Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wolf Point Recap

We're back in Salt Lake, recuperating our sore bodies after our tour-de-force assault on Wolf Point last week. In retrospect another rest day or two wouldn't have killed us but we wanted to get as many climbing days in as possible.  Todd Skinner once said that "...surviving the savagery of Hueco involved more rest and not more savagery", the same could be said for Wolf Point I think.  I'm getting ahead of myself though, rewind a bit to a couple weeks ago.  Lindsay and I hauled the Scamp up to Lander for our fall climbing trip, there's just something special about waking up in the camper and the general ease of life when we're set up in vacation mode.  I'm sure it reminds us of maybe a simpler time after we were married and our entire life was contained within those 75 square feet. It was also really fun to combine the feelings of vacation/camping with Lander, a place we almost exclusively have had warm beds and comfy couches to come home to.  It was a different experience all together and one we embraced.

Our morning Mountain House routine

We weren't without some creature comforts however, Amy Skinner was kind enough to let us use her "mountain house", a cabin situated on the approach to Wolf Point.  There, we were joined by our old Lander friends BJ and Emily Tilden, Kyle "Sweet Aleem" Elmquist, Tom Rangitch, and host of other locals along with some new faces and smiles to add to our extended Wyoming family. After a thorough cleaning of the cabin (read - packrats had fully moved in and made themselves cozy) we settled in and our downtime between hiking and climbing was spent congregating in the living room and laughing around the fire.  These small comforts were quite welcome after our punishing days out at the crag.
The Wolf Point massif, the cave visible on the right is the only established climbing on this immense band of limestone.
The climbing at Wolf Point is reminiscent of Sinks Canyon, the scale of the cliff however separates WP from the rest of the pack (pun intended). The walls are tall, like really tall. Many routes have two sets of anchors, one at the obvious break in the headwall where large pockets and huecos abound, the other at the top of the cliff. Route lengths range from 80 to 140 feet and offer all manner of climbing styles.  Typically though the climbing is steep, physical, and engaging.  The hike to the crag isn't for the weak knee'd or couch potato either.  The elevation at the trailhead is 7512', over the next 3/4 of a mile you drop down to 6500' at the Little Popo Agie crossing, a loss of 1000 vertical feet.  The cave side of the trail deposits you back at an elevation of 7088', nearly 600' of gain.  Going in for the day isn't too bad, actually a rather nice warm up to get the blood flowing.  Unfortunately hiking back out at the end of the day is more of a slog than you want it to be and it helps to keep a few cold beers in the truck as a consolation prize for finishing the trek out, the preverbal carrot in front of the donkey. All told Wolf Point is a full value crag that requires you to wear your "big kid pants".
The established sector of Wolf Point.

We climbed six out of nine days, with the cave going into the shade later and later each day and the sun setting sooner and sooner, our climbing windows were small and we packed in as many pitches as we could.  We sampled a good variety of routes ranging from the off vertical pumpy Bark at the Moon .12c and it's extension Full Moon Rising .13b to the central steepness of the cave bulge containing routes like Beholder .13a, Remus .13b, and Romulus .13c.  Wolf Point also hosts some brilliant moderate climbing in the 5.11 range like Zach Rudy's Dominant Species .11d and Sam Lightner Jr.s Seventh Continent .11b.  We didn't climb on anything we didn't like, the Lander crew has also done a nice job of equipping all the most popular routes with steel permadraws which makes any cragging day easier and safer. 
Sweet Aleem on Alpha Male .13d
Having not climbed much in the months leading up to our trip we felt like we walked away with a great fitness base from both the climbing and hiking.  It was also really great to spend time with our old community and see the next generation of younger climbers coming into their own at this new crag. Between the climbing days and the evenings spent laughing and reminiscing we had a spectacular trip.  I'm already looking forward to another trip in the spring when we can enjoy longer days and more of Wyoming's fine climbing.
Climber on Fredo .12b
The "wolfman" Zach Rudy and his wife Katy.

The always upbeat and super fun Mandy and Brian Fabel.

Gunning for the rest on Romulus .13c

The Sheriff himself Mr. BJ Tilden

Jenny and Rob

Legends of "Waffles" the Wolf Point griz permeate the local business culture.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wolf Point

I know I haven't updated this blog in quite some time but hey, I've been busy climbing.  So Lindsay and I are settled in here back in Lander Wyoming for our fall vacation and concentrating our climbing efforts at the mega crag known as Wolf Point.  Today is our first proper rest day in our week+ trip and it's much needed/deserved. We hauled Gwendolyn the Ivory Palace up to Amy Skinner's cabin situated on the approach to WP and have set up our base camp in one of the most gorgeous camping venues the continental US has to offer.  We've had three days of climbing thus far and we're feeling the effects of the 100+ ft pitches, not having climbed much the last month isn't helping but the little "energy bar" on our internal HUD's is slowly growing in size.  We're headed back up the mountain tomorrow for five days of climbing, camping, and general fraternizing with our Lander friends.  I'll do an update post when we arrive back into the world of wifi complete with photos and detailed stories of glory, failure, embarrassment and probably some frivolous levity.  In the meantime, I'm finishing up Mike and Mark Anderson's training manual The Rock Climber's Training Manual.  I cannot recommend this book enough to every climber seeking to improve his or her ability on the rock.  These boys have done their research and not only am I incredibly excited to start my fall training program, I'm already looking forward to regular seasons of training using the methods they've developed. Take the time to check out what they have to say, it's worth it.