Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Merry Verde Month of May

Baby Roof, Crimps Start V5/6
It's been a while, and we've been busy.  So there's quite a bit to talk about.  This is going to be a long post.

First off, ALL of Wyoming is bright green right now!  Even Sweetwater looks like it could be located in Ireland!  Lately the weather has been wonderful, but the month didn't start out so merry.  Our planned Spring trip to Neverland, that we'd scheduled a couple weeks in advance, had to be cancelled due to an early May snowstorm.  That storm is one of the reasons it's so green now.  The four day climbing weekend we'd set up turned into a long weekend of catching up on school work.  We did get out for one afternoon of climbing during that long weekend at the Dolomite Band.  It was the only area around that was free of snow.  Since I've finished off all the established problems on the main section of the cliff, I explored the seldom visited walls to the right of the main area.  I climbed Baby Roof from the lowest start that I could manage.  It goes at V5/6 and my method requires a knee bar.

Further to the right on the cliff band, minor cleaning was required for this V3 left to right traverse.  It could have been done before.  This photo makes it look better than it is, but it is worth climbing.  It tops out after passing the roof.
The line shown below required more cleaning, so I'm not sure if it's been done before.  It goes at V3 from a SDS, and I'm calling it "Jenga," until I learn of a previous name, because it has a lot of loose blocks on top.
The final weekend of the school year included an absolutely perfect day.  Sunny and 60 degrees with just a slight breeze to keep everything cool.  The Loop road was closed, and the Rock Shop still had snow, so we hiked up to some lines I'd seen on exploratory hikes at the summit of the Granite Buttress.  

It's got a nice view up there!
The Summit Warm Up Wall turned out to climb very well, with five nice up problems V0-V1 and a full wall traverse.
Right at the summit, is this line called "Riversong."  It's a V3/4 with the first crux being getting both feet established on the wall above the low roof, and the second crux being figuring out what to do next.  This line might have a difficult SDS one day, and we wore ourselves out by trying the sit start for about an hour.
One level below the summit is this wall with a sloping landing.  The corner and the right side can be climbed without much difficulty, but connecting the two lines intrigued me.  I did a SDS on the right, and then walked my hands across the high line of small crimps until I could swing my feet over and finish in the corner on the left.

"Walk the Line" V4/5
Walking down, with summit walls in the background.
Closer to the pond on the north side of the Buttress, Ashley got the first ascent of this SDS crack called "Buttercup."  The perched boulder sitting on the top seems really stable despite appearances.  I wasn't able to make it budge while cleaning the line. We ended up needing to use it to top out, but tried not to pull too hard on the giant unstable looking block.  It adds a certain sense of excitement and dread to this short line.
We started working the line below, but were too tired to finish it.  The top still needs a little cleaning and it probably goes at V4.  It will be one of the higher quality lines at the Summit.  This one is actually better, and taller, than it looks in the photo.
Right after the last day of school ended, I got in the car and began exploring the Rock Shop.  I finally found Bryan's problem "Darth" V3.  It's really easy to find, but not where I had been looking last season.
But the Rock Shop was either too rainy or too hot during Memorial Day weekend.  So the next week, I turned my attention to the Roaring Fork.  Alex took a long hike with me through a lot of knee deep snow.   We didn't make it to a zone that looks pretty good on Google Earth, but we made it to this new line that someone built a landing for.
Alex decided to head out to get some dinner, but I felt like a little more exploration.  Right after Alex left, I started discovering great boulders.  I came across a sector developed a couple years ago by Jesse B.  During previous exploratory trips I'd spent my time hiking the valleys, but now I've discovered that the best boulders in the Roaring Fork are perched up on the ridges.

The next day, I took my family back out for a bouldering session up there, and we got started by developing a high quality warm up block.  It has three up problems and a fun traverse.  We've stopped trying to name all the warm ups.
The area has great views too, but they're too wide to photograph easily.  I love the ambiance of climbing on this sunny ridge in the woods, listening to the roar of the Fork, while a cold breeze comes off the snowy Winds that can be seen way off to the west.
Jesse B. met us up there that day and showed us his great line "Behind Closed Doors" V7.  His line "Slip and Slide" which is just to the left, looks even more classic, but requires more pads than we had brought up that day.
After Jesse gave us some great beta, we did all the moves to "Behind Closed Doors."  A couple days ago we both went back and sent the line.  I also spent some time developing lines on a very short block called "Short Stuff."  It has high quality rock and features, but I'm posting no photos of those problems because they look stupid.  And Ashley also did a traverse that moves right from "Behind Closed Doors" called "Too Close for Comfort" V5?.  But the block behind it is so close, only climbers as small as Ashley would probably be interested in repeating the line.

Wow, you're still here!  Well if you've made it this far I'll reward you with a few photos from a four day trip we made to Neverland last week.   It's a pristine, magical place, full of wildflowers and animals, great bouldering, and has an interesting bouldering history.  If it was easier to get to, I probably wouldn't post a thing about it.  But I'm happy that it is so remote, and is such a confusing area to access,  because I already love the place, and I hope that it never changes.
Davin and Bryan didn't tell many people about Neverland for quite a while, but have realized that there are more problems out there than they could ever do on their own, and that few people will ever find this place without getting a tour.  Check out A Place of Legend if you'd like to read more about the area.  I'm grateful to Bryan and Davin for rediscovering and seeing the potential of the area, and putting so much time into exploration out there.  And extra thanks to Davin for sharing the area with us, and taking the time to give me a very comprehensive tour of this sector!  There are about 20 other sectors to see, but I'll be happy to just keep visiting this one for a while.

It's a gorgeous place this time of year.  So green!  The color and wildflowers right now make up for the too warm mid-day temps.  And two out of four evenings we had rainbows.
Davin is working on a difficult crimp project with interesting moves.  If he gets some cool temps, I think he'll send it for sure.
While Davin gave me a the tour.  Ashley and the girls set up camp.  Our home for 4 nights.
During that time we didn't see or hear a single other person except for a short visit from Davin, Josh O., and Brian H. on a day that it almost never stopped raining.
It rained so much that day, that by the afternoon we probably couldn't have left if we'd wanted too.  The 4-wheel drive, high clearance required, maze of two tracks is a bit difficult to manage even on a day that's clear and dry.  We'd planned to climb three of the four days, but due to the rain we only got to climb on two.  We all did a lot of tent bound reading on the day of rain.

So what did we accomplish on the two climbing days?

I added a nice SDS V1 to the left of "Aging Moose" called "Bullwinkle."  It's a good warm-up for the rest of the lines on the Wilford's Reserve boulder.

Ashley warming up on "Bullwinkle."  
Sierra did a couple first ascents and named them "Brandybuck" and "Eastern Hill."  They're both about V1 and nice warm up lines as well.

Ashley did the first ascent of the somewhat contrived, but really fun, "Proudfoot Traverse" V3/4.  It climbs across the roof on the formation above the Black Boulder.  Only features below the lip are on until after you've rounded the corner on the left.  The stone on this formation couldn't be any better!
We might have added a lot more problems.  I saw a plenty that I'd like to do.  But Collin H. did a first ascent that's just perfect called "Wilford's Reserve", and we really wanted to climb it.  Most of our two sessions were spent there.  On our second day of climbing, Ashley was having some trouble, but then she made one slight change to her beta at the beginning.  It worked, and she just kept going and topped out the line!  I figured out every move, but wasn't quite able to link them all together, so I'll need to return.

Wilford's Reserve V7
I could talk a bit more about things we tried or looked at, but this is already more than enough for one post.
In recent months, I've been repeatedly reminded that the world is actually a very big place.  There is a lot of space between the roads that we usually travel.  A lot of layers to this existence as well.  And I'm quite happy that there will always be quite a bit to explore.  None of us can ever see or understand it all.

1 comment:

T Kingsbury said...

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NICE!!