Climbing in Vedauwoo

June 21, 2009 at 7:52 pm

As I type this, my hands are swollen to about twice their normal sizes. My finger prints have been gouged off my fingers. My shoulders are so sore I can’t lift my arms. My knees are covered in bruises and cuts. My right ankle is bleeding. My right wrist is swollen and aching. My toes are just getting feeling back from being wet and numb all afternoon, and we were only in Vedauwoo for 5 hours.

I forgot the camera today, but that’s probably for the best. We were only up in Vedauwoo for the day, and with our late start in the morning, it was more like just an afternoon. We hiked out to Plumb Line crag in the mid-day sun. Mark led Amaranth (5.7), which he felt was harder and more painful than it should have been. I followed and felt pretty strong, but a little happy that I hadn’t led the first climb back in Vedauwoo in 8 months.

Mark dropped a top-rope on Plumb Line (5.9+), and I took the first lap. The beautiful, vertical, slightly overhanging 50ft hand crack is one of the best in Vedauwoo. My hands were bruised from the jams, and my toes crunched in my shoes. But I loved every minute of it.

Mark got in two laps and then lightening started hitting the hills just to our west, so he cleaned the climb. We all piled into a cave at the bottom of the crag as the rain started pouring down. The lightening was close, the hail bounced in and pounded us all. Eventually, the rain ran down the roof of the cave and poured down on our heads, freezing us and soaking our packs and gear with icy water. For some reason, my chalk bag got it the worst, and I found it filled with white soupy goup when we got home.

After the storm passed, we packed up and got the heck out of dodge. On the hike out, I slid down a wet, slippery slab, landing hard on my right arm and hip. More bruises, more pain. None of the injuries seem bad, but my giant balloon hands might take a few days to get back to normal size.

Five short hours in Vedauwoo, and we were sliced open by razor-sharp rock, beaten up by overhanging crack climbs, drenched in icy water, hailed on, and fell down wet slabs. It was a good day – let the Vedauwoo season begin!