Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Demons Driven Back

Last week was a blur with my friend Marc in town for his B-day gala week long its my birthday bitches fiesta celebration. Of course this takes place mostly at my house. The Monday night BBQ was definitely ramped up a notch or two from the previous week and included wrestling, slack lining, and a late night showing of Grandmas Boy. I do have a video of the wrastling but promised not to show it. Sorry.

Thursday seemed much more subdued, the actual Birthday day, with just Marc, Clint and I and a bottle of Jamieson. Oh lord, frickin wrestling again. This time I was suckered into getting involved in the fun. A bruised eyebrow, broken pinky toe and many scrapes and bruises later we had had enough. Actually a pretty fun evening, stupid injuries aside. We waved goodbye to uncle Little Marc and went back to our 'normal' lives as he returned to whence he came.

Ten Sleep here we come; climbing gear-check, camper-check, kids and wife-check and we're off. First up a better camp site that is closer to the river and is shady until late morning, perfect for sleeping in. Next up, check out new Charlie routes in Antarctica. Then on to the Proj and finally a leisurely day at the Circus Wall.

The new Charlie routes were woefully underestimated by mine self. They looked short and even though I couldn't even count all the bolts, I grabbed every draw I had brought. CK's bolts are usually close and plentiful which is nice. These things were long and involved, very tricky down low and rather continuous which belied the 10 and 10- written in chalk at the base. 13 clips later I was clipping the chains. Damn! Quite the warm-ups. Meg TR'd both and after some initial griping bucked up and finished each.

On to the project. On the way over to the climb I asked the girls to think of a name for the new climb should I finish it today. Much hooha was bantered about but nothing struck me exactly what I was looking for. Meg laughed and said you should call it Papa Knows Best. That was it, and as I pondered the name while shoeing up I relaxed a bit. I pulled on climbing strong through the bottom boulder problem and executed the new move beta I worked out last week on the next section. I took a well needed break to slow my breathing, then punched it through the next crimpy part and was too psyched to stop at the big undercling, so I blitzed through the tiny pockets crux nearly pitching off the small pinchy hold and before I knew it I was clipping the anchor. Wow! Glad to do it quick today and be done with it. Grade wise I'm not so sure. 12+ seems like the right ball park, though I would like some input from Alli, Kevin and Jeff.

Day two brings more sleeping in. How frickin cool to be camping and not have the sun roast you out of your nest. Also more river play with the kiddos and a scorching hot hike up to Circus Wall. Meg was hot for Circus in the Wind 11b and I had no firm plans other than to rope gun for her and entertain kids. We ran into Marky D. who was with Mikey from Thermop and his two young kids. I wandered up to the new Hitchhikers Guide Wall and was able to convince the crew to stomp up to try these short and cool looking routes. Kitty Improbability Drive 10+ was a super climb which felt more on par with White Buffalo 11b another short fantastic CK route. After everyone ran on that one the boys had to go so Meg and our crew strolled back down to the Ice Plant/Ravens Wall areas. Meg lead the steepest route there and though complaining about her head climbed strong between the bolts, conquering fear demons is no easy task. I realized Fun Stripe .11d was right behind us and with Megs urging I decided to give it a whack. For the 7th pitch of the day I still felt pretty strong and was able to onsight it, barely clinging to the multitude of tiny pockets on the steep section down low.

Once again a lack of media this time due to forgetting my cameras. Apologies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Whirlwind

With Summer in full swing, we are busy! The shop is raging along and Meg and I are busy with side work projects as well, but when has that ever meant there wasn't time for climbing.
The success of our first family weekend camping in Ten Sleep prompted an even longer weekend, Friday through Sunday. I charged the drill packed an extra rope and all the required steel. So many routes have gone in this year, everyone is psyched and some real good 'fill-ins' have been put up. The vibe was apparently infectious enough to spur me into taking on another long route requiring lots of cleaning. The new rig took an evening and most of the next day to prep and its a doozy. It seemed easy enough to maybe send quickly, being that there aren't really any stopper moves. I tried it right away and was shut down. It gets bouldery up high and the clips are farther apart due to the lack of clipping stances. Oh yes and it overhangs nearly 20 feet in 85', with no vertical sections. Perhaps I underestimated a bit and have had six runs on it with no success yet. It is mentally and physically taxing yet still a lot of fun and I am still psyched on it, so hopefully everything will fall into place this weekend.

The local posse is still bouldering religiously every Tuesday and Thursday evening despite the smarmy summer heat. I am so not psyched about bouldering right now, yet hanging with the homies is always a kick, plus there is a movement towards landscaping right now. It is interesting how this has slowly gained momentum over the years and is now gradually reshaping the landings of many of the frequently visted boulders. Controversial perhaps yet almost unanimously appreciated.

My picture taking has reduced to nothing and I can't seem to shoot a video of anything worthwhile, so I have nothing to post on that.

On the local news front the boys are polishing up boulder problems they have been working for a while. Oh, and with the dangerous rock removed from the landing of the Orange Ripple Boulder, the Problem Ancient Sea of Fire now goes straight up as a dyno without much anxiety. We ran the train on it the other night, it seems like V5 or 6 and is way more fun than the original shoulder wrenching method first used. Props to J-Tow for snagging what I think was the FA of the direct line a few years back before the landing was fixed. Also Kerrick Stinson got the second ascent of Prize Fighter the supposed V10 sit start to the Spugilist. LG got the FA years ago due to his brute strength and enormous wing-span. Kerrick worked something different out, so I am psyched to have a look. Also he has finally found the brilliant and clandestine Clam Shell boulder which should keep him busy for a short while.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gravity Must Be Turned Down

Another super 4th of July Ten Sleep weekend!! This year Meg and I scrambled through the insanity of the shop on the 4th, loaded up the kiddos into both vehicles and towed the new (to us) pop-up camper to Ten Sleep to catch the end of the not so climbers Festival. We decided to camp at Allis house to give us a trial run at camping before parking it in the woods for a weekend. All went well and we were basically in town for the festivities the night of the 4th and for the Jalan Crosslan show on the 5th.

We took the whole family up to the crag both days and they all did great. Meg got on Schools Out .10d, and would now like to lead it, which is good cause her training assignment for next weekend is to fall on lead. This is a great route to practice falling on, being very steep towards the end.

I was excited to try Calm Like a Bomb .12d and after warming up on a new route of Hueys to the right, I went for it. The Bomb is route I bolted maybe 8 years ago and couldn't do quickly, so I walked away from it distracted by other objectives. Dan Miller was psyched about the line so I offered it up to him, and he fired off in a few sessions. I hadn't even tried it since. I had a sneaking suspicion that now was the time and sure enough it went on my first red point burn. I had forgotten how cool this line was, with giant, deep jugs for the first 7 clips and then 2 boulder problems seperated by some decent pockets and a great cryptic reachy finish. I was pleased to put the wraps on that old dog to say the least.

The girls caught a snake with a friend of mine and Ripley covered himself with dirt.

Dirt Boy from Mike Snyder on Vimeo.

The girls insisted late in the day that we go and find Charlie. Now mister Charlie Kardalef has rightfully garnered some fame at the old Sleep bolting many high quality lines over the years, but my girls love him because he is so good with kids. They are just drawn to him. Meg thinks its his bushy eyebrows. Nevertheless we hunted CK down, and after hugs we headed down the trail and back into town.

After dinner, Maya and I walked downtown to see Jalan Croslan play at the Big Horn Mountain Stage. Truly a treat Jalan is, and the place was packed with mostly climber trash. Which means about 40 of us had him all to ourselves, we danced and whooped it up. What a great show!

My Home is on the Big Horn Mountains by Jalan Croslan from Mike Snyder on Vimeo.

Afterwards I walked back to Alli's house to visit with Alli and Kev and their house guests Jeff and Gilly and to find out how their day went. Come to find out that James Litz, the powerhouse Southern boulderer was in town and having his way at the Superratic. Apparently he mowed down everything there in two days and set his sights on the old He Big 'em project. Kev tells me it took him five goes and believes it to be 5.14a which would make it the first bonafide 14 at the Sleep. Nice work James! Now if they can just drag him up to the Temple to send the really hard stuff. Yes, its bolted and waiting.

The next day we made breakfast and got away a little earlier so we could go play in the river before hiking up to the crag. The river was still raging and cold, hopefully it will settle down a bit in the coming weeks, because you can't really play in it when its that agitated. We skipped rocks and dipped our heads and it was off to the Superratic.

We ran into our new friends Matt and his son Stefan on the trail as we were applying bug spray to keep the flying oil rigs away. We sprayed them down too, and gave them directions as they were headed where we were going as well. Young Stefan is 12 and super strong sending Happiness in Slavery 12b in two tries and would flash the Behemoth .12b, a little later in the day. The Superratic has really come into its own over the last year or so with Kevin cleaning up and rebolting all Matt W's old destroyed lines and adding several new ones too. There is now a high concentration of 13's (5) and 12's (5), and with all the letters being represented there is also a wide variety, pretty cool.

My sights were set on The Hellion .13c and Kyberspace .13b. The former is a long term proj that should have gone down long ago but alas... and the other is newer and could be well suited to my strengths. After warming up on Leggo My Guano .10b with Meg, we both took a lap on the uber pocket fest The Great White Behemoth .12b. Meg commented that she felt she fought equally hard with both, hmmm... Jeff and his partner Nick had the Hellion strung up, so after watching Jeff send it smoothly I felt inspired and a bit saucy. I launched up and climbing too fast, blew it on a key new piece of Beta, which incidently works better and will save several very tenuous moves. I immediately pulled back on and did the move and nearly climbed to the rest several bolts up without incident. My forearms were tired and went into flash pump mode which forced a rest. The rest of it is easier, and all in all it felt pretty good. I will continue trying it for sure, it is easily one of the best routes I've ever bolted and someday I will send it. Kyberspace was next and as I waited for my turn, belaying and kid wrangling, a storm moved in. It started with a wind blown green pollen cloud carried by a frieght train-like noise whipping it down the canyon, very odd indeed. Then the rain clouds moved in, we packed up and ran down the trail to the car with kids in tow and narrowly beating the rain.

After a quick bite to eat, we waved goodbye to new and old friends, collected the trailer and jetted back to Cody. This may be the format for the next month, we are all psyched.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ten Sleep is where its at

Wow! How easily a month slips by. I took on several handyman projects including a kitchen remodel, building a bar for the shop and a few other things which have eaten up a lot of free time. Since the month of June was forecast to be wet I figured I'd capitalize and get some things done, though as it normally goes I took on more than I could finish quickly and now the sunny weather is back and sport climbing season beckons me away from mundane responsibilities. The month was not without climbing sessions however, there were a few Tuesday/Thursday outdoor evening bouldering sessions, the 10 PM to 2 AM night bouldering session, several trips to The Island and a couple of Ten Sleep day trips.
Yesterday was a Ten Sleep day which usually consists of me working from 7 to noon and then jetting across the basin and into the canyon. The 2 hour commute puts me there in time for the cliff to go into the shade and yield perfect summer shade temps until dark. Clint and my friend Pat Mees were along for the journey eager to sample the finest pocketed stone in all the land. Pat is perhaps in some way responsible for my appreciation and love of the Big Horn Dolomite/Limestone having been one of my more experienced and opinionated partners early on in the mid nineties when I was figuring the climbing thing out. He lives in Iowa now with his wife and kids and tells me of a secret pocketed limestone crag that lies on private land but has been developed with the owners permission by him and a small group of dedicated bolters/climbers. A closed access situation for the rest of us but 80+ routes for those with permission - pocketed limestone in IOWA who'd a thought?!
Pat has long been a Lander afficianado, with crags like Sinks, Wild Iris and Baldwin the place is a mecca. I have been traveling for the last decade to Ten Sleep as the canyon fills with routes and I was eager to show off a long list of favorites that I know rival Landers stone. Pat and I did a day trip last Thursday and managed 6 pitches 0f 5.10+ through 5.11 all of which are 3 star routes. These served as a great intro and warm up for yesterday where we concentrated on harder and longer routes.
My friends in Ten Sleep Alli and Kevin have been climbing and bolting adding new routes at the Mondo under the Great Roof. Most significantly may be the king line gold streak left of The Burden of Immortality 5.13a, which we have eyed for years but deemed as too hard, not climable or some other excuse. Now there are bolts and tick marks and Petzl sponsor draws a hangin' and it looks amazing. This little harlet will probably check in around 13d or 14a, good luck Kev. The working name is Gold Member - perfect!
I asked Alli to recommend a 13 to me that suits my style of climbing. Yesterday she was up at the Superratic trying a 13b that starts on Pick Pocket 12b and drifts left onto the face via powerful bouldery moves and then motors up typical Ten Sleep 11+/12- terrain. This route sounds like what i am looking for, bouldery power versus crimpy sickness, which I can climb but not at that level. She says it suits my strengths so we shall see.
We had a particularly good day yesterday climbing the newly straightened and lengthened Schools Out 10+/11- and Jackabite 12a. Below are a couple shots of Clint toward the top of Jackabite 12a.

Alli asked me to try the Kablamo, the Wagon Wheel of Death 11d off shoot route just left of Gold Member and give her an opinion on grade. There were 15 draws hanging on this 30 meter route so I figured what the hell I'll give it an onsight burn having climbed WWOD several times in the past couple of years, which comprises the first 2/3 of the route. The new section is bouldery puncuated by jugs and I managed to persevere and clip the chains. I figured 12b/c which is what they had come up with and were hoping I'd sway it one way or the other. It seemed harder than Hapiness 12b and easier than EKV 12c, so I don't know.
I was pretty psyched to get that one done quickly and with that we headed down to World Domination to try and explode our forearms. We stopped at Great White Buffalo 11b on the way by because it is so cool looking and only 4 clips long, a classic indeed.

Clint Cook climbs Great White Buffalo 5.11b from Mike Snyder on Vimeo.

With that out of the way Pat launched up Bobbys Got A Dirty Mouth 11c/d an old route of mine that tackles a devious slab to reach a steeper slanting crack surrounded by pockets. I don't think it had been climbed this year and had been washed clean by the rain, this produced an eye opening tech fest that Mr. Mees was not expecting. He manged the chains with a few hangs and chalked it up for Clint and I. Clint had trouble with a height dependent reach separating the slab and the upper section but climbed well otherwise. I ran a quick lap and talked Pat into one more go before removing the draws, he was psyched and fired it off in good style. He had been talking about Captain Insano 11d and with the daylight fading and a quick impromptu visit from the ever intriguing Aaron Huey, I strung it up and manged the feat without incident. Pat ran a TR lap on this steep mind numbing line and raved about it. We walked down in the dark to find a note from AAron and Charlie on the windshield directing us to their campsite in the lower Canyon. We stopped in for a quick visit then hit the road making it back after 1:00 AM. What a whirlwind.
Here is a shot of cliff line that holds The Temple and Scrot Bloc, the uppermost developed areas from the World Domination Wall.