Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Best Laid Plans, Can Be Revised

Thanks for indulging my odd sense of humor with the last post. Here's a standard one.

With unusually warm weather, and no recent snow, the mountains looked completely clear from Lander. So clear that we thought we could make the drive to Devil's Kitchen. I met Jesse and Chris, and we jumped into Jesse's recently acquired 4 wheel drive boulder recon vehicle to make the trip. It was a beautiful day on Saturday. And we saw a lot of pronghorn on the drive.

But one large drift forced us to turn around. It's likely that many more large drifts were waiting at higher elevations, and we'll probably need at least a few more weeks without snow before the Kitchen will be accessible.

Washakie Reservoir was our backup plan. We went to a couple nice looking sandstone boulders that I had scouted last winter. We began cleaning, and Jesse established a V3 called "Fat Boy on a Diet."

Jesse climbing his first ascent.

At first inspection the sandstone seemed just like that found in Sinks Canyon, but the more we climbed on it the more we realized that it was much softer stone. Jugs kept breaking off in our hands, and Chris had to back off when he realized that a very large flake might break off and crush him. I made a quick hike to a cave I had already inspected on a very snowy day, and discovered that with the snow gone, the cave was too big to boulder. The features were all too high to reach. We left, and now I know that Washakie Reservoir isn't worth another bouldering visit. The sandstone isn't solid enough, and the cave isn't good for climbing either.

We hadn't gotten a workout, and it wasn't too late, so Jesse and I decided to go bouldering up the Falls Trail in Sinks Canyon. Jesse hadn't done a couple problems that I knew about, and he wanted to re-establish an old classic that he had seen on an old topo. We warmed up on the upper part of "Rio's Face" and then climbed it from the, first move crux, lower start. Then I showed Jesse "Silver Spoon," and he flashed it.
Jesse firing "Silver Spoon" first try.

I began brushing "Poorman's Cocaine Corner" which is named after a famous boulder problem in Yosemite that it closely resembles.

I thought it would be clean enough, but fell on two attempts due to dirty holds. Jesse grabbed his stickbrush, went to the top, and cleaned it properly. If you like the problem, Jesse deserves the credit. We both climbed it, and it's now one of my favorite problems in the Lander area. Thanks Jesse! A three star V5 with a physical crux down low, and a mental commitment required up high. Here is the best shot I got of Jesse on the line.

We finished the day with a little exploration in the talus field. Now I'm making plans to return to this problem.

It's an established line. I don't know the name or the grade, but it looks like fun.

Optimism often works, but the best laid plans sometimes fail. Keep revising, and things can turn around. That's what happened on Saturday.

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