Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break at Sweetwater

 We decided to stay home for Spring Break this year, and it's been a great decision so far.  When you hit perfect weather at Sweetwater, the sessions are as good as I've had anywhere.  I've spent three out of the last four days in the Norwegian Wood sector at Sweetwater, and each day has been more productive than the last.  In those three days we never saw another soul, watched cloud shadows move across the plains, and soaked up the sun.

On Saturday, I'd planned to visit the Land of Oz with Cameron in order to find and clean some problems that I could climb with my family on Sunday.  Oz still looked snowy in the distance, so we went to Sweetwater instead.  Cameron made an inspiring ascent of "Take it Easy."  It seems like I'm the only person that the problem fits well.  Cameron also climbed "Norwegian Warmup" and then we started work on a project on the right side of the Norewgian Wood face.
 After about an hour and a half of attempts "This Bird Has Flown" V7 was finished.
 I also added an up problem near the start of "True Grit."  It's a SDS under the roof called "The Roof is on Fire." V5/6
Cameron and I ended the day by cleaning up a wall with some warmups and a pumpy traverse on jugs.  On the hike out, Cameron made a flash ascent of "Gimme Three Steps."  

The next day Ashley and I named the juggy wall "Coffee Wall" after it's dark patina, and that it gets you started in the morning.

Ashley got the first ascent of the full traverse and named it "Mocha Machine" V3/4.

Ashley did the second ascent of "The Roof is on Fire," worked on "Norwegian Wood" and then started working on a new line.  A traverse below "True Grit."  It climbed surprisingly well, and the start wasn't as low as it initially looked.  We both worked on it, and worked ourselves in the process.
 Then we took a rest day.

We returned yesterday for a surprisingly perfect day.  I found and brushed a good new warmup, and Ashley climbed the first ascent on her first try.  "The Walls are Coming Down" V1.

 Ashley found a new traverse project to the right, but we still had another project to send.

Ashley beat me to the first ascent of "Butterfly Traverse" V7.

It took me three more attempts, and I felt lucky to be able to finish the second ascent yesterday.  It was surprisingly difficult to finish it off after doing the start.

In over twenty days spent bouldering at Sweetwater I've only seen one rattlesnake.  But ever since our dog Sundance was bitten by one during a Spring Break in Colorado, we try not to take any chances.  A couple months ago we had both our dogs vaccinated against rattlesnake venom.  It helps us be a bit more relaxed out there.
Sweetwater has so much potential.  In just this one sector, there are many boulders to be climbed that I haven't gotten to yet.  At the moment, I'm enjoying the views and patina found up on the formation.  I'll probably finish developing the formation before moving back to the boulders in the gully.
 While hiking around I was surprised to find three new lines in close proximity to "Norwegian Wood."  Two were quite inspiring, but looked too difficult for how worked I felt.  So I jumped on the easiest and shortest of the three new discoveries.

The Sleestak Project was done from a stand start yesterday.  The SDS is still a project.  
 Here is another project found down in the main gully below the formation.
The other two projects are prettier, but I'm going to try them before I post about them.  The wind forecast isn't as good for the second half of Spring Break out at Sweetwater, but I won't let the new lines wait too long.  I'm so psyched on this sector right now!

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