Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Amazing Homecoming

A section of the magical mile.
Imagine how surreal it must be... to get back home after driving over 2000 miles to sample some of the most highly regarded granite bouldering areas in North America. Then just a few days later to discover an extensive new area of the best granite you've ever seen, located less than 20 miles from your house. To be taken to the place, before anyone has ever bouldered there, and see hundreds of potential problems on stone so clean you can just grab the holds and climb. No cleaning required. Crazy right? Yeah, I know how crazy it is.

Davin sent me an email while we were still in Canada, and said he wanted to check out some alpine boulders in the Winds. Just three miles in this time. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Davin already took me to one of the most spectacular boulder fields I've ever seen, nine miles back into the Winds, last year. And his tips have lead me to all the best undeveloped bouldering I've seen so far in the Lander area. He's spent many years finding the best bouldering areas in this part of the country, and lately he's been working as a hard rock geologist, with access to geological maps and enhanced versions of Google Earth. He's motivated, and all the odds are stacked in his favor. We made plans, and made them happen.

The day got off to a slow start. I saw some boulders in the woods from the parking area, and suggested that we check them out. We hiked across wet meadows, and found many large boulders of Vedauwoo quality. There was a time when I might have been psyched, but they weren't what I was hoping for.

We headed up to the alpine, and as soon as we hit tundra we found something strange. A horse's leg with the horse shoe still attached! No sign of the rest of the horse. I can't imagine how the leg ended up there, and probably don't want to.

Davin got out his arial photos and said the boulders were below us, though they couldn't be seen under the steep hillside. We started making our way down, and it felt a little committing. We were losing a lot of elevation and I wondered how difficult it would be to get back out. But boulders kept coming into view, and we needed to see what they felt like. When we reached the valley floor, this is the first boulder we came to. Solid granite featured with edges, with many potential lines.
Some of the largest blocks in the arial photos were still covered in snow.
But we had a full mile of cabin to house sized talus to look at down the valley. We just walked down the center of the boulder field passing many boulders to either side. We knew we didn't have time to look at them all.

The boulders we did walk past, all had superlative featured stone sculpted by the alpine elements. We felt the boulders as we walked past, and I found myself yelling "You've got to see this!" repeatedly.

Davin grabbing fingertip edges.
This is the same boulder from the side so you can get a better sense of the features and the angle.
Davin at the midway point of a fingertip rail that extends behind him another fifteen feet. A low pumpy fingertip rail traverse leading to a top out of casual height over a flat landing with about 40 feet of total climbing. Who would seek out such a thing?
Davin gripping a pinch on a tall and beautiful looking line. If the snow is still there the landing will be good. The start of the problem is out of the photo, below Davin's feet to the right.
A well featured, moderate looking, arete with a perfect starting slot. This line is at least 14 feet tall.
Davin couldn't wait until we hiked in with pads, he established a classic in his approach shoes. "Rusty is a Guy I Don't Know."

We found a good way into the area when we hiked out, and now we know it won't be too difficult to hike in with our pads. That's my story and photos until we visit the area again. We aren't planning to wait long.

Davin has a well written post about the day, and some more photos on his blog. Check it out at A Place of Legend.


jacob said...


Davin said...

It was a super fantastic day!

Thanks for sharing the motivation. so many days of good rock are ahead of us now!

Pavement said...

wow, have fun with your new find... looks like you have many amazing summers to come...