Sunday, March 24, 2013

Winter Returns

I'd planned to take a bouldering trip this weekend, but I guess two good weekends in a row was too much to ask for this time of year.  Cold and snow returned, but the sun was out today so we decided to try climbing in Killer Cave.  No one else had hiked up to the cliff yet, and sometimes it was difficult to remember exactly where the switchbacks were.  
 Sinks got a lot more snow than Lander did.  Knee deep in spots.

I warmed up by onsighting "Elmo's Fish."  It's such a popular route that I've never been able to get on it until today.  It's a good route.  For our next route we wanted to get out of the snow.  Only the central part of Killer Cave was snow free, but the sun wasn't hitting "Bush Doctor" yet.  So we jumped on the first corner pitch of "Zero Degrees" which was just coming into the sun.  The rock was still too cold though, and we ended up suffering our way up it with very cold fingers.

On the bright side, it set up a perfect rope swing for the girls.

 Devlin and Ana made it up to the crag today too, but that was it.  I'm guessing that a lot of climbers are tired of fighting the snow by now, and know that if they just wait a little bit, it will all be gone soon.  The cliff was busy on some colder days mid-winter.

Devlin warming up.
 Ana finished "Bush Doctor" recently.  And today she began working on "Ring of Fire."
I looked around for another climb to do, but there was a cold wind outside of the cave.  We decided that it was best to just hike back to the truck.  We didn't end up getting much climbing done today, but I'm still happy that we went up to the cliff.  Sometimes just getting outside for an afternoon, and getting a little time on the rock, is all that is necessary.

Guide Update: The books should be here in less than two weeks!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Early Spring Climbing

Life and climbing haven't slowed down at all.  Lately only blogging has been put on the back burner.  Getting the guide as perfect as possible, and going over all the proofs took some time.  School has kept me busy, and we've been getting out climbing.  Late February and early March can be somewhat difficult for outdoor climbing, but we've been able to climb every weekend.  Some sessions were a little cold, but others were perfect.  I can't complain.  We spent one session up at the Dolomite Band with Ana and Devlin.  They're a climbing couple that moved to Lander a few months ago.  It's been really fun getting out bouldering with them, and our kids get along great together too.  Our session at the Dolomite band included some T-shirt weather, but it ended with snow.

Ana reaching the crux of the B1 traverse.
 Ashley and I had a really nice day of sport climbing on the Squaretop Boulder.  German Girl doesn't get any stars in the guidebook, but I think it's a worthy climb.  It isn't too sharp...if you make really big moves.
 And it's one of the steepest lines around.
 Sierra is getting good enough to get a workout on our climbs, even if she isn't quite able to finish them yet.  It's been fun watching her improve so quickly.

One crisp day I was able to send the extended B1 traverse at the Dolomite Band.  It felt good to finish off a long term project that definitely wasn't my style.  Somewhat pumpy climbing leads to a powerful finish.  It felt V8 to me, and I lost track of how many sessions included some work on it over the last couple years.  Somewhere between five and ten.  Here's the video if you're interested.

 Daylight savings time has allowed more exploration after school.  It's a little painful in the mornings, but definitely worth it.

I'm always checking the weather to catch as many good days in the desert as possible.  With a bit of snow and mud around, we decided against a trip to OZ last weekend.  No need to mess up roads that aren't messed up yet.  So we went to Sweetwater instead, where the roads were completely dry.  I was just hoping for a relatively pleasant, climbable day, but we hit perfect conditions.

Jesse working on a new dyno problem.
 Jesse getting set up again.
 Jesse getting the first ascent of "Tappin' the Rockies."
 Just when things would start to get too warm, a gentle breeze or a few clouds would come by.  It was so nice.  And I just can't get over the wide open spaces out there.
 The rock is great too!  Solid, but with very little friction.  You need to have good technique, and grip pretty hard to stay on.  Even short problems can pump you out, and get your heart rate up.

Devlin on "Old School."
 Ana, Devlin, and the Sweetwater ambiance.
It feels good to be blogging again.  Now that the book is truly finished and just waiting at the press, I should be able to blog more regularly.  It's a good time of year for climbing too.  If you check the weather, and think about micro-climates, you can get conditions that are almost as good as the Fall.  More news next week.