Mountain Project Map - Harpers Ferry

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Secret Six breakdown

The Secret Six (V5) is a bouldering problem in the Tiers area on Elk Ridge, MD. It is found on the overhanging side of the tall skinny block that also hosts John Browns Body and Isaac Smith Arete. It is maybe 50 feet uphill from the road.
Drew sitting at the base of the problem preparing for a go. In this photo, you can see the opposing starting vertical sloper features and the right hand crimper divet as well as the first vertical sidepull for the right hand.

Some of you are likely asking yourself at this moment, "Why is it called a V6 when it is a V5?". Well, the answer to
that involves a bit of history. The problem isn't named because of its grade and its hidden nature. I'll call on Wikipedia for an explanation.
The Secret Six, or the Secret Committee of Six, was a group of men who secretly funded the 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry by abolitionist John Brown. Sometimes described as "wealthy," this was true of only two. The other four were in positions of influence, and could, therefore, encourage others to contribute to "the cause."
Because Harpers Ferry is so rich with history it only seemed right to draw on that rich history when naming problems.
The problem begins sitting on the ground. You have two opposing sets of slopers with subtle irregularities to use as starting hand holds. The start movement involves squeezing these slopers to pull off of the ground.The left foot has a pretty good horizontal edge. The right foot tends to get smeared/posted out to the right and relies on friction.
Steve ready to start the problem. He is searching for the best combination of start holds to pull himself up off of the ground. The right handed vertical sloper feature is visible in this photo. Photo Credit: Coco Boan.

The next move is a left handed move up the left arete. This is followed by a right heel hook to enable you to move right handed to a crimper divet in the face. Next comes another left hand move up the arete.
In this photo, Scott has already used a right heel hook to move his right hand to the crimper divet in the face. He is just moving his left hand up the arete to the next sloper.
This is followed by a right hand move to catch a vertical sidepull.
Conrad has moved his right hand to the first vertical sidepull and is preparing to move his left hand up once more. Photo Credit: Coco Boan.
You are still doing some squeezing at this point. You will next need to move your left hand up once more before going right hand to a higher vertical sidepull.
Scott has the first vertical right hand sidepull and is preparing to move his left hand upwards before going for the second vertical sidepull with his right hand.
Conrad has moved his right hand upward to the second vertical sidepull and has transferred his weight to the right in preparation for the slap move. Photo Credit: Coco Boan.
Once you have reached this height you will need to transfer your weight to the right and place a foot on the crimper divet in the face. Most make a small flag move with their left leg to help offset their weight for the next movement. This move usually leads to a small pause in the climbers action because it involves gliding/throwing up to slap near the vertical "crack" created by the tall skinny block where it leans against the cliff to your back. The move makes your heart accelerate a little but it isn't a terribly difficult move.
Scott after making the slap move and moving his right hand up to be with his left.

Conrad in the process of slapping near the "crack". Photo Credit: Coco Boan.
Once you have stabilized from the movement, readjust your hands into the "crack" and shift weight out right to the horizontal ledge that is actually part of Isaac Smith Arete.
Conrad moving out right to get his feet on the ledge halfway up Isaac Smith Arete. He then reaches up to grab the top. Shorter climbers often keep both hands on the crack and layback and smear to gain the top. Photo Credit: Coco Boan.
Once you are there you have more stability and just need to position yourself to be able to grab the top. For shorter climbers this may involve some laybacking and smearing.

And that's the breakdown. Hope you enjoyed. Pad well and get a spot. As you can see there is rock to your back so be careful.

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