Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer Park

Deer Park is the suburban sounding name for a pretty wild area north of Worthen Reservoir.  We spent a couple days over a three day weekend exploring and putting up some problems out there.

Jesse on the hunt for new blocks at Deer Park.

On Friday, Matt and I spent most of the day working on the first good overhang that I found out there last Summer.

Matt cleaning what turned out to be one of the best mantle top outs in the Lander area.
 Matt and I worked on a couple lines on Friday, but just one got sent.  We both made ascents of a V6 that climbs in from the right following a seam, throws to the top, traverses left a couple more moves on great slopers, to a committing full mantel top out.  I made the first ascent, but I never would have gone for the mantel move without Matt's beta and encouragement.  Thanks Matt!

Matt climbing "Spooky" V6.
 A shot of the rock formations as seen from Deer Park.

The next day, Jesse and my family joined me for another session out there.

Jesse warmed up by putting up a tall V1 slab named "Horror Show."
 Followed by the first ascent of "Dracula" V5/6.  Jesse made the exciting jump to the top a couple times before figuring out the top out sequence.
 My weekend was made with the first ascent of "Ghost Story" V7.  It's a SDS that begins right behind Autumn in the photo below, and ends at the long tick marks.  It's hard, climbs well, has perfect stone, is a nice height, and I just barely managed to finish it.  Exactly the type of problem I look for.
 Ashley had a strong session, making ascents of both "Spooky" and "Ghost Story."  I gave "Dracula" a few tries, but stopped trying after a dismount that tweaked my ankle.  No major injury, but it hurt enough to make me cautious.

Matt and I did a thorough hike of the first two formations on Friday, and Jesse and I explored the formation to the north on Saturday.  We didn't find nearly as much potential as I hoped to, but I did find one very nice overhang that will warrant a return trip.  Deer Park won't be one of Lander's major bouldering destinations, but it will remain a quiet place with some really nice lines to do.  A fine option to have when hit by certain moods or weather conditions.  I'm happy that I got a chance to spend last weekend out there, had fun sessions with both Matt and Jesse, did some good new problems, figured out what really is waiting to be done out there, and that I won't spend all Winter fantasizing about what  I thought might have been hidden in those trees.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Finding Gold at The City Walls

The City Walls are what I've been calling a set of small formations on the east side of the highway near South Pass City.  After looking at them from summits at the Rock Shop for a couple years now, I finally hiked some of the area at the end of my summer break.  On my initial hike I was very impressed by the rock quality, but disappointed that there wasn't very much overhanging rock out there.  That fact hasn't changed, but there are some really great lines and walls to be climbed here and there amongst the slabs.

City Walls at sunset, with the rising moon.
With so much bouldering to be done at a variety of areas this time of year, it's been difficult to decide where to focus my attention during the one day per week that I'm able to free up for climbing.  Two weekends ago, we ended up back at the City Walls just because it was the area with the lowest possibility of rain on the forecast map.

We ended that day climbing on a beautiful, slightly overhanging, wall of perfectly featured stone.
Due to some lichen on the upper holds, I didn't top out the wall on that day.  That fact bothered me all week, and so I went back after school on Friday afternoon to clean the upper holds on rappel.  I cleaned another line as well, and went home when it got dark.

On Saturday, it was a little windy, but I topped out the wall first try.  It felt easier than I thought it would.

"Oregon Trail" SDS HBV3
Ashley did a traverse across the middle of the wall "The Oregon Trail Traverse" at about V3.  I added a high traverse "Oregon Trail Northern Traverse" that's probably V2.  Then Ashley did the FA of a lower traverse, "Oregon Trail Southern Traverse" at V5.  All of these traverses follow clear lines of features and could be linked into zig zags or rings.  Ashley connected the Oregon Trail Southern Traverse with a return trip on the Oregon Trail.

Ashley climbing "The Oregon Trail Southern Traverse" V5.

While we've been out there we've climbed on a lot of other walls as well.

This is "The Other Warm Up Wall" with five V1 up problems, and the long "Flaming Lips Traverse" V3.
Ashley ending "The Flaming Lips Traverse."
Right in front of the "Other Warm Up Wall" is "The Onion" V3 which climbs from a SDS on the left arete of the boulder to top out in the center of the overhang.

It was Sierra's project, but she finished it last weekend.

Here are a few other lines that got done.

Ashley climbing "The Lander Cutoff" V2.
"Placer Gold" is a steep V3/4 with the crux at the top out.
"Uncontrived Roof" is a SDS that goes at V2 to the left, and "Contrived Roof" is a V4 that stand starts in underclings and goes straight out the biggest part.
To wrap this up, I'll say that all of these lines ended up being easier than expected because the rock at City Walls is well adorned with solid, incut features, that are perfect for pulling on.  For that same reason it offers the best bouldering in the V1-V3 range that I've seen anywhere in the Lander area.  And the views are great too!
Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific directions.