Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break!

It looks as though spring has come early this year.  With temperatures in the mid 50s and even 60s here in Laramie (abnormal for this time of year), there's been a lot of climbing action lately.  Through most of it, I was backpacking in Utah, but still got in a little climbing. 

Things started to warm up about two weeks ago, just before UW got out for spring break.  One particularly nice Tuesday Morning, I just had to ditch class to climb with my roommate, Matt!  My mom and older brother were in town visiting, and decided to come along too.  We drove out to Vedauwoo with plans to do some fun easy slab climbs on Fall Wall, however, we did not plan on the long and snowy approach.  The main parking areas were all snowed out still, and thus we had to park way out by the ranger station and hike our asses in.  When we finally reached the base of Fall Wall, we discovered that the only way up was completely covered with ice...really slippery ice.  By chance, we bumped into another group trying to reach the cliff, and with a little teamwork and elbow grease, rigged up a rope which allowed us to reach the climbs and not die.  Great success.

Local climber, Joey, on our makeshif safety line

After the ice epic, only Matt and I ended up climbing; everybody else was too scared to make it up the line!  With Fall Wall (and pretty much all of Vedauwoo) to ourselves, peaceful and relaxing climbing ensued.
View from the top

Matt on Cold Fingers- 5.7

My mother trekking across Siberia- I mean, Wyoming

I spent the entirety of next the week with fellow members of the UW Outdoor Leadership Development Series, backpacking in a remote section of the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park in Utah.  Canyonlands is seriously like a giant playground for people of all ages- there are infinite things to scramble up.  A lot of the hiking is pretty intense too, some days saw fourth class scrambling while wearing a 60 pound pack.

Entering the canyon


The epic and remote Angel Arch, totally worth the hike to see

Though aesthetically pleasing, much of the rock in the Canyonlands is pure choss...I have cuts and bruises to prove this.  There are abundant cracks that appear climbable, however mostly offwidth type cracks- hand and fist cracks are few and far apart.  On our last day in the park, I did manage to come across some really awesome bulletproof sandstone while scrambling around the boulders high up on the canyon rims.  The faces of the boulders are generally very steep and heavily pocketed, making for really high quality problems of all grades.  The only issue is that they're a little difficult to get to and require some good spotting.
Awesome boulder

Same awesome boulder...50 feet off the deck

Upon my arrival home, everyone in Laramie appeared to be burned out from the past few days.  With awesome weather, everyone had been getting out a lot and opted to rest today, since it wasn't quite as nice.  Desperate to get on some rock, I headed out for one last quiet solo day before classes start.  I ended up on the sunny South facing boulders of the Nautilus in Vedauwoo, running up easy slab problems and pulling on tiny crystals.  I was a little worried about taking the previous week off, but was reassured when I threw down on an unnamed V5 boulder problem that ascends a crimpy/crystally boulder.

Sending

The weather was really nice for a while, but the wind picked up as usual and I decided to throw in the towel after getting in my day's worth of problems.  I then went to scope out a route that I decided I have to climb immediately after seeing pictures of it, and man is it awesome in person...

Epic flake of epic


This week is supposed to bring even warmer weather, so expect some cool shit to go down next weekend!