Monday, May 2, 2011

Lynn Woods: The Discovery

When you bring up Lynn Woods to local climbers, you receive a varied reaction.  It's a choss pile to some.  A land scattered with lowballs of piercing granite.  They look to their hands dejectedly and impel the conversation towards the wonders of Lincoln Woods and Pawtuckaway. Others get a wistful glaze over their eyes.  They zone out for a moment, then rouse telling fantastical tales of gourd-like blocs, rained in the forest like a skittle commercial of yore.

Lynn woods was, in my experience, a farrago of mystery, potential, and confusion.

Its hilly terrain provides obstacles that attract riders, hikers, climbers, and the occasional high school couple fleeing their parents' scrutiny.  Mountain bikers litter the parking lot, each in an ersatz rainbow jersey.  Passing, they observe our token features --Boulder's Finest Tank Tops, Taped Fingers, The Ninja Turtle Silhouette-- and proceed to ask questions, simultaneously answering themselves.  Though each has an opinion about the sectors to visit, it perpetually results in speculation on our objective.  The directions come with a quiver of uncertainty and never cohere.

The conviction with which topos boast of the assemblage would have you believe that when you enter Lynn Woods, some sort of indicator would direct to the boulders, stretch your forearms, and chalk your hands.  The opposite is true.  From the parking lot, the park bifurcates to permit Walden Pond [Thoreau was a trad climber and never got out to this one].  The trails penetrate the forest in venous patterns, crossing over one another and often leading to central clearings.  They all have blue markers, lulling you into a false sense of ken.  Hiking around is, at once, soothing and subtly enervating.

The few visible blocs are obscured by a skeletal underbrush, which crunches and claws as you cross.  Odds are when you reach the object of your venture, it's shorter and less featured than worth its want.  You shrug it off, bushwhack back to the trail, and hope to find another line around the corner.

Aaron and I spent 3 days hiking Lynn Woods, and that line around the corner never came.  We put in over 15 miles, only to find some lowball globs with eliminates and super hard lines.  Perhaps Lynn Woods itself couldn't dwarf its devotee's enthusiasm?  Truth is, all that shit I said of my first impression --about the fun of being with friends and enjoying the moment and how its great that we have an oasis in our backyard-- would be for naught, if I couldn't find one big boulder with prominent lines on usable holds.

Real Earth Project...we couldn't find anything else that day and worked this...turns out its ~V10
The only hold on the face...

Stuck...gotta get back to moderates
Saturday, AB and I took another stab, searching for the Mario Boulders.  Little Mario is 12 ft and Big Mario is 18 ft, so we figured they ought to have been obvious enough.  We passed an Earth Fest Party (a little late, no?), surmounting the immediate ridge off the right entrance.  Status quo preserved, we missed our target and ended up on the Blue Trail.  We decided to follow it; I mean, everything's blue, after all.  Passing some unimpressive stuff, we came upon a 14 ft boulder in a small clearing, with a trampled path from the trail.

The Boulder had some quality problems.  We began by lapping the obvious vertical face warm up.  Then we directed our attention to the right arete, where a superb jug denoted another opportunity.  We pulled on and took some goes and figured out the beta.  After a few more tries for the crux, a loping deadpoint to a 1-pad slopey catch, the problem got sent.  We moved on to a couple climbs on the face which were equally deserving.  Both were quite technical, balancy, and thin.

We proceeded to the striated boulder situated on the knoll ahead of us.  It had an aesthetic traverse, crossing its belly on big slopers and tiny jibs.  Perfection.

Lynn Woods from ajugofwine

Feeling relatively accomplished, we alternated our agenda periodically.  At some moments we were trying crimpy projects, while at others we were ambling along the jumbled stones, pointing out knotted branches and severed trunks.  A storm passed on Thursday and what braved the rough, looked as though it had endured worse.

Incut crimps and subtle footwork on this Project

When we finally made it back to the main trail, we were in an adventuring frenzy, veered off at the Overlook Trail, which we'd never seen before, and the markers turned red...HOLY [EXPLETIVE]!  We spent the next 5 hours uncovering amazing boulders.  The trail was littered with climbs, striking lines, on overhanging aretes and tricky slabs and compression roofs.  The majority of them were highball, likely to challenge my headgame in the coming season.

Miles deep, we hit the end of the trail and turning around I caught a glimpse of the forest we had acquainted ourselves with.  It was visually deep, rich in color, and thick enough to dampen any noise from the surrounding neighborhood.  The boulders in our immediate view were 30+ feet and reminded me more of dinosaurs than stone.  Their daubed exteriors coating a fossil-like construction underneath.  The secrets of a past creation, which could someday be deciphered.

If it's not apparent by now, we've trimmed the fat and found some sirloin.  If there's a spectrum of responses to Lynn Woods' mention, it simply points to the forests size and potential.  Though much of it has been explored, there remains promise for future lines.  The inspiration sits waiting.  When my opinion is asked, I guess I'll be carried back to that corner of the woods before telling some fantastical tales.