Painted Sky

June 27, 2007 at 7:02 am

Getting everything together for the trip to Italy right now. There’s so much to do before you leave the country! But I’m really excited now!

Here’s a shot from another great sunset we had this week. Keep an eye on the blog in the next few days, I’m hoping to be able to post an occasional shot from the trip while we’re abroad.


Fun on the River

June 26, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Here’s a couple more shots from our hike on the Big South Trail last Sunday. It was a beautiful day all day long, and there were quite a few kayakers out on the river.

Wild Ride

And here’s another version of that stunning shot from the bend in the river.

Poudre River 2

Big South Trail

June 25, 2007 at 6:13 am

After a weekend of hard work, Mark and I decided to sneak out for a few hours on Sunday afternoon to do a little hiking and picture-making. We covered maybe 2 miles of the Big South Trail, which was, as promised, very beautiful. Though, next time, I’m not forgetting bug spray!!

I played around with my flash, tripod, and some nice long exposures. The results are up in the gallery.


Dry Microbursts

June 21, 2007 at 5:19 pm

So, last night Mark and I were hanging out, when we heard the house creek and a weird howl creeped in from the gathering dusk. We peaked our head out the door and saw a wall of dust blow by. An unfortunate woman was walking her dog near our house, and she ducked into or alcove for cover while yelling “What the h*@$ is going on??” At first I thought it was a straight-up dust storm. But then the cloud blew into view, and we were hit with the next wall. That’s when the idea of a dry microburst hit me. And a small rock.

Top 10 Best Things About Camping and Climbing in Vedauwoo

June 19, 2007 at 9:30 am

10. Wyoming wildflowers are not to be missed.

9. The adventure starts on the approach!

8. Daytime views cover the whole state, nighttime views cover the whole universe.

10. Awesome, powerful storms that blow their energy into you.

6. Tired people and tired doggies.

5. Sunsets that take your breath away.

Big Sky

4. Rappels that take your breath away!!

3. Climbs that test your mental and physical limits in ways that you just can’t find anywhere else.

2. Everybody gets to take home a trophy, just for participating!

1. Hanging out with really great friends, in a really beautiful place!

One year of blogging!

June 18, 2007 at 9:10 am

June 16th is the official one-year anniversary of this blog! Yey! It’s been a great year, full of adventure and excitement, made all the better for being able to share it with all of you! In honor of this special occasion, I’ve decided to pull out some of my favorite posts, and link to them here for you. Some are great just for the photos, others for the stories, and some just for the memories. Enjoy!

It’s like Christmas in June!

June 13, 2007 at 6:02 pm

In the last three days, I’ve been miserably ill with a nasty summer cold. Isn’t that how the plague starts in The Stand? “Oh, those summer colds are the worst…”

But, the FedEx guys just keep bringing me fun new toys! First came my little package of camera goodies. I had to buy a few accessories before we head to Italy, so now I get to play with a new compact tripod, a nice new polarizer and a brand new flash!

On the next day, my new laptop came! As has been previously discussed, I recently destroyed the main board of my laptop with a glass of chocolate milk. Mom and Dad, being the wonderful people that they are, offered to buy me a replacement as an early graduation present! While I probably won’t be getting a degree until late this summer, I couldn’t refuse.

So, now I’m blogging and editing photos on my new Intel dual-core MacBook Pro. It’s soooo wonderful! Oooo sooo shibbee!

And then, on top of all of that, tonight I harvested the first of my garden strawberries. These are tasty little treats! I may not be able to breathe through my nose, and my eyeballs really hurt, but I’m still a happy girl.


Just Can’t Get Enough, Day 2

June 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Sunday morning, I woke up with a bit of a sore throat and the desire to climb more!! So, we hopped in the car and took off for Ved, again!

Horticulture (5.6) – There were various climbs on our list “to do”, and we ended up choosing to climb on the north face of the Nautilus while it was still warm and relatively calm. Plus, we thought this approach would be shorter than those in other areas.

I didn’t take any pictures of this climb (gasp!), so I’ll steal one from Vedauwoo.Org. Horticulture is #13 on this shot, but it shares the same corner start as #12.

Pitch 1 – Climb the tricky corner for about 15 feet. A red cam slots nicely into the flake that hangs just above it. Then turn right, and climb up the steep, fun, low angle hand crack until it peters out. The crux of the first pitch comes here, where you have to step out onto the slab for two moves, with nice hand-jams deep into the flake in front of your face, while you work your feet up on to the knobs out right. Wild, exposed, easier than it looks, and way cool! Takes good pro in the #3 range. Belay on the ledge just behind this flake.

Pitch 2 – So, this turned out to be an off-width, and a nasty one. Was this in the book? Did I read it on a website somewhere and just forget about it? says the pitch can be protected with only 2 #3s, but Mark was walking his #4 up through the ‘skinny’ spots in the crack, and whining because we didn’t bring the #4.5 or #6. He even placed the green big bro in the top of the flake.

We both found this pitch to be really hard. Just getting into the crack off the belay was one of the hardest things either of us did all weekend. I got my hips stuck behind the flake, and had a few panicked moments of kicking my feet before I calmed down, started to breathe again, looked for the heal-toe and then wiggled my way out. I seriously bruised the back of both my elbows doing some sweet double-arm-bar moves, but I wanted to take Mark’s shoes off the back of my harness (Why was I carrying these again??) and throw them at the dog 100ft below us because they kept wedging in behind my hip. Or sometimes they would keep my hip from wedging. You figure out the difference.

The off-width ended up being about 50ft long, and once I made it over the flake and into the ledges on the far side, I found Mark at a nice little belay with a beautiful view of the Holdout and the Main area. We weren’t on top of the formation yet. The book describes the climb as finishing after another 20ft crack pitch, and then the walkoff going down slabs on the south side of the formation. We had seen anchors in the area of this belay, and thought that a rappel would be much easier than hiking all the way around. Even though I had carried our shoes all the way up.

Pitch, um, 3 – I wandered off over the boulders and slabs to find the anchors. I set a couple of pieces of pro, and the anchors were so close to the cliffs edge, that I was glad to have the rope as I climbed down to them. We set up our rappel, and Mark found that our 60m rope just barely reached the ground from here. Don’t tie knots for this one, you might find your toes swinging in the air a few inches above the rocks.

I found myself nervous about going on rappel again. I may write a blog entry later this week about why I find rappelling so terrifying. Mark had my belay (though he was below our overhang and couldn’t see me), and I added a prussik backup for this one.

Once everything was set and triple-checked, I stopped for a minute to breathe and enjoy the view. The wind was whistling through the cracks above me, and I could see another pair of climbers that had just topped out on the Holdout. The main area looked warm and yellow in the afternoon sun, and the bright green quaking aspens filled the valley with their soft swishing. I felt calm, and so happy to be right there at that moment.

And so I stepped off the edge of the cliff.

Back at the base of the climb, Mark and I re-organized the rack (we’re down to 8 quick draws now) and packed up to hike out. We decided to get in one more pitch for the day, and after laying around in the grass, reading the book and generally getting sun burnt, we decided on a sport climb.

Stand and Deliver (5.10a) – Our guidebook gives this route the “Nautilus Formation Award” for best placed bolts in Vedauwoo. Four bolts protect a steep 50ft face covered in cubic, pink crystals. Mark thought ‘face climbing’ meant he could wear shorts, but then spent the whole lead in mortal fear of what would happen to his knees should he fall. This was probably the added stress that made him stop and hang on the third bolt (and tighten his shoelaces). The crux is, as so cutely puts it, getting both feet off the ground. Mark and I were tired from the weekend, and not too proud to pull on that first draw to just get off the stupid ground. Maybe some other time we’ll get it clean.

Mark used a long leash and a butt-belay to sit on the edge and watch me climb behind him. Evidently, the angle gave him a great view down my top, and he seemed to enjoy this thoroughly. I LOVED THIS CLIMB. It was awesome. So thin, but so solid! Just slabby enough to make the moves do-able, but so steep that the slightest error in balance would send you reeling. A great way to end another great day on Vedauwoo granite.