David and I walked in while Bryan was farther behind with his lady and Oscar Dog. Wanting to see some new territory and feeling motivated by the day, David and I dropped into the valley of boulders earlier than usual to inspect the Lower Lair. The heat soon found us while few good lines showed up. The talus is smaller in the lower part of the valley. As we all know, the huge blocs are the best for good boulders. We did find a few days of worthwhile bouldering on various blocs, but nothing like the Middle and Upper Lair where large boulders clog the hill side and valley bottom.
|View from the Lower Falcon's Lair|
|A nice short roof in the lower boulders of the Falcon's Lair|
|A nice boulder in the Lower Falcon's Lair with two V2s on the left side and potential for harder lines on a cooler day.|
|The wall of much variety|
|David on a problem I know not the name of.|
|Bryan on the line I cleaned that should have been climbed, but is now a project.|
|The Middle Falcon's Lair with the Lander Boulder in the lower left. Notice David Lloyd standing on top of the huge split boulder in the middle right of the photo!|
|The rest of the Middle Falcon's Lair and the Upper Falcon's Lair still half covered in snow.|
|First view of Midsummer|
|Midsummer from the approach. The huge boulder in the center of the image is around 40 feet tall for scale.|
Going quickly down the trail, knowing that the others were waiting for me, I was elated to know of the new possibility. The joy of a big day in a remote and lonely valley all alone had me going too. It brought me back to the days of growing up in the big mountains of northwest Wyoming with my dad.
Then, like "WAKE UP", there on the trail right in front of me, maybe 20 yards out was a big, mature black bear. I stopped dead in my tracks and the bear stood up to smell the air. I told it to "get the hell out of here" with plenty of cussing so it knew I was serious. It dropped to all fours and lurched it's head around as it slowly walked up the trail toward me with a heavy breath. I had already backed up a few yards and picked up a large rock. I threw it into a tree next to the bear and it stopped approaching, but made heavy breathing noises, while sweeping it's head back and forth. From the same experiences growing up that I had just been reminiscing about I knew it was a male and it wanted to test dominance. I yelled with a really deep voice as I was truly mad (something that happens to me during animal encounters such as this). Another jagged rock was thrown, this time at the bear, and it was off into the forest. I did have a tree picked to climb, but bears are fast and it was close enough that the tree was not a good option with the timing of the whole thing. Once they test dominance, the tree is a poor choice anyway for a black bear (who climb tress). After the tussle, I made really good time down the trail getting the adrenaline out of the system. Once clear of the bear I actually ran sections of trail to use up some of my new found energy.
The day was a major success! It was so fantastic to get back into the big mountains and the cool air of the Falcon's Lair. The long winter wait knowing the new rock was just around the bend was rewarded with a huge amount of new rock. And the world felt huge and wild again.