The Bozeman Six and the Bozeman Bombers

So here are the stats that I know thus far, updates pending: In nine hours on 25 Aug 2018, Lou Renner, Leon Kaatz, and I made 275 completed and attempted ascents of boulder problems between the three of us on the Bozeman Six and the midget boulder.  I made a total of 70 completed and attempted ascents, which breaks down to 45 completed ascents and 25 attempts.  My ascents alone outnumber my combined number of completions and attempts from last year, which was 34.  Lou, Leon, and I, between the three of us last year, had a total of 164 completed and attempted ascents of boulder problems on the Bozeman Six in 10 hours.  We blew our record out of the water!!!  This year, Lou had 124 completed and attempted ascents (only about a dozen were attempts) and Leon had 81 completed and attempted ascents.  I sent my first V3+, and on the Bozeman Ponds Boulder, have the dihedral stemming problem, a V3-, named “Chris’ Corner” amongst Lou, Leon, and me.  On that same boulder is “Leon’s Arête” to the left of “Chris’ Corner”.  Let’s start at the beginning…

I went over to Lou and Leon’s hotel at around 0700 hrs, and Lou met me in the guest lounge at about 0730 hrs.  He and I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat and talked, then Judy, a guest from the Florida panhandle that I’d had a fun conversation about horses (fellow horse-lover) with the day before, came in and we were talking with her as well.  Leon came along about 0800 hrs and the three of us went to IHOP for breakfast.  Some problem in the kitchen there forced a 15-minute wait to be seated and an additional wait time to be served.  We weren’t going to get as early a start as we had expected on the Bozeman Six, but a good breakfast was paramount, so we waited.  It wasn’t a big deal.  We knew we had to pace ourselves, anyway.

We took a “before” photo, all three of us with our MyClimb hats on, at the Langhor Boulder after the walk in past the community garden to begin our challenge.  

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We definitely got a good warm-up and a decent start on that boulder.  I attempted a V5 called “The Howling” that I know, with a little more time to work one of the moves, I could send.  Next, we hit the University Boulder.  We hadn’t done a recon on that one the other day, so we weren’t expecting to get a whole lot done on that one.  Surprisingly enough, Leon and I both sent an overhanging problem that was fairly intimidating.  I tried it, and the first right-hand hold that I grabbed after I’d gotten on the wall was bad (and off-route).  I dropped and said, “No.”  Lou told me, “Chris, don’t say that.  When you’re looking at a problem, never look at the top first.  Don’t look up.  Look at the start.  Don’t look up.  Look at how it starts and focus on that.  You’re defeating yourself when you look at the top.  Look from the bottom-up.  And on overhangs, your footwork is even more critical.  Come on, Chris.  Fire it!”  I seconded Leon’s later comment that one of the highlights of this trip was him conquering his fear of overhangs.  We had two bouldering pads with us, but only used both on the first boulder.  We would end up using the smaller of the two on the rest of the boulders, it turns out.  After we were finished at the University Boulder, we stopped at Starbucks for a rest and a caffeine/sugar boost.  Pacing was key.

Our third boulder was the East Gallatin Boulder (or, as Leon identifies it, “the one with the view”), after some Advil…  Fourth was the Depot Boulder, which we got more done on than we thought we were going to as well.  Another stop at Starbucks was in order.  Leon sat in the car and Lou and I went inside for a pit stop and some more caffeine/sugar magic to go.

Our fifth boulder was the Bozeman Pond Boulder behind Ace Hardware.  This is where “Chris’ Corner” and “Leon’s Arête” are located.  On the way, Leon played some Elvis on in the car – “Only The Strong Survive”, which was more than appropriate!!!  Lou got some good photos and videos at the Bozeman Pond Boulder and I got some photos of Lou and Leon as well.  I love that V3- dihedral problem.  I absolutely love it!  And I cruise it!!!  that boulder had been baking in the sun all afternoon, so it was quite hot.  That didn’t stop us, though!  Our last boulder of the day was the Gallatin Regional Boulder, part of the Dinosaur Playground Park.  There are actually two boulders there, but more on that in a minute…  This last boulder looks like something out of “The Flintstones”, and climbs like it, too, haha!  We had paced ourselves, used liquid chalk as a base, and tincture of benzoin compound throughout the day to save our skin as much as we could.  This was it.  My energy was still pretty good, which I was surprised at, and my fingers hadn’t cracked or split, which I was ecstatic about!  I finished out on the main boulder, and then Leon went over to the “midget boulder”.  Lou and I initially scoffed at this boulder, but it turned out to be fairly hard, haha!  I got totally shut down by it, as a matter of fact, hahaha!!!

We finished our day of bouldering nine hours after we had started with an after photo of us with our MyClimb hats on in front of the main boulder.

I was sitting on the bouldering pad in the middle and Leon, as in the first photo of the day, was on one knee and leaning on my right shoulder.  He said, “Excuse me for leaning on you.”  I told him that he could lean on me any time.  “Well, you’re pretty special, yourself.”  He gave me a hug and kissed me on the head.  Lou got the camera set up and got on my left for the last photo of the three of us for the day.  I gave my signature “thumbs-up” and Leon helped me up after the photo.

It was time to eat.  We went to the Outback and got the Blooming Onion, as we had last year.  It was oh, so good!!!  Lou and I had the grilled salmon and Leon had a steak and a baked potato.  Lou, Leon, and I talked for a while, all agreeing that funerals should be a celebration of life in the end and that we all wanted to be cremated, and then went back to Lou and Leon’s hotel.  I left the bouldering pads in there and left for my hotel, where I crashed almost immediately.  It had been an absolutely fantastic day of climbing with two of my best friends and climbing buddies.  We three, the “Bozeman Bombers”.  It had been one of the best days of my life…

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