15 July 2012

Midsummer Boulders

The week of the Fourth of July was spent in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. I was able to take nearly a week off from work and used it to visit the cool high mountains. Two days were spent in the northern Winds looking for new rock, while the rest of the trip was spent with family and some boulders around the Lander area. I'll post a few pics here of the Northern Winds stuff once we get some problems put in up in the new areas. For the initial searching we found a lot of rock, but spent most of the time either driving or hiking to get to the new rock. The next trip up there will have some problems put up. The mosquitos have to go away first! Catching up from a long break is hectic and leaves one with less time than is needed, so this is a brief report on some great new rock.

Rock of the Northern Winds
In the southern Winds the Falcon's Lair has been busy. I've been too caught up in work for the middle of summer, so have spent my days climbing on plastic or on rock in the evenings. The days I get out a strange desire to add even more new rock to the already long list has overtaken me. On this particular mission of discovery my wife Marla came along and we headed out from the valley of the Falcon's Lair to new valley of boulders and the one boulder field I had found earlier this year, Midsummer. Since the initial trip out there I had wondered what a trip with pads would be like and had to give it a good effort. Despite attempting as "short cut" from my original route the trip in was a major success and subsequent journeys will be very possible with pads!
I started bouldering on the first good wall with a good landing Marla and I found. It was directly on the front edge of the huge new boulder field and proved to be an opportune spot to warm up and leave gear as we explored the area. I added three problems on very clean rock on the single boulder. An unnamed V2 on the far left prow, a V5ish problem named Mr. Martin from the right side through the middle, and an unnamed V1ish thing on great edges up the right face. Marla was excited to do absolutely nothing and built a nest for the day on a flat bloc next to the boulder I was chalking.

The Pine Martin Boulder of Midsummer
 After warming up on the new lines and a great lunch of avocado sandwiches a journey through the new boulder field was needed. I searched through huge blocs of good, clean granite all stacked in a huge talus field. I dropped into the forest below and found many more boulders. It was difficult to find problems that were small enough and had a preferable landing for my minimal pad set up. After looking at far too many things that will be great with several more pads, I opted for the huge boulders in the trees where good soil had filled and leveled landings. The forest is thick and reminds me of the boulders I had visited in Finland last summer. Good lines are abundant on the good stone, but do need a light brushing of pine needles and lichen. One line in particular caught my attention right away. It is a perfect and steep line on perfect holds. It sits in a majestic old growth forest where the trees have given just enough room for the boulder problems to be possible. A small stream meanders through and under the boulders providing a relaxing hang between attempts. It was just the place I had hoped to find for the summer.

Last go of the day on small crimps in a dark wood. Perfect!
Unfortunately, the perfect boulder was found late in the day and we had a schedule to keep. I put all the moves together as quickly as possible, and gave it three good goes from the start. A crux upper move threw me off each time, but invited me back for another day. We packed our things and meandered the talus back to the easy walking in the open forest. Marla was sad to have to go so soon. She had spent a good part of the day watching Pika in the rocks and had made several new friends. The walk out was easier than expected, this time taking the correct route that had been previously scoped out. I left with only a few problems completed and yet another project for another day, but did get to spend a long awaited day in the paradise of Midsummer!
Midsummer Boulders
Just one boulder pile in a valley of boulder piles.

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