I’ve been in Vedauwoo more this year than any other climbing area besides Eldo. It’s been fun getting a lot better at trad climbing (Though, I went sport climbing this weekend and last weekend, and it’s been a refreshing change). Alex Vidal and I went over Labor Day weekend and got on some great climbs.
Alex taking in the sunset at the incredible rock garden on top of Edward’s Crack at Walt’s Wall (Main Area)
I struggled up Currey’s Diagonal (5.10b+++) as it is an off-angle crimp rail with smeared feet and micro-cam protection instead of the bomber hand jams you’re expecting. Then Alex and I climbed Edward’s Crack up to Hassler’s Hatbox, definitely one of my favorite climbs I’ve done. HH gets only one star and 5.6 in the book, but deserves 4 stars and 5.7+ (Vedauwoo rating, 5.8+ elsewhere). I then gave a strong go at Best of the Blues (5.10b), the first pitch of Lucille’s. Absolutely worth getting on. Fun climbing to a powerful roof bulge move. It protects very well. Then you can stare longingly at Lucille’s.
We checked out Reynold’s Hill the second day. It has a really nice approach, and it’s removed from the noise of the highway quite a bit. We climbed past a dead bird and through the bushes to a very stout but fun route, Cosmic Debris (5.8+++). Needs to get more traffic to clean it up a bit. We then climbed Pooh Corner a few times. Alex cruised this flaring hand crack, but it was a battle for me. I like variation as I’m still not 100% with pure hand jams. The Maiden is a fantastically fun route that would be an ultraclassic if it were 60 feet longer. It’s called 5.6 but would easily be 5.8 anywhere else. Then Alex fought his way up the Matron, a 5.8 squeeze chimney.
I found it a lot easier to face the other way, but then again I was on top rope.
Unknown girl climbing Pooh Corner at ssunset
View of Reynold’s Hill from the approach
Every time I’ve gone to the Voo it has thunderstormed all around me, but it’s never rained or thunderstormed on me. That night the milkyway was out in force and the lightning storm was creating quite the light show. I’m still working on really capturing the milky way well. I also forgot my tripod, so I was balancing my camera on rocks.
When it’s too hot in Boulder to climb outside, head to Vedauwoo, WY. It’s a little over 2hrs away, and it’s a great escape from the overcrowded crags in the Front Range. And you leave feeling like you’ve accomplished something – or just with sore muscles and tattered clothes.
I went back this weekend with Alex & Vincent. We attacked some great lines on Saturday: ~Middle Parallels Space – a fun 5.9 with a crux down low and a 5.7 chimney with a hand-to-offwidth crack for protection. The anchors are placed in an odd spot on a pillar, thought. ~Friday the 13th – Alex sent this 5.10a (heavily sandbagged) with much more ease than on my first lead. The greasy top of the crack pumps you out. Vincent worked on the second pitch, a short but powerful 5.11a out a roof. ~Hesitation Blues – A pretty stout 1st pitch of 5.11b. The second pitch looks so inviting, but the continued rating of 11b and our current state of being worked caused us to hesitate, then have the blues. -Mother #1 – According to Alex, “The world’s hardest 5.7”. I would have to agree. An offwidth that is a struggle all of the way up.
Alex figures out the gear on Middle Parallels Space
Vincent turned my camera on me giving Friday the 13th a send attempt.
Using my head for balance
Since the weather was calling for a clear night, I decided to not set up my tent and sleep under the stars. I woke up to an amazing show of the milky way, but couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed to get my camera. Again I awoke, just as the sun was starting to come up to something scampering up my chest. With my hands in my sleeping bag I just pounded out on the bag, and looked up to see a chipmunk doing backflips through the air! The visual is still cracking me up.
Someone built this cairn in a cairn near our campsite
Sunday we decided to try somewhere new. On top of the main area, where there are classics like Edward’s Crack, sits Hassler’s Hatbox with the iconic Lucile 5.12d/13a. We scrambled up the backside of the main area through a maze of fallen boulders – over, under, and squeezed through. Despite being in the baking sun, we found some great moderate and not so moderate lines.
~Cat’s Cradle – 5.8+ A very hard 5.8. The start is a chimney to an offwidth. Traverse a ledge to a very awkward and hard move off a ledge, into a handcrack that varies from perfect hands to off-fists (too big for fists – very hard size for me) ~Hassler’s Hatbox – 5.6/7 A very fun moderate with some kick. I was happy to have a 4 and a 5 camalot for the bottom, but the top section takes finger size gear. Do this route! My personal opinion on the rating, 5.8/8+ ~The Best of the Blues – 5.10 that sits below the iconic Lucille (5.12d – which looks heinous). The first slab move is unprotected, but you get into a fun moderate chimney and handcrack up to a roof. The roof goes from cupped hands to off-fists and is very difficult to pull the bulge as a pure crack climb. Get your sport climbing skills on and lie-back and crimp up the bulge, and then sit on the duck.
Alex works his way up the start of Cat’s Cradle
Just after the crux of Cat’s Cradle, Alex looking for gear. The views from Hassler’s Hatbox were incredible!
Vincent took this photo of me figuring out the crux. I think I tried every combination of orientations before one finally got me off the ledge.
Vincent finally get’s a piece in on a hard slab move start to Best of the Blues, a bit of a one move wonder 5.10.
Vincent kisses the duck
Vincent belays Alex up through the crux of Best of the Blues
The view from Hassler’s Hatbox.
As always, the Voo did not disapoint, and we had a great trip. Ripped some clothes. Shed some blood. And left sore in places we did not know could be sore. Till next time.