Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Bouldering Treasure Map

Quite a few bouldering developers have started using Google Maps to document the areas and problems that they've developed.  For areas that aren't too forested it's a convenient way to record what you've done.  But it's far from a guidebook.  Access routes aren't explained, and often paper maps need to be consulted and marked before heading out due to lack of cell phone coverage, and important information such as private land boundaries.  So I'm not convinced that Google Maps will take the place of guidebooks anytime soon, but they can be useful for the truly motivated, the casually curious, and for developers who want a convenient way to journal what they've done.

So here's a map where I've been recording some of the new boulder problems put up around Lander.  Enjoy!

A Bouldering Google Map to Some New Problems near Lander, WY

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Last Go, Best Go

"Together Alone" V4 Sweetwater Rocks, WY
Word has gotten out, but it hasn't been announced on this blog yet, that we'll be leaving Wyoming this summer.  Wyoming is still amazing, and I highly recommend the Lander area for any climber, but life isn't just about climbing.  Great teaching jobs opened up for both Ashley and me in the Grand Junction area.  We applied.  We were lucky enough to be offered the two jobs we wanted the most, and we decided to take them.  Since then, every bouldering trip this spring has felt like it could be my last one to each particular bouldering area.  With a teaching schedule, it's easy to envision summer bouldering trips back to the Rock Shop, or into the Winds, in my future.  It's harder to imagine a way that I'll make it back to shoulder season areas such as Sweetwater.  This season we ended up spending three sessions at the Weapons of Mass Destruction sector.  Abundant snow in Sinks canyon, and abundant mud on the two tracks to Oz made it the best option for multiple weekends this spring.  On Earth Day we decided to warm up on the balanced block seen north of the road on the way into Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I knew that Jesse, Justin, and Matt had spent a day on this boulder and I wanted to repeat "Together Alone."  It's a great line, and challenging for short climbers.  We saw other undone lines on the block, and we started trying them.  By the end of the session Ashley added two lines to the left of "Together Alone" and I added a classic line to the right.

"Earth Day" V6 sit starts with a good hold under the overhang.
Moves up the left side of the arete.
And traverses to the top of "Together Alone."
Our other two Sweetwater sessions were spent on the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" boulder proper.  "Weapons of Mass Destruction" V7 was at the top of Sierra's boulder project list.  She worked it for an entire session.
And she sent it during the next session!

While Sierra worked on her project, we enjoyed the sun.
And put up an interesting V4 to the right called "Mean Little Flower" V4.

Once the days got long enough, I was psyched to get Sinks Canyon sessions in after school.  Snow limited my options though, and I found myself back at the Kingsford boulder trying to add the full sit start to the "Seam Project" I'd put in the guidebook.  Towards the end of the session I noticed a line of vertical edges to the right, and it looked like maybe I could use them in opposition to the rail on "The Seam" and finish on nice edges just below the top, at the highest point of the boulder.  It looked beautiful, and I couldn't believe I'd never noticed the line before.  I tried it out, but was too tired to put much together.
One more session, and I thought it was possible.  At the end of my second full session on the line I put it all together.

Once I figured out the beta, it was even better than I ever hoped.  It ranks as one of the best dolomite boulder problems in Sinks, and it's the best first ascent I've put up in Sinks Canyon.

Only one weekend day was warm enough, still enough, and dry enough for my family to make it out to Oz this spring.  Sierra and Ashley worked out all their beta on "Heart Sing" V7.  I even set up a top rope so they could practice the committing top out.
And I got heartbreakingly close to finishing "Wild Thing Stand" V8.
We were all set to send next session, but we never got a next session.  Nick, Wendy, and Philip came out with us. Nick set up cameras and recorded the day.  He put together the following film from it.

Working beta, falling off problems, and talking a lot.  It's an accurate look at what it's actually like to boulder with the Lloyds.

We hiked up the Granite Buttress one weekend.

I scouted and brushed some lines for our day.  But we only finished one good line before we got stormed out.

"Hang Nail" V1
While hiking out in the rain and thunder we were passed by two cowboys on horseback followed by a pack of Corgi dogs.  They chased a marmot into it's burrow, and then caught up to the horses by running incredibly fast on their short little legs.  An interesting and unexpected sight!

Then came the highlight of my season one afternoon, after school.  I did my first V10.  The Camera at the Cabin Boulders is a short boulder, but the holds are very small, the move is big and surprisingly intricate. It has thwarted my countless attempts over multiple sessions for many years.  During my second session this spring, and my second "last go," it all came together.

I'm not sure that I'm actually stronger than I was last year.  But the thought that I might never get to try "The Camera" in good conditions again made me try harder than I ever had before.

The next weekend I gave Ken a tour of one sector at City Walls.  A cold wind from the west meant that the day wasn't as productive as I'd hoped.  We stayed on the downwind side of the formation, put up a few good warmups and then spent some time cleaning up "The Good Life" wall.

Ken helped brush from a six pad stack.
He gave me a great spot on the committing first ascent of "Wetland" V4.
And sampled a bit of the upwind patina covered stone before driving back home.

I've always been motivated by the knowledge that it might be a long time before I will get back to a project again.  But the knowledge that I might never find a chance to get back to something again was extra motivating.  It lead to a new level of productivity for me this spring season.  I thought I was already trying as hard as I could, but this season taught me that I can dig even deeper.  I'll try to remember that, even when there isn't a deadline looming.

I fall in love with wild landscapes, and I'm going to miss so many places that I've grown attached to over our last eight years in Lander.  Magical areas full of fond memories.  I've enjoyed small town life, teaching at the Lander Middle School, and the Lander community.  Moving here from Ft. Collins was a great decision, one that I'd never take back.  But the west is big, and life is short.  Good books have many chapters, and we're turning the page to the next one.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Boundless Riches Beyond Compare

It's no secret that I think public lands are one of the best ideas Americans have ever had.   I wrote up my thoughts, perspective, and history with the topic for
Thunder Cling with help from Dave McAllister.  Check it out, and I hope that you like it!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

First Ascents

First ascents stand out.  The ones I've seen, and the ones I've done.  I've compiled a slideshow of Wyoming first ascents that I've been lucky enough to be a part of, mostly for my own benefit.  Keeping the days fresh in my memory, making sure that problems don't disappear, that they are documented, and shared.  The time seems right to share this video for those who are interested.  Note that the person photographed isn't necessarily the climber that got the first ascent.  Sometimes it's the repeats that get photographed.  If a problem in this video isn't in the Bouldering in the Wind River Range guidebook, it will most likely appear in a google map that I'm compiling or in the upcoming guidebook to The Rock Shop and City Walls.  Thanks go out to all the first ascentionists, and all the boulderers who shared information with me over the years.  Special thanks goes to Davin Bagdonas, Chris Marley, Jesse Brown, Vance White, Steve Bechtel, Greg Collins, Justin Iskra, and Justin Loyka.  Without them the vast majority of these problems never would have been done.  I'd also like to thank Ashley, and my family for climbing with me every weekend!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Winter Days on Sunny Stone

The good winter days are often the best days!  The air is still, the rock is cool, you can spend all day in the sun without getting burned, and because they are rare you appreciate the nice days more. Our winter began with warm weather, and a great day at Roy, New Mexico.
 "Buttercup" is pretty tricky for V5, but I figured it out, and climbed it, before the end of the session.

I highly recommend this problem!

 We were there on a weekend during Christmas Break, and we still had the Jumbles all to ourselves for the day.

We managed to hit Sweetwater during a good day in February.  We added a few new lines to the warm up wall in the Norwegian Sector.  

When the stone is good at Sweetwater, it's amazingly good!
 Ashley and Sierra used the day to train for a trip to Hueco.
 A Sweetwater view, photos don't to the distance justice.  Those are the Wind River Mountains in the background, over 70 miles away.
Ashley and Sierra spent a whole week at Hueco, had a great time, but didn't get any great photos.

When the weather was poor this winter I looked at a lot of boulders.  Sierra hiked the granite with me.
 And I looked at sandstone high on the hills of Sinks Canyon.
 And sometimes we bouldered despite less than perfect weather.
Sierra's been interested in seeing what she can do on a rope.  She redpointed "Hardware" 5.12 on her second attempt.
 Did "The Wilds" 5.12a in conditions too cold for my fingers.
 And she redpointed "Moe" 5.12b in a session.  Here's Dave giving it a valiant effort.
Before Science Fair in Laramie we got in a couple sessions in northern Colorado.  Sierra flashed "Punk Rock Traverse" V5 at Horsetooth Reservoir.
 She did "Corner Lock" V4 on her third attempt.
 And unlocked the reachy (for her) crimp line on the left side of Pitch Penny.
We were only able to pack one pad for this trip, so I worked on the only difficult line I was comfortable trying with one pad, "Beast House" V9 at Arthur's Rock.
I didn't do it, but I did a move I'd never stuck before.

Torrey Valley delivered great conditions on a couple weekends.
 We climbed every line and variation we could come up with on the Bunk House Boulder.
 And one fun line on the "Chances" boulder.
The ice was very clear on the creek.
 I had Sierra pose on a finger crack in the ice.  Then I posted it to Instagram.  I thought the reflection and the snow boots made it pretty obvious what was going on, but it appears that some people were fooled by it.
The wildlife in Torrey Valley adds to the experience.  Sheep watched while I worked on a new compression line.
My highlight for the season was finishing the first ascent of "Just Being" V7/8 at Sweetwater.  My fifth session on the line, I worked out a sequence and had good enough conditions to keep the right hand crimp.
Here's video.

I've also been working on writing projects, and spring has gotten off to a good start.  I should have more news to post soon.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Over Two Hundred Problems at the Rock Shop Compiled!

The season is here for guidebook work, and work is beginning on a comprehensive guide to the Rock Shop.  I'm excited to be working with Justin Iskra, Kian Stewart, Ben Sears, and Kyle Duba this time around.  It's a true community project!  We want to get the word out, and collect input from as many Rock Shop developers/boulderers as possible.  So here is my current Rock Shop list based on personal experience, and what I could find online.  Dashes mean that I'm not aware of the problem and couldn't find star ratings online.  I'll update this list as I get more information.  If you see something that is incorrect or incomplete, please leave a comment here or e-mail me at  Thanks!

Sea of Pearls            V13*** Chris Marley
The Iron Spider   V13*** Chris Marley
Land of the Free (sit)   V12** Chris Marley
Land of the Free   V11*** Chris Marley
Smoking the Tree    V12** Chris Marley
Smoking the Tree (Stand)   V10** Chris Marley
Gem Thief                                   V11**         Chris Marley
The Giving Tree (Sit)   V11** Chris Marley
Unforgiving Tree (low start) V11** Chris Marley
"Philanderer Wall Traverse"         V10? **     Chris Marley
Spidey Sense                               V11**        Chris Marley
Pain and Perfection (low)   V11** Chris Marley
Shooting Stars   V11* Chris Marley
Astro Boy   V10** Chris Marley
Landiego          V10** Chris Marley
Get High and Fly                        V9 ***        Chris Marley
Back Alley Hooker                      V9***          Chris Marley
Landslide           V9* Chris Marley
Butch Cassidy           V9** Chris Marley
"Arete by Money Train"                V? —          Chris Marley
Starry Night                                  V7***         Chris Marley
Get High and Fly Stand                V7 **          Chris Marley
The Vault     V10 Chris Marley
Spider Sense (stand)     V10*   Chris Marley
Iron Spider (stand)             V10***     Chris Marley
Smokin’ the Tree (stand)     V10 **   Chris Marley
Mary Jane     V10**   Chris Marley
Electric Storm            V9 **   Chris Marley
How High     V9** Chris Marley
Mr. Green     V10** Chris Marley
Search Party             V10** Chris Marley
Corn on the Cob     V9* Chris Marley
Electric Shit   V8** Chris Marley
Shamrock    V8* Chris Marley
Pimp Hand     V7** Chris Marley
Sundance Kid            V6 ***   Chris Marley
"Swan Boulder Three Problems" V3- ~V6 *     Chris Marley
"Unnamed Traverse and Up Problem”* V5 and V6 Chris Marley
Sharma Style             V5*         Chris Marley
Mr. Nice Guy             V7**        Chris Marley
Piggy   V1**        Chris Marley
Lord of the Flies                         V5***       Chris Marley
Zef                                              V6**        Chris Marley
Traverse Into Zef                        V3*          Chris Marley
Piggy   V1** Chris Marley
Luke Skywalker   V8**              Chris Marley
Sleepy Hollow                             V6**             Chris Marley
Wonder Warmup                         V2**             Chris Marley
Wonder Dyno                              V8**             Chris Marley
Unnamed near Wonder               V7*              Chris Marley

Snake Eyes Traverse                                   V7**        BJ Tilden
Bust a Lung (Is this Smoking the Tree sit?) V12***    BJ Tilden

Bandito                          V11**         Carlo Traversi

Lost in Space                                 V11**       Mike Bockino

The Giving Tree     V10***        Jamie Emerson

Philanderer      V9 ***      Jon Glassberg
Lander Calphilanderer      V9 **   Jon Glassberg
Philander Calrissian      V9 **         Jon Glassberg
Trick Ass Mark      V10***        Jon Glassberg
Name of the Wind SDS      V9 ***   Jon Glassberg 

Lander Before Time      V7 *   Connor Griffith 
Name of the Wind      V8 ***   Connor Griffith
Lander Calrissian      V7/8 **     Connor Griffith

Holy Canoli                   V9/10**              Skyler Bol
V4 to the right of H.C.    V4*                   Skyler Bol

Grave Wave               V5***  Justin Iskra
Lords of Dogtown                          V6** Justin Iskra
Chocolate Thunder                       V2***       Justin Iskra
Escape From Reality                      V6**        Justin Iskra
Boats and Hoes                             V4**           Justin Iskra
Long Far Gone                               V4***          Justin Iskra
Come Sail Away                            V1***          Justin Iskra
World Gone Sour                            V7*         Justin Iskra
Cock Salad V6* Justin Iskra
The Morse Rides Again Direct        V5***        Justin Iskra
Welcome Back Slab                         V1**           Justin Iskra
Welcome Back Arete                        V2* Justin Iskra
Shit Storm V5**            Justin Iskra

Liquid Nails                                          V1***          Mark Avery

Inglorious Bastard                                V6**         Zach Rudy
Psychedelic Relic                                 V8***       Zach Rudy
The Unforgiving Tree                            V9**       Zach Rudy

Pain and Perfection                         V10**         Ashley Lloyd 
La Traverse’e de L’anniversaire V7***               Ashley Lloyd
Burly                                                 V6**               Ashley Lloyd
Powerball                                         V6*          Ashley Lloyd 
On the Move                                    V4**         Ashley Lloyd 
Jet Stream                                       V3**          Ashley Lloyd
Bikini Bottom                                    V3           Ashley Lloyd
Hold Your Horses        V5/6*     Ashley Lloyd
Copperhead                   V5**        Ashley Lloyd 
Ready to Go                  V4*           Ashley Lloyd
Snake Salad                                     V6*         Ashley Lloyd
Two Snakes Traverse                       V6**        Ashley Lloyd
To the Pain                                        V6*          Ashley Lloyd
Little Roof                                          V5           Ashley Lloyd/Jesse Firestone
Rattlesnake Traverse                        V5*         Ashley Lloyd
Slopers to Quality                              V4**        Ashley Lloyd
Too Fun                                              V4*        Ashley Lloyd

Young Blood                  V5***       Jesse Brown
Super Nova                                       V3***       Jesse Brown
Headless Horseman                         V3***             Jesse Brown
Black Swan                                        V5**         Jesse Brown
Font Simulator                                   V4**              Jesse Brown
C-3PO                                                V7*         Jesse Brown
R2D2                                                  V7*         Jesse Brown
Punctuality Award                               V2*         Jesse Brown
Roasted                                              V2           Jesse Brown
Shots Fired                                         V2**             Jesse Brown
Square Planet                                     V3*              Jesse Brown
Solar Flare                                          V1**             Jesse Brown
El Moreno Right                                  V2**             Jesse Brown
The Engagement     V5*              Jesse Brown
The Lobster                                         V3?**          Jesse Brown
(Left of Silence)                                   V4?**          Jesse Brown

Drop it Like It's Hot                              V6***       Charlie Manganiello
Always on Time                                   V5**         Charlie Manganiello 
Against All Odds                                  V4*         Charlie Manganiello 

True Blood            V6*         Matt Saunders

Mustache Ride                                     V2**           Brian Horlick

Snakes on a Train                              V6**          Kian Stewart
Motherfucking Snakes                        V7***        Kian Stewart
Joy of Life                                           V5**           Kian Stewart
Mesmerize                                          V4**           Kian Stewart
The Wedge                                         V4—            Kian Stewart
The Wind Blows High                         V4—            Kian Stewart
Coral Reefer                                       V4         Kian Stewart
Satisfy My Soul                                   V3/4—         Kian Stewart
Moon Rocks                                        V3**           Kian Stewart
Havana Daydream                              V2**         Kian Stewart
Limb by Limb                                       V1—           Kian Stewart
The Line                                               V1—           Kian Stewart
My Side Piece                                     V1/2—         Kian Stewart
High Stakes                                         V? —          Kian Stewart
In Tents                                                V?—            Kian Stewart
Heartless Bastard                                V3**        Kian Stewart
The Sun is Shining                            V0/1 —        Kian Stewart
Party Time                                           V0 —          Kian Stewart

Nexus                                                 V6***            David Lloyd
Giddyup                   V4**     David Lloyd
Caroline Test                   V5**         David Lloyd
Boulder of Montana                   V5**              David Lloyd
Preemptive Strike             V3**         David Lloyd
Fear of Commitment          V4**         David Lloyd
Silence                  V3**         David Lloyd
Raise the Roof                                   V1*           David Lloyd
Awakenings                                        V1*          David Lloyd
Millenium Falcon          V5**         David Lloyd
Stone Country                                    V3/4*       David Lloyd
Touch of Grey                                    V6**         David Lloyd
Stone Country SDS           V7**        David Lloyd
Gaston Gaston           V5*      David Lloyd
Perfect Storm                   V6**        David Lloyd
The Great Escape                               V5**         David Lloyd
Pit Viper                                               V4*         David Lloyd
2nd Hand Smoke                                V5**         David Lloyd
Doom Doom             V2**             David Lloyd
Mars Attacks                                        V6*              David Lloyd
Scrunchity Crunch                               V4*              David Lloyd
Sliced Bread                                        V3**             David Lloyd
Total Paralysis                                     V3**             David Lloyd
Fighting Paralysis                                V2***           David Lloyd
Armchair Martian                                 V2**             David Lloyd
Jammin’ is a Thing of the Past            V1**             David Lloyd
Get to the Point                                   V1*              David Lloyd

Moss Man Prophecy                             V4**       Calen Campbell
Big Fudge                                              V2**      Calen Campbell
Skid Marks                                            V2**       Calen Campbell
Calen's Face                                         V2/3*     Calen Campbell
Short Stack and Variations                    ~V2*       Calen Campbell

"Two V2s near Lord of the Flies"            V2* Chris Marley and Tony Stark?
Foul Mouth                                              V4**        Tony Stark
Shit Storm         V5**        Tony Stark
Full Sail                                                   V7***       Tony Stark
The Morse Rides Again                          V4***        Tony Stark

La Boulangerie                                        V3**         Alan Pirie

In the Akasha                                            V9**      Kerrek Stinson

Darth                                                          V3*         Bryan VanSickle
Pork Chop                                                  V6***      Bryan Vansickle
First Contact                     V5**       Bryan Vansickle
Tongue'er Muffin                                        V5?**     Bryan Vansickle

Just Getting Started                                    V5*          Alex Johnston
My Mind's Eye Traverse                             V6**         Alex Johnston
Hard Rock Syndrome                                 V2*          Alex Johnston
Seemingly Suspect                                     V3*          Alex Johnston
My Mind's Eye                                             V1**        Alex Johnston

Termites                                                      V5**        Matt Pincus
Land is Not Free              V7*         Matt Pincus

Weirdos From Another Planet                     V5**     Jesse Firestone 
Captain Obvious                                          V2*       Jesse Firestone
If, Then, Because                                        V7*         Jesse Firestone

Slippery Truth                                               V1*          Sierra Lloyd
Bobcat’s                                                       V1**         Sierra Lloyd

The Hills Have Eyes                                     V3***       Ben Williams

Money Train                                                   V2***    Stephen Snell

Unnamed                                                       V4**           Spenser Tang-Smith
Unnamed                                                       V3---       Spenser Tang-Smith
Purple is a Color                                            V2           Spenser Tang-Smith

Zef Warm ups                                                V0-2*        ?
Piggy to Lord of the Flies V.                           V5*           ?
Quality Warmup                                             V1***        ?

The Other                                                       V2 **        ?