Monday, October 18, 2010

Cody Bouldering Sessions

Ashley climbing "Arnold Palmer"

We had two fun sessions bouldering at Cody last weekend. We were in the mood for a trip, and the concentration and quality of developed problems on Cedar Mountain keeps calling us back. On Saturday, the Snyder family joined us at the Sheep Camp area, and Mike gave us a tour of many great problems. Half of them were new lines, done since the guide was published.

Mike climbing the classic "Tiger Style."

Ashley sending "Manley Traverse."

We enjoyed getting to know Mike and Meg, and we had a productive session too. With lots of good beta, I climbed "Ahona Verdugo" and the highlight of the day was watching Mike get the first ascent of a classic and difficult line that climbs from a sit start on the right arete into the top out of "Ahona Verdugo." It will probably be named "When Life Gives You Lemons" and it's on the top of my list when we get back.

Here are a couple photos of Mike working the problem.

Meg recommended a Mexican restaurant, and it was just as good as any I've visited in El Paso.

I thought it was supposed to be cold and rainy on Sunday, but when we got up the weather looked good. I was a bit stressed about all the work waiting for me back in Lander, but Ashley talked me into a short session at the Stonehenge Area before we drove home.

Another shot of "Arnold Palmer."

Ashley climbing "Shyza."

Getting scared, but topping out anyway on "Narmar Arete."

I continue to be impressed with the bouldering on Cedar Mountain. Thanks for the tour Mike, and all the effort you've put into the area. We're looking forward to our next trip, and hope that we can get out with you all again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Sweet Day at Sweetwater Rocks

Plans to visit Cody this weekend changed with the weather. Saturday was windy and rainy so we cancelled the Cody trip, but Sunday looked like it would be beautiful in our part of Wyoming. When I saw a forecast for Jeffery City predicting a high of 60 degrees and wind at only four miles per hour, I knew we had to go to Sweetwater Rocks. Whenever I post about the Hampi Boulders I like to make sure that the access situation there is well understood. As long as everyone is respectful of the landowner's wishes, we will probably be able to continue climbing at this spectacular area.

Hampi Boulder Access Information
Many of the Hampi Boulders are on private property, and vehicle access to climbs on many of the domes at Sweetwater rocks crosses private property. The landowner allows access, but this access could be revoked at any time at the landowner's discretion. An employee at the BLM told me that the landowner will allow climbers in low numbers, but has expressed the opinion that they don't want their land to become a "destination climbing area." To maintain access, it is very important to limit group size, and the number of vehicles parked near the rocks. Anyone visiting Sweetwater areas on private lands, or requiring roads that cross private lands, should maintain a low profile by visiting in small groups with few vehicles, leave all fence gates as found, cross bridges slowly, never build fires or spook animals, and obey posted signs.

Conditions were about as perfect as they get at Sweetwater. Comfortable bouldering in either sun or shade with a light breeze. The highlight of my day was sending the "Hampi Boulder Traverse" 4th try of the day, after a, too pumped to do anything, fall off the end on attempt #3. Here are a few photos of the crux sequence.

The crux for me is catching the swing when I release the heel hook.

I'd call it a very solid, world class, V7.

From there we checked out many lines up on the formation.

I found a bunch of lines that look incredible, but still need some cleaning. I'll get back to them someday, with brushes and a rope. We kept walking to some clean established lines. The granite on top of the formations at Sweetwater Rocks has the coolest patina covered wavy pocket features I've ever climbed on.

We did a fun variation I'm calling "Pocket Swing" that climbs the crack, matches in the perfect wind carved pocket out left, and swings left to an insecure but not too difficult top out. The glassy patina face is pretty much useless for your feet.

I'm hoping for a few more sessions out at Sweetwater this season, if other good bouldering plans don't interfere.

In other news, no one requested a tour of the sector I developed at the Source, so I might have it to myself for a while. But Chris has been busy in the area too, based on this video from the NOLS blog of his new problem "War Tactics."

We've also had a couple great sessions out at Wild Iris with nice conditions recently. If I had climbing photos, I'd write about them, but all we have are photos of us in front of the beautiful Autumn colors.

So much climbing, exploration, and development to do. When will I find the time?