Was last Thursday as I was just beginning to feel the disappointment of not being able to rally a motivated crew, Jamie Emerson asked if I would be interested in a Devil's Kitchen trip. For sure I was and made immediate plans for the trip. Good reviews of the area had been coming in and I had yet to see the established areas. Something like 8 or 9 years ago I had been into the valley that makes Devil's Kitchen, but had never come back due to the hideous walk from up valley.
I was feeling super psyched about the whole thing and definitely thankful of the invite from Jamie as Dave Graham and Daniel Woods (and Benson Dog) would be coming along too. Wanting to see something hard get done in Wyoming has been a long time motivation of mine. I've tried incredibly hard to put an 8B problem up around here, have come very close on a few occasions, but the goal is still unreached for me. I knew if Dave and Daniel made it to the outstanding rock of the Wind Rivers shit would get done and it would be at least 8B. In addition, it would be the maiden voyage of my new expedition bouldering rig. There should be a certain relevance to the first trip in a new rig and this day was indeed relevant.
The new rig absolutely ate the trail alive. We rolled in easy and parked where the view was maximum. Only a fool would not be impressed with the setting of Devil's Kitchen. It is a scenic climax in an already beautiful area. The only negative was the increasing heat of the day. From the moment we began our descent into the canyon it was HOT! When Dave started talking about dealing with heat and how frustrating it has been this past season I started to think the day may be a wash for anything hard getting done. We agreed that a sort of residual heat builds in a person even after the summer has slowed. It effects the inner condition of a person longer than it should. As we reached the canyon rim and the first sector of boulders tucked in between water falls appeared, the heat didn't feel so hot. The mind is a powerful thing!
Dumping pads at the "Black 45 Project" we ran around for what must have been hours looking at good problems and projects. It was super motivating to be out in the boulders with such a high energy crew! The group psych is such a factor in bouldering and sadly hard to find in Wyoming on a continued basis. I'm feeling it still, super excited every day now!
After the problem went down, psych was really high. There were a few more goes from each of us to use up some energy and figure/remember moves for the next trip into Devil's Kitchen. It got dark fast. The walk out sucked. It was dark and the hill steep. The next day my legs were completely shot. The thrill of the day however keeps me thinking about when I can return. So excited for the boulders!
I can't thank the crew enough for the day and what it did for my motivation. All in the days leading up to the fall season, which is always the best bouldering season.