It's been while since I last gave an update of any good content. The past months have been long ones, stuck at work for the most part, with only weekends and a random day here and there for climbing. Summer, as you know, has been a scorcher this time around. Limiting severely the bouldering potential that is summer accessible here in Wyoming and as it sounds all over the country. Most of the good Summer bouldering has been too hot. For three years those of us in southeast Wyoming who boulder have gone into the Rawah Mountains to escape the heat. One of my past posts shows some images from that boulder field. It is o.k. in the evening, but a bit sweaty for an all day tour.
In response to the heat wave, I began to brainstorm and remember possible escapes. As a alpine and traditional climber, back in the day of course, I had been through the Wind River Mountains many, many times. Over two thousand miles on foot! So intensely had I been thinking of the where to escape the heat, a few places were remembered in dreams. I'm thinking the window wide open above my bed, brought from a cool breeze, memories of the alpine. One area stuck with me for a week or two, getting bigger in my mind until I had to have a look. After an eight year hiatus I finally made it back to the boulder field of memory.
Five weeks ago David Lloyd of Lander, Wyoming was able to hike in with me and have a look. David has been incredibly motivated to find and develop new rock, especially in the Wind Rivers, so I knew he would be a great partner for the recon trip.Without the details of a poorly done bush-whack and re-finding the trail, we made it into the talus field in good time. Dropping into the alpine realm from a bit higher up than we should have, we ended up on the upper most talus first. It sits around 11,000 feet, just under a huge snow and ice field. Prevailing wind drops over the ridge across the snow field and air conditions the upper talus. Air cooled boulders would have been enough for the trip to be a success, but these boulders have more to give. They are completely clean of any lichen or anything else. Absolutely clean! Chalk and go on the cleanest granite I've ever seen. The granite is without exaggeration the best I've seen. So, we have the best granite, with no cleaning, and it's air conditioned. What's the catch? That would be the easy hike that's something between the RMNP Chaos Canyon hike and the Mount Evans hike, in terms of physical output. Yep, the place is fantastic and completely awesome.
With a very good exploration out of the way, we frantically looked at the calendar and made plans to go in with pads. The following weekend being the first full bouldering day in what is now being called The Falcon's Lair. The name started as a joke, wanting to have a cooler name than Wolverineland, David suggested Falcon's Lair from the huge stone falcon above the valley, and it stuck. For six weekends in a row David has made it into the Lair while I've made three. For David it' s an hour drive from Lander, for me a 4.5 hour drive from Laramie. Others have gone in too and helped spur some development up there. Some incredible lines have gone in, but the best have yet to be climbed. The first days have been crazy, with as much running around to look at every boulder as actual climbing. We return to the Lander Boulder almost every time, as it is an incredible place to warm up. And we return to the Ice Cave for it's variety of possible roof lines. The Ice Cave sits just below the snow field and is so cooled by the massive body of snow and ice it is growing icicles in it's depths. Despite the cold, the snow field is melting fast with new boulders show themselves each week. More and more clean rock is being exposed to climb. Just the upper section is enough for several seasons, while we haven't looked at the lower half of the valley. It is being saved for fall and spring when the upper sectors are either too snowy or too cold.
As one might imagine, motivation is at a ridiculous level. This weekend was a rest weekend for me. The past month has been wired with excitement and it really took it out of me. With only two weeks remaining in my year long "real job" and several weeks of climbing until I start work again, this could be my last rest for some time! The calm before the storm.
Thank you for your support so much!