Today it is crystal clear and 28 degrees, a blessing for my big-handed, sloper-loving friend. He smiles and gives a tour to some new people, telling stories about each boulder problem, who did what, how humid it was that day, how the mysterious non-local climber says its actually hard. After a few classics, we easily warm, shuffling through leaves, air curling smoke-like from our mouths, rock glittering with ice spots, smiles creating a good energy. We walk towards the ship like prow, I joke that only Pete makes this huge boulder seem to be the right scale and that everyone else becomes dwarfed. The base has been smoothed out a bit, but the biggest boulders jut up dangerously. A plethora of pads get laid down. I try, then our other friend, but we feel humbled as always and Pete's first try sends him down onto the pads too.
I say I am feeling too warm and fuzzy to try such a hard route, it exposes the weaknesses of many, a massive dyno to ~20 ft and then a slopey top out that hasn't been done. Then more people come, another pad is added to the stack plus three more sets of hands, with ours, that made 10 arms shaking at Pete as he launched with such style to the top on his second try. He hits the smooth sloper with a sweatless hand on this 28 degree day, breathes deep, matches and then traverses to the front of the boulder to top out. Everyone yells up with encouraging words, I scamper around, moving pads, anticipating where he will land. Soon a heel goes up, his waist now at the 20 foot mark, right leg dangling straight down, we all become quiet, not believing that he is almost there. He yells, or cries, he is so scared, he can barely do anything, but ask if we are still spotting him. Only one of us snaps out of our awe and yells up to keep him going. Then he is done. So much time on one boulder, in a tiny corner of woods, by a tiny town, my tall, big-handed friend Pete Ward, and his commitment, sitting on top of a legendary classic new boulder problem in Farley, Massachusetts. Big, V9, highball."