03 August 2011

In The Summer Time

Went on an extended weekend to Lander and just returned. Though the place is a sport climbing destination I did not go for that reason. Rather to boulder and more specifically restore some motivation before it is too late. Three weeks of the hottest weather of the season really took the energy out of me, as usual. So I went and looked for rock, as usual. Motivation was low enough I didn't even post several good finds on this blog. In the Wind River Mountains however, some energy was renewed. Motivation found a way back and all I can think of is bouldering. All that was needed was a new boulder field of really good rock.
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.
 As a boulderer who predominately explores and develops new rock it is becoming harder to find things that motivate on the same level as the best things I've found and climbed. Often good boulders can be passed up in the hope of finding even better boulders. Boulders are like drugs and no addict wants good drugs when they can have the best drugs. This boulder field is a fine drug indeed. Only a single problem was climbed in the day. A perfect slab with good friction and a decent landing. I called it Rusty is a Guy I Don't Know V0. It was enough to get me hooked.
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.
With motivation now high, David and I will be going back very soon to start developing! Now, if this post seems to have a lack of direction, location, and anything else that gives much of a hint it is for good reason. I've found enough rock in my life to know when things are rare. This is rare, and I would like to take a selfish look for a few sessions before going crazy with it. I like to understand an area before going to far with it and this one is an abstract at this time.


  1. Well written! I'm looking forward to many days of crisp conditions, on beautiful alpine granite, climbing the best problems discovered in the Winds to date. Thanks Davin.

  2. Rad find. Post some updates when you've developed more problems!

  3. wow
    those pictures might even bring my psyche back.

  4. Really inspiring writeup, Davin! :)

    It sounds like climbers throughout the country are really starting to dig into the alpine bouldering scene, and it's really quite breathtaking to see so many new areas get discovered.

    Similar vein, a few fellows out in Idaho recently found huge potential in the talus surrounding Braxon Lake: http://climbidaho.com/?p=2113

  5. There will be more pictures posted here soon. You can look at David Lloyd's blog to get some more info on the day. His link is on my list on the right.

    mh, The alpine seen is indeed becoming more popular these days. One of the few issues with climbing in the alpine is finding rock close enough to make it worth while. Like the Idaho crew, we've found mass potential in the Wind Rivers, but this is some of the stuff closest to a road.