Getting up to Devil's Gate is mostly a pain in the ass, starting with the parking on Goodenough Road, and then there's the goatf**k descent down to the Sespe, followed by about 2 miles of athletic creekbed to negotiate, after which one arrives at the Gate, which is just an acute narrowing of the Sespe Creek, flanked on either side by towering, jagged buttresses of burnt sandstone. Seen it, been there. But the boulders, that scattered jumble of goodies, they were worth the trip.
The first boulders we shoed up for were overhung, with bad feet and awkward angled holds. Adventure bouldering! Bad landings, vegetation, insects, dirty holds, and best of all, no crash pad! Oh, man. This was a lot like all those years wandering the desert, dirtbagging my way up high-ball, no name grit piles. We hucked ourselves at good old "bad feet and awkward angled holds" for a while before admitting that it was just a bit out of our range (at least for now). Moving down the creek we found a totally do-able line, but backed off after a few tries on account of the crux being way high and an ominous man-eating boulder parked in the crash zone. Rocks: 2
After these first losses we started finding what we were after, a few big, tall, & uglies. We worked a few different problems. One, I'm sure, went at a V3 rating (below). It had a tricky start and a horrifying, bald mantle top out. Later, we found a some other stuff to fool around on. My biceps tendon is actually responding well to the abuses of climbing (so far) and I'm starting to get the idea that bouldering is actually fun for me again. I could say alot about injuries and such, but I've stayed away from climbing mostly because it wasn't really fun for me anymore. I had fun yesterday. I'm already starting to think that my old Boreal's (climbing shoes, on their 4th resole) are overdue for retirement.
As for what's actually at Devil's Gate for boulderers, I assure you that while it is no bouldering mecca, there's enough the to have a good day. I make no claims regarding what may be further up the Sespe. The stone itself is the same grippy, pockety, edgy stuff that the old Tar Creek Boulders were made of before they died in The Flood of '95. Other similarities to Tar also apply, bad landings on man-eating boulders, for example.
And the last climbing problem of the day is called,