ve spent half a decade trying to finish the Moment, but entry level v13 or hard v12 would add up.  After making send, my friends and I were spooked by some trucks driving around the dirt roads that surround Bradley.  I know that that doesn't sound too alarming but there have been a few events over the last couple of days that would suggest otherwise.  On Friday the water dep. posted two new “No Rock Climbing” sings at the trail head we use to access the boulders.  Then on Saturday we were asked to leave and told that we were trespassing.  So seeing these trucks driving around made us feel like there were people trying to get us.  We all ran over to an area where we would be out of sight.  This area just happened to be one of Bradley's best and since we were waiting out whoever we thought were after us, we decided to climb.  We climbed here for an hour, I surprised myself by climbing the sit start to Suspect Devise dubbed Devil Eyes V12. 

Then we left the boulders, not knowing if we will ever be allowed back.  I would suggest to anyone that is planning on making a trip to Bradley to hold off for now.  Or contact a local to see what the status is.

I know this post will upset some readers, thinking why is someone climbing and writing about a access sensitive area.  All I can say is that over the past 10 years that I’ve spent climbing at Bradley I’ve seen trends come and go.  There have been sings put up and taken down.  The Metacomet trail, which is open to the public, was moved directly in front of the main area at Bradley a few years back. People began to think that the boulders were not on the water dep. land, just the ones close to the reservoir were.  Then last year, just a 15 min walk from Bradley a new cliff was opened to the public with permission to equip it with bolds.  I think we have to find out who owns the land where the boulders sit.  So what I’m trying to say is that for now we should lay off until a settlement has been reached and all of the gray areas have been straightened out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Moment

Finally, I completed the longest running project I've had.  For the last 6 years I've been getting on and off this boulder, with hopes of finishing it.  With the arrival of a foot of snow I braved the 20 deg temps and snow, knowing this would be my only chance for a while.  The forecast called for a warm spell on the horizon and I know this means wet boulders for days.  After millions of times falling on the last move, I got it done in 4 tries today.  What a relief that was.  Now I have the lower start which is the sit start of the sit start to worry about.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Power Struggle...

This past Saturday our gym, Prime Climb, hosted its 3rd Power Struggle Bouldering Competition.  This was the first comp that I helped with the organizing and setting.  I had a great time and I'm looking forward to next years comp.  We had a great turn out with about 90 competitors from all over New England.  A big thanks to all the volunteers that helped set and organize.  Without them the comp wouldn't have gone so smoothly.  And a special thanks to Steve for letting us have the comp in the first place.

Below are a few snaps from the comp that my friend Tommy took.

Yesterday we were blessed by the snow god's with close to a foot of snow.  WTF!