Vedauwoo was actually crowded when we pulled in on Saturday morning. Evidently Jenny and Craig were throwing the wedding of the century at a beautiful overlook, on horseback, about 3 miles down Ved road past the Nautilus. We waited in traffic for a little while, and then eventually found the Reynold’s Hill trailhead. As we parked and unloaded, there were two guys cooking breakfast in the back of their truck, a whole group of boulderers lounging in the sun, and five guys unloaded out of another car, all carrying golf frisbees. “Just another beautiful day in paradise!” They called out as they walked past us. Mark and I agreed.
There’s pictures from the weekend in the gallery!
We started out our hike correctly. But the road began to seem to curve the wrong way. Too much time spent with Dylan, perhaps, caused us to decide to stop following the trail and head out cross-country towards the rocks. Of course, eventually we found ourselves in the middle of a horribly, thick, sticky, muddy swamp, with a giant rock and ravine between us and the climb. We walked through the swamp, around the rock. We found bits of trail and followed those for too long. An hour later, and we discovered we were so far off our mark that we’d made carpet-bombing look targeted. We navigated back towards the rock through thick woods and ravines using a (GASP) compass I keep in my pack. All told, it took us a little over two hours to get to the base of our climbs.
Mark started us out with a great lead of Pooh Corner (5.9). It was an extremely strenuous climb, and Mark climbed so hard that his biceps were spasming and his hands were siezing up in the jams. He didn’t fall, and got a solid redpoint of a hard, classic, long, Vedauwoo 5.9. I followed on top rope, and while I fell several times, I felt strong and balanced for large sections of the route. Despite Mark saying the route felt “Harder than Plumb Line,” I can proudly say I climbed it in much better style.
A group of three climbers from Golden attacked the corner next, and we watched them stooge around, getting everybody set to climb the second, overhanging offwidth crux, pitch, and then deciding to rap off. They took about an hour to climb the 60ft pitch, and likely decided to call it a day the minuted their leader started yelling “RETREAT! RETREAT!” as he stared into the gaping maw of the off-width above.
Mark and I explored the formation from the ground for a while. There are many very interesting looking multi-pitch chimneys, flakes, and cracks on these rocks, and many more rap anchors than we were expecting to see. I think one of the reasons I’ve always avoided Reynold’s is that the only guidance for descents in the book is “Downclimb to the north.” Now, if you’ve seen these rocks, you’d understand why I wouldn’t want to downclimb any of them. It turns out, neither does anybody else, and the towers and spires of the formation are littered with rap anchors.
We finished up the day with a climb up Maiden (5.6), which was a fun, steep, hand crack. More on the order of Ved 5.6’s like Bill Steal or the first pitch of Le Petite Arbour than easier cracks like Kim or Horticulture. Or maybe we were just burned out. Whatever the reason, we had a fun exciting climb on the way up, and a fun exciting down climb of the vertical gully to the right on the way down.
Mark made a good call when he decided we should head back after this and try to find a camp site. All of our usual haunts on the east side of the area were packed with people, but we did end up finding a really nice little site off of FS Road 700B.
Mark made a fire (well, several fires actually) using only flint and steal, and we had tasty steaks for dinner before sleeping happily in the cool Wyoming night.