30 October 2013

Fall Bouldering In Southeast Wyoming

It has been a busy fall to say the least, and a difficult one to find time for bouldering. Several snow storms have blanketed Laramie and my graduate work continues to challenge any sort of balance in my climbing life. Any available time has been spent bouldering rather than updating this blog (as you have likely noticed). I've tried to keep up with the easy way of updating by adding photos on Instagram (@davinbagdonas). After all a picture speaks a thousand words or something like that.

Early season bouldering was a bit warm and rain continued through September. A large amount of sandstone only 35 miles out of Laramie had been my primary focus. El Dakota as Josh Oxner and myself have titled the area has turned out to be an enormous addition to Laramie bouldering. It is a mountain of Dakota Sandstone that sits at nearly 9800 feet in a deep forest. Because of this, bouldering through the summer and especially early fall has been fantastic! How did this large new area hide for so long and how many more can we possibly find out there? Bouldering potential within a two hour radius of Laramie continues to grow at what seams like an ever increasing rate. I never could have imagined the potential, but will gladly take it as it comes. Should climbers continue to motivate and put up new problems, Laramie area bouldering will have many thousands of problems in a decades time!
One of a hundred boulders or more at El Dakota. Alca V5/6
We had planned a rebirth of the Vedauwoo Bouldering Festival, this time at Curt Gowdy State Park. Much of my late September was spent at the Hynds Lodge cleaning and climbing new problems for the planned competition. The best lines put up were never repeated as snow and below zero windchill forced a cancellation the day of the event. Obviously the problems are still up there and several are very worth while. 68 problems were selected for the festival out of around double for the entire area of the state park. I kept problems on the down low in an attempt to keep the competition fair. I got really excited about a few and ended up having Bryan Vansickle and Nathan Hough help develop. Cross Country Connection in down town Laramie has the Hynds Lodge Bouldering topos available. Please go grab a map and try the new lines. Some of the best new additions to Curt Gowdy and the Vedauwoo area include Waist Land Boogy V9, Up and Away V1, Old Aspen Prow V2, and The New Nathan V3. I also included 23 projects on the topo in a range of estimated difficulties from V2 to V13. That's right, there is a pile of cleaned and unclimbed lines just sitting there. If you finish one, please record the name and grade so we can add it to the guide book for the area.
Hynds Lodge Crag and a whole lot of boulders
What about October? Yeah, that has been a good one! After the time spent on the failed Curt Gowdy Festival, a few weeks of catch up work were needed on the academic side of things. Neverland was always calling, and without fail I followed the call. Now into my 30s, I have started to feel the constrain of time to finish the hardest and best lines found in the area. Triple X is one of those and for me the most difficult that feels like it is still possible. At great risk to all other aspects of my life I started going out every other day. During the week this includes a two hour drive in the afternoon, two hours on the project, and a drive home after dark. I vowed to continue in this schedule until the line is complete or winter blocks the road. All other previous sessions on the project had been random and spaced (not a good way to finish something hard). Four days on so far and the progress is much better than I had hoped for! The process of breaking down something nearly impossible, making small steps add up to larger steps, then seeing the possible from what was previously not is an experience beyond words. It is why many of us boulder and is an experience all it's own. I am completely taken by it! The motivation ours into other aspects of bouldering and life too.
Of course other boulders have to be climbed on some of those trips. The motivation is high and progress only adds to the addiction/madness. An example, Bryan Vansickle and I spent way too much on gas and time to drive three hours around the mountain to Bennett Peak. We spent a day there, crossed the ice cold Platte River, quickly finished an old project (now Down River Vibes V9), and drove all the way back to Laramie the same day. This allowed for a two hour session the following day on Triple X in a snow storm. It is border line crazy when you add up the two days and ten hours on the road for a V9 and an ass kicking in the freezing cold. I would do it again, probably this weekend.
At Neverland, Vansickle had cleaned a beautiful and huge roof, very reminiscent of Hueco Tanks. Luckily it is close to Triple X, so we managed to feed addiction for both of us. During the last trip Vansickle completed his line. Ultamak V8? and it is one of the best new big lines to go in at Neverland. It climbs like New Religion in Hueco Tanks, but has a harder start, longer moves, and a big round top. It is an area classic. The roof has several other possible problems and a long traversing problem Green Machine V6 I added as a warm up. An 8A+ feeling project climbs into Bryan's line, then follows a huge slash out the length of the beast, for what must be one of the finest power endurance lines I've seen. Anywhere but Wyoming this thing would be on glossy paper with a bunch of strong dudes talking about a stunner.
Going back tomorrow, and this weekend, just me and the dog.
Vansickle on his new problem Ultamak V8? in the huge Fern Roof of Neverland. Green Machine V6 starts on the far right near the blocks and climbs all the way left into the black flakes.

20 September 2013

Vedauwoo Bouldering Festival Lives Again

I am pleased to announce the rebirth of the Vedauwoo Bouldering Festival! This has long been in the works and is now a reality. With the local Forest Service office declining to allow both the bouldering festival and Fat Crack Festival of years previous, we have been in search of a venue. This past summer Wyoming State Parks offered Hynds Lodge at Curt Gowdy State Park for a possible location. We gladly accepted the offer making it the 2013 Curt Gowdy State Park Bouldering Festival with Organic Bouldering Mats as our title sponsor! This is an exiting time for Wyoming climbers and all of you who can make the festival this year. We want to make the most of this opportunity and show the folks at Curt Gowdy why previous Vedauwoo Bouldering Festivals have been so fantastic.

The festival will be held the first weekend in October (5th and 6th of October). Many local businesses have sponsored the event as well as national sponsors. Food will provided as will drinks, especially for those who volunteer Saturday morning. 

Free camping for the event will be provided by Curt Gowdy State Park.

Saturday, October 5th:
Volunteer trail work with prizes. The park has several bouldering areas being developed, we just need help setting up sustainable trails so we can climb in Curt Gowdy for years to come.
The Bouldering Competition!!! For all ages and abilities. We will have categories for every level of boulderer and a marathon catagory. This is an amazing chance to get out and sample the newest problems in the Vedauwoo area and climb like crazy with climbers of all abilities.
6pm-into the evening: 
Competition prizes, raffle, and entertainment into the evening.

Sunday, October 6th:
All Day:
Climbing and bouldering all over Curt Gowdy State Park. Many new areas will be introduced to climbers as well as areas that were previously closed years ago. The park is tremendously supportive of climbing in the park now, so lets make the most of it.

Curt Gowdy State Park has several Scarpelli lines put up many years that are some of the best in Vedauwoo. There are other routes in the park to do as well. Bring a rope and a pad. The Hynds Lodge area where the Festival is being held is likely the most concentrated of all Vedauwoo areas and has some of the best problems and projects around. Several other areas in the park have been developed recently and are among the best fall/winter areas for bouldering around. This is a great way to see the new stuff and maybe finish some new problems too!

Come join us for some great bouldering!

13 July 2013

Curt Gowdy State Park Trail Days

 We Need Some Volunteers

July 19-20

Trail days at Curt Gowdy is only a week away! We need a few good volunteers for trail building and constructing landings for boulders!

We need help/volunteers on Friday July 19th and Saturday July 20th! About a dozen helpers each of those two days. (I will provide Coffee and Doughnuts). We will be meeting in the morning between 8 and 9, but will take your help any time during the day.

You, The State of Wyoming, and The Access Fund!

The Park has a long term goal of outdoor recreation as their main focus. Bouldering/climbing is a huge part of that vision. There is a ton of rock within the park and it is also by far the best winter climbing in all of Vedauwoo.

The Access Fund conservation team has teamed up with the State of Wyoming and our local climbing community to assure great bouldering/climbing and access to future boulders and routes within Curt Gowdy State Park. The park has actually contacted us, the climbing community, as they are incredibly excited to have us climbing their rocks! So, we will be building trails and landings for the hundred of boulders within the park. This is also a great opportunity to work closely with the Access Fund and State of Wyoming in a cooperative effort to assure climbing for generations of climbers.

Many of you have not yet seen the many new areas and boulders discovered over the past winter seasons within the park, but I assure you they are fantastic! With concern for maintaining the park, we did not advertise the new rock. Now, with trails going in, we can all enjoy the new areas and continue adding great new problems/routes to Curt Gowdy.

In addition to all that, Curt Gowdy Sate Park has encouraged us, the climbers, to have a Bouldering Festival that they in fact will be hosting this fall! This is the revival of the famous Vedauwoo Bouldering Competition/Festival. The Park has gone out of their way to host us. We need to pay them back and help out with some trails!

Show up at Park Headquarters between 8 and 9 in the morning. Access Fund and Curt Gowdy State Park will provide tools. We will be working along side the Access Fund Conservation Team. 

Please contact myself or Curt Gowdy State Park for additional details or if you would like to volunteer! We will need 12 people per day.

Curt Gowdy State Park:
(307) 632-7946
Park Web Site

Where is the Conservation Team now?