02 April 2012

Neverland Update

The past weekend was a bouldering weekend. It has left me tired and sore, content, and excited for more. Saturday was a tour day, as Jamie Emerson, Brian Capps, Justin Jaeger, and Colin Horvat made the trip from Colorado. Mr. Capps has been up to Neverland on several occasions over the past seasons, while the rest of the group had yet to experience it. I had communicated with Jamie and a bit with Justin in the past year about the possibility of them coming up. Jamie had really been interested, but different schedules always disrupted previous plans. On Friday evening everything meshed and plans were put into action. Saturday dawned calm and sunny with a big day ahead. Brian Horlick was the lone Laramie climber to show up in the morning and reaped the benefit of his commitment. As a newer member of the bouldering community, Brian had yet to experience a day with a group carrying such high motivation and talent. He quickly caught on and even more quickly put down his first V6, Maybe Baby. Mr. Vansickle is a rare sight these days. As we came near the conclusion of our morning commute to the Old Neverland sector of Neverland, there he was. Being daddy of the Old Neverland sector, he had to be there.
For a day of Wyoming bouldering it was a crowd.
The goal of the group was a classic line Crazy In The Ocean V10, that a I had put up several seasons ago.It is a good example of what is possible in the area and what the rock quality is. You can read Jamie's account of the day here.
After warming up and taking some photographs of the event I decided to have a go on the central line of the Wood Grain Wall. Over the past couple of weeks my elbow had been showing signs of injury after days of climbing and I was hesitant to push it too far. In fact I was using the day to gauge it's condition and see if a few weeks of no climbing were about to open my schedule up. A few goes on the lower half of the project felt good. Pads were rearranged so both lines on the wall could be attempted and work began on the upper half of the line. Capps graciously rap-cleaned the upper part and the chalked holds encouraged a good effort up there. Good progress was made. After snapping a hold high up and taking a solid ass rocket onto the edge of the pads (Vansickle saved my season), it was clear the line would soon go. I rested and prepared, but the sun warmed the stone and we decided to move on to other sectors. Hopefully cooler stone.
Colin Horvat having a go on The Power Of Contentment V9
There was some debate about where to go, but a combination of bouldering and sport route potential was decided on. We drove into the higher and cooler side of the range. A new problem I had put up last week and one of the best in the entire area sits somewhat close to good crags. The Power Of Contentment V9 is an atypical line for most climbers, but it somehow my style. The holds are far too big to make the line feel as hard as it is. The moves are large and the core tension is great, but so is the line. With my elbow feeling completely normal I decided to shoe up and was able to repeat the line on my first attempt. It was nice having the extra pads and an actual spotter this time around. Because of the physicality of the line the group quickly tired as the day grew short. Brian Capps finished a nice line on the direct center of the roof that is unnamed at this point and is V9 or so. Colin repeated The Power Of Contentment and looked well satisfied.
Another view of the roof with Mr. Vansickle giving it hell.
The remainder of the evening was spent rally car style going from sector to sector with many other sectors flying by the convoy windows. Everyone wanted to see as much as possible. The ride was one of dust and fading light at break neck speed across the rolling plain. It was really good that everyone had four wheel drive vehicles. We saw a few things, but it was too quickly dark. One of the last boulders we looked at was the Columbine Roof. I felt bad that we didn't have time to get on it's good and long problems. The group seemed to be tired, but I did hear "I wish we would have climbed here". Saturday was a good day and will hopefully be repeated soon.
Sunday dawned cool and clear. I set aside the huge pile of reading that waited for me the day before. Again Brian Horlick was the lone Laramie boulderer to show up in the morning. Plans were to meet Bryan Vansickle who had stayed out at the rocks the night before.
A few years ago I had walked the bottom edge of a large sector of rock and great bouldering potential. Reminders of the place had surfaced while driving out the past evening. Really there was no other option than to satisfy my curiosity. The others agreed and walked into the hills with only the plan of climbing something completely new.
Brian Horlick repeating a Vansickle line with no name, all very reminiscent of Hueco Tanks type rock.
Walking directly to the closest pile of boulders we dropped pads at the first steep roof in a beautiful aspen grove. Warming up Bryan Vansickle put up an unnamed V3 on the right side of the roof and I added a long traverse down a Hueco Tanks like hall way into the roof problem. It is also unnamed and was about V4. Widely spaced crimps in the meat of the roof asked for chalk, but seemed too far apart and too small to be possible. One move in particular is absolutely massive. Feeling motivated from the day before, we shuffled pads and gave it a few goes. The massive move was very nearly stuck and the rest of the moves went shortly after that. Yet another project was born and a great one at that. It will be in the V10/11 range depending on how well the massive move finally goes. I felt close to being able to do the problem, but the day before had chewed up my fingers, so next time perhaps.
The long traverse
Feeling warm and maybe a little tired we moved across the aspen grove to a few other boulders. I stopped along the way to complete a nice V5 sloper problem. It sits along a barb wire fence in the depth of the aspen grove in a peaceful Wyoming setting. The tranquility of the location is what hooked me on that one. Meanwhile Bryan and Brian went to put chalk on a long roof.
The long roof. Something like Ghetto Simulator in Hueco Tanks, but closer to V7 
The sun once was once again warming the rock a bit too much. The long roof was too warm, but a beautiful line hidden in the shade was ready to go. Mr. Horlick once again reaped the benefit of actually going bouldering and nabbed the finest first ascent of his very young career. It is a beautiful and yet unnamed V4/5. I have been really impressed with his commitment to bouldering and apatite for new lines. He has what it takes to live the dream.
Brian on the opening moves of his new beauty
And ladies, this guy is single.
All feeling a good level of tired we called it a day and decided to head home. We opted to take a loop back to the vehicles where we had not yet walked. Passing a huge roof that had been previously looked at we joked about how good the day and location was. How could we be so lucky?
Fools often make conclusions without all the evidence in hand. A ship of fools sailed down the hill into some deep trees. Hidden there is a monster's den. A roof so big and so proud it can't be believed. Too big and the landing is dead flat. Obviously some giant had cleared his floor of useless bumps. We were flat out shocked that this huge roof with nearly prefect landing could hide so well. 50 yards away and it disappeared in the timber. From all other angles it disappeared in a shorter distance. I cussed a lot.
Yes it's big and yes it has lines out of it.
Men that now need counseling to get through their day.
It snows now. Hope is that the unusually warm temperatures will rest for a while. Spring is what we need, even if for only a few weeks of good bouldering. Obviously there are some things that need doing.


  1. Great post Davin and thanks again. Looks like Sunday was an amazing day as well! We will be in touch!


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  3. I saw these photos at lunch, and it made getting through the work day at least twice as difficult. Thanks Davin.

  4. Ha! I'm "such a good looking guy." A great post for a great weekend.

  5. :o that is the face I made when i scrolled down to the second picture of that boulder