Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Paradise Found

Sometimes so much is going on, that it isn't even possible to update the blog.  It's been a very busy month.  But it's time to catch up.  

On Sunday, I spent an incredible day with Jesse, Kyle, Jamie, Daniel, Courtney, and Tim at a brand new sector in Devil's Kitchen.  Daniel and Courtney are pro climbers from Colorado visiting Lander for the first time.  We had nice fall weather, a new zone to explore, and an excited and talented crew.  And it was Jesse's birthday!  All the stars were aligned. 
 The new sector is amazing!  Even better than the first area that I visited at Devil's Kitchen a few weeks ago.  The drive is shorter, the hike is nicer, the blocks are more concentrated, and the view is more beautiful. It's right next to waterfalls with the stream running between many of the best boulders for pete's sake!  It's hard to imagine a nicer place.  The epitome of western mountain bouldering.  Once more problems are cleaned, I'm excited to take the whole family there.

Jesse and Collin had hiked the area before, but Sunday was the first day anyone had ever climbed there.  The field is so amazing that I found myself shouting out words unfit for print as I rounded corners and looked under roofs.  And I wasn't the only one.  Colorful language echoed off the cliffs above, and we'd follow the shouts to check out the newest finds.

 Tim climbing the first problem finished in the sector.  It traverses under the roof and follows a diagonal rail to the top.  He also got the first ascent of a nice looking V6, a little while later, on a nearby boulder.
 Jesse worked on an amazing roof project up perfect stone.
 One of the views.  With a bit of smoke in the area from a wildfire up north.
 Here is the first problem I put up in the area.  "Paradise Found" V5.  Nice stone, nice height, and the crux is at the top!  It starts at the low right jug, climbs left to underclings, and up through crimps.
In the afternoon Jamie, wanted to visit a project in the lower canyon.  But I had plenty to keep me busy in the new sector, and it sounded like Jamie would have enough pads, so I stayed behind.  Daniel and Courtney were taking a rest day, and had their small dog along.  So they decided to stay in the upper canyon as well.  We looked around a bit, brushed a bit, and then I began cleaning a roof right next to the stream.  I climbed it at V5 and named it "Live Streaming."  Then a line to the left caught my eye.  The beta was strange, and it was hard on my left shoulder, but Daniel thought it looked cool.  Then he looked lower and found a start further under the roof.  "I wish I had my shoes." he said.  He hadn't brought his along, because he didn't want to be tempted to climb on his rest day.

"Do you wear size 37 and a half?" I asked.


"Well you could wear mine."

So Daniel put on my shoes and climbed the problem in two tries.  Hopefully it didn't wreck his rest day.  It's a really nice line that Daniel said felt like V11.  He's flashed higher grades, so he would know.  After I tried the end moves unsuccessfully, it was amazing to see him do them with such control.  I set up my camera and put a video together of his ascent along with some of the photos from the day.

"One Shot Antelope"

An inspiring addition to the area.  Nice work Daniel!

During the last month, we've been sport climbing at Wild Iris, and revisiting bouldering areas as I work on the guide.  I finished up the Cabin Boulder section of the guidebook, and while looking for obscure boulders east of The Loft area, Ashley and Willow happened upon these trophy quality stashed pads.  We were barely able to haul them out to a dumpster in the State Park in one trip.  Stashing pads at a roadside area like the Cabin boulders is pretty ridiculous.  Way back in the mountains short term stashing can be a grey area due to safety concerns, and the fact that in Wyoming we usually don't have large groups of boulderers to climb with.  But my personal policy is to remove pads I find anywhere, if I see any sign that the wildlife is starting to tear into them.

  Ashley posing by our harvested giants.

I also finished up the Falls trail section of the guide last week.  This highball was fun and exciting.  It has fragile flakes for the right hand at the lip.  The furthest right began to break when I pulled on it!  Fun and intimidating V5 climbing below the trail south of Copacetic Cowboy (a.k.a. The Brazilian).  Please let me know if you know the name of this line.  Otherwise it will just be called "The Highball" in the guide.

Ashley just going as high as she wants to.
 One night over Labor Day weekend I met Davin and some other geology students at the Rock Shop, during a week long field trip they were taking.  We had a short, but fun, evening session with headlamps.  A couple of the photos turned out okay.

Heather having a go on the upper moves of "Font Simulator."
 Bart approaching a scary bear shadow.  Davin is good at shadow puppets.
 On a sad note, a few weeks ago Sundance started acting sick.  She died just a few days later.  She had a brain tumor, and was deteriorating rapidly.  She wasn't aware of what was happening, lost her balance, and couldn't walk, so we had our vet give her the injection.  She was a great dog and we'll always miss her.
 With Sundance gone, Willow was alone all day.  She's still a pup and needed company, so we picked up Roo from the Lander Pet Connection.  He's cute, fun, and plays with Willow constantly.
 When he isn't napping.
I need to get some rest too.

Tomorrow's a climbing day... after school gets out.