23 January 2013

Curt Gowdy: Something New For The Vedauwoo Boulderer

Not a lot happens in Vedauwoo that is new. The surge of development is long past, with only a memory of those few classics clouding the view into the golden years. Almost all of the big players in Vedauwoo's 1400+ problems are gone from Laramie. For the past several years I have only visited a few times per year to work on old projects from the Project Project or to wander in hope of that last undiscovered gem. Maybe it could be found in the small piles of sharp rock, spread over a vast expanse of not much climbing. With time as my major limitation for exploring new rock and areas these days, I've gone back to the crucible of Vedauwoo and found some things. My imagination and many years of walking every corner of the area had convinced me that all the large bouldering zones were discovered long ago. There would be a few random piles that might hold some amazing lines. So the search started there, on random piles. All fall I looked, and into Winter too. Maybe 6 good problems were found and half were climbed. Then, on a rest afternoon in mid-January, I walked the 50 yards beyond where I had been many times over several years, and found it. It is a valley of a lot of rock. That's not saying much when it is Vedauwoo rock, but this rock has holds. Almost every boulder in the half mile long valley has holds! It also gets toasted with winter sun. Large pine trees blanket the boulders on a wind sheltered hill side. For Vedauwoo it is a paradise. At first I wasn't sure of the expanse of new rock. I went back days later with Josh Oxner to verify the whole thing. We walked for hours and found even more!
A few of us spent last Saturday there, putting up the first warm-ups and problems (Josh, Brian, and Nick). Some of the rock is garbage, some of it is good. My fingers got sore like only Vedauwoo can do. My skin also tore on the crystals when knuckles impacted the stone. But the problems are good, and the Winter is now full of things to do. There are several amazing lines, many good ones, and probably a hundred problems to do that are worth the time.
Nick on Deck of Cards V3. The beautiful problems starts on the cobble under Nicks hand. I added the sit start from the far left at around V6. The top out is a gem of a mantle!
The crew cooking in the Winter sun along the valley bottom. Two good warm-ups were done on this boulder.
I will admit to having a problem finding motivation for bouldering at Vedauwoo. The past years have been good to me with volumes of the finest stone being found over and over again. Bleeding out just to warm up has not been missed. But, the days at Vedauwoo have been missed. When you spend time in such a place it becomes part of you, and there will be times you have to go back. I've gone back and found the old motivation again. The one where climbing anything is good, especially the strange shapes of Vedauwoo. A little blood loss is part of the connection there. It is also close to home. A place where sunny afternoons can be spent without the huge drives to the big areas. There is some liesure to it.
There are new projects of all shapes and sizes that have me going now. One of the best lines is a beautiful prow in a gentle roof. The wind has polished the inside, while the outside has good grips. It is a beauty, and one of many I would like to finish this Winter, close to home.
The center line, above pads is a classic put up by Brian and Nick. The prow I desire is on the right, back lit with sun.

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