We had several false cool downs this late summer, marked by hot spells and damp, soft tips afterward. This one is real however you can see it in the sky. The Geese got the hell out a week or two ago. That always suggests the descent of the cold from the north has begun. The sun going down looks different in the fall too. The sky gets bigger than it's already huge Wyoming self. Just the other day while hiking out of a little bouldering area the sky said "autumn" as loud as it could. The excitement is huge. There are so many problems to do now in the cool air.
The Project Project
Things started off a bit frustrating for the project project. The weather was really warm and made for some poor sessions. At Vedauwoo, the heat, even a little, is recipe for not climbing anything. We had one good session and then two hot sessions. I was ready to scrap the whole thing after the last tip splitting, sun baked, humid, warm as hell session on a crimpy line. Then the autumn cool rolled in and the project project makes perfect sense.
So, our first stop was whatever is closest to a road. We decided with such a huge list of things to do we would start with whatever is closest and work our way from there to the farthest things. We ended up in Blair at the Picnic Monster Project. A beautiful and huge line. One of the best single lines I've seen in Vedauwoo! Guili was the only one with the balls to give it good solid goes up high, the rest of us backed off after a go or two. The crux is the final move to the lip of the boulder and it is going to be fantastic. We had four guys, three regular Organic Pads, a large Organic Pad, two small half pads, and we felt like at least another large pad was needed to make the landing possible. To find the Picnic Monster Project drive to the Blair picnic grounds (a pay area) which is also home to the great crack problem University of Mars. From the first pull out once you are in the picnic grounds pay area, walk directly behind the picnic tables and outhouse building. The wall is a hundred feet behind the parking.
Mike Molony getting set for the head wall of the Picnic Monster Project. The problem starts far down and left, under the boulder, left of Bryan in the green shirt.
Guili high marking the Picnic Monster Project with a third of the line yet to be touched. It starts all the way down at the bottom of the rails. Zoom in to see the chalk.
There is a good warm up to the right of the project on the same wall. Bryan named it The Lonely Raspberry V4. It starts on undercling sidepulls.
Two poor sessions elsewhere in Vedauwoo led to hope of cooler temperatures and a trip back to the Blair area. Several projects on the project project list are located in the Blair area and again, I started closer to the road. I went solo as everyone was either out of town or busy. I first went to the small formation south of Little Blair which is south of all the lower Blair stuff, like Blair I, Blair II, etc... On the north side of the small formation described is an a-frame cave and in that cave are several good lines including two from the project project. I climbed a good warm up I called Union Made V2/3 and cleaned the two projects. One went with a bit of hard squeezing The Cat House Squeeze V8, the other is V14ish and will have to wait.
Union Made V2/3 sit starts the perfect arete and goes all the way up. The V14ish thing shares the same start but moves right through the corridor to a large sloper, then around the corner and into the depths of the cave. The pads are protecting the landing of The Cat House Squeeze V8.
The Cat House Squeeze V8 sit starts on a right crimp that is very small, but around the corner and a left sloper that can be seen with the chalk on it. Go to the solid lip then move right into the corridor to finish up good features. It is basically a move of V8 and then a few moves to keep you focused.
After finishing up the Cat House area I walked towards the aspen grove between Little Blair and Blair 0. On the very edge of the aspen grove, to the west of Little Blair a few boulders sit with some potential. There are two roof lines that held my interest for some time there. The easiest way to get to the small area is to walk the trail under Blair 0 and cut south from Blair 0 in the sage brush field. You will have pine and a rocky, broken ridge to your right (west) and the aspen grove to your left (east). at the southern edge of the sage brush field cut into the first boulders on the edge of the aspen grove, directly west of Little Blair.
I managed to finish one of the roof line quickly and named it Choo Choo Peeker V8/9. It starts in the far back right of the roof, climbs left through the longest length of the roof on underclings and edges, then cuts along the lip of the roof on slimper edges to a solid mantle. The problem is uniquely Vedauwoo, yet is completely unique to anything in Vedauwoo. Maybe a biased view, but it is a classic line at an attainable grade. It should prove to be a regular problem on the Vedauwoo bouldering circuit. It may be easier for shorter climbers?
The boulder to look for on the edge of the aspen grove. Start Choo Choo Peeker V8/9 in the back right depth of the roof on an undercling crack. Move left a move to the horizontal (black stain) and reach behind your head right to an undercling. work from there to the lip of the boulder and change direction towards the mantle.
Another view of the Choo Choo Peeker Boulder. The problem starts on the far right of the roof, behind the brightly lit tree trunk and follows the roof all the way left to the edge of the blue pad. Then, follows the rail out to the mantle along the vertical crack above the right edge of the blue pad. An unnamed V1 or V2 starts on the south face of the boulder (don't grab the flake, it will break).
One other project went in the newer area The Jungle. A previous post to this showed a water washed wall with vertical streaks on it. Devlin Junker finished the streaked wall. Rolling The Dice V8/9. Even with three of the projects checked off the list, there are now 92 to do!