Daniel Woods likes to take a "step back" from boulder problems he can't do right away and let his obsession build. Considering that he has climbed V15 in a single session, anytime Woods employs this technique, you can rest assured that the problem is HARD.
Just Last week, Woods revisited Lucid Dreaming (V15), a problem that had eluded him in the past. The line sits on the prominent Grandpa Peabody boulder in the Buttermilk Boulders near Bishop, California, and had bouted all suitors for years until Paul Robinson claimed the first ascent in 2010. Robinson’s attempts to climb the problem were documented in a short film segment featured in the 2010 Real Rock film tour (though the filmmakers did not capture the actual send), and Robinson graded the problem V16. Later, however, Robinson downgraded Lucid Dreaming after he climbed other hard problems and gained a “real understanding” for the grades of high-end boulder problems.
Woods attempted Lucid Dreaming for three days last March, and despite climbing all the moves, was unable to complete the problem. But Woods let his obsession build and this year he returned to polish off the second ascent.
Rock and Ice
contacted Woods to get the full run-down of his send.
R&I: When did Lucid Dreaming come on your radar?
Jared Roth put this line on the map by completing a stand start [Rastaman Vibration] that went at V12. The obvious sit remained undone and added three intense moves into the stand, finished by a heady top-out. I saw this line for the first time when I was 17 or 18 and it looked crazy. I dabbled with the moves, but was unable to do any of them. Paul Robinson was really psyched and created an obsession over it. I left it alone due to the reaches and sharpness of the holds. Paul returned to Bishop and made the FA of the full line. Years went by, and it did not see a repeat. I decided to pay it a visit again last year. This time I was able to do all of the moves within a couple days and started making send attempts. I only had three days in Bishop, so I knew that next year I had to return stronger. I like to take a step back from the climb to create an obsession over it. This allows me to hone in on what needs to get stronger in order to get the job done. This year, fresh off of a productive trip to Penoles, I was amped to have my shot at Lucid Dreaming again. This time I planned to be here until the boulder was sent.
R&I: What made the problem so challenging for you?
There are many factors that made this boulder challenging: conditions, skin, accuracy, anxiety, brutalized tendons, confidence issues etc. But this just spices up the game.
is also the sharpest crimp line I have tried. The holds are barely there and are turned in funky directions, which makes grabbing them uncomfortable.
R&I: OK, for all the bouldering nerds out there, give us the play-by-play.
Start matched on a half-pad crescent shaped edge, paste your left foot on a glass smear as well as the right, pull on and do a left hand move to a quarter-pad, rounded, slick crimp. Bite down hard on this hold and move your right foot high and right onto a decent edge, then isolate the left arm and come right hand into the shark's tooth. This hold is so cool yet loco! How you grab this hold determines if you do the next move or not. For me, I place my ring finger on the left side of the spike and middle finger on the right side (the hold size is less than a quarter-pad and bites like no other). I then load my two fingers and wrap my thumb around the side of the tooth. When you get this, you make a fist with the wall and can feel the edge cut through a couple layers of skin, which is what holds you onto the wall. I then bring my left foot high on this knob right below the starting hold and explode to the left hand mini-pinch. This hold is slick, quarter-pad, and has an OK thumb catch, which makes it positive. It is hard to have the right accuracy to get this hold perfect. Now you are in the stand of Rastaman Vibration (V12). From here you switch your right foot onto the knob and place your left foot on a smear out left. You eye up the final half pad, rounded crimp and jump to it. Your feet go nearly horizontal while your fingers are squeezing these two holds. Once controlled, you do the remaining 30-foot slab to the top of the boulder.
Halfway up the slab, an eerie situation arises. You take a left hand edge and right hand sloping mini pinch, match feet on a glassy smear and stem your right foot way out onto another smear. At this point you are no hands and can reach over to the jug knob. This move is not hard, but makes your stomach turn a little bit. Once in this position, the rest of the slab is chill (unless you’re me and have zero slab climbing skills. It took me a little bit to complete the 5.7 friction jaunt to the top. The whole time Jimmy was saying he could do it in his trainers!)
R&I: How did the problem come together for you on this recent trip? Were you stronger or was it just a matter of time?
I made sure to be patient with Lucid
this trip. I felt strong from Penoles and just needed to wait for the right conditions to do this line. On my first day of the trip, I almost stuck the epic swing from the ground. That moment made me realize that it would go this trip. The question was just when it would go. The next day I came back in the evening and sent on my second try from the start. I was surprised at how fast it went this trip. I already had bullet skin from Penoles and my fingers were in good condition. Overall, Lucid
took around 4 or 5 days to complete, but multiple years of mental preparation and obsession in order to be in the right zone to do it.
The send was special. It was black out with lights shining and a crowd of people watching in the background. I was playing some Young Jeezy on my Goal Zero Rockout2 speaker and just stared at the wall, getting amped. The air was humid and cold. I pulled on and hit every hold right. The slab was epic to do in the dark, but at that point the meat of the climb was done. Lucid was complete!
R&I: Finally, what's your personal grade for Lucid? Is this problem a step up from your other recent V15s or right in the same vicinity?
It is such a specialized climb. The holds are small and painful with long reaches in between. It comes down to having bullet skin, strong tendons and perfect conditions to connect the dots. For the style it is in, I would give it solid V15.