Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Lone Afternoon at Sweetwater

Uploaded in full resolution. So much potential to explore! You can do some of it from your computer.
After two twelve hour teaching/conference days last week, Lander teachers were given Friday off. So I went to Sweetwater, and recovered from excess human interaction by being very far from anyone for an afternoon.

I did five first ascents. Four of them were on this wall.

I expected the lines to be in the V3-V5 range, but they were easier. They're nice problems with incut crimps and good feet, and they all fall into the V1-2 range. It will be a good wall to warm up on for "Norwegian Wood" and a couple projects in the area. I was having trouble thinking of names, and I ended up using a set that Danny mentioned on his last trip to Sweetwater. From left to right the problems are called "Easy" "Breezy" "Beautiful" and "Cover Girl." They seemed appropriate.

Next, I'm planning to give this roof some attention. It could be easier than it looks.
After topping out "Cover Girl" I got distracted by a boulder in the distance, and decided to hike over to take a closer look. It has a very cool glassy north face with some thin features that might be climbable. The aretes on each side will definitely go.
I kept following the boulders and found this proud patina covered face.
Then I found a sector of boulders in the sky. I'll get more photos of the problems when I climb there.
Feeling a little overwhelmed, it was time to hike out. On the way, I passed these three boulders, and many more lines, and I just have to keep telling myself "I'll climb on them someday."
It feels strange to have so much rock, and so few boulderers to develop it. Doing it on my own, one day a weekend, for a few months each year, well, I'll never be able to finish the job. It's going to take multiple people with brushes, many days devoted to hiking, and some crews with multiple pads to get the majority of the nice lines found and established. Until that happens, I'll probably be spending quite a few sessions at Sweetwater alone, brushing and climbing boulders. Just me and some wildlife.
Let me know if you'd like to check it out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Beautiful Day at Sweetwater

I'd call it prophetic, if I believed in prophecy.

Yesterday we had beautiful weather out at Sweetwater, and on a good day there is no where I'd rather be. I really like the lines I've found out there, and the ambiance of the place.

Ashley climbing what has become the standard warm up V0 in the God Eye Gulley.
Pronghorn seen on the walk in.
Ashley continued her warmup on "White Knight," a nice V3 first done last June.

"Rook" is a V4 sit start, directly below her in the photo below.
Ashley repeated Jesse's "Rattlesnake Arete" V4 using a direct and static finish.

Here she is responsibly brushing off her tick marks, even though no one ever goes out there. It's the right thing to do.
We spent the rest of the day in the "Norwegian Wood" area. I repeated it with much smoother technique on the top out than I did during the first ascent. Ashley climbed smoothly to the top, but was intimidated by the top out mantel. She will need another session to finish it off. I've begun work on a new problem, and hope that I can finish it before Ashley does. A little competition is a good thing.

I'm really hoping the good weather continues... I have so much that I want to do out there. Yesterday I happened upon a whole new sector just a minute's hike from "Norwegian Wood."

Then, on the drive out, we saw a short horse rockin' a mullet!
You never know what you'll find at Sweetwater.

In other news, the Lander Bolt Anchor Replacement Fund aka BARF has started a blog. Sinks is coming into season and the bolts will be taking a beating. Check out the blog in the links list, and consider making a donation. It helps keep Lander climbs safe, it encourages the establishment of new climbs, and it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lander Rock Climbing, a film by Kyle Duba

Lander climbing at its best! And it features the Falcon's Lair.
Well Done Kyle!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The New World and a New Problem

The New World
Saturday, I took the afternoon to check out a new area Chris discovered and named The New World. It's the loneliest set of rocks I've ever visited, found at the point where the Wind River Mountain chain dies, and the Red Desert begins. The rock is gneiss, solid and clean. There are many formations of climbable size, but few individual boulders large enough for climbing. The rock is highly featured, and most of the lines I saw would be moderates.

One of many formations from a distance.
A formation from a closer vantage point.
This wall is nicely overhung, a good height and covered with clean solid holds.
The two track that gets you there and back.
It's a cool place to hang out, and an adventurous boulderer could have a lot of fun in the area. The rock is great and there is a lot of it, so I'm sure some spectacular lines will be found.

For now, I'll keep developing at Sweetwater, which is more accessible and has a higher potential for concentrated boulder gardens. But I'll be keeping an ear out for news of the latest discoveries in the New World.

Speaking of discoveries, on Sunday I discovered the Old Lady Driver project goes from a stand start. It's listed in the guide as a sit start project, but I couldn't find any holds where a sit start would start. It's a technical problem with one fierce move, and it's a little hard to rate. At least V5, but it could be as hard as V7. The crux move is harder than any move on "Frankenstein" but it's over a lot faster.

I'll make some inquiries before claiming a first ascent. It seems unlikely that a granite boulder problem, ten feet from asphalt, in Bruce's picnic area, in Sinks Canyon, in the V5-7 range, hadn't been done yet.
It's worth a visit. "Rowan's Stand" "Robots" and an unlisted line from a diagonal pinch at the low lip left of "Bread Control" make good warmups.

After getting started on the Old Lady Driver boulder Ashley and I did some toprope lines on the Big Vision Boulder. It would have been fun to see this huge block sitting on the glacier during the last ice age.

We toproped "Super Corner" and a line that heads up slopers by stepping off the big grey boulder. Both are fun lines, set up from a good bolted anchor.

In climbing, there is always something new you can try.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Touch of Winter

Snow hit the mountains of Wyoming this weekend. It kept me from climbing on the stones, but I did get to see some nice new rocks up near South Pass. Chris took me on a tour of boulders he found at a place called the Rock Shop area. The area we hiked will never have a high concentration of problems, but it will have many high quality lines on some very nice stone. Solid rock, with pleasant friction, in a beautiful open woodland on top of a hill. I'm looking forward to taking my brushes out on a nice day.

Here is Chris below a very difficult, but possibly possible, project.
A very nicely featured overhang with a couple possible lines.
Another good roof with all the necessary holds. Though they are difficult to pick out in this photo.
And a beautiful crimp line out a roof that Chris has been working on. I couldn't believe how solid all the tiny crimps felt.
Bear sign.
A fun afternoon of checking out possibilities in a new area. Thanks Chris!

On Sunday, Ashley and I drove all the way to Jackson and back to spend an afternoon at the Enclosure Rock Gym. It was a good way to spend the day. Six total hours of driving, but it was mostly on empty roads through gorgeous scenery.
The forecast looks better for next weekend, and I'm already making plans.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting Things Done at Wild Iris and Sweetwater

Time is precious this time of year. The weather doesn't get any better, and you never know when it will turn for the worse. School has been keeping us very busy, but we've been taking advantage of the beautiful days to the fullest extent possible. I've been climbing Saturdays and Sundays. School work gets done at night, and sleep gets put off until later. There is so much to get done! And climbing projects are a significant part of it.

At Wild Iris we spent last weekend doing a little sport climbing, and bouldering on a pocket covered roof called "Frankenstein."

The leaves were at their peak.

I put together some video of "Frankenstein" which can be seen in the post below this one.

Kyle and Sophia spent the afternoon on the cliffs, and I got a few shots of them.
Kyle got off sequence, took the whip, and hung out for a bit.
Gorgeous weather, landscape, and aspen!
We went back yesterday, and Ashley completed "Frankenstein" from the low start. A difficult test of power endurance that Ashley sent more quickly than I expected. That's the second line in a few weeks she's done that I couldn't. Nice work Ash!

In other news, things are beginning to cool down out at Sweetwater Rocks, and a new season of development at the God Eye area has begun.
Jesse and Danny came out with me on Saturday to help put up some new lines.

Here they are checking out a project for a cooler day in the God Eye Gully.
I was very excited to get back to a patina covered face I'd happened across. I've never seen wood-like patina as extensive as this before.
The pressure was on to pluck the first ascents. A fun game, with close odds. Jesse got things started with a flash first ascent of "Rattlesnake Arete" V3/4. I didn't get a photo, but maybe Jesse or Danny will send me one to add to the post.

I got the first couple tries on the patina project, but then it was fair game, and the game was on!

Jesse approaching the crux.
A few shots of Danny on the project.

Quite motivated, I snagged the first ascent and named it "Norwegian Wood." It felt pretty difficult in the warm temps, but I think it will be V6 in good conditions. It's one of the highest quality first ascents I've done. Danny got the second ascent soon after, with cool looking beta. It would have been good for video, but I didn't have my tripod packed.

Danny and Jesse got on an interesting roof, I put up while exploring, and named "Take it Easy." It was moderate for me, but appears to be more difficult for taller climbers. Danny did it my way.

And Jesse tried some difficult but straight forward beta, after getting frustrated with my crunched and twisted undercling method.
I added a sit start, after Danny saw that one could be done. And then we moved on to check out some more boulders.

Danny seemed a bit hot and tired, but he was very motivated to finish the line below. I was getting close, and I could barely believe it when he topped it out first, with little rest, towards the end of the session. It was cool to see though!

"Metropolitan Glide" V5

It inspired me. Through determination and pain tolerance, I managed a second ascent of the line. While Danny and I worked on the short, powerful line, Jesse spent his time putting up two more problems. A tall line, and a dynamic one. "Urban Sprawl" is an intimidating line on glassy holds that ascends the wall seen behind Jesse in the photo above. "City Center" is on the boulder to Danny's left. Jesse felt both of them were V3.

The view from City Sector.
Seven new problems were done, four of which I'd consider classics of the area. It was a very fun and productive day. Thanks for coming out Danny and Jesse, and I hope we can get back on a cooler day soon!