Noon Rocks, Bennett Peak, Wyoming. Noon Rocks is one of many zones in the Bennett Peak area. It is defined by steep, overhanging stone that has been wind carved and covered in patina!Bennett peak Wyoming is a large bouldering area on the edge of the Saratoga Valley. Many years ago it was a place where I bouldered often, but have been going elsewhere lately. It sees little traffic if any in terms of bouldering these days, but has been on a few lists as of late. One list in particular is that of Mike Molony who is leaving Laramie very soon. Mike has been on a crazed rampage of bouldering trying to get the last problems and areas in before his departure. Two problems, Red, White and Rock V6/7 and The Zero Point V8 have been on his list of to do problems in the area for some time now. With weather looking good we headed out to Bennett Peak with a pile of pads.
Mike Molony sending Red, White and Rock V6/7, Bennett Peak, Wyoming.
Mike made quick work of Red, White and Rock after warming up just left of it on Rusty Wire. Rusty Wire is a Bryan Vansickle problem that has a variety of grips for several different possible lines of ascent. It was originally graded V1, but felt a bit harder this trip. Some variations are probably in the V4/5 range. No matter the grade, the rock is steep and really solid. Mike suggested V6/7 for Red, White and Rock verifying my original grade for the problem. Next up was The Zero Point V8 a hard sloper line I put up just prior to my China trip this spring. It was something I had wondered about in terms of the grade and if I had put it up the hard way as I often do. A better way or sequence is often found and I was hoping Mike would find it. The crux of The Zero Point is really the starting move with some power endurance to finish. The problem is a classic and Mike was excited to give it a go. He knew ahead of time that the entire problem revolves around a single move, "the move". "The move" gave mike the fits despite a solid effort. He was close enough to it that I know he'll rock it next trip. He was very close to finding his zero point. It took me a while, but I was able to repeat "the move" and feel the grade is solid for the problem. It is the most unique problem I have done so far because of the singularly simple and somehow very complex move. A true gem!
Mike Molony walking the rest of The Zero Point above "the move". The problem is fantastic slopers up a steep wall with a tall finish.
We also tried the Last Dirty Hole Project which turned out to be very painful in the warm temperatures of the day. It is a project that has taken a large step down on my to do list. It is right there with the Bob 69 Project in Vedauwoo in terms of difficulty and pain. One of those things that you would never be proud of sending, maybe even keep it a secret so people won't judge you for doing it. Mike thought is sucked hard! However, in the Bennett Peak area in general there are many really good things to boulder. The overall potential is huge and what has already been done over the years is very worthwhile for any boulderer. CAUTION: PLEASE NOTE: The cave containing the classic roof problem Outbreak V6 is no longer safe to boulder in. A huge flake of death is coming out of the roof (hundreds of deadly pounds). I was able to wiggle it with an old rotten, gray stick. You should avoid it like the plague until it comes out.
The Project Project Update
The Project Project is slowly but surely getting done. I have been picking away it slowly and hopefully others have too. I spent three more days in the Vedauwoo area trying to get things done. It has been hard to focus at times at Vedauwoo, because of the warmer than good temps and again, better rock elsewhere. I went to Wolverineland at Mount Evans a few times on the invite from Brian Capps and also went to several other good bouldering areas out of Laramie. Despite those other trips, I have made progress on The Project Project.
Specifically I have been in the Lower Blair area again. Parking at the Blair Picnic Grounds (Home of the Picnic Monster Project) I have been walking the short distance to the south end of Adam's Ribs. There are a couple of old project there, but the best is the Very Old Tree Project. It is in the roof of the largest boulder, just a hundred yards from the Picnic Grounds, on the trail into Lower Blair. I put up two good warmups along the trail (actually on the trail) and have done all the moves in the roof together, except the first. The roof is V10/11 as it stands now, but the first move should be done, as it is the obvious start to the line. A cold day is needed to hold the small, sharp holds in the roof and finish the line. I can say that now is the time to visit Vedauwoo. The aspen are going off in a show of color and it is a beautiful fall up there. If you have never been to Vedauwoo you should go now!
The two new problems along the Lower Blair Trail. These are a hundred yards up the trail from where you park in Blair Picnic Ground. The left problem, above the bouldering mat is Hooky V5 and the right problem on the big rail is Aspen Glow V1. The Very Old Tree Project is on the back of the same boulder.
The Very Old Tree Project. It starts in the depth of the roof on the big flake from a left, low crimp undercling and a low right triangle hold. Move right to the sloping edge near the left, top of the gray pad in the picture. From there it is V10 or V11 to the top.