With summer now in full swing, cool climbing temperatures have been hard to come by in the Laramie area. Hot and muggy days with intermittent rain showers had set in, and upon hearing of the cold front moving in from the West, Davin, Bryan and I made plans for a week of climbing on some of the alpine boulders in the Northern Wind Rivers. Camp was set up in the scenic Torrey Valley near the trails up to Bomber Basin and Lake Louise, all of which contain countless high quality gneiss and granite boulders. Unfortunately, as those of you who regularly read this blog know, I generally mess up at least one thing on any given trip. Sometimes its something completely basic and essential...like a tent. But with a little help from my friends, I got by for the few days we spent there.
And yes, we were in Grizzly country. But, why be scared when you have The BEARFUCKER?
I found it behind a tree.
After setting up camp, we spent the evening cleaning a few lines on the Elemental Wall, which is about a quarter mile up the Glacier Trail. We all repeated an older line called Hydrogen (V3) before working on new problems, none of which were completed that evening. The next day, we hiked up to Bomber Basin, which is about 3 miles up the Glacier Trail. We stopped at a cluster of trail-side boulders for a few hours initially, and put up 5 new problems and left a few projects to be done. I put up two on the prow of the largest boulder in the pile.
Lean-to- V3 (Green) and Of Mice and Bears-V4 (Red)
Bryan Vansickle crushing one of his new problems
Davin Bagdonas working a new project
We later walked about a half mile further to another boulder field, which was quite spectacular. We couldn't spend much time there due to an incoming snowstorm, but what I saw was some of the best I've seen in the area.
What a place to go bouldering...
Clean alpine gneiss
The one problem I cleaned up there
Because of the unpredictable weather systems at work up high, we stayed in Torrey Valley for the third day. We spent the day primarily repeating established problems, however each one of us put up a new one on a tall and clean block.
Davin on the tall, slabby face.
Pep Talk (V2), techy face climbing to a long move to the lip.
Bryan working Poho Kanhi (V10)
After managing three good days on the rock, the weather finally overran us, and we had to cut our trip a little short.
Waking up and smelling the nature.
On the way back, we made a last minute stop to scope out some sandstone boulders on the Ferris Mountains just off of the highway. Quite literally in the middle of nowhere, we ended up atop several large sand dunes, which are known by few people, even locals.
With no real plans for the weekend, I took one day to repeat Vedauwoo classic, Roast Possum Vinegar Pie (V5). Very solid at the grade, and easy to protect with one pad if you're out on your own.
Afterwards, last minute plans were made for a trip to Bennett Peak to do some bouldering and possibly bolting. Our first day out, not much of anything got done. We repeated a few old (10+ years) problems on a large roof by the camping areas, but the weather turned into complete garbage. I almost considered leaving that night, but was convinced to stay with hopes of climbing a large overhanging boulder we looked at earlier.
After a good night's sleep, we were eager to climb. Unfortunately, there was still an arctic wind blasting our boulder, which made conditions less than perfect. Either way, two problems went up. Davin established the River of Time on the left side of the boulder, and I put up Words Like Rain (V4) on the central face. The problems are long (30' or so), but the landing moves up with the boulder and keeps the landings relatively safe. Either way, the descent is pretty damn scary.
Words Like Rain V4
Davin contemplating his fate
As always, no trip to the Saratoga area is complete without a stop by the hot springs, which have magic fingertip-healing properties. Time to recover from another long week.