Its been awhile since I've posted anything, climbing or otherwise. In fact there have been two moderate days at the Island, two trips to Tensleep and two bouldering evenings on Cedar Mountain, one finished kitchen, one torn apart and one appeal to the City Council since the last post.
Two weekends ago was the last family outing to Tensleep. We harranged some friends into joining us and had a mess of kids in tow. Wouldn't you know it we picked the rainiest weekend in the history of rainy weekends to try and pull off camping and climbing with that many kids. Stir crazy would be a word that could be used to describe this experience, soggy, flooded, condensation, waterlogged are others that come to mind. Fortunately the sun came out Sunday by late morning and afforded us a little salvation. We headed up to the Wall of Denial and climbed two chunky and funky 10's ala Mr. Kardalef. I hopped on an old Stan Price .12a called Speak of the Devil and realized by the 3rd bolt that I never wanted to touch this route again so I had better not fall. Old skool rawl 5-piece bolts siliconed to the rock and spaced way too far apart at the bottom and way too close together up high were the theme here. I've climbed some excellent SP routes and this was not one of them, in fact it scared me away from the 130' long 12+ namesake route to the right. Enough for one weekend.
The following week saw a trip to the Island with Mikey and Jason. We strung up a cool 5.9 called Feeling Alright and then turned our sights on the classic V4 boulder problem, Kirts Corner right next door. Jason would love to climb the route Horn of Plenty .12a that extends up and out of this problem. After a half an hour or so of work, he had it wired. During this process I asked him to shoot a vid.
We then headed to the back of the Island for Mikey to lead Illegal Dihedral one of the best 5.10's that I have done anywhere. I figured if he could pull it off, it would be great for his confidence. I hung the draws for him so he could steal some beta, and he nailed it in great style.
The following weekend Meg and I planned to go to the Crazy Woman crag up on top of the Big Horns. I had finally located it the previous weekend in the rain with the boys during an exploration drive up Hazelton Road. Unfortunately that didn't materialize and I ended up flying solo over to Tensleep instead on Sunday to meet up with Alli and Kevin. Since all of their house guests were gone, I had them all to myself, which was nice cause I haven't climbed with them much this summer. They showed me the new trail into the French Cattle Ranch which gets you there in about 1/3 the time as from the main parking area. One caveat, you have to cross the river on a fallen log, pretty casual this time of year, not so in the spring though.
The ten minute hike in had me staring up at Esplanada a route I bolted years ago, in fact the first route bolted in the FCR. The grade has bounced around a bit over the years since the original Wutang sandbag .12b was hung on it, it seems to have settled in at .12d. We warmed up on the diminutive Little Smokey a three bolt .11a with a hard move off the ground. Apparantly the proper warmup is to lead it and then run two more laps back to back with no rest in between. It was fun and effective as I now felt ready for Esplanada. Someones draws were hanging which was nice, Kevin said they had been there all summer and the route had seen a lot of traffic. He asked if I needed any beta, I said I remembered it pretty well though as we discussed some key points I learned that people were now using the rose move sequence between the 3rd and 4th bolts because it made the clip easier and it was cooler that way. I smiled because that was the way I intended the route to go and the first ascentionist found a direct sequence with a shitty churt piece that screwed up the clip. With Kevin on belay I started up and the route just flowed pocket after pocket and before long I was at the top struggling to remember the crimpy exit sequence. Kev yelled something about standing on my feet and I realized he was right and adjusted my foot placements and it all fell into place. What a great route!
Alli and Kev whacked away at Galactic Emperor .14a which is the extension to Sky Pilot .13c. SP is another sandbag route that finished in the middle of the wall, it starts with a V8 or 9 boulder problem and is .13a after that to the low anchor. Three more bolts now take it to the top of the wall and through another hard boulder problem at the end. Apparantly the hook making up the other side of the low anchor had to be removed as it was catching climbers knots and harnesses, so only a single chain remains as the 9th clip. It can still be done as Sky Pilot but will probably always be taken to the top from here on out. I belayed Kevin on his second go of the day, and after working out some key beta on the previous try, he fired it off with some very loud and determined breathing. Very impressive to say the least, I'm sure Alli will send soon as well.
Kevin has been using Sugar Mama a sharp climb with tiny holds that is graded .13b as his second warmup. The first half is very easy and the second is very balancey and reachy. He falls every time and still hasn't red-pointed it yet, though he isn't trying very hard. I was thinking of trying it since it was drawed up though I changed my mind after looking at his mangled finger tips. I decided instead on the climb to the right the brilliant and deservedly popular Super Mama .13a. Kevin sprayed me down with some key beta as he had done the climb this season and belayed several people on it also. I went for the flash and fell about half way up, half way through the business section. The rest is no picnic either though it was easier and felt manageable. I decided on my second go to try and sprint it since the bottom 5.11 felt easy and if I could get through the hard stuff I thought I'd be home free. Not the case, I did make it through the tough stuff only to come flying out of a big pocket on a long move above that. Alli shot a video with her camera.
A little more study and a new plan was the formula and I fired it on my third try. There are two good rests, one below the .13a section and an even better one below the last .12 part at the top. I took them both and it was the ticket - my first bonafide Wyoming 13a. Quite pleased with our individual performances we hiked out and went back to the house for a delicious meal.
The bouldering crew presses on each Tuesday and Thursday evening and I'm beginning to become interested again. I joined them for a Thursday evening session though abbreviated by a prior obligation by my child's school. I only had a thirty minute window before dark. I wanted to help Jason out with Billings Shopping Trip a cool and kind of long V6 on the Good Foot Boulder. Of course I had my own agenda as well, a project that I still haven't decided on a good name for or if it is an eliminate. I was able to convince Dan and Clint to come along for the fun and we all set to work. I have tried this project on several occasions in the past and was still unsure how the upper moves were going to go, but I new it was all there. With Dans urging and ample pads I managed to hang on to the tiny side pulls and get the send. I think it checks in at V7 or 8, harder than BST but easier than Arizona Heat V8, all of which are on the same boulder.
This past Tuesday night was a mob seen with ten dudes and one girlfriend. It turned out to be a great session with lots of problem tried and sent. We started at the Bat Cave, moved to the Good Foot and then on to the Cozzens Boulder. At the end of the session I added up my V-points earned by completing each unique problem I did and came up with 26 for the 5 problems I completed. This little game seems to be gaining popularity as I troll the web, so I thought I'd give it a try. It got me thinking that this may be a good way to stay motivated and in shape for the upcoming season. I have set a goal of 50 points per session initially. This means I'll have to do somewhere between 8 and 25 problems per visit to the mountain to maintain my set goal. Considering we choose different sectors each time we head out this may be more difficult some nights than others but we shall see. Just something to help me stay on task.
This weekend we are heading to Red Lodge for some granite bouldering. I am excited for some cooler temps and a few projects that have shut me down in the past. Good friends and two days of pullin down should prove fun. Adios