Monday, September 28, 2009

The Hampi Boulders

Ashley on an incredibly good warm-up traverse.

Once again, I was a bit nervous driving into the Hampi Boulders with the mini van. I packed an air pump, jumper cables, extra water, a lighter, and a Swiss army knife. I read up on driving techniques for soft sand. I told people where we were going to be. But this afternoon the road didn't seem that bad.

We drove up to the barbed wire gate near the boulders, and were surprised to see someone parked in front of it. I was doubly surprised to see that the man sitting at the driver's seat was John Gill. Mostly out of surprise, but also out of an annoying tendency to be awkward around famous climbers, I pulled off the road, jumped out of the van, and said "Hi John" just a bit too loud, and startled him. He was very nice about it, and we had a pleasant conversation. He'd been hiking with his wife, showing her the area where he used to spend days soloing the domes. One stop on a longer road trip. He asked what we were up to, and we explained that we had moved to Lander, and were bouldering at the Hampi Boulders around the other side of the formation. We talked a little more about the bouldering. We wished them a good trip, and they left for their next destination. A good bouldering omen.

The Hampi Boulder was still in the sun, but there were a lot of other boulders to play on while we waited for it to go into shade. I'm not aware of what any of the problems are named or graded, but everything we jumped on was a lot of fun.

A really nice sloper problem.

A fantastic steep problem.

The start of the Hampi Boulder traverse.

We worked out all the moves, but slick slopers with poor feet to campus moves left us worked by the end of the session. We'll be heading back to finish this one.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Perfect Conditions at Wild Iris

The Main Wall of Wild Iris.

We got out for a perfect day at Wild Iris. The aspen have turned. The wind blew above the cliff, but the routes were completely sheltered. The sun got warm, but the rock stayed cool. It feels a little strange to say it, but I enjoy a good day of sport climbing at Wild Iris as much as a good day bouldering at Hueco.

Hiking in.

Hugging Sundance on the hike out.

No photos of climbing though. The little climbing photographers didn't make it out. Perfect climbing conditions.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweetwater Rocks

Today, the clouds broke when we didn't expect them to, the temps rose very quickly, and we roasted in the sun all afternoon in Sinks Canyon. Monos are never pleasant, but they're awful in the heat. Reachy routes, wasps crawling out of the cracks and pockets, had to leave a carabiner to retreat, worrying if the sunburn would be bad and if the rattlesnakes were getting feisty. Worst session we've had in a long while. Didn't take any photos.

Friday afternoon was interesting though. Ashley needed rest, and sent me out exploring. I drove to the Hampi Boulders at Sweetwater Rocks, and I really like what I saw. The drive to the Hampis goes over roads with soft sand. It made me a little nervous. I didn't want to get stuck by myself, in such a lonely landscape. The domes are huge back there. The area reminded me of the Australian Outback with a different color scheme.

I'm pretty sure this is the Hampi Boulder. I'm excited to give the traverse a good try on my next trip.

Bullet hard patina with cool features. Easy on the skin, low on friction.

A few other good boulders are in the area. More problems with perfect patina up on the formation, but I left my camera when I scrambled up.

I'm hoping to get back soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Distinctions Blurred

When you can't decide whether to go bouldering or sport climbing, you can mix the two in Sinks Canyon. We had two short sessions this weekend, and the disciplines blended a bit during both. On Saturday we worked on the Beehive Boulder traverse, which is longer than some routes. There were a lot of bees around, and then I saw the hive up above us. "Oh...that's how it got the name!"
Ashley on the beginning of the traverse.

On Sunday, we did sport routes on a boulder.
The Squaretop Boulder

Climbing "Burly."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Loving Labor Day

Just one more day in a weekend and so much becomes possible. The school and house work got finished, and I got out for three climbing sessions over the three day weekend. I'm exhausted, but it feels good. Davin, Marla, Bryan, and Rachel came up to the Lander area. Davin showed me two new areas, and gave me topos to enough problems to keep me busy for quite a while. It's wonderful to know where these great areas are, and to be sure that I won't run out of good bouldering anytime soon. I can't thank Davin enough for generously sharing his knowledge and time.

On a weekday session, we hiked above the Cabin boulders and found some good problems on sandstone.

On Saturday I rode with Davin and Marla to Torrey Valley, and it is beautiful! It reminds me of Moraine Park in RMNP with even more rock to look at. We spent the day climbing on widely spaced granite glacial erratics.

Bryan working "Moving to the Darkside." The move felt too big for me, but I climbed an open project on the left side of the boulder. A mantle on a feature, then up the lichen covered 45 degree slab. It felt a bit sketchy. I called it "The Green 45" V3.

Marla's Mom donated a large turnip for us to share.

Davin patiently waiting for his turnip.

Fun with Oscar.

The Mead Boulder
Davin climbing "With a Little Help From My Friends."

Bryan doing a first ascent on the Mead boulder.

On the drive in and out we passed a bunch of nice looking sandstone boulders. They would offer some nice bouldering, but they're covered with petroglyphs and therefore off limits. Wild looking pictures in a unique style that the Shoshone say were already made when they arrived. Maybe created by the little people.

We stumbled upon a large group of climbers from Ft. Collins who were camping at Wild Iris on Sunday. Jimmy and Melissa, who now live in Denver, were part of the crew. We hadn't seen them in years. It was great to see them again, and meet their children.

Today, we went to Sweetwater Rocks, and from what we got on, I'd describe the area as three parts Vedauwoo mixed with one part Hueco. I'll definitely be getting back as soon as we get a weekend with the right weather.

A fun warm-up.

Ashley did a new problem across this boulder that we're calling the "Panorama Traverse."

The El Paso boulder is very good. Nine finished lines, and at least three good looking projects.

Marla and Rachel hung out with Sierra and Autumn. It was wonderful to just focus on the problems for a while.

Great times.