Thursday, June 4, 2015

Nowhere But Cody, and Then No Way Home

Still catching up here on the Lloyd Climbing Blog, and today I'll be recapping our experience over the Memorial Day Weekend.  The forecast called for a lot of rain, and I had a full day of school work to do.  Based on forecasts, I decided that I'd work on Saturday, and we'd climb on Sunday and Monday in Cody, where it was supposed to be drier.  

While I sat working all Saturday, Instagrams kept popping up from the Rock Shop.  It turned out to be a good day up there, despite the rainy forecast, and we had missed it.  But it was too late, we just had to stick with our original plan.  On Sunday morning it was raining steadily in Lander.  Ashley mentioned that she was worried about rock fall in Wind River Canyon after so much rain.  I reassured her that it would be fine.  But when we drove through the canyon, I was dodging some grapefruit sized rocks that were sitting in the road.  It was sketchy enough that at the end of the canyon I gave Ashley a celebratory fist bump.  The rain was still falling when we got to Cody.  So we just spent the afternoon at the Rec. Center, checked into the hotel, and went out for dinner.

But Monday morning was beautiful!  Partly cloudy, 60 degrees, and no wind.  We were in just the right place, at just the right time.
 We climbed a lot of fun problems at the Sphinx Boulders.  Highlights included ascents of "Mini Cave Center" V6 by Ashley and me, and then Ashley climbed "F.G.," a V7 just to the right, using intricate beta.
 We had a pretty full bouldering session, and then it started raining again.  Back in town, we found out that the road through Wind River Canyon had been closed due to landslides!  I looked at a map to figure out how to get home, and realized that we couldn't get home. Not in any reasonable way.  Instead of a three hour drive, getting us home by mid-evening, we'd have to drive to Sheridan, or over the Bighorn mountains to Buffalo then down to Casper, and home from there.  With some snow predicted for that route, we probably couldn't get home that way until the middle of the night.  The only other route was through Yellowstone, at the end of the holiday weekend, which (best case scenario) would also not get us home until after midnight.  So we called our school principals, and made emergency substitute plans for the next school day.  We booked another night at the hotel, and then went out for sushi.  An evening of emergency and extravagance. We decided we'd wait in Cody until noon the next day to see if the road would open.  If not, we'd drive back through Yellowstone.

That left the morning to fill, so we got up early and went bouldering at the Highway Boulders.  We started on the Cornflakes Boulder.

Ashley climbing "With or Without Sugar" V3.
 And that's when it hit me that Cody is one of the most fun bouldering areas I've been to.  Rock like Joe's Valley with the features and angles of Hueco Tanks, just minutes from the car without any bureaucratic hurdles to jump over.  It's perfect!

We climbed a couple convenient V5s  on The Fishhead Boulder including
"Tuna Town."
 And really enjoyed "Barely Hanging On" V3 and "Barely Right" V4.
 We left at 11 o'clock, and the canyon was still closed.  So we drove home through Yellowstone.  It was a long drive, but spectacularly beautiful.  I somehow resisted pulling over for photos all day, but had to pull over for this rainbow about a half hour from home.
That's the full Memorial Day weekend report, and we're almost up to date.

Next time, the first week of Summer Break spent at the City Walls.

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