Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vedauwoo Bouldering

Over the past few summers, Ashley and I have been bouldering primarily at Vedauwoo and RMNP. Rocky has lots of other climbers, but we almost never see anyone at Vedauwoo. The other day I was talking with a boulderer who implied that Vedauwoo bouldering sucked. I disagreed, and stated that Vedauwoo, when taken as a whole, is as good as any other Front Range area. I was asked to name Vedauwoo problems that were as good as Rocky problems. I named a few that came to me quickly, but my mind has been churning over the topic quite a bit since that discussion. Here is an explanation of my experience with Vedauwoo bouldering. Hopefully it will help others discover that the best bouldering at Vedauwoo matches the best bouldering anywhere. Take care of the area if you visit. This post may increase bouldering traffic at Vedauwoo, but that could be a good thing. People often say that lichen takes hundreds of years to grow, but that is wrong when it comes to Vedauwoo. I've seen cleaned boulders grow a new layer of lichen in the course of a year. Nowhere needs crowds, but enough traffic to keep the classics clean should be considered a good thing. An increase in the climber to redneck ratio would also be welcome.

Vedauwoo bouldering has a greater range of quality than your average area. The majority of boulders at Vedauwoo are climbable, but most boulderers wouldn't want to bother. Most problems and possible first ascents are vertical to slabby on sharp crystals that sometimes break, or are crack problems. One can learn to have fun on these types of problems, but to most boulderers it doesn't come naturally. Here is a picture of me climbing a V6 near Tempest. This is what many problems at Vedauwoo are like.

Instead of this problem type, most boulderers would rather climb on overhanging problems with solid, comfortable holds. Many boulderers don't realize that Vedauwoo has these types of problems. Davin Bagdonas wrote the guide to Vedauwoo bouldering, and he did a great job of documenting and giving directions to the problems. I really like the guide, but it doesn't have star ratings or area descriptions to guide readers to the best problems. That is what I will do here.

Here are a couple general guidelines to help you use the guide. 1. Problems with names are usually worth climbing. Problems without names usually aren't. 2. The farther north the area is in the Vedauwoo area, the better the rock is.

The Nautilus is popular with roped climbers, but it has only two problems that are really good. The Tempest V10 and Sun Up to Sundown V6/7.

The main area has a few more spectacular problems, but they are very spread out from each other. The Gill Seam V6 is pretty good as is Har Mar Superstar V11(?).

The list of outstanding problems at the main area would include Analog V8/9 which was found by Josh Helke and isn't in the guide. It is easily found if you follow the old nature trail to the Land of the Rising Moon.

Daisy Cutter V6 is a perfect highball arete that can be easily toproped, and the NFL Dyno V10 looks really good if you're into V10 dynos.

The best rock quality at Vedauwoo can be found at the Eagle's Nest Area. All the problems here are covered in patina, and the best ones have rock that feels more like quartzite than granite. The Pawn V2/3 doesn't top out, but has excellent movement. The rock and moves on 80 Pounds of Adorable V7 are so good that I consider it an outstanding problem even though it's only 10 feet tall.

Camp Jack is probably my favorite single area at Vedauwoo. I've heard rumors that parts of it may be on private land. Keep a low profile, and if a landowner does show up, be polite. I've spent about 10 days there, mostly on weekends, and have never run into anyone out there. Outstanding problems in this area include Sweet, Sweet Lovin V1, Skeavey Bastard V4, Suzuki Roof V5/6, and Desperado V9. Below are Suzuki Roof, and Skeavey Bastard.

Coyote Rocks is a very nice, and concentrated area by Vedauwoo standards. Roast Possum Vinegar Pie V5, Acid House V6, and Heart of Stone V6 (V8 in the guide) are the best problems. Short Bus V8 might make the cut, if I could figure it out. The Rose V7 and the Thorn V8 should be tried if you're in the area. Below is Heart of Stone.

Building Blocks V6 at the Citadel is fantastic, but I haven't enjoyed most of the other problems at that area. I really like the Bunker, but no specific problem there feels perfect. There are many other good problems at Vedauwoo, but this is a list of problems that really stand out for me. Hopefully this list of recommended problems will help people have better sessions at the Voo. If you're inspired to make a trip to the Voo, I recommend late September and early October. This time of year often has the best weather, and the most beautiful aspen leaves. This article leaves out the crack boulder problems which can be fun if you take the time to learn how to climb them. If you're ready for a new type of challenge, bring a roll of tape and jump on a few.


Dropknee said...

Hey David. Thanks for the beta. Maybe this fall I could con you and Ashley into a tour of VW?! Enjoyed. -Andy

David said...

Hey Andy, Drop me a comment or e-mail when you're interested.

chuffer said...

me too.