Many years back in the process of doing foolish things that could only be categorized as alpine climbing I noticed a large valley of many, many boulders close to a trail head. Thinking only of the alpine objective ahead, of the large granite walls and ice, I walked on by. The images in my head of boulders far below in the valley stayed with me. Those images resurfaced in my mind over the past weeks and I had to take another look.
With the help of David Lloyd, who has been fully devoted to developing new rock in the Lander area for two years now, we made plans to do a day trip with no pads. We took an unusual late start of 9am and easily made it to the upper end of the boulder field and snow in very little time. Despite looking for rock close to the road (turned out to be chossy Vedauwoo looking stuff) and a rather long bushwhack through overgrown talus, and a long slog up a mountain side, we made it back to the main trail and into the boulders with most of the day remaining. We walked the upper half mile of the boulder field that is maybe a long mile in total and returned to the trail easily. From the trail it is a quick bushwhack of open slabs and some open forest to the edge of the boulders. We quickly realized day trips with pads are completely possible. We were in Lander by 6pm without trying to rush any part of the day!
I was close to doing this reconnaissance silently and alone, but chose to have another set of eyes. At times I have found rock that would have been better judged with other eyes and at times I've been happy to go at it alone. On this trip, knowing the rock would be good and having little doubt about possibility, I simply chose to go with someone who could appreciate the place and rock. David and I shared a great day of exploration. We talked for hours about many things in life. Life, bouldering, motivation, lack of motivation, life not including climbing, emotions, the simple things in life, the complex, and then we talked about the best granite. The upper end of the boulder field is the best granite I've seen! To be clear, not the best rock, not the best gneiss, but the best granite.
|Very good granite! The center boulder contains a large roof, mostly obscured by snow, the size of Unshackled at Lincoln Lake (for scale). The prow at right ramped my motivation from zero to hero.|
|A very excited David Lloyd in the thick of it. This is somewhere in the middle of the upper half of the boulder field and the point at which we really started to understand the good news.|
|The large boulders that mark the boulder field's center. From the upper end to this pile is a blur of good rock and memories clouded by excited rants and random moments of joy as we groped holds.|
|Rusty is a Guy I don't Know V0 climbs from the lowest part of the slab to the apex. For scale the line is around 12 to 15 feet tall.|