I met Jesse Evans a few years ago while exploring some of the new boulders he and Pablo Zuleta were developing in the Morpheus area. He's a soft spoken guy, but his actions on the rock are louder than anything he'd need to say. We had worked together a few years ago for a Rock & Ice feature on Pacific Northwest bouldering where he was pictured on his Wishing Well (V11) at the neighboring Paradise area. An impossible looking overhanging boulder, Wishing Well is complete with a battle-of-a-bulge section, tiny crimps, arete movement, and big compression moves, all set in the deep woods of the Northwest, right next to a creek with blue water pools. Jesse also graces the cover of the Western Washington Bouldering guidebook by Zuleta, climbing Built to Last (V8)- a gargantuan boulder set on the sandy bank of the idyllic Skykomish River. While he was helping develop much of the newest bouldering areas on the west side of the Cascades, I learned that Jesse also has a penchant for music, spending those summer nights by the campfire with his wife Natali, playing either a banjo or mandolin under the light of the moon...probably to the slight terror of anyone who'd be lost in the deep reaches of Sasquatch country.
Earlier this year, I met up with Jesse and Natali for a casual session at the Gold Bar bouldering area in Washington (video below). It's always impressive watching Jesse climb. At 5'5.5" with a +3.5" ape index, Jesse's smallish frame is hidden by what might as well be 60 pounds of lean steaks carved into a figure of Greek lore. It's obvious that his past years of weight training and discipline to nutrition plays a large part in his climbing. His first climb (aka warmup) was Jamrock (V10), actually one of my old projects from a few years ago. The boulder used to sit in a damp and covered area of what is now a clearcut. At the time when I was working on it, I could never get to ithe boulder when the conditions were good enough- realistically, it was more likely that I was never good enough. On the day I was there with Jesse and Natali, the weather was cool, with clear skies, and the sun was starting to bake the sloping rail and crystal pinch that guarded the first few moves. Not that this mattered. Jesse felt out the holds, cleaned them, and then went to send it...twice. After what seemed like 5 minutes of rest, he shoed up again and sent the line again, this time mantling after the initial crux moves into finishing on the highball slab section (unnamed Jamrock Slab V9). Again, sending it twice.
We then left the area and headed off to the Clearcut where he warmed back up on Equinox (V10) and moved onto Twisted. A neighboring problem with a series of moderately difficult moves leading into a marginal huck to a slimper that challenges even the tallest climbers. At Jesse's height, it meant a full-on foot cutting jump. There was a pretty good crew working the problem as well, one after another, getting spit off on the crux throw.
As the sun began to set and cast its light on the boulder, Jesse stepped up to the starting holds and started on the last climb of the day.