08 August 2011

The Falcon's Lair

Yesterday, the 7th of August was the first full day of bouldering in what is now the Falcon's Lair. The name that started as a joke for an area that is no joke, now labels one of Wyoming's best summer bouldering areas (Yes the name is now official and still hard to take seriously). One week ago David Lloyd and I traveled into the Wind River Mountains to find alpine bouldering. What we found caused fits in our sleep and vows to return as soon as we could. We did just that with the good company of Brian Capps and his girl friend Jeanie. As usual, very welcome company.
The Falcon atop it's Lair
We started the day with a long, but easy hike, having only a talus descent/traverse into the boulder field. David's grin was encouraging through the entire hike and grew ever larger as the valley came into view, then the boulders. Warming up on what may be called the Lander Boulder (?), three lines were put up. Squamish Syndrome V2 or V3 a long and good lip traverse, Capps' Slap V3 from a fantastic sloper bulb, and Lander V1 that is an instant classic on great holds (all put up by David). We moved a few feet next door to the Black Fly Boulder and I established Day of the Black Fly V4 on great steep rock.
The classic problem Lander V1 comes out of the roof and up the prow of the big roof.
David on the third ascent of Day of the Black Fly V4. 

Once warm it was a bit difficult to decide on where to go next. So much rock and we only had a day, so we went up talus to the highest boulders we had previously found. We passed a good amount of rock on the way up. Two things were better understood on the walk. Some areas of the Falcon's Lair have less rock than expected because the talus is too small, while other areas of the talus have far more rock than expected because the talus is big.
David reconfirming the big blocs of quality stone.
In a single week of melt the large roof we had found, but not been able to look at was now climbable from it's middle. We had hoped for holds and indeed there are holds. Holds from the lower half of the roof will need another week or two of melt to be looked at. Snow melting in the upper talus has now revealed new boulders, the beginning of new boulders emerging, and changed some landings for the worse. All aspects of the alpine boulder field.
In the roof that is now the Ice Cave, named because of new icicles forming under it in the spray of a small stream, two lines were put up. First done was a crisp roof on good holds by David, Cracked Eggs V3, that I found to have an awkward finish for tall guys. The problem however, is very good for any frame size. On the right side of the roof Brian established Wind in the Willows V8, that is a classic and tricky problem on good rock. After nabbing the second of the problem and thinking long and hard I agree that it is a solid V8 and now the hardest line in the Falcon's Lair. It is good to be honest with grades in the beginning of a new bouldering area as those grades will greatly influence all future grades in that same area. Of course comparisons to other areas are just as important.
David coming so very close to the third ascent of Wind in the Willows V8.
Just above the Ice Cave is a classic prow that is now a project. I could blame the rain that soaked the thing but did dry, I could blame the many other boulders that distracted me but didn't hold my interest as much, but it remains a project because it intimidated me. Because bouldering in a talus field takes some getting used to when it's been a while. It is large and gets harder as one moves up the large prow, the landing gets a bit rugged as height increases, and the wind starts to blow. Now it haunts me. I want to get back on it so badly.
Brian in the depths of the Ice Cave with the big prow above.
On the way out two other problems were put up between the warm up area and the Ice Cave. David climbed a very clean arete he named Pika Prow V1+, while I put up a crisp slab on the same boulder named Musk V1. Also on the way out, we passed too many boulders to get on this season and the next.
In all it was a fantastic first day in the Falcon's Lair with good people. It gave us a good understanding of what is actually there. Though we had a relatively easy day of bouldering it was a big day and the potential is good for any grade of problem. With our new understanding of the area new rock will be developed quickly and benchmark grades for the area will be set as comparisons.
Inappropriate conversation, even for grown men, while we sat out the rain in the Ice Cave
 The Hike out was absolutely beautiful!
You can read more about the reconnaissance day with David and the bouldering day from this post on David's blog.


  1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. That's about all I can say about this

  3. I know how you feel. When can you visit and help name a few lines? This will be better than Christmas Dinner.

  4. I'll be out there just as soon as my little piggy bank barfs up enough dough to make this dream a reality. I've been givin' out OTPHJ's like I'm going for a world record, so hopefully it won't be out of the question to come visit this fall, but that has yet to be determined.Until then, I'll be thinking about these boulders while I touch myself in the bathroom at work.
    Stay sweet,and remember, Daddy's got ya.

  5. p.s.- Nothing's better than Christmas dinner.

  6. p.p.s.- Except maybe friendly mountain time with sweaty handsome dudes. That has potential to be much, much better.

  7. Wow, impressive, thought you had the world record on the OTPHJs already.

  8. yeah well, you know me, always trying to step things up.