02 December 2009

Best of 2009-The Snowy Range

It is minus 11 degrees this morning. All chances of going out on real rock are shot for a while now. At this point any motivation is from the good things of the past season. Hope for the next season is a winter away and far too abstract to realize at this point. Cabin/gym fever must set in to fully view the future. So, for now I will live in the memories of this last season.
Summer 2009 was the first summer that I spent in the Laramie area. I normally leave town to climb in other regions of Wyoming. The spring came in quickly and with heat. I instantly tried to find cooler stone and ended up finding thousands of new boulders all over southeast Wyoming. Before those are shown however, some older rock was visited first.
Guili Zavaschi on the back of the Gill Bloc

The Snowy Range is a place of rock, but usually shattered junk quartz and the like. There are a few good lines in the Snowys and some old problems too. John Gill bouldered in the Lake Marie area back in the late 1960's/early 1970's. A few Gill arrows grace a line or two, but much is newer. The benefit of the shattered quartz is the continuous deposit of new boulders in the talus field below the Diamond of Medicine Bow Peak. Some of the newer rock at Lake Marie was not there when Gill first went bouldering in the Snowys. With all the rave review it is still a classic place to go bouldering. New problems are possible all over the range and go up each season. A good day away from the heat!
The FA of Magdalena V8.
The problems start down and right of the picture in the cave under the boulder. It climbs a V7 into the holds I'm on, then left to the Gill Problem.

Some of the classic problems at Lake Marie are the original (Left) Gill Problem V2 and the sit start to the Gill Problem V6. Two years ago I put up a very good problem that links the Right Gill Problem from a sit start (V7) into the (Left) Gill Problem and named it Magdelana V8. There are several problems up the talus from the Gill Boulder and a few very good ones. The Drift V5 and the Ice Queen Traverse V6 are two that stand out.
Ethan McMahan on the Ice Queen Traverse V6

There are a few other areas on the Laramie side of the Snowy Range. Most require a big truck to get into. The one worth a trip to is Bear Lake. The road is only three miles long from the pavement but the last mile is the one that counts. Walking in is an option, but the road is choice and you might get to be in a mud bogging movie as some of Laramie's locals have. I first bouldered at Bear Lake a few years ago with Josh Helke. His poor dog, poor because of the head injury from the drive in, was shaken all over the place. Lucky the jeep was full of pads. Because of the poor road and the elevation the season is very short at Bear Lake. Usually late July through October is all you get.
After visiting the old stuff. I found a bunch of new stuff, but that will have to wait for my next post.

Josh Helke on the FA of Smug Tug V2

Josh Helke looking at Bear Lake's best wall
After the old haunts were visited, I set my sites on finding other stone, hopefully new stuff that could consume a summer. Initial ventures were short and usually didn't result in anything worth while. It was on a wood cutting day that I found the real jem of the Snow Range. Turning a trailer around I had to drive into a meadow and in doing so noticed a pile of boulders on the hill above the cutting area. Horatio Rock is teh name of the boulder covered hill and should have been identified as a possiblity earlier had I actualy read the name of a map.
Horatio Rock is composed of a very nice, tight grained, white/gold granite. There are several areas on Horatio Rock of a few problems each and the climbing is good. However, there is a very good problem on a house size boulder that really stands above the rest. Guili Zavaschi took the first ascent of the proudest line on the bloc and gave us Lord Of The Forest V12. He did not grade the problem, but I was very close to sending it and have done the crux a few times. A hurt tendon kept me from finishing the amazing line, but V12 is a solid grade for it. There is a lot more to do at Horatio Rock, but early snow shut us out this fall.

 Mike Molony working Lord Of The Forest V12

 Guili Zavaschi entering the crux sequence of his Lord Of The Forest V12

 Mike Molony slapping slopers like the southern boy he is on a Horatio Rock classic Heidi V5
I managed to find two additional areas in the Snowy Range but spent little time at either. They are both composed of Sherman Granite which is what makes up Vedauwoo and Red Feather. The stone in the Snowy range however is featured and far better than the Vedauwoo stone. I was amazed at the possibilty of new problems all over featured boulders. A lot of problems will go up in the two Sherman Granite areas this coming season, but I'll worry about that in a few months. Below are a few of the nicer lines I noticed on my recon.

They look strangly similar now that they are in a row?

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