Climbing and Confusion on the Holdout

June 8, 2008 at 9:10 pm

After our relaxing Saturday, Mark and I decided to climb on Sunday. The weather was forecast to be icky in the National Park, so we drove up to Vedauwoo for the day. The wind was whipping across the area from the west at more than 30 mph, which left us with a windchill around 40 degrees. We thought it might be a good day to check out the southeast face of the Holdout.

Our three climbs for the day, no idea what they are

It took us a while to bushwack to the bottom of the climbs on the right end of the formation. For future reference, to get to the big ledge below the climbs, there is a gully on the right side (the left side is a shear face). The gulley was a little steep for Liv, so we had to lift her up, but she made it ok. On the way down, we packed the tight chimney with our backpacks and Liv sat on one as it slowly scraped down the chimney. Like a little elevator for the dog!

The wind was completely blocked on our sunny ledge. The air temp increased 50 degrees, and we climbed comfortably on sunny, windless, rock that day.

The Essence of Vedauwoo

Mark and I wandered about the face a bit trying to decide what we felt up to climbing. We started out with Mark leading what we thought was Bushwack (5.6). A wide crack behind the flake below the arch of 19th Nervous Breakdown. The climb was hard, it was a little too narrow for Mark’s feet and a little too wide for mine. Mark took a little scraping oozing lead fall on our #6 cam. I took about three falls before I figured out the sequence. We finished up on the vertical section of 19th.

The first lead of the morning was a doozy

Interestingly, the website has a slightly different labeling of cracks. It’s small and hard to read, but looks like the 5.6 climb was actually to the left of the one we were on. Maybe, maybe not.

Mark and I topped out and walked over to set a rope on two climbs to the left. We were surprised to see bolts on top of these, as there were none marked in the book. Unfortunately, only one bolt still had a hanger (a coldshut) the other was just a pole of threaded metal sticking out of the rock. We built a complicated anchor system for top roping which created so much drag that Mark had to re-do it all when he got to the top the second time.

The North end of the Nautilus in the sun

We both climbed two other “routes” on our TR. One of them was definitely Narrow and Ugly (5.8), but we’re not sure which. Probably the handcrack that goes up the right side of the lower panel, as shown on Mark tried the finger-tips sized seem that splits the middle of the panel (and was marked as the 5.8 in our book) and couldn’t get much off the ground. I fell a bunch of times but worked it out and ended up climbing the little route (I did haul on the bushes in the crack). Despite the mislabling in our book, I’m pretty sure this little crack has no name right now. It will henseforth be called Very narrow and treesy (5.10+). It would make a good aid seem, except for the bushes in the middle of it.

After our three good cracks, we were appropriately scraped and bruised. Mark cleaned the rope (rapping off of the one cold shut, scary but safe in this case), and we packed up and headed home. It ended up being a warm and beautiful day, and we never saw any other climbers on the Holdout. I wonder where they all were?