Exploring boulders I've never seen before is one of my favorite things. Each new area opens up new possibilities, new problems, or places to go when conditions are right. The boulders of Wyoming are covered in snow or being blasted by icy winds this time of year. But we spent Christmas in Colorado Springs, and our break aligned with a couple days of good weather down in Roy, New Mexico. The bouldering near Roy has been somewhat of a secret for many years now. I went to explore the area, without much information, on a snowy day a couple years ago. I saw that the area had a lot of rock and bouldering potential, but I wasn't able to locate the good, previously developed, areas. This year a friendly New Mexico boulderer shared some directions and a google map with me before we made our trip. Thanks for that! It made all the difference. I'd share his name, but I'm not sure how often he wants to get bothered with beta requests.
I'm having trouble deciding whether this area needs to be a secret or not? It isn't an area that will appeal to everyone, and in some ways the secret has already been out for years; the place has appeared in many blogs and online videos. But the best problems there are pretty difficult to find without beta. It's an easy place to keep quiet, and the camping nearest to the best bouldering is somewhat limited. Some of the trails and problems could probably benefit from a little more traffic. But no one wants crowds. Ultimately I don't feel the secrecy issue is up to me to decide. I'm posting this; but I'll let the area's developers decide how much information they want to share.
With a map in hand, and following any cairns that I came across, I was able to find many established sectors.
On our first night at Roy the air was so still I decide to sleep out under the stars. Ashley bought me a new down sleeping bag for Christmas, and I was excited to test it out in cold conditions. I'd never slept in a down sleeping bag before. Based on published pros and cons lists in camping books I'd always bought synthetic bags. Now in my late 30's, I realized that some qualities just can't be accounted for in a pros and cons list. Yes, down might be expensive and lose all insulating properties if it gets wet, but if you keep it dry it is like sleeping in a light and airy comfy warm cloud.
Most of the best boulders at Roy are tall, and many are highball. The best rock reminds me of Rotary Park at Horsetooth Reservoir, but some of the area's rock is sugary and fragile. This single boulder offered both rock types. The west side was surprisingly fragile, but the south side had perfect patina.
Warming up on the south side.
"Spring Chicken" a.k.a. "Thumbelina" offers classic movement. I onsighted the line. Ashley got "full value" out of the problem, but eventually worked out good, intricate, beta for the top and sent the line.
The next day I went in search of the World Wide Wall. It was difficult not to get distracted by other rock on the way.
After more hiking than I expected, and more hiking than was required, I found the wall. I also found cairns that lead to the top of it. I ran back and got Ashley so we could start climbing. We followed the cairns to the edge, and then I realized that though we could drop our pads and down climb to the World Wide wall, our dogs couldn't make it. Worried that they might hurt themselves trying to get down, we decided to start climbing on the boulders above the World Wide Wall instead. We made up four good variations on this wall.
Ashley warmed up again, out the left side of the Solar Roof. Thirty feet of horizontal climbing on mostly jugs.
For Ashley, the big move required a bit more work. She tried four different methods, and decided that it probably wouldn't go for her.
I told her repeatedly "Try it just like I did it. There isn't going to be an easier way for you. You just have to do it my way, but jump a lot harder. Please try it my way a few times. I think you can do it!" After a power spot, many tries, and further encouragement she did the move. After a couple more attempts from the start, Ashley sent the line.
The expression below says that Ashley is simultaneously happy to have gotten the problem, and also upset that I was right.
To wrap up this post, I'll just say that if you're looking for concentrated, convenient bouldering, with ratings, beta, a guide, and other boulderers, Roy isn't the best place to find those things. But if you like highballs, exploration, bushwhacking, making things up as you go, brushing rock, breaking trail, development potential, and sunny weather away from everybody, Roy might be just what you're looking for.