In my last post about the frontier of bouldering I started by saying that Wyoming is the next great frontier for new development. Two days after my first visit to Bennett Peak WY I made a second trip back to Laramie to hook up with Bryan and Davin to explore another area of rock. Both Bryan and Davin raved about the area known as Neverland saying that the quantity of rock was double or more what I had seen at Bennett Peak and the quality was unmatched. I would be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical about what I was hearing. First, what I saw at Bennett was incredible and I couldn't believe that even more rock like that existed almost completely untapped. Second, I have heard about areas in Wyoming before from friends and about new development that has been happening all over Wyoming. Most reviews have been excellent however mixed opinions do exists in the climbing community. So I was definitely a little hesitant but I had to see this area before I left CO. Once again my views on the potential development in Wyoming have changed.
Bennett Peak is around 1hr and 20min west of Laramie Wyoming. To get there you have to travel over the Snowy Range which limits travel in the winter. Once the pass is closed bouldering at Bennett Peak is improbable. Based on Davin's feedback the pass stays open anywhere from mid November - late December but after the first heavy snow you are locked out until late spring. The season for climbing at Bennett Peak would be anywhere from April - November with the prime conditions being early April/May and Late Sep - November. The arial shot from above shows just a small section of rock from the entire mountain. Access can range from no approach to 1hr 45min depending on where you want to go on the mountain. We spent our day at an area that was never explored before and required us to cross a river. I was up to my arse in water at some points and had to do the river crossing bare foot because I didn't come prepared but it was totally worth it. We managed to put up some great new lines from v2 - v11.
One line in particular is an amazing seam feature that goes out a steep roof and is in the v7 range with the crux move at the top around the 18ft mark. Climbing up to the crux on is somewhere in the v3 range and is everything you could ask for. Its not taxing but it makes you think and requires good foot work and a clear mind as the ground gently slopes away from the climb as you enter the crux of the climb and the most exposed section too. I managed the FA on the seam and named it Faust and put up two more classics lines before the day was over Southern Drawl v9 or 10 and Metamorphosis v11ish. Southern Drawl goes up an overhanging face on some amazing slopers to the crux move on some poor crimps. Metamorphosis is a low roof with very gymnastic climbing to a large move to the lip of the boulder on a heel hook and a toe hook. I am so grateful for the tour of Bennett and I am excited to get back to some of the other areas on the mountain to develop more of the amazing rock there.
Neverland is an endless expansion gneiss very similar to RMNP. Neverland is just another area of amazing rock that is within a 1hr 30min radius of Laramie. I traditionally find myself wanting to do my own thing and find my own way and I find a great deal of pleasure in developing new areas. Exploration and adventure have always been a driving force and motivation for me. When Davin told me about Neverland I was psyched and made a trip back to Laramie to see what the fuss was about. Thursday morning I met Bryan, Davin and Justin at the coffee shop in Laramie and we headed out. We drove through so much rock before we reached our destination that I couldn't even comment, I just sat in the back seat and watched project after project roll by. Our final stop was a wall at the top of a hill called the wood grain wall. Davin put up a v10 called Crazy in the Ocean and wanted to show Justin and I the line and see if we could repeat and possibly link the line into a project on the same wall. Both Justin and I managed repeats on the Crazy in the Ocean and started working on the extension project. Both of these lines are incredible. No one managed a send on the extension but we did work out the link and started putting pieces together quickly.
Wyoming is definitely not for the weak spirited or the for someone looking for the comforts of society however; if you are looking for adventure, high quality bouldering and more rock than you can climb in your lifetime than Wyoming is for you.