Its the end of June, the sun is shining, the rain has (finally) stopped, so what do we do? Go to Vedauwoo! We pack up the 7 month old baby, two out-of-shape parents, two friends from the other side of the planet, an 18 ft camper trailer, and our crag dog, and head to Wyoming!
Vedauwoo is one of my favorite places on this planet. The wind, the rocks, the wide open feeling of the high plains, all combine to produce an area full of adventure and wildness. I was excited to take our friends and G up to visit the area, but a little bit apprehensive, knowing that weekend was Fronteir Days in Cheyenne, and the place would be hopping with other campers.
Sure enough, most of the sites are full when we pull in around 9p. But our favorite site on the hill, the one Mark and I have used over and over again, is empty and waiting.
On Saturday, we head over to Blair III for easy top-ropes in a low key setting. Kyle and Briana tape up for crack climbing, something they don’t do very often. And we all climb The Sweet Variation of Go Left, Old Man, Go Left (5.7-) and Random Crystals (5.8-), two classic climbs that we’ve hit up about once a year for the past 4 years.
The Californians do great on the sharp, crystally crack climbs. I manage to bruise both of my hands, and peel some skin off even under the tape. Mark, of course, feels great, and has a ball. And G takes a short nap under the aspens.
We check out a couple of long, bolted climbs on the opposite side of the Blair 3 formation. They look really interesting: very tall slabs protected by a huge number of bolts… that start about 30 feet off the ground. Briana is concerned about the chimney start, and I’m concerned about G’s lack of afternoon nap. So, we pack up and head to the Nautilus instead.
Briana hops on Stand and Deliver (5.10a), which has a very tricky and difficult start. She takes a couple of tries and eventually figures out a move or two that she feels are more like high-5.11, but the rest of the route is full of crystal-pinching loveliness, and she ends up with a big smile on her face.
Mark and Kyle lead it after her, with Mark abusing his height on the start, and Kyle abusing the first bolt. I give it a few attempts, but give up quickly and yard on the first draw to get on the route. The rest of it goes smoothly and happily for me, which is nice as its clearly been a rough spring for my climbing ego.
In the evening, G goes to sleep in the trailer early, and we hang out, roast giant marshmallows over a fire, and watch distant storms on the high, windy, Wyoming plains. The next day, we’ll hang around camp. We’ll pick wildflowers, whittle tiny game pieces, and play a kick-ass game of Settlers of Katan under the awning of our trailer. The Californians will head north to the limestone of Lander and Ten Sleep, and us Calders will head south, back towards our crazy lives in the Fort.