LOWER MOUNTAIN BOULDERING
Starting on the eastside of town at Tanque Verde Falls, then moving west and eventually north following the base of the Catalinas, large boulders abound in the drainages and creekbeds descending from higher up the mountain. Over time these boulders have slowly tumbled down towards the base of the mountain. And like small skipping stones with their rounded and smooth edges, so to have these boulders been shaped and polished by years of water running over their rougher surface. The boulders found in the low elevation areas tend to be almost frictionless, making the climbing itself a greater challenge. Footwork is at a premium here - once you have found a little purchase with your shoe rubber, the slightest deviation from this sweet spot will almost surely result your foot sliding off hard, and the rest of your body following suit. Handholds are deceptive - moving up to what looks like a good hold, you are surprised when it feels like a bar of soap. Anything incut, no matter how small, is typically the best thing to reach for. Slopers - my favorite kind of hold - will tempt you into throwing for them, but they will laugh diabolically as your fingers slowly slide off. It is delicate balance and heinous body compression usually holding you onto the rock here, and the slightest lapse in either will end your efforts. While the climbing here can be a tricky, especially your first visit to this kind of rock, it is actually quite fun, and very rewarding. The boulders themselves are usually big, with a variety of good shapes, angles and bulges on high quality stone. The climbing forces you to slow down, focusing on the minute details of the rock, and adapting yourself to the style of the rock. Soon you will find yourself on top of the boulder, surveying the boulder-strewn creekbed in search of your next challenge.
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