07 May 2010

Last Week Was Spring

Last week was a long one. Spring came and went, and might be back today. Winter has held sway still for a long while. The warmer weather worked out well with Bryan Vansickle's visit to Laramie. We got out four days in a row and reached exhaustion. Bryan, living in Flagstaff, Arizona and working in Upton, Wyoming is now getting only a few visits in here and there. When he is here we cover a lot of ground to make up for lost time.
We managed our first Needle Peak day of the season. The access road was in top form, my jeep being the only vehicle to get in for the day. We climbed with a few others on this particular trip and had to shuttle into the peak to get everyone in. Ethan, Mike, Devlin and his family, and Guili all made it in. While the newcomers to Needle Peak tried some older classics Ethan, Bryan and I put up some new problems.
Tits Up V2 is a new problem on the Nautical Inspirations Boulder. Sit Starts on the bottom rail and follows the edges just left of the arete.
The Nautical Inspirations Boulder and a sky warning of the end of spring (In Wyoming the end of spring is the next winter, followed by a short summer)
Bryan and Ethan standing under what is now Give Me My Dick Back You Dirty Bitch V2. A Bryan Vansickle problem if ever there was one!
Mike taking a second ascent of the newly done A Diamond Sparkles V1. Ethan put up the problem on the same wall as The Gift. He is getting married soon!

After Needle Peak most folks went back to work the next day while Bryan and I headed to a destination of potential sport route development. We drove up to Glendo, Wyoming and the reservoirs along the North Platte River. There is a lot of rock in the area that is primarily limestone. We found tons of rock, but little potential. The majority of the walls were undercut with a sadly, chossy section. There is some potential for clean rock, we did see some, but hiking to it and finding good rock on public land is a project. Someone will bolt the choss there one day and indeed there will be some very good lines, but we know of better potential closer to home. 
Bryan and Amie Dog walking the shore of Glendo in search of the goods. We passed a few good walls on our left, but nothing tall enough to warrant the work in putting in a good route so far from home.
Amie Dog in search of dead fish at Glendo Reservoir.
On the return drive from Glendo, Wyoming we stopped over in Sybille Canyon to look at some old routes from years past. Sybille Canyon is a forgotten canyon for climbing. A good deal of rock sits on public lands, but the access can be a hassle. Also, a good bit of the rock is poor quality. There are a few sections however of o.k. rock that lends itself to traditional climbing. It is a place for ground up and head point climbing and has great potential for ice and mixed routes too. Even in the end of April we found ice routes still hanging on!
An unclimbed line that would be a perfect route, ground up, above a pond. The route can be started on the far right side on dry ground, then diagonal-ed up the under clings into a natural line of seams. In the upper right corner of the picture is another wall with a classic ground up route Under The Bus 5.10a. The bus is on the sky line and perched for disaster.
Another view of The Under The Bus Wall. Under The Bus 5.10a follows the obvious center crack then trends left into the head wall and various seams. Expect long run outs on the head wall!
One of the North Walls showing the great mixed potential. Routes would be one to two pitches! This picture was taken April 27th and there was still climbable ice!
Another ice smear on a single pitch route.

On the hike out from the canyon Bryan and I were excited to return and put in some new routes. At the car Bryan found 9 ticks and I had 1. So, until further notice, to hell with that place. We also passed a man walking along the side of the dirt road. Asking if he was o.k. we noticed a certain look in his eye. I didn't stop driving because of that look. The guy was walking in the middle of nowhere, many miles from any house or car, in sweat pants and had nothing with him except a big smile and an "every things great" response. Psycho... and to hell with that place.
The next day was another Saratoga Valley day for Bryan and I. This time we went out to Bennett Peak to develop some new rock. We found a ton of good rock and had a hard time deciding on what to climb. After passing up many good blocs and getting the jeep really stuck, we started putting up good high balls in an area now called Boner City. The climbing was good and the day was long, but expensive. In releasing the Boulder Recon Vehicle from the grasp of Mother Earth I managed to cripple it by ruining a u-joint on the front axle while bending some other parts.
 Mother Nature's grasp. A road that turns into a drift that turns into a five foot deep hole of mud and snow.

The Boulder Recon Vehicle free, but carrying the trauma of the hole that tried so hard to swallow it. We were a minute away from driving again and hearing the dreaded click and clunk of the front end.
Bryan cleaning the top of what would become The Decoy (left side) and Camera In A Box (right side) Two very good high balls at the new Boner City.
Bryan nearing the top of the high but fantastic warm up The Decoy V1, Boner City, Bennett Peak, Wyoming.
Bryan climbing another good V1 in Boner City. This one is Great Expectations V1. It is 20' tall and the holds get better up high until a last move gaston to the lip of the boulder.
Every thing was tall in Boner City and well featured. To get there, drive into Bennett Peak and look for a right turn just before dropping into private land and the first camp ground of Bennett Peak. The boulders are across a creek and the road to access them crosses the creek too. They are the only boulders across the creek. rive to far and you are at Bennett Peak proper. Drive to short and there is no right turn that crosses a creek.
The last day of our grand adventure involved an entire day of driving and recon into areas I've been sworn to keep secret. They are places Bryan found and loves. Good rock and access is all I can say.

In 10 days I leave for a month in China. A bouldering recon trip like no other I've taken. I will update as well as I can on t he trip and if not on the trip, when I return in the end of June. I will give a small teaser of China bouldering before I go. 


  1. Your dedication to exploration is an inspiration. Great post Davin! I'm looking forward to seeing what you discover in China.

  2. NICE, glad you're getting some of that spring weather! Hope it continues...


  3. TK,

    you guys get spring up there yet? Would like to trade a tour up there for a tour down here if you may?

  4. Spring is here in the Boulder Batholith and most of the zones are dry and ready. Whenever you want to make it up this way, let us know and we'll get ya set up!

  5. Awesome, thanks!

    I'm back from China on June 22nd. Maybe in early July if it's not too hot. You guys are welcome down here anytime!