Sunday, July 30, 2017

Changing States

The change is abrupt.  There is no gentle transition.  You can't be in two places at once, it's all one world or the other.  And the trip between two states doesn't feel like a transition, it isn't life, it's just driving.  So here we are in a brand new reality, full of extraordinary convenience, extraordinary heat, extraordinary desert life and landforms called Fruita, Colorado.  All new places to explore, with a feeling of excitement and ignorance about much that surrounds me.

This move was different than our move from Ft. Collins to Lander.  For one thing, we knew what we were doing this time.  We spent the first week of summer vacation house hunting in Fruita and Grand Junction.  We sold our house in Lander, found a great house in Fruita, got all the contractual dominoes to fall in the right order, and it all worked out.  Credit for orchestrating the impressive housing hunt and flawless transition goes to Ashley.
 With our house chosen, and under contract, we went back to Lander for the first half of summer.  I spent a few more weeks enjoying Wyoming.  Soon after moving to Lander, eight years ago, I truly learned to love a place.  The Wind River Mountains and the sagebrush sea surrounding them are special, a landscape that will always feel like home.

 I continued to search for boulders, despite the amount of snow that fell last winter.
 We kept up our climbing schedule, packing all our boxes on rest days.  We spent one day working "The Ground From Upside Down" 5.13a /V7 at Wild Iris, but we still need to work out one long crux move over an "edgy" part of the sloped landing, and I will need a bit more endurance to finish it.
 And we spent many days at the Rock Shop.
 Sierra sent "Perfect Storm" V6, and Ashley did it too, after clipping into a toprope for the top out.  I sent "Electric Storm" from the SDS V7/8, and we spent a session at the Sail Boulder after getting a tour from Justin Iskra.

Kelsey working out the crux of "Perfect Storm."
I took photos of many of the Rock Shop boulders, and have been making progress on guidebook work.
 We tried to get in one last day of climbing at Sweetwater, but our session got cut short by swarms of no-see-ums.  They didn't seem bothered by Deet at all!  Sweetwater just isn't a summer bouldering area.
 I spent one more day at Sweetwater that didn't include any climbing.  I was giving input during the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative Sweetwater Site visit.
 It's important to me that climbing and bouldering are considered in future management plans, and I was able to see many formations that I'd never visited before.

Such as the Tea Pot and the Sugar Bowl.
 I also saw promising looking bouldering zones.  Accessing them wouldn't be difficult.  All it would require is a respectful request to the landowner for passage across their land and their bridge.

Our time in Lander ended with the International Climbers' Festival.  I helped out with the Boulder Bash. Temps weren't perfect until 11 pm, and the dolomite boulders are as sharp as ever, but everyone was psyched, so it worked out well.  The professional photographers got a lot of great images, but I was too busy guiding, cheering, and lighting up holds to focus on photography.
 I also lead a clinic to the Weather Station sector of the Rock Shop, but didn't get any photos of that fun session.  It was a great Festival, and I'm looking forward to visiting Lander for future International Climbers' Festivals.  There's no better time to see everybody.

For our last session in Lander we visited Worthen Reservoir.  I climbed Jesse Brown's "Babymaker Arete" V6.

And Ashley repeated "Viskers" V6, one of the first boulder problems that she did after we moved to Lander.

Colorado's Western Slope

We've been in Fruita for twelve days now.  I've been taking morning hikes to look for boulders in Colorado National Monument.
I'm lucky to still have abundant wildlife close to home.
And species I've never had the chance to encounter before, such as this Collared Lizard.
But it's been too hot to boulder outdoors near Fruita.  Hiking boulders is fun, but it doesn't satisfy like actually bouldering does.  I needed to get some bouldering in.  So we drove a few hours to a low key alpine bouldering area based on a recommendation and some Google Earth reconnaissance.  We found great alpine bouldering and landings built of perfectly arranged talus.  It was obvious that this area had been visited many times before, and I managed to find a few old photos on the internet, after we got home from our trip.  I now know that efforts have been made to keep the area quiet, so I won't share anymore information here, just a few photos.

Ashley climbing an unknown V5 sds line.

I'm living in a new state now.  Significantly different than anywhere I've lived before.  But I bring what I've learned with me, and I'm confident that I'll continue to love the places I find myself in.
Because life never stands still.

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