The first ascent of "The Aftermath" V5.
The next Friday, Calen and Meghan met me at the Tombstone. Not only were they interested in spending an evening cleaning problems with me, but Calen had spent the day finding and cleaning new lines at the Source. We brushed a lot of lines, climbed a few, and then I needed to make a decision about what would become "The Aftermath." It might be possible for me to work the highball line ground up. Falling or down climbing from progressively higher points until I committed to going for the top. That's what John Sherman would have done. But it was also very possible that I'd hurt myself badly if I fell from the top half of the line. I remembered that John Sherman's style of highball first ascents, though courageous, had caused him to have a lot of injuries including aggravated arthritis in both of his hips. The newly brushed line looked somewhat insecure, falling off it would be scary, but it was the possible aftermath of falling that really influenced my decision. In my head I questioned "What if I fell, got hurt, and couldn't boulder for a while, or ever again? What if I end up with as many injuries as John Sherman?" My inner voice shouted in response to the thought "I'M NOT READY TO TAKE UP WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY!" A clear sign that I'd better rope up. Calen belayed me and I fell a couple times. I tried it a second time, and got to the top without falling on the rope. The next day I brought the family, and we met Calen and Meghan at the Tombstone again. Ashley toproped the line, and I decided to toprope it a couple more times. My beta improved with practice, and I felt ready to give it a try without a rope. Calen spotted, Ashley took photos, I turned off the worried part of my brain, and just climbed it. It felt wonderful.
This wasn't our first session with Calen and Meghan. They drove up two weekends ago from the Las Vegas area to visit Lander, do some sport climbing, and check out the bouldering. We took them to the Rock Shop on their first weekend. But they didn't ask for a tour of the classics. Calen said he wanted to climb wherever we were going, and maybe put up some lines himself.
Calen climbing "Pork Chop." A classic put up by Bryan V.
On Labor Day Calen gave us a tour of new lines he'd established at the Source the previous Friday. Just south of the problem "South" at Source South is this boulder. I hadn't gotten around to cleaning it because it looked a little short, but it climbs so well! Calen has a great eye for lines. He got the first ascent of "Anti venom" V6*** which starts on the lowest right rail and climbs left to an interesting undercling to sloper top out. The moves and rock quality feel just like the good stuff at Squamish. "Snake Wrangler" V4** climbs the arete and moves right along the lip to two possible top outs.
Calen did the line from a stand start on Saturday evening, but didn't finish it from the sit start. After our tour of Calen's new lines at the Source on Monday, we headed over to the Tombstone for another try. Calen let us work the line with him. Ashley made quick progress, using some of my beta, and ended up nabbing the first ascent. I got the second ascent a few tries later. The problem's called "The Arrowhead" and we think it's a V6.
Ashley climbing "The Arrowhead."
In the chimney just behind "Arrowhead" is a new easy, committing, and somewhat scary problem. A granite version of the "Plumber's Crack" at Red Rocks, Nevada. Try it if you're confident.
"Do or Die" V0
A new warm up wall with many variations, and a couple other problems were cleaned and climbed on the west side of the summit. I'll post more info when I have photos.
In just a two week trip Calen established at least fifteen new boulder problems, with days spent sport climbing at Wild Iris and Tensleep as well. Thanks Calen and Meghan for making plans with us, cleaning and climbing so many great new lines, and helping me see these areas with fresh eyes again. Have a good trip back to Vegas, and we hope to see you in Lander again soon!