30 October 2013

Fall Bouldering In Southeast Wyoming

It has been a busy fall to say the least, and a difficult one to find time for bouldering. Several snow storms have blanketed Laramie and my graduate work continues to challenge any sort of balance in my climbing life. Any available time has been spent bouldering rather than updating this blog (as you have likely noticed). I've tried to keep up with the easy way of updating by adding photos on Instagram (@davinbagdonas). After all a picture speaks a thousand words or something like that.

Early season bouldering was a bit warm and rain continued through September. A large amount of sandstone only 35 miles out of Laramie had been my primary focus. El Dakota as Josh Oxner and myself have titled the area has turned out to be an enormous addition to Laramie bouldering. It is a mountain of Dakota Sandstone that sits at nearly 9800 feet in a deep forest. Because of this, bouldering through the summer and especially early fall has been fantastic! How did this large new area hide for so long and how many more can we possibly find out there? Bouldering potential within a two hour radius of Laramie continues to grow at what seams like an ever increasing rate. I never could have imagined the potential, but will gladly take it as it comes. Should climbers continue to motivate and put up new problems, Laramie area bouldering will have many thousands of problems in a decades time!
One of a hundred boulders or more at El Dakota. Alca V5/6
We had planned a rebirth of the Vedauwoo Bouldering Festival, this time at Curt Gowdy State Park. Much of my late September was spent at the Hynds Lodge cleaning and climbing new problems for the planned competition. The best lines put up were never repeated as snow and below zero windchill forced a cancellation the day of the event. Obviously the problems are still up there and several are very worth while. 68 problems were selected for the festival out of around double for the entire area of the state park. I kept problems on the down low in an attempt to keep the competition fair. I got really excited about a few and ended up having Bryan Vansickle and Nathan Hough help develop. Cross Country Connection in down town Laramie has the Hynds Lodge Bouldering topos available. Please go grab a map and try the new lines. Some of the best new additions to Curt Gowdy and the Vedauwoo area include Waist Land Boogy V9, Up and Away V1, Old Aspen Prow V2, and The New Nathan V3. I also included 23 projects on the topo in a range of estimated difficulties from V2 to V13. That's right, there is a pile of cleaned and unclimbed lines just sitting there. If you finish one, please record the name and grade so we can add it to the guide book for the area.
Hynds Lodge Crag and a whole lot of boulders
What about October? Yeah, that has been a good one! After the time spent on the failed Curt Gowdy Festival, a few weeks of catch up work were needed on the academic side of things. Neverland was always calling, and without fail I followed the call. Now into my 30s, I have started to feel the constrain of time to finish the hardest and best lines found in the area. Triple X is one of those and for me the most difficult that feels like it is still possible. At great risk to all other aspects of my life I started going out every other day. During the week this includes a two hour drive in the afternoon, two hours on the project, and a drive home after dark. I vowed to continue in this schedule until the line is complete or winter blocks the road. All other previous sessions on the project had been random and spaced (not a good way to finish something hard). Four days on so far and the progress is much better than I had hoped for! The process of breaking down something nearly impossible, making small steps add up to larger steps, then seeing the possible from what was previously not is an experience beyond words. It is why many of us boulder and is an experience all it's own. I am completely taken by it! The motivation ours into other aspects of bouldering and life too.
Of course other boulders have to be climbed on some of those trips. The motivation is high and progress only adds to the addiction/madness. An example, Bryan Vansickle and I spent way too much on gas and time to drive three hours around the mountain to Bennett Peak. We spent a day there, crossed the ice cold Platte River, quickly finished an old project (now Down River Vibes V9), and drove all the way back to Laramie the same day. This allowed for a two hour session the following day on Triple X in a snow storm. It is border line crazy when you add up the two days and ten hours on the road for a V9 and an ass kicking in the freezing cold. I would do it again, probably this weekend.
At Neverland, Vansickle had cleaned a beautiful and huge roof, very reminiscent of Hueco Tanks. Luckily it is close to Triple X, so we managed to feed addiction for both of us. During the last trip Vansickle completed his line. Ultamak V8? and it is one of the best new big lines to go in at Neverland. It climbs like New Religion in Hueco Tanks, but has a harder start, longer moves, and a big round top. It is an area classic. The roof has several other possible problems and a long traversing problem Green Machine V6 I added as a warm up. An 8A+ feeling project climbs into Bryan's line, then follows a huge slash out the length of the beast, for what must be one of the finest power endurance lines I've seen. Anywhere but Wyoming this thing would be on glossy paper with a bunch of strong dudes talking about a stunner.
Going back tomorrow, and this weekend, just me and the dog.
Vansickle on his new problem Ultamak V8? in the huge Fern Roof of Neverland. Green Machine V6 starts on the far right near the blocks and climbs all the way left into the black flakes.

1 comment:

  1. Send Triple X!! It's good to hear the news of what's been getting done in the Laramie area. Ultamak looks great! Worth making a trip for.