Friday, August 1, 2014

The White Stripes Sector of the Roaring Fork

We've got a new sector that we're developing in the Winds.  It's a small north facing talus field with some very large boulders.  The rock isn't quite as good as the Falcon's Lair, and it isn't awe inspiringly extensive like the Devil's Kitchen.  But it is the most alpine place, I've found nearby, that I can take my family to.  The rock is very good, and it stays cool enough to boulder all day in the shade up there, even when temps are in the nineties in Lander.  Most of the local Wind River granite has stripes, but the stripes really stand out in this part of the Roaring Fork.  So we named the place after them.    

The Tall Star boulder's impressive stripes are a form of natural graffiti.
I'd wanted to see this talus field for almost a year.  After finding a nice sector of boulders in the Roaring Fork last September, I'd begun looking at the area in more detail on Google Earth.  A talus field caught my eye that wasn't much further up the trail than we were already hiking.  Early in the Summer, I tried to get up there with Alex, but we got turned back by deep snow.  Later in the Summer, Calen hiked up to the talus field with me, and based on what I saw, I knew that I wanted to go back.
When Davin came to Lander a couple weeks ago, we hiked up with pads for the first time and started putting up problems.

Davin flashing the first ascent of "Guardian Angel Arm" V5.
Off to a good start, Davin moved on to climb"Old Mountain Chrome." A problem that's so height dependent, I don't know what it should be rated.  The nice looking problem starts in underclings, hits a rail, and works out both.
And then dynos to the arete out left and tops out.  I couldn't even work on it, because I couldn't reach the rail.
So while Davin worked on that, I put up a tricky V4 on the other side of the boulder.  It starts in poor underclings and moves up the right side of the scoop.
"Mountain Dharma"
We did a few unmentioned warm ups as well, and left some unmentioned projects unfinished.

White Columbine that grow by the streams up there.
I really wanted to get back up there to try one of my projects as soon as possible.  But my family was on a trip, and I didn't feel comfortable working on the line up there alone.  Justin L. responded to a desperate post I made on Facebook, and we coordinated plans for the day.  While we were there, Justin put up five new problems, worked on some others, and even did some exploratory free soloing.
I managed to finish a project that Davin had previously cleaned that day, and named it "Legend" V6.  I'll get some photos of it as soon as I can.  Towards the end of our day, Justin put up an incredibly good V2 called "The Mummy" and I almost sent a difficult crimpy line on the wall facing it.

Justin getting the F.A. of "The Mummy."
Ashley and the girls got back from their trip to North Carolina.  And the White Stripes area is the first place we went.  The long hike up there is surprisingly pleasant, because it's all on a trail that never gets steep.  Even Autumn thinks it's fine!

While Ashley warmed up with some yoga, I cleaned up another two lines.  A cute balance problem called "Kewpie" V1, and this line called "Chia Pet" V3/4.

Here's Ashley getting the second ascent.

I really thought my crimp project near "The Mummy" would be safe, because it had a long reach, and Ashley hadn't climbed much on her trip.  But I was wrong.  Ashley got the first ascent of my project, and named it "That's Pretty" V6.

I think Ashley's sequence might only work if you're short and really good at using tiny crimps. I got the second ascent using a different sequence and a better crimp out right.  So I think the line can be done by climbers of all sizes, as long as they're good at making big moves off of small crimps.

To sum up, White Stripes Sector has sixteen problems already, and a few more projects brushed and ready to go.  I'm really happy with the spot, and will most likely be alternating trips between projects here and at the Rock Shop until my Summer break is over in a couple weeks.
Feel free to get in touch if you want to check it out.


Davin said...

Was waiting for this post! Really enjoyed the White Stripes sector and appreciate the tour up there. Old Mountain Chrome is likely V8, but again is so height dependent, or cold fall temps dependent, it could have other grades associated with it. Looking forward to the next trip!

Lloyd Family said...

Thanks for making a trip with me! "Old Mountain Chrome" is a great line, despite it not fitting me. We'll be making more trips soon.