23 March 2012

2 Days in Neverland

Spring is obviously here. Sure, we might get some snow in the next few weeks, but it won't be enough to slow the progression of the sun. For two weeks things have completely taken off in terms of bouldering outside. The long days of gym climbing are mostly over and I couldn't be happier. There is a single worry I can't get rid of in regard to the amazing weather. Is it too warm too early? We're easily six weeks ahead of schedule for chasing shade and the snow is pretty much melted out. Hopefully a cool summer is in the works.
Amiee dog looking to the high country and cooler temps, from the Snowflake Sector
On Wednesday Bryan, Julian, and myself went out to the Snowflake Sector of Neverland to add some new problems to the area. It was a beautiful day, but turned out to be too warm. It was easily in the low 70s once in the solar collectors of the boulders. Hope to finish off the project from the previous post was quickly set aside as our tips sweat through on the dark rock. A few good lines were put up as warm ups and will provide good climbing in the future for cooler days. I managed 3 new lines on the day, Whip Dick V0, Swizzle Stick V4/5, and The Knob V4. All named after lyrics from Bryan's new hobby as a rapper. Julian managed 3 new lines as well, but I'm not sure he's named them yet. Bryan didn't put up a new line, but did write a few songs.
Bryan warming up on Whip Dick V0
Julian on the second FA of his day. A beautiful and unnamed finger to hand crack. 
It was a good day to finally get out and let the bones completely thaw from a long Wyoming winter. Even though it was a soft winter, a good thaw was still welcome. We ended the day early so Bryan could commute back to work in Douglas that evening. The day left me with a desire to climb more and I was quickly planning a return trip as soon as my schedule would allow. My climbing goes in cycles in terms of when I'm focused and happy and it is usually based on having something hard to try. I find I'm most content when I can put up trying lines in a day and have other harder lines to work on for long term periods. The day in the Snowflakes left me less satisfied than I had hoped.
Thursday is always my shit day. I have class and a long lab in Microtectonics (micrstructure) which results in a puddin' brain feeling by days end. This day I couldn't focus in class. I was always thinking about something harder to climb, something I didn't get to try on the day before, and the beautiful roof off the side of the road (mentioned in the last post) kept my mind wandering. Knowing if I didn't get my fix that other parts of my life would start to loose focus, the decision was easy. The day outside was again amazing, so at noon the jeep was loaded with pads and on the road. I gave no mention to anyone of my plans. I felt like going at it alone. Only a call to my wife so she would know where I was, then into the Wyoming wild. Part of the needed fix came from the amazing weather and spring fever. Part of it came from the news that a friend had passed last Friday morning. There was a need to enjoy the day and put up something great that could serve a reminder to Ricky Gaines who passed in his sleep while on the banks of the Colorado River.
I drove straight to the road side giant that had held my thoughts for the past days. Initial inspection suggested it might be in the V8 to V10 range. Possible for a single trip. The roof measures 25 feet long and had a prefect snowdrift under it to take several feet of the fall out. It was a great day to be on it! The rock was clean and only needed chalk brushed on the holds so I would know where to go in the huge roof. After warming up on random holds in the roof and back side of the boulder I gave it a go. The first moves threw me and several different sequences didn't help. I started to think that the huge crux span move was going to be too much for me. I moved pads to the second half of the line and finished it first go. It was enough to motivate me to rethink the crux. I eventually found a pinch undercling that allowed me to do the full reach move through the crux. After three failed linkup tries a rest was needed.
The big roof with pads under the first half. The largest pad is a full size Metolius for scale.
I sat under the roof and felt the power of the day. It was near windless and the view was for many miles. Sun warmed everything and the day was good. Animals and bugs all around were busy in life. It was such a content feeling to be tired from the process of the problem and to feel the details of a spring day. I felt happy to have know Ricky who by all accounts was the nicest guy anybody in Laramie knew. He was genuinely content with his life and positively effected those around him by his constant smile and doing what he loved. It was incredibly motivating to feel the good day and think of contentment and being.
Thirty minutes of rest and I was ready to go. A single bum go reminded me that the core tension needed was the real deal, and the next go was it. It is The Power Of Contentment V9.
The second half of The Power Of Contentment. The drift takes up most of the space now, but serves as a great landing. The problem exits left on the thin seam to the lip of the boulder.
It is one of the few five star lines I've put up in my life. One of the top five problems of all time for me, for sure. The problem is on a single boulder miles from anything else in Neverland. All alone in a rolling plain of grass and small trees. The massive boulder has a single massive roof and in the roof is a single beautiful line 25 feet long. There are just enough holds to make it go and they are just close enough to reach from hold to hold. It is in my style of big moves on open holds with a lot of core tension. A person with more reach than myself may find it a bit easier, but for shorter climbers it will be much harder and even impossible. The crux is at my maximum reach and the moves afterward made my core hurt this morning.
It was a day that will carry me through the entire season and remind me of why we all go through the immense amount of time and effort to boulder. We do what we love to do and feel immensely content for doing so.


  1. Nice work Davin. Good to hear the stories.

  2. Stoked to see that the roof went, that's awesome! And Shane & I thought the same thing about the weather...we were sweating like crazy today out there!

  3. I went to high school with Ricky, damn fine guy. Good to hear you had a fine day bouldering in his honor.