Monday, May 27, 2013

Savoring Summer Bouldering

The end of the school year is a busy time for teachers.  So busy for me that I had to put the climbing blog on hold for a few weeks.  But our summer season has been getting off to a strong start.  I've been getting outside to calm my mind after hectic days at school, and spent yesterday in Devil's Kitchen, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Upper Kitchen
 Long May days allowed me to spend evenings scouting and brushing boulders at the Rock Shop.  Occasionally on my own, and a couple times with Alex.  He's a boulderer from Missoula on an extended bouldering road trip who's excited to develop new problems.  One evening I brushed a tall problem on rappel.  Alex told me that he planned to camp nearby and climb a bit the next morning.  So I did what I had to do.  Despite the fact that I'd only planned to clean boulders that evening, I put on my climbing shoes, and fired the freshly brushed line.  It's named "Preemptive Strike."

Ashley climbing the second ascent of "Preemptive Strike" V3.
 The next day, Ashley and I got back to the Rock Shop and I climbed a new line that starts in underclings a few feet right and traverses the two diagonal cracks left to join the same top out.  It's a V5 called "Caroline Test."

Ashley committing to the common top out.
 I also brushed up a line I'd found last year.  I'd hoped to stay under the roof, but that line ended up being harder than I could do, and it also felt contrived.  The uncontrived line using the right arete goes at V4.
 The best way to top it out is using a pommel horse mantel.  I called it "Giddyup" and thought it might deserve three stars, but eventually decided to settle on two.
 Ashley and I planned to end one session with an easy problem.  This wall above "Giddyup" looked like it would be V2, but it's actually really tricky to climb.  We couldn't send it at the end of the day.

A week later, I came out on the afternoon of the last day of school to work on it with Alex.  The feet and handholds are all at strange angles.  To climb it requires foot jamming in pods, and awkward core tension.  Then once at the lip you need to commit to a scrunchy traverse to the right with feet on a sloping ledge.  The hand holds are good though.  The committing exit, and it being the last day of school, lead me to the name.

"The Great Escape" V5

 Conditions have been surprisingly cool at the Rock Shop.  Windy on top of the formations, but with just a pleasant breeze in the forest below.

Ashley took advantage of cool temps to make a quick repeat of one of her Rock Shop favorites "Burly."
 Roo enjoys cool conditions too.
 The wet spring has lead to an exceptionally pretty early summer this year.  The wildflowers are doing great.
 And Red Canyon is more green than red.
 In addition to the Rock Shop sessions, we've been doing things in Sinks Canyon that aren't new, but are still new to us.  In the guide I included the Slug boulder above the Cabins, but I hadn't gotten a chance to climb there yet.  The lines needed re-brushing, but they're ready to go again and offer interesting climbing on sloping holds.
Ashley climbing "Half Slug" V5.
 Today Ashley spent most of her session on the "Power of Now" boulder a.k.a. Broken Face.  In the guide I only documented one problem, but Ashley climbed five.  I think all of these lines were first done by Jeremy Rowan.  I'll do an update about them on the Bouldering in the Wind Rivers site soon.

The "Power of Now" boulder's left arete V2.
I was too worked to climb today, because I spent all day yesterday bouldering with Kyle, Jesse, and Jesi in Devil's Kitchen.

Kyle is filming some Devil's Kitchen bouldering to include in his upcoming film "Wind and Rattlesnakes" about the history and development of climbing in the Lander area.

Jesi came along to help out with the project.  Here Jesi films Jesse on a warm-up.
 With Kyle and Jesi already documenting the day's bouldering better than I could.  I spent the day documenting other things:
  The wildflowers.
The waterfalls.

 And the walls.
If the features of a natural landscape can combine to form something greater than the sum of their parts, like the individual instruments can in a piece of music, then Devil's Kitchen is a symphony.

Jesse showed us an alternate road out of the Kitchen that leads higher up the hill.  The higher vantage points, and snow covered peaks were so beautiful that we stopped the truck a couple times just to take photos.

 Beautiful weather, vast wild landscapes with fields of amazing boulders, and eighty consecutive days off.
 It's going to be a good summer...

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