Location: Chandler Park, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Spec: 12 foot boulder problem, nice landing, V7, very difficult starting hold.
(open handed sloper: find the dimple with your left index and middle finger)
It was Thursday, March 24th, 2000 and I was in Tulsa for work. I never thought I would have a job traveling, but here I was on my first out of town trip; “on business,” so to speak. The day was nice because I had most of it to do whatever I wanted. And, of course, with Chandler Park being just outside of town, there was no way I could pass up climbing for the day. For those of you familiar with Chandler Park, the place conjures up images of broken glass, and rock so slick you could mistake it for marble. It’s a haven for redneck family picnics, unruly cub scouts playing dangerously close to cliff edges, teenage bullies throwing rocks and beer bottles at unsuspecting victims, and frustrated parents trying to control their ill-mannered children. Each of these things, create a chaotic mood poorly suited for bouldering. However, if you can find a quiet niche away from the madness Chandler Park can be quite fun. Especially when you find a project to work.
(place your right index and middle finger on the tiny bump on the right of the sloper)
On this day, I warmed up slowly, hesitant to get on the rock. Lately, I’ve been too hasty to get to the hard stuff so I haven’t been warming up like I should. I learned that it throws my whole day off if I don’t warm up correctly. So I started slowly, climbing easy lines, concentrating on where to put my feet, and how my fingers felt, feeling the ground get further and further away.
(it’s no use looking at your hands; you will only convince yourself that you cannot hang on those holds)
After a few traverses and a couple of easy “highball” problems I ventured west to the lesser-climbed walls of Chandler. These problems tend to have more texture, sometimes they are dirtier, but the landings are covered in leaves rather than the concrete-like dirt found throughout the majority of Chandler. There are several other reasons that I prefer the west end of Chandler: less people, much quieter, less trash and less broken glass. Zig-zagging through the maze of limestone there is one wall in particular that any climber would notice immediately. At head height there is a scoop in the rock about the size of the inside of a watermelon and it is the most amazing sloper you will ever see. This is the starting hold for “SNACK.”
(place your toes precisely on the divots)
I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about doing this problem. The first time I was introduced to it was probably in 1993, on my first or second visit to Chandler. I thought the line looked amazing but it was too far out of my league to even attempt. Had I tried it on that first visit I may have gotten a false impression of climbing and given up the sport completely. Instead, I just stood and marveled at the massive dish which seemed to have no place to grab. Looking past the starting hold, the second hold may as well have been a mile away because there was no chance in locking off on a sloper of that degree.
(pull down delicately yet powerfully on the sloper holds and reach for a thin vertical seam)
Luckily, time spent climbing and training has paid off over the years. So now I found myself sitting quietly beneath the problem with my eyes closed, imagining myself moving through the moves. It’s not the kind of problem that is difficult to see, the sequence is straight-forward, it’s more a matter of doing it.
(bring your feet up to better holds, crimp hard on the vertical seam and REACH for a thin horizontal edge)
I began by feeling out the most positive spots on the sloper and locating my starting feet. My initial attempts were about as good as my expectations, I didn’t believe I could do it, but with more and more time spent trying I began to pull a little bit further each go. Each attempt was a barrier being broken, each inch gained was a goal reached and I found my excitement increasing with every try. I decided to rest after every three attempts, whether I wanted to or not. This gave me time to calm down and think about what I was doing and more importantly, breathe.
(crimp on the edge and go for the top)
Soon I was moving past the sloper and reaching the vertical seam on every attempt. Then I was locking off on the vertical seam and reaching for the thin edge. Then I was grabbing the thin edge and pushing for the top. Each time I grew happier because I felt the moves becoming easier and the final jug getting closer. Until finally, I stood on my final attempt, wiped my shoes off, grabbed the sloper, the seam, the edge, and the jug, and it was over before I realized what I had done.
It wasn’t long before elation set in.
Location: To find Snack park at the west end of Chandler and go down a series of steps. Snack has a yellow arrow spray painted beneath it (there may be even more graffiti now).
Beta: As like most Chandler boulder problems there are eliminated holds. On Snack, it’s not that contrived to avoid these holds. The entire right side from the arete over, is off limits. There’s a big scoop down and to the right of the starting sloper which you may find your right foot gravitating towards….it’s off….don’t use it.