Balsamroot covering the hillsides.
Small storms kept us off the cliffs Saturday and Monday. We didn't want to deal with wind while leading, or get caught in rain far from the car. During some exploration I noticed that obvious boulders above the Sinks Visitor Center are sheltered from the wind. We decided to try climbing on them.
We began on a boulder with a nice line of pockets along an overhanging face that looked traversable. This is where we decided to start.
It turned out to be a good problem. About V4 from our start, and a line beginning farther left may be possible at a much higher grade. Chris has been active in the area, and we noticed that some cleaning had been done. Chris has been so busy climbing things he hasn't come up with names for everything yet. Until we learn another name, Ashley and I will call it the "Poison Ivy Traverse." Poison Ivy is growing along the entire base of the boulder. It adds some excitement to the lowball line. You don't want your feet to slip, and the problem might not be climbable until fall if the plants get much bigger.
We also climbed a line beginning in a pocket on the left side of the face that then followed the left lip to the top of the overhang and topped out. The first move is the crux, maybe V2 once you figure it out. This had also been brushed. We're calling it "Ivy League" until we hear another name.
We ended the day on a large boulder with three old top rope bolts on top. We did some traverses, and went as high as we were comfortable with on a highball line Chris named "Beer Time."
We finished the day by climbing the problem below. It traverses the face right to left and then climbs the left arete on jugs. about V5 to finish by grabbing the top of the flake. Topping out seems unwise, the end of the flake is thin and feels quite fragile. Chris climbed this line, but hasn't named it yet. "Slice Face" seems appropriate.
Sunday evening we took a drive, and took scenic shots. We followed Red Canyon Road which is listed in the Lander Sport Climbs book as a "Scenic Dirt Road." The huge green treeless hills seem almost otherworldly.
When we skirted red cliffs on the road at sunset I felt compelled to jump out of the van for a photo.
Whole hillsides are covered in wildflowers and scattered with cows.
Yeah it's scenic.
On Monday I ran into Jesse downtown. He's moved to Lander, so I was hoping to run into him. In Lander it seems like you'll randomly run into anyone in town, usually within three days. We talked about bouldering and made some plans. A difficult looking problem Ashley and I had looked at on the left side of the large boulder came up. Jesse thought the sit start was still a project. Ashley and I went out that night to give it a serious effort.
We began by working on it from the stand start. Ashley made quick progress, but was having trouble committing to the top out. Eventually I unlocked my foot sequence and made it to the top. A fixed rope came in handy on the descent. After seeing me do the top, Ashley topped it out and we focused our attention on the sit start. I was working on an intricate and strange undercling sequence to move into the right dihedral before reaching a right hand to a slopey undercling. Then Ashley tried the move in the most straight forward manner possible and it worked! She nabbed what we thought was a first ascent from the sit and named it "Go Beaver" after the lyrics of a Yellowstone campfire song. I found out tonight that Chris got the first ascent, but he said we could keep the name. It's a fantastic problem. Ashley could do the sit start moves pretty easily, but needed a spot for the top out. I could do the top without a spot, but found the sit start moves to be difficult. That's why you see Ashley doing the first moves, and me on the end in the photos below. Eventually I caught the undercling and topped out the line from the sit. Chris thinks it's V6, it felt V7 to me, and Ashley calls it "moderate" which is her word for somewhere between V2 and V10.
Ashley wasn't finished yet. She began with a sit start on the right arete, traversed the face into the slopey undercling and topped out "Go Beaver" to create the problem "Beaver Time." This most likely was a first ascent. I didn't have the endurance to finish it on Monday, so I'll need to go back.
The first move of "Beaver Time."
Ashley was on a roll. So she did the sit start to "Go Beaver" and traversed all the way into the sit start on the right arete to create "Beaver Jive." The north face of this boulder provides a full workout by itself.
After climbing we took a look at the Popo Agie river which running higher than it has since the Sixties.
I found this photo on Google Images of what the Sinks usually look like, where the river disappears in the cave.
This is what the Sinks looks like now, most of the river is just flowing past the cave. Lander has had some flooding this week, and camping in City Park is closed until it's over.
Chris and Graham have been spending a lot of time exploring and bouldering in Sinks. I'm excited to keep finding what they have found.