Monday, April 30, 2012

The Sienna Rides Again

The past two weeks have been pretty busy for me.  The looming shadow of finals week was cast heavily over Laramie, and I spent most of my time navigating the stormy seas of everyday life.  Despite the metaphorical misery, I was able to get in two productive days.  The first weekend, Seth and I returned to Vedauwoo for a classic 12 hour day of crack climbing.  We started off at Lower Blair so that I could lead the first pitch of Le Petit Arbre, which is as good as 5.6 crack climbing gets.  I was able to cruise it, and left feeling confident.

Atop the Classic Pitch

We then went on to the Plumbline crag where Seth led the namesake climb, which is a perfect 5.9 splitter hand crack ascending a 40' boulder.  As usual, I grunted my way up it and took copious rests.  The rest of the afternoon was spent at Reynolds hill, where Seth led both Crime and Punishment (5.9+) and Pooh Corner (5.9).  I led Maiden (5.6), and had a bit of what Seth calls "a moment" on my first go.  You see, a "moment" is a period of distress and internal conflict set on by by a variety of factors, and this particular "moment" happened to be set on by unnecessary panic.  I ran out of proper pieces around the crux sequence of the climb, and proceeded to rant about how all of my previous pieces were horribly placed and would never catch me in the unlikely event of a fall.  I lowered off my last cam and Seth ran up the route, laughing at how good all the placements actually were.  So with one extra #3 C4, I nervously went back up and finished it.  Just shows how you really get in your own head sometimes.  Thoroughly satisfied and beat up, we hiked out from Reynolds Hill in near darkness, talking about the possibilities for next time.
Climb and Punishment in all its glory
 Pre-moment on Maiden
 Pooh Corner in the evening light
A week later, it was time for another day at Neverland.  Nick was the only other person willing to go out on the Saturday before finals, even bailing on a lot of fraternity business to go climb some rocks.
The first order of business was returning to the Chunks to rescue Davin's "no Wal-Mart piece of junk" crowbar, which Seth and I left under Vanity after using it to pull a monstrous loose block from the top.  The mission was successfully completed, and the second order of business was finishing off Nick's project from last time.  What at first seemed really awkward and unpleasant actually turned out to be a pretty good line.  The climb goes up a series of unique sidepulls and crimps with tricky footwork, ending on a fun dynamic bump to a sloped edge.  The style is definitely unique, and somewhat hard to grade- we guessed V4ish.  Nick named it Airstream Abduction, after the mega creepy Airstream camper parked by a pond just downhill from the boulder.
  Nick pulling hard on the final moves of Airstream Abduction
With AA off the tick list, we drove deeper into the dreamscape of Neverland to the Grove in search of new rock.  It was a fairly peculiar day; heavy rainstorms and thick fog covered the nearby higher mountains while we had sunshine with a random 10 minutes of snow.  We also saw more wildlife than I've ever seen out there, including a herd of 50+ elk, a wild turkey, and a brilliantly bright mountain blue bird.
  Neverland elk
 Just another monster roof, no big deal
Delicious gneiss...

After a while of wandering around the potential, we found a really nice slightly overhung boulder with plentiful features on excellent stone.  I put up a line going up the center of the main face, called The Sienna Rides Again (V2), which is probably the best problem I've ever put up at that grade.  Every move is pretty much perfect, from a super bomb gaston at the beginning to the heel-hook topout.  I couldn't help but run several laps on it, super fun.  I also did an alternate start that bypasses the gaston in favor of a dyno to the good edge out left.  On the far left side of the face, Nick put up a short, but fun roof problem that he named Shark Tank (V3).  It has a single awkward crux move at the beginning, followed by cruiser laybacking up a great seam system.  The finish traverses left on a rail system to the walkoff, and I cleaned a traverse to the right that should yield a really good crimpy alternative finish and linkup with The Sienna Rides Again.

The Sienna Rides Again
 Nick enjoying the excellent holds
 The really hard way of doing things...
 ...about a minute after figuring out better beta.  
Twas another long and productive day at Neverland, producing new problems and further incentive to get out there and find the next great boulder.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great day of bouldering in Neverland. Thanks for the rescue of my American made bar of steel.

    Hopefully get out there soon with you!