Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Wild Side of the Falcon's Lair

Last weekend, we had a big day at the Falcon's Lair. We had a large crew, and more pads than ever. And I had hired a tag team of babysitters so that Ashley could check out the area.

Davin and Seth drove up from Laramie. Danny, Cory, Jeff, and Tony came up from Casper. Chris, Ashley, and I made up the Lander contingent. I was very excited about the day during the previous week, and very disappointed as we drove up in cold rain. When we reached the parking, some snow flakes were falling and the breeze was frigid. It looked like we might end up just hiking and exploring all day.

The crew, about to begin our hike.

Cory took this nice shot of snow on the hike in. Thanks for the photos Cory!
Cory's shot of Danny on the approach.
We made our way down the center of the talus to the Lander boulder. It was a rough way to get there, but we did get to look at some amazing future projects.

As soon as we arrived at the Lander boulder, the clouds began to clear. We decided it was time to eat a little lunch, and start getting serious.

Jeff, Cory, and Davin getting serious.
Chris getting serious.
Jeff getting even more serious.
It was going to be a bouldering day.

The sun hit the Lander boulder, and we got started immediately. "That Easy" got many ascents. Davin did a new line from a sit start, up the arete left of "Danger Danger." "Lander" got done quite a few times too.
Since the first day of exploration with Davin, I'd saved the long low traverse into "Lander" for Ashley. I was hoping she would be able to make it up to the Lair this season, and get the first ascent. The low finger traverse just screamed her name. Danny liked the look of the line, and began working on it too. On an early attempt, Ashley's foot slipped in the middle of the line, and Danny jumped on for a try. He got to the final jug, but dropped off so that Ashley could get the first ascent. He's quite a gentleman! I was impressed.

Cory's shot of Ashley nearing the end of her first ascent "The Landerite." It begins at very low holds about 25 feet right.
I repeated the line, and would rate it V4/5.

While the rest of us worked on a new roof project, and ascents of "Squamish Syndrome," "Boop," "Day of the Black Fly" and "Not That Easy"... Chris and Davin hiked up to the Ice Cave area to get started on their projects. We joined them a little later, and watched Davin come heartbreakingly close to getting the second ascent of "World Conqueror."
Chris was so motivated by the line, he had hiked in alone earlier in the week, and filmed his first ascent. Nice work Chris!

Danny was aiming for an ascent of "Wind in the Willows."
He came close, but will need to make a second trip. Ashley tried "Wind in the Willows" a few times too, but we spent most of our time making ascents of "Cracked Eggs," "Sidewalk," "Captain Falcon" and a new line Chris did that traverses from "Cracked Eggs" into the end of "Sidewalk." It's a fun problem that goes at around V5. I would have enjoyed another hour or two of climbing, but we needed to leave to meet our babysitter. The guys from Casper hiked out with us, just as Chris, Seth, and Davin's session was gaining momentum.

The morning rain was still flowing out of the meadows and down slippery slabs leading out from the Falcon's Lair. This made the trip out more difficult than usual.

Sliding down the dry slab to get around a wet patch.
The talus seemed a little more treacherous too.
Ashley didn't enjoy it.
We made it to the trail, just as Ashley began to feel sick. A mix of exhaustion, altitude, and a cold she had picked up from school, all got worse as we hiked the two miles back to the car. I felt alright on the hike, but developed a sinus infection a couple days later.

Elk bugled on the way out, giving the place a primeval feel. The light was beautiful as usual. The last photo I snapped was this picture of a government mule by the parking area.
The cold, wet weather gave the Falcon's Lair a much wilder feel and left me more tired than I'd experienced on previous trips. I'm very excited that we were able to climb, and that Ashley, Danny, Cory, Jeff, Seth, and Tony were able to experience the place. It was most likely my last trip of the season. I'm sure there will be many more beautiful days at the Falcon's Lair this fall, and I'll be jealous when I hear about other peoples' trips during the next few weeks. But now that the weather has cooled, other areas will fit more conveniently into my weekends, with school monopolizing most of my time.

Thanks for heading in everyone, and hanging in there while the weather didn't look so good. And thanks again to Davin, for taking me in on the first day of exploration, and making it up here for almost every session since. Great times! I'm already thinking about next summer, and all the possibilities. Such as going all out on "Mortal Angel" when it still has a nice snowdrift underneath. Dreams that will keep me psyched until next July...


Davin said...

Nice Post!

That makes three of us with the sinus thing from that day, but it was a great day in a beautiful place.

I'm pulling my pads on Tuesday, but would love to go back up with you again this season. You didn't mention the Yeti, so maybe one more trip? It could be a long, warm, and alpine fall!

Lloyd Family said...

Thanks Davin.

I would enjoy getting back on "The Yeti" and haven't ruled it out if we get a warm Saturday.

Enjoy Tuesday!

Where The Road Opens! said...

Amazing trip David, Ashley, Davin and Chris. I was more than pleased with the quality and the features of the rock. It was extremely fun to explore a new area at such an altitude. A prized trip of the year by far. Can't wait to get out again and build up a few more projects. Thankyou :)