Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer in Full Swing

A lot has happened in the way of climbing since my last post but yet I don't feel like I have accomplished much.

I went down to Lander for a weekend of sport climbing and their annual Beer Fest. I took the Wild Iris Climbing shop my last Cody Bouldering guidebooks and in exchange picked up the recently released Lander Area Sport Climbing Guide written by Steve Bechtel. This book is an improvement on two decades worth of guide books on Landers wealth of climbing. This one is properly descriptive and informative with color photos and not a lot of fluff. It is compact and thin belying its over 1000 climbs covering the Sinks, Wild Iris, Baldwin, Fairfield, Fossil Hill and several other smaller areas. We got in two pretty good days of climbing despite the beer drinking and debauchery sandwiched in between. My goal was to take down a Lander .13a. While I did manage to do a handful of 12's that I had never been on before, I never even got on a 13a.

I did finally try and red point the new long slab route at Drywall. I surprised myself by getting through all of the subtle crimpy trickery only to fall at the last and probably hardest and most runout portion of the climb. Theres not much quite like a 25 foot lead fall on a slab. Yee-ha!! Fortunately it was a clean fall with no injuries or even abrasions and I climbed back up and through to the anchors. Rain began and forced us running back to the car. This climb is all of the technical nightmare I knew it would be but maybe not quite as hard as I thought. I'm guessing at 12a or b, which is pretty high considering its a slab. It is quite long and though I got very pumped I hope to do it next go.

I went out with Jason for an evening of bouldering and he wanted to do the classic The Wretch V7. This is a great boulder problem located a stones throw from the parking area. Its just hard enough that warming up on it can be dangerous and trying it at the end of a day can be futile. We tried to warm up as best we could and then hopped right on it. Having worked out the bottom already Jason needed a little direction on the end. I explained my method and after two tries each we both sent it. We walked over to Caya another V6 or 7 problem and set to work on that as Jason had not sent or even tried it yet. I showed him how the sit start worked and explained the 3 different finishes. We flailed about trying the harder right finishes and eventually settled on the direct crimpy finish which is about V5 or 6. Drew joined us and showed me yet another start which seemed to be quite a bit easier yet still fun. Jason and I stuck with the original start and both finished it that way.

I returned to the Downtown Crag in Tensleep to try and finish last years unfinished business on Shaker. Young Stefan Lavender from Colorado had recently nabbed the FA and told me it was one of the best routes he has done in Tensleep. He commented that it felt hard at 13b, having recently sent The Hellion .13c, Burden of My Member .13b/c and The Incredible Horse Cock .13d. I hung the draws with some serious effort and managed to two hang it on my next go. Though not quite as strong as my efforts last year, it still seems early in the season. I left the draws on the upper headwall since it is so continuous up there.

The left side of Downtown has so much more potential for hard routes, I just had to check it out. I asked Huey if I could finish his route that he and Nick had re-conned last year and he said they had abandoned their effort. Huey thought it was too hard for him and Nick not hard enough. This is a really nice 20 degree overhung wall with smallish pockets and edges, just what I was looking for. I got most of the bolts in and much of the cleaning work done, so it could be ready after another hour or two of work. I also started bolting the upper roof and plan to link down the left bulge to create a mammoth route with two sets of anchors. This king line, if it goes like it looks, will be 110 to 120' of overhanging pockets and edges, finishing 50 feet out from where it begins. The first half will likely be 13- or harder and the second part is much steeper with better holds. The whole thing may be in the 5.14 range.

The heat has finally set in and the local granite crags are just too hot. I'll have to time a visit early or late in the day or wait for a cool day to try the two unfinished lines down there.

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