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.
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!
Just wanted to add a few technical details here, for the record keeping. On Saturday, we climbed on the North Face of Vally Massif.
Mark and I both got to work Zipper (8+) on toprope. This climb was nice, wide, and interesting. A little looser, and more vegetated than some in Ved, but it’s on the North side, after all. The crack had two very difficult parts, which I found similar sequences for, both involving one tiny face foot hold, one knee/ankle jam, and one hard chicken-wing. Place appendages appropriately, wiggle up 1 inch, repeat as necessary.
Mark TR’d Bachelor Party (5.11c), and made it up with less trouble than he expected. He took several falls in the thin face/thin seam crux at the top of the climb, and enjoyed every minute of it.
On Sunday, most of the campers dispersed to head home or climb their own projects. Mark and I decided to check out the Holy Saturday formation.
We started on Hideaway Chimney (5.5). We hiked up to the bottom of this one, took one look up it, and just stood in stunned silence. It looked horrible! Who would ever want to climb that!?! But the guidebook reassured us that it wasn’t as bad as it looked, so we decided to hop on, and give it a go. Probably, the hardest part of the climb is right at the bottom, where the chimney is not quite deep enough to really get into, and the holds are kind of tricky to use. After about 20ft, you traverse back, deep into the darkness, crawl up through an opening, and then you’re in one of the coolest chimneys I’ve climbed, ever! It was a really neat climb, and only something you get to do in Vedauwoo.
I found Mark at an anchor just above the fissure, and he had me continue to climb up and out (placed a few pieces of gear) to get up to the ledge with the anchors. The rappel off this climb was INTENSE. Once you manage to crawl down the rounded edge of the formation, and get on rappel without losing too much skin, it’s almost a full 100ft of free-hanging rappel in the Wyoming wind. Looking over that edge at you’re rope dangling below, it’s enough to make anybody suck in their breath and mutter “Holy Sh… Saturday!”
For the last route of the day, Mark climbed Flake (5.8+) on toprope. The large flake actually keeps your TR running nicely, so I may get this one next time. I was feeling too week to try it on Sunday. Mark enjoyed it, but was worried about the giant chunk of loose rock globbed on the side. That will be coming loose, probably soon. The rest of the climb seemed to go well, though at the top, Mark did the last 10 ft or so with his right leg behind the flake and his left leg dangling out over a lot of air, and just scooted up to the anchors. Ride that climb! woot! Mark had such a great time on both climbs, that he was willing to call Holy Saturday his new “favorite short-approach crag”.
On the way home, we stopped in Buford and chatted with the one resident. We both got big, tasty, cold Smoothies, and, if you’re in the area, I highly recommend them. Yum!