Monday, August 8, 2011

Wind River Bouldering in the Falcon's Lair

Falcon Rock
Yesterday, Davin, Brian, Jeanie and I hiked into the new alpine sector. We bouldered for six hours, and made the hike out again. We hadn't officially named the place yet. Tongue in cheek, I called the area "Falcon's Lair" after the large falcon shaped rock visible above the boulders. "Because the area should have a name at least as cool as Wolverineland." The name seemed to stick, and though I suggested others, it turned out to be too late. The area is called the Falcon's Lair now. It's not my fault, the rock formation deserves most of the blame. Come on, it looks just like a falcon. Anyone would have suggested the name.

Since getting back from Squamish, I see lip traverses everywhere. It's like a disease. We started our day by warming up on a very good lip traverse that caught my eye. I named it "Squamish Syndrome" V2/3. I drew a line showing it on this photo.
Davin and Brian let me try a lot of problems first. The rock has good friction, and things were easier than they looked. I ended up getting to name a lot of the moderates.

Here is Davin climbing "Lander" a very nice V1 roof on jugs. A sloper on the edge of the roof, furthest left in the photo, is the starting hold of a V3 Brian found. Brian gave me the first attempt. I've decided to name it "Capps' Slap."
I'm impressed by Brian's level of motivation. It's inspiring that he drove all the way from Boulder to check out "Falcon's Lair," just days after getting back from a bouldering exploration trip to Alaska. He's traveled a lot, and is able to share beta on the best bouldering areas, worldwide.

Brian getting the second ascent of Davin's problem "Day of the Black Fly" V4.
Brian explored a large section of the valley during the session, and found a lot of blocks that look promising.
We could have climbed boulders in many directions, but we ended up going up to the edge of the snowfield. Drawn by the cool conditions, the beautiful stone, and the fact that we'd already looked at it last week. As small storms passed the temps ended up falling dramatically. The wool caps and fleece we brought were put to good use. Our finger tips hardened, and the rock made a good impression. At one point I heard Brian say "This stone belongs in a museum."

We started climbing on a boulder we call the Ice Cave because it had fresh icicles at the bottom. I climbed the easiest line of holds I saw coming out the roof, for a problem called "Cracked Eggs" V3. In this photo, Davin is sitting at the lip of the problem. The roof moves were lowball yesterday, but they won't be when the snow melts.
Brian climbed the first ascent of the most difficult problem out the roof so far "Wind in the Willows" V8. Davin got the second ascent, and I came close to finishing it.

Brian climbing "Pika Prow" V1+.
Davin put up a classic V1 slab to the right called "Musk."

The best line of the day had caught Davin's eye during our exploration last week. The bottom climbs really well, with interesting movement on pinches, heel hooks, and slopers. The snow has melted, and the landing is worse now, but not ridiculous. The top is difficult and committing. It's still a project, but it will be a classic once it's unlocked.
At six o'clock we decided to head out. If we had visited another sector of boulders, we would have ended up hiking out in the dark.

Brian riding his pad down a snowfield.
Carrying out the sled.
Nice light and a scenic view.
Alpine bouldering in the Wind Rivers takes much more time and effort than a trip to our local sport climbing areas such as Wild Iris. If you've already spent bouldering days going into the main areas on Mt. Evans or to Upper Chaos in RMNP, the Falcon's Lair approach hike is comparable. A complete session requires a full day, some hiking on steep slopes, and across fields of talus. The reward is beautiful alpine scenery, crisp conditions in the middle of summer, and clean granite of incredible quality. I love the area, and plan to get in as often as I can. School is starting, so it won't be as often as I'd like.

Thanks go to Davin, Brian, and Jeanie for the incredible session. I'm looking forward to the next one. Read Davin's excellent post about the day here.

1 comment:

Davin said...

Thanks for the excellent day as well!

Will be back up as soon as possible. Hope you get out and enjoy the day.

I will also suggest the Falcon may look a bit like a wood pecker, maybe even a kingfisher. Of course wood pecker garden is not the same experience.