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willstrickland

[TR] Vedauwoo, Wyoming - 8/1/2007

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Trip: Vedauwoo, Wyoming -

 

Date: 8/1/2007

 

Trip Report:

On the windswept plains of southeastern Wyoming, well above 8000ft, lies Joshua Tree's summertime cousin. Vedauwoo is a land of painfully sharp lichen streaked domes and outcrops spread about rolling hills covered with sage, pine, and aspen, and of course the incessant wind. It looks something like this:

 

Voolandscape.jpg

 

Saying this rock is sharp is a big understatement. I climbed all winter in Josh and taped maybe once. Taping here is a must. The feldspar crystals are big, sharp, bloodthirsty monsters. Even with tape, long pants, long shirt, knee pads, and high tops...you will still draw blood.

 

And then there is the gear. Take every big cam you can find. Although the routes tend toward the short side, many are continuously wide. Here's a typical rack, in this case for a mega-classic 5.9 wide deal called Fantasia:

 

Knotcheck.jpg

 

And the route itself

 

ZanderFantasia.jpg

 

While the 'Voo is known for it's wide cracks, there is plenty there for the slab conisseur as well as cracks of all sizes. If anything characterizes this places more than the abundance of wide cracks, it's the flaring nature of all the cracks. Here are a couple of classic pitches we did that don't go wide:

 

The first pitch of Friday the 13th:

eph05825.jpg

 

and the somewhat heady slabby seam of "5.11 Crack" (that's the name, it's rated 9+)

 

eph05878.jpg

 

We started on the easy classics and worked up until we got spanked. Edward's Crack was our first pitch and when done in a single pitch might be the best 5.7 pitch I've ever done anywhere.

 

Not every wide thing here is hard. We did what the guidebook calls "the best 5.7 chimney in North America", the TM Chimney 5.7+. Really nice and varied.

 

eph05817.jpg

 

And another mellow one, Satterfield's Crack (5.8)

 

SANY0088.jpg

 

Grug put up some hard stuff like October Light, which was one of the hardest efforts I've ever put forth trying to follow the thing. We learned that in many places the "watch out" grade is 5.9+. In Vedauwoo, it's .11b with wide on it. It's not the .11 hands or fists through a roof bulge that get you, it's the endless .10 OW that kicks your ass into submission.

 

Grug running it out into the wide through one of many bulges during a proud onsight of October Light:

IMG_4511.jpg

 

The individual crags here are typically pretty broken and complex, but there are still some amazingly striking lines. One of the most aesthetic we did was Mainstreet:

 

ScuffyMainstreet.jpg

 

Another was Spectreman, steep, steep hands to thin hands with one fingerlock. Probably my favorite pitch of everything I got on.

 

MikeSpectre.jpg

 

And of course there is an abundance of crack bouldering. Nat's 3 Star Roof is fantastic hands out a roof, and Cupcake is a highball, leaning and overhanging .10c with long reaches between good jams and terrible feet. But in the Valley I'd been focusing on wide roof crack problems. I was not dissappointed. Managed to flash Spinning the Wind and get Desiderata 2nd try, but got smoked on Life Without Parole.

 

Spinning the Wind was alot like a problem I established near Camp 4 this spring called Recreational Struggling. It took some trickery and I got one leg stuck for a minute, but hung in there and sent. Here is Steve on an attempt and a view from above:

 

ScuffySpin.jpg

 

ScuffySpin2.jpg

 

And Jay on Desiderata:

 

JayDesiderata.jpg

 

And me getting spanked on Life Without Parole. Close, but not close enough.

 

DSCN0061.jpg

 

Other highlights included climbing with and getting the tour from one of the best wide climbers ever who was also a prolific Vedauwoo first ascensionist. Climb and Punishment was great perfect hands, Gloria was a short but fun and challenging finger crack, while Max Factor was a difficult fingers to flaring hands crack. Gunga Din is a great, steep, thin slab route and Finally is a classic workshop on 5.9 wide techniques. Cornelius is an aesthetic, easy finger to hand crack on a slab that would have a que at the base at any other area. Even on the weekends during the prime seasons here, "crowded" is hardly that. And there are so many outlying areas that you could easily have your entire chosen formation, let alone routes, completely to yourself. Also, don't miss Flying Buttress, Beefeater, Currey's Diagonal, and if you're up to it, Horn's Mother.

 

Middle of summer is an ideal time to visit here. There is plenty of free camping as well as a pay campground. Both are within easy walking distance of a ton of climbing and a short ~15mi drive to Laramie for resupply. My only regret is not getting out to attempt Squat. With the wide roofy bouldering I've been concentrating on, it seemed like a natural candidate. But this stuff is pre-Cambrian granite. It's not going anywhere....which is exactly how I felt in some of the wide stuff...not going anywhere.

 

Go check it out, it's one of the iconic climbing areas of North America.

 

Spray on this TR if you want. I know it's customary to keep the spray out, but in this case, you have my blessing...go nuts.

 

Gear Notes:

Lots of big gear.

 

Approach Notes:

Right off I-80, 16 mi east of Laramie.

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HOLY SHIT I LOVE IT

 

ScuffyMainstreet.jpg

 

 

 

Now. Who wants to have a spray war?

 

 

ScuffySpin2.jpg

 

Ass over tea kettle!

 

Very nice Will, where are you off to next?

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"Where are you off to next"?

 

I'm near Castle Crags, CA right now. Plan to do a little fly fishing/resting/recovering for a couple days, then headed to the PNW.

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Trip: Vedauwoo, Wyoming -

 

the somewhat heady slabby seam of "5.11 Crack" (that's the name, it's rated 9+)

 

eph05878.jpg

 

 

That's a fun route; it was the first time I ever used Lowe Balls. That was the only route we did the first time I went to Vedauwoo; it started raining and we left.

 

Other highlights included climbing with and getting the tour from one of the best wide climbers ever who was also a prolific Vedauwoo first ascensionist.

 

 

Scarpelli?

 

 

Looks like a killer trip; thanks for the pics!

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