08 February 2010

Forgotten Vedauwoo Bouldering

In the past weeks a number of people have asked me about where the last few undiscovered bouldering areas may be in Vedauwoo. There are several I'm sure as Vedauwoo always gives to those who walk enough. What is amazing however, is the fact that even with several people looking for new rock in the area they have not managed to find some good, already developed stones. Between 2001 and 2006 several areas were developed, each one larger than the last. Many good problems sit waiting for anyone to climb them. I will list four areas here that were not included in the guide book for whatever reason, not a choice of mine. They were all found and developed by a few people, myself being the only one left in Laramie that knows the story of the places.

The Washing Machine Boulders
The area was discovered by Dave Nash and Mathew Williams way back in the day. The boulders tend to be smaller and of the few move variety, but the quality of the rock is by far the best in Vedauwoo. The best slopers in Vedauwoo are hidden here on a few small blocs. From Interstate 80 take exit 323  to Wyoming 210 (Happy Jack Highway) east bound towards Cheyenne. After 4 1/2 miles you will cross a drainage complete with beaver ponds and start up a hill. At 4 3/4 mile park off to the west side of the road in a paved pull out. On the opposite (east) side of the road is a small crag with a few boulders in the forest below. The approach is both obvious and short. The crag sits on Bisbee Hill and the boulders lie directly under the crag. There are a few problems another 1/4 mile southeast along the Bisbee Hill ridge and are more easily reached by driving the 1/4 mile to the next pull out (unpaved pullout). I spent 30 minutes digging through old pictures and sadly don't have a single one from this area. If Mathew Williams finds one for me I will post it here. Rest assured, the bouldering is worth it!

Close Encounters Boulders
One evening in the early spring of 2002 Dave Nash and myself both showed up at the local climbing gym, both grinning ear to ear. That morning we had skipped our classes to follow the urge we had woken with that morning. The urge to find new rock in the back areas of Vedauwoo. Dave slipped out of town on his own, as did I, both following the voice in our head to drive down a lonely dirt road and walk across an equally lonely field to a destination that at first glance holds very little hope of rock.
Dave described the area he had found with excitement and  what sounded to others as a bit of exaggeration. Not wanting to be left out I described the area I had found that same day and must have seemed just as exaggerative as Dave. Our stories varied to the point of knowing we had found two new areas to develop. Then we both described a boulder with a nose on it. Every detail was the same, even the exaggerations! I turns out we had found the same way-out-there area within 30 minutes of each other on the same day. It was a strange experience, especially when we both described the urge we had followed that morning.
The bouldering turned out to be really good. There are several good problems in the area and two routes we put up. One of the problems Citizen Of The West V6/7 is a Vedauwoo classic that should be done by all who visit.
 The Close Encounter Boulder, Vedauwoo, Wyoming. There are several problems on this boulder. Citizen Of The West V6/7 takes the obvious arete in the center of the picture. 
 Dave Nash on the crux sloper of The Third Finger V4, Close Encounters Boulders, Vedauwoo, Wyoming.
Mathew Williams Photography

To get to the Close Encounters Boulders Go 2.8 miles eastbound from I-80 exit 323 on Wyoming 210 (Happy Jack Highway) to Telephone Road, Forest Rd 712. Follow Rd. 712 for about 2 miles to an intersection and continue right (southeast) on Rd. 712 for another 2 miles or so. At the next large intersection with Forest Rd. 714 take a left on Rd. 714 northward. Continue on Rd. 714 as it swings back west for 1.5 miles. A small crag will be seen along the valley bottom to the north. Wander from the car into the valley toward the small crag. There are boulders down there. You can also get to these boulders from Eagle Rock for those of you who know what that is. These boulders are 1.5 miles east from Eagle Rock down Rd. 714 and in the same drainage. 

The Middle of Nowhere 
 In 2004 the national Forest Service started to enforce a seasonal road closer in the Vedauwoo area which made for an even longer winter wait to climb in many areas. The closer is from March through the end of may and closes access to many good back areas. I found the Middle of Nowhere Boulders by taking one of the only roads open during the seasonal closure. It has baffled me to see people looking for new rock and miss this area. It is directly off the side of a major Forest Service road. Anyway, the bouldering is very good in the spring and well sheltered from the wind. It also gets sun for most of the day. The area is best reached by following the directions mentioned previously for the Close Encounters Boulders, but remain on Rd. 712 beyond the intersection with Rd. 714 for another 1/4 mile. A ridge of boulders extends south of the road where the road forks into three smaller roads and the seasonal closer begins for those roads. Walk to the boulders. 
There are a few good, but shorter problems in the area including Positivity V6, Negativity V8, and Chrysalis V8. There is also a good lieback highball Poor Man V2. There are about 20 problems in the area with potential for more. I developed the area alone in the spring of 2004, so I have only a few pictures from a tour I gave two years ago.
Pablo Kolmar on Positivity V6, The Middle of Nowhere, Vedauwoo, Wyoming. 
Negativity V8 is on a boulder directly behind the crew.
 Mitch Fyock on a beautiful arete at The Middle of Nowhere, Vedauwoo, Wyoming. 

Green Canyon
Green Canyon is technically in the same area as The Middle of Nowhere, but lies in the bottom of the valley as apposed to the ridge of the previously mentioned location. It is worth driving to Green Canyon rather than walking from the ridge top. To get there follow the directions as to The Middle of Nowhere then take the right fork of the three forked road. Park at the bottom of the hill where the road splits in a meadow. Green Canyon proper is up valley and very obvious, while the boulders are directly across the small stream from the meadow intersection. They are on a small ridge in spread out pine trees. There are boulders up valley too, in the canyon as can be seen from the road, but they are not as good as what you will see here. 
Possibly the best V6 in Vedauwoo is in Green Canyon. It is named Optimus Prime and is very prime. That one problem should be worth the drive for most of you. 
 Josh Helke on the second ascent of Barnaby On The Prairie V3, Green Canyon, Vedauwoo, Wyoming. A problem I named after his dog who would take huge 1/4 mile running laps through the meadow behind the boulder. 
 Josh Helke on the coveted second ascent of Optimus Prime V6, Green Canyon, Vedauwoo, Wyoming. This maybe the finest V6 in all of Vedauwoo!
 Josh Helke takes another lap on Optimus Prime V6.

As with anything I post on this blog, do not hesitate to ask if you want more specific directions, problem descriptions, or a tour of one of the areas. This info is here for you to use!

These are but a few of many forgotten areas in Vedauwoo. For the remaining areas I lack pictures enough to list on this blog. I will do what I can to get the information up here as pictures become available.


  1. Awesome Davin, awesome!

  2. NICE! Cool to see info on the more obscure stuff out there...


  3. Both of you should come out and climb some of this stuff to make it less obscure. Same for the rest of you who didn't post a comment. Would be great to see others out here.

  4. Hey Davin,

    I see you have a link to my Chouinard Photography on the blog, thanks! There are a couple of us up in Missoula who would love to check some of that stuff out when we get freed from school. Also, for more a comedic stance on some Missoula bouldering check out my other blog: http://floner-sds.blogspot.com



  5. ahhh, I am new to colorado and I love it here, but this place is amazing..no great word to describe Ved's at all. Its close and there is so much quality rock. Would love to hit this place soon before winter sets....