Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Lander Bouldering Migration

The last month demonstrates, in a concise way, what has become our standard spring bouldering migration from area to area.  If you live in the Lander area, or are considering a trip, this post could help you know how our areas come into season, or where to look next if the weather changes in either direction.

May began with a bunch of snow in Sinks Canyon.  
 But it didn't last long on the north side of Sinks Canyon.  And that's where the bouldering migration begins most years.   I spent one after school session at the "Don King Dyno" V6, and unlocked the problem by using a razor sharp hold, and a dead point, instead of a dyno. 
  As the weather warms, and the winds calm down, bouldering activity moves out to Sweetwater.  We're drawn by endless rock with new things to climb, and roads that stay relatively dry.  Sierra, Dave, and I spent a perfect day out there.

Dave repeated many of the lines we put up last December, such as "Vast and Still" V2.
 I got distracted by an undone short dyno up the hill, "Small and Violent" V3.

Then I used all of my skin and determination to nab the first ascent of "Mr. Klaw" V5.  Good thing too, because Sierra sent it on her next try.
 We ended the day on a line that called to Dave, a surprisingly exciting finger crack up a slab.  It was Dave's first, first ascent.  He hasn't told me a name yet.  Until he does, I'm calling it "Starting at Zero" V0.
 In the second half of May, heavy rains caused extensive flooding in Lander.  Waterfalls fell off the cliffs in Sinks Canyon in places I've never seen them before, and the hills had some small landslides.  While checking out the new radar feature on weather.com, I noticed that Torrey Valley didn't get much rain, and the sun was supposed to come out that afternoon.  I still had some boulders to check out from a topo Davin gave me.  We packed quickly, drove up there, and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at Beck's Boulders while the rain continued in Lander.

Sierra climbing "Vladimir's Puttin" V4 at Beck's Boulders.  We added two V5 variations that follow holds left, and further left, from Vladimir.
 Before things heated up, I still had some projects I wanted to try out at Sweetwater.  Dave and Cole joined us for a day out there.  My projects didn't get sent, but I made some progress.  Cole and Dave got the second and third ascents of "Just Being Crazy" V3.

Dave committing to the crazy move.
 We hiked up to the Ocean Boulder at the end of the day.

Cole sending "Dynomite" V3.

When the weather gets too warm at Sweetwater, we often find ourselves spending a couple weeks at City Walls.  There are still great lines to be done out there, and it's consistently warmer and dryer than the Rock Shop, just a few miles away.  We spent our first climbing day of summer vacation out there with Brandon.  Brandon and Amanda were two of our climbing friends back in Ft. Collins, and now they're moving to Lander!

A cold wind sent us to a corridor where we hadn't climbed before.  Conditions were surprisingly nice there.  We found a perfect warm up and called it the "Wanderer Traverse" V1.  Here's a shot of Brandon climbing the line, with solid stone, large features, and a few pumpy slopers right at the end.

I also cleaned and climbed a line going up the wall that follows perfect features to a ledge, and then tops out to the right.  "Watery Wanderer" V3.

Sierra trying it from the sit start.

Some snow squalls came through from time to time.  But we were already warmed up, so we just climbed through them.  

Sierra getting an ascent of "Golden Gate" V4 as some snow came in.
 Just up the hill I cleaned up a traverse, and we got to work.  Towards the end of the session I thought I finished the traverse, but then Ashley unlocked a fun and logical compression sit start further right on the wall.
We returned a couple days later, and Ashley grabbed the first ascent from the best start.

 "Mom's Birth Day" V5
 We went to the Hawaii Boulder at City Walls for an evening session.  The "Tiki Power" project now goes from a low stand at V6/7, but the full sit start is still undone.
Temperatures rose in the last week, and now it's Rock Shop season again.  We got off to a good start up there.  Chris Marley's been getting up there for a while already, and has put up some fantastic new lines.  One of them is "SunDance Kid."  It's a bit tricky to rate.  The crux hold is small, sharp, and it feels ridiculously committing to dead point off of it.  But once you fully commit, the move doesn't feel that bad.  The next move is jug to jug, but it's a big move high off the deck.  When I came down and switched my shoes, my legs kept shaking.  Physically I'd call it V6.  But it ranks right up there with "Nexus" and Germ Free Adolescence" as one of the most exciting boulder problems I've done. 
Later in the day, Ashley added a ten foot traverse into "Giddyup" V4

called "Hold Your Horses" V5/6
Later in the summer, we'll continue our migration up to Deer Park, Roaring Fork, the Falcon's Lair, and possibly further into the Winds as temperatures rise.  That's our spring to summer migration.  Every area has its season.  We appreciate it while it's there, try hard on our projects because time is limited, and then get excited for the next area that's just about to open.