Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Everyone Loves Bouldering on Granite

So I planned a trip to the granite playground outside of Red Lodge up in Rock Creek Canyon because this is the best time of year to be there. Clint had asked about it several times in the last year so I knew he would be down, and I hoped some of the rest of the crew would come too. As it turned out everyone else bagged but Clint - suckers just don't know what they're missin'. Aaron Mulkey was interested in getting some pictures and the young powerhouse Kerrick Stinson tagged along with him. Our mutual friend from Billings, Joel Anderson joined us as well, so we had a fun crew despite the local Cody baggers.

Clint and I rolled up Friday night and drug the pop-top camper up the bumpy dirt road and parked it in a very unlikely spot right in the middle of all the boulders - perfect! Clint has been into stargazing this summer and has learned enough to entertain someone for hours with his laser pointer and star chart software on his ipod touch. The sky was clear and with no ambient light for miles in any direction it was pretty damn cool!

Saturday brought ideal temps and Mr. Anderson right about the time we were getting ready to begin our assault on the Landon Stones. We started with the venerable Sherman Boulder, named after the Verm himself due to the teaser pic he leaked out to one of the national climbing rags a decade and a half ago with the caption " perfect granite somewhere in Montana - I'll never tell". Actually Jon, the boulder is in Wyoming, a quick check of Google Earth confirms this. We did the classic West face V2, the Sherman Problem V5, with the sit V6, and LG's Desperate Ho's V6. All very good problems!
Clint Cook on the Sherman Problem V5.

Some rain later in the day yielded some brilliant staged photos.
Joel Anderson on the Sherman Boulder.

We made our way over to the Love Shack boulder passing by the Military Boulder cause it was baking in the sun. There are some cool slabby problems on this boulder including Hotel Lovin' V3, One Night Stand V2, Mutiny On The Booty V4 and Jump for My Love V5. We ran through all of these problems and needed a lunch break. Once finished with lunch, we decided to go for a walk through the trees to check out the rest of the less obvious boulders. This was about the same time that Mulky and Kerrick showed up, alas no break, they were fired up to get started. So it was off to the Tool Boulder to try out the Rod of Lordly Might V7 and several others. I managed to capture a strong effort on Clints part.

Clint Cook sends The Rod of Lordly Might V7 from Mike Snyder on Vimeo.

We bypassed some cool problems on the back of this boulder and went looking for the Cave Boulder which is a little farther into the trees. I really wanted to do this route my friend Matt Wendling had done back in '03 but I was just too wasted from everything leading up to this, plus I'm not sure I could do the crux move even if I was fresh. Oh well, Kerrick was psyched so I sprayed him down with all the beta I could remember and he made short work of it.

Kerrick Stinson sends the Cave V10? from Mike Snyder on Vimeo.

We landscaped the left side of this boulder and rediscovered an old problem and a new one that we insisted Mulkey do the first ascent of. He put down his camera and obliged us, creating Mulkeys Meat V2 or 3, a funky one move crux into a juggy finish. We finished up with the Cave Route, a cool V5 that comes straight out where the V10 starts. Everyone tried it and it slowly became clear that we were all done for the day.

I brought along some Delmonico steaks for Clint and I, we made some mashed potatoes and corn and chowed down. It seemed to cool down quickly and before long everyone was tired and headed for bed. One of the nice things about camping in this wide canyon is that it stays shady in the morning until almost 9:00 a.m., and I like sleeping in when I'm camping.

As soon as breakfast was done and the sun hit the boulders Kerrick was ready to work on the Assassin a cool and involved V9 that seems to keep getting harder as you go. Its about 10 moves long and has both open hand slopers and small sharp crimps. This was another one on my to do list, but I just wasn't feeling it so I went for a hike to check out a few boulders up on the hillside and an impressive crag at the top of the talus field. Here are a few pics from the hike.

The 300 foot tall granite crag, notice the boulder in the lower right corner of this shot, it is the one below that Clint is standing under in the next picture.
Impressively large and featured - maybe the next generation will solve this one.

Here is a shot of our camp right in the middle of the boulders

When I got back down to the valley floor young Kerrick was very close to solving the Assassin. I snapped a series of pictures and he fired it off shortly after.

We hiked up the road a bit and played on a roadside boulder and ended up doing 5 good problems on it. I am sure I've climbed on this boulder before but I have no idea what the name is. The problems are V1 thru V6. We drove up to Leif's House, another absurd name for an area, to find the Buddha Room Boulder. Near the end of the road, this large Bulbous Boulder has a rad V6 called the Bodhisattva on the front side. We dispatched this cool fright fest and set to work on an extension to Siddhartha a V2 that just ends to early. Unfortunately an alpine storm blew in and chased us back down the canyon to tear down the pop-top camper before it was soaking wet. We made it just in time, hooked the trailer up and eased her back down the bumpy road whence we came. The end of another rad weekend.

Incidently the Red Box Car, an old converted rail car, along side of the highway in Red Lodge has some tasty and cheap victuals if you ever you find yourself with a powerful hunger as you motor through town.

Although I didn't accomplish either of my ultimate goals for the weekend, the high end V climbs I hadn't yet done, I felt satisfied with my climbing and racked up 66 points on Saturday and about half that on Sunday for over 100 points for the weekend. Also Joel clued me in on the location of a 3 pitch sport climb that I was able to locate with my binoculars. Now I just have to find some psyched partner to drag back there and bag this gem. Heres a photo of the Line.


  1. SHIT YEAH! F**k man my hands are all sweaty now! I always wanted to change the name from Leif's House to Upper India but since there's no Lower India and we're not sure if Landon is still with us, I call it that in homage to him :). Looks like a rad trip, did you guys check the mega highball/TR boulder past the big ass boulder? Either way, glad you guys chalked those holds up, it always was a beautiful place! Come down and see us, we'll do some of that climbing biznaz like we used to do in the day! Adios Muchacho!

  2. Thanks dude. You were in our thoughts most of the weekend, wish you could have joined us. I would love to come check out your new digs and sample some cobbles and old school classics ala SLC. Much love from my fam to yours.

  3. Hi. I just found this post of yours trough a google search. I'll be moving to Red Lodge from San Diego In may '12. I was wondering if there is a local. Guide book I could keep an eye out for or a website with local beta. While I'm away from home, I'd like to climb as much as I do at home. If you can, email me Thanks an happy sending.

  4. Do you have any beta to share on this area? I would love to check it out sometime!