That Wyoming Granite
Normally I start a post with a quick sentence on where we were, followed by the lining up of the usual suspects and saying things like
There's Laurel, the up-and-coming crusher who will only be your friend if you promise to roll in the dirt more often than you take a shower to get it off.
And each blurb is followed by a picture like:
But I dunno. By now you know all these people right? Laurel and Chris (Jesus, especially poor Chris) are all over this here journal. Even the newer crew, the Gypses, I've been documenting for some number of months now.
So let's just talk about the rocks, and how I'm climbing on them again.
Just before leaving Laramie for Sheridan Laurel and I went out to watch Shane and Slim play on Yasha Hai, Wyoming's first 5.13.
We drove down the recently opened road to Turtle Rock, hiked through aspens, and found our rock.
It's really just a roof boulder problem someone mistakenly put in the sky.
The seeping crack made for grim conditions, and a torn open finger brought further attempts to a sudden halt.
Another day Slim, another day.
A week later bad weather haunted Trudeau, Shaleas, Shane and I on a weekend trip to Fremont, but we made the most of it.
That first afternoon I top-roped Dillingham Blues without the roof, giggled madly, immediately went back down and did it again with the roof, and declared myself fit for climbing.
No more of this "life half lived" for me!
Shane made Mike follow him up Morning Sickness with its body-length roof right at the start.
Shaleas on Star Plunge.
We stayed at the lake cabin over at Alcova Resevoir again, where the sunsets didn't fail to impress.
Over by the marina the reservoir was very high. Chris and I played on some slabs before getting rained out and leaving to try our luck elsewhere. From then on we toproped everything, a strange thing to do with my lead climbing mentor.
If you look closely, you can see a picnic shelter's roof barely peeking out of the water.
The high waters of the reservoir raged through the canyon as we set up camp at the quarry. We hit Thanatos and Wine and Roses, two area classics.
We searched around for another climb and before long I was being lowered further and further into the dark. Fifteen feet over the churning water, its spray misting the backs of my calves, I called "Climbing!" and started my 160' climb back to the light.
Starting so near the churning dark waters was eery, and made the technical crux start - along with the dread of what that much rope stretch would do so near the water - thrilling and gripping.
As I topped out the climb the rains came again and washed away the rest of the day.
The four of us took shelter in my van. Eventually Shane and Shaleas took their leave back to Laramie, and Chris and I broke out the bourbon and caught up with each other. It had been a third of a year since we last climbed together. I was very glad to be back at it with my old partner.
The setting sun suddenly reminded me that I had a phone call to make. I drove out of the reservoir and found reception at the top of a hill that showed me the last of the day burning red over mountains far, far away over the Casper plains.
The next day broke bright but cold. Chris and I followed Sherry's example and did Star Plunge, followed by (failed, in my case) attempts on Shane's Captain America.
We finished with Superman and more laps on Dillingham and said "To hell with this place." We made plans to meet in Ten Sleep two weeks hence.
I rented a Nikon D750 with the 24-120mm kit lens to play with for the weekend and evaluate before taking the plunge myself. The flat light - and climbing in shadows with bright water next door - made it difficult to really evaluate the camera, but it did tell me that sure enough, it's the photographer, not the equipment.
Raised On Robbery
Another weekend and I'm back in Laramie. The day after the wedding Stebbins and Kenneth invited me out to climb, and best of all Catherine came along too.
We hit lower Blaire and started on Raised on Robbery, a beautiful route (in both the aesthetic and climbing senses).
The route had an awkward start that gave way to a continual gruntfest. Somehow its low angle only made it more strenuous as you fought to keep close to the crack without pushing yourself off the rock.
As Ken topped out his lead Vedauwoo's spring took over and a hailstorm ensued. The poor bastard was soaked through, and came down on rappel as the purple fleshed winner of the wet T-shirt contest.
Of course, as soon as he came down, the weather let up.
We broke for lunch.
As the weather continued to give us fits we repeated Trudeau's words in Fremont and got the hell out of Dodge.
Staring at the ground crawling out of a rock tunnel, I hear someone shout my name. Far away on the parking lot ledge of La Petit stood Laurel and a Brian Scoggins.
Thursday Ken and I took Kenzie out to get her psyched on sport climbing. This hard hitting mother effer has only jammed painful cracks before, and admitted to being pretty psyched about this kind of climbing being only scary, rather than scary and painful.
Bart makes the same try-hard face, tongue sticking out to the left.
I don't know about you, but to me that face is definitely saying "No big deal."
Ken and I spiced up the climbing by entering into the "Chaco Challenge," climbing only in our ungainly sandals. For my greatest feat I climbed barefoot with my chalkbag off my harness and instead free in one hand.
I have very sweaty feet, you see.
The final granite sesh before devoting ourselves over to ten days on Limestone was with Slim and Kenneth at the Holdout.
The three of us slogged through the first pitch, then lapped and lapped pitch two. Ken had never done it before (I had last year with Trudeau) and I had the privilege of documenting his send.
Is it just me, or do his flowing locks give good competition to Viv's attempts on The Citadel back in January?
Check out other photos from these good times over on the photo gallery