15 September 2011

Horatio Rock, Wy

Last weekend, staying in the Laramie area, rather than another trip to Lander, a small group of  us went out to Horatio Rock. There are surprisingly few boulders in the Snowy Range, and they tend to be hard to find, but what is there tends to be good to excellent. Horatio Rock is one of those places that stands out from the rest of the local spots. I found the area three seasons back when cutting fire wood in early fall. Never would I have imagined any rock in the area, but there it was. As I turned the trailer around in the small meadow below I noticed the back of a huge boulder hiding in the forest. That boulder was on the local hot list two years back when Guili Zavaschi finished his mega-classic Lord of The Forest V12. Guili didn't actually rate the problem, but did say it was the best he climbed in America. I worked the line with Guili for several sessions before injury to my pinky tendon slowed me down. I rated it based on how it felt to the exit moves, where I fell off several times. I rated the line through the crux moves, but maybe not the red point crux so the grade should hold up. More info here.
Guili, back in the day, moving into the crux sequence of his Lord of The Forest V12.
Anyway, It had been some time since my last visit to Horatio Rock and Lord of The Forest is always on my mind. Seth, Dylan, Dr. Thunder and his lady Rachel, Marla and I all went out to re-visit the boulders. It was quickly obvious that it was too hot to attempt Lord of The Forest, but the place is only partially developed so we went to work having a cleaning and development day. It should be said that Horatio Rock is composed of a fine grain granite of very high quality, but is very sensitive to temperature differences. Maybe more so than anywhere I've bouldered. A warm day will up the grades, a hot day will shut you down. Lord of The Forest was done in the cold as were most of the lines and all have a grade fitted to them in ideal conditions.
We started the day on the Lord of The Forest Boulder and did some of the older warm ups there. One in particular, Lumberjack V4 is a classic for the area.
Dylan on Lumberjack V4. A technical and classic line.
Once the sun started heating the warm ups, we headed to the north side of the mountain to develop some new problems. The north side has a few small boulders, some nice walls, and a larger tower of good stone that provides some bouldering options. It was the right choice to escape the warm temperatures as most of the lines on the north side hide in shadow. We did several good problems and a few fill in problems before the rain chased us away. Some things were cleaned and not yet climbed. I would estimate that the Horatio Rock area is around a third developed at this point. It is my hope that the new kids in town will go out and finish developing the place. Dylan and Seth were both stoked to go back and I know some of the other students new to UW are looking for some first ascents. It is a very good fall destination, so why not?
Seth taking in the knowledge that Dr. Thunder and I keep putting out. This time figuring out (in his mind) the trick foot to Lumberjack V4.
Dylan on the insecure crux move of Momenshun V6/7. One of the new problems put up last weekend. 
Seth on the first move of the new problem Radio V5. ShinToe Slab V1 starts on the crimps left of Seth's upper crimping hand. It is a good slab.
Some of the new lines are indeed shorter. Horatio does hold tall lines that will ruin your season should you spill off, but also some classic sit starts to three move wonders. It is the diversity of bouldering that makes it interesting and Horatio Rock holds a good cross section of that variety. It has been some time since I had spent a day on "little" lines, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some people's kids these days, having fun on "little" problems at Horatio Rock on the north side. Each problem is only three or four moves long, but are good! Taller stuff is close near by should you want to clean and climb it. Up to 30' if you like!
In an effort to spur some development around here you can click on the below images and then download them. Fit them to your paper size when you print and you should end up with a usable topo for the area. All I ask is that you keep me updated to what goes up, so we can all keep track. The best thing would be to add comments to this post.
A few things to keep in mind at Horatio Rock this fall, directions, and some topos:
1. The warm up wall on the topo has four or five problems up to V4, but we never named anything, so sorry. Feel free to name those lines and others on that wall, but keep track of it.
2. When you go to the Lord of The Forest Boulder please, please, please contribute to the community and add a log or two to the deck being built under the down hill side of the boulder. It will provide a landing for several classic lines that would otherwise break your leg if you fell off the top. A few trips by a few people and we'll have a good landing! The majority of the forest is dead anyway, so no worries about ethics.
4. If it is not on the topo we haven't climbed it yet. So, The Fox Cave (needs to be rap-cleaned), the summit of Horatio Rock hill, and Chunky Wall are not yet developed. Probably some other walls and boulders are sitting around too. Have some fun!

Horatio Rock Area Overview
Horatio Rock Boulder Problems (see overview for locations of the two areas on the topos)
Directions from Laramie, Wyoming: Drive Wyo Highway 230 to Woods Landing and continue up to Wyo-Colo which is a small mountain village on the side of the road (basically a bar and some cabins). Continue a couple more miles on Wyo 230 to the Colorado border, and take the first right turn (NORTH) off, into the national forest (In total, around 42 miles from Laramie to the turn off on the border). Forest Service Rd. 898 (Pelton Creek Road) for about 5 miles will get you to Horatio Rock. Take the first left off of F.S. Rd. 898, which is either F.S. Rd. 521 or 516. Can't remember the number, but go across the bridge that is over Pelton Creek and park a few hundred yards down that road at the obvious parking area. If you only want to see the North Side Boulders you can park off of 898 a bit up the road at the intersection near Chunky Wall.
Let me know if you have any problems using the topos or finding the place. I'm happy to go up in the afternoons too, so just let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the beta Davin! Psyched to get up there after hearing about it for the past couple of years.