It’s hard to say whether our journey is over yet since we are still squatting at JP and Michele’s house but we made it and a lot has transpired since we left Colorado and moved back west. Driving to Deep Creek just past Vail for the weekend seemed fairly routine. Quite a standard weekend really, drive to a crag, camp, climb and hang by a fire all weekend. This crag weekend was different for a few reasons though, most notably that it was new (to us and the world), we got to add to the climbs there by cleaning and opening up a new route, and when all was said and done we didn’t pack up and drive back down toward Denver. Instead we headed west.
As is our usual style we tried to extend our weekend crag trip to three days by any means possible and succeeded! Mountain Fabio made one last unexpected appearance (always a treat) and we had a solid crew of other psyched climbers and developers around to keep the stoke high. Deep Creek will soon be a go-to crag on the summer climbing circuit and routes are going up at a fierce pace. There is potential for hundreds of lines here from technical slabs to insane caves. The rock quality is all over the board but most lines need only moderate cleaning. Nate scrubbed and trundled his way to a new addition on our last day. He graciously offered me the first ascent and we named the line Trishare-a-hops in honor of his ritual Tricerehops crag beer as well as the shared first ascent. I think the line will settle somewhere in the mid 5.12 range although we agreed on 5.12c to start. It has a stout boulder problem as you pull through a small roof between gastons and crimps.
Saying goodbye to Nate, Kari, Danni and Adam for the last time was tough. We ambled our way down the long dirt road toward I-70 and tried to soak it all in. It’s one of those times you know is coming but can’t really grasp the feeling until it arrives. Headed west on I-70 we stopped in Rifle for a night and then busted out a long driving day to Ten Sleep the following day. Passing the “Welcome to Wyoming” sign I wondered what it will be that brings us back to Colorado someday for a visit.
We are not strangers to Ten Sleep, so rolling into town (although from a new direction) felt quite normal. What was immediately odd however was how quiet it felt. This area is known for it’s great opportunity to escape the summer heat and less so for it’s crowds in the fall as visiting climber numbers dwindle. When we pulled onto the “Old Road” we were looking for sun instead of shade and camped right out in the open with an incredible view of the Slavery Wall and beyond. Our objective for this trip was simple – try hard. We both felt near the top of our strength for the year and were eager to test ourselves on a style we both enjoyed. After predictable warm-ups at the “Back 40” we tackled Blue Light Special (5.13a/b) and Dances with Cows (5.13a). After a warm-up and some beta rehearsal Blue Light Special went down and marked one of my hardest and proudest sends to date! I was super stoked to finally get this thing in the bag after falling past the technical crux on a few occasions. After the send I swung over and hung draws on Super Mama (5.13b) and called it a day.
Unfortunately we got the low percentage side of the forecast the following day and spent a forced rest day in Buffalo. Fast forward to that Friday and we were again at the base, this time facing a chewed up rope… Damn rodents! I have always heard of this being an issue but finally saw it with my own eyes. Ah well. Old rope and needed replaced anyhow. Lesson learned! With our last day staring us in the face Robyn and I gave it our all. Robyn made some really great links on Dances With Cows. There are still some sections to work on but it will only serve as motivation for next year! same story with my efforts on Super Mama. I am confident that if we had more time it would have gone down. In fact I fell twice after the technical crux (sounds familiar?) only to be thwarted near the chains. This thing is much more bouldery than Blue Light Special. Stoked to get back on it next year.
Blasting across Montana the following day we arrived in Big Sky Montana home to the Gandy-Uravich wedding and an all-around boot stompin’ good time! Robyn and I shared a place with our good buddy Jerrod and I got to re-unite with some old friends from the summer camp counselor days Mary and I shared in New Jersey way back when. We were so stoked to be able to make it to Mary’s wedding and the ceremony and shared stories with friends were amazing. We couldn’t be happier for those two!
And that brings us to good ol’ Idaho. It’s just now starting to seem real. We’ve been running around like crazy trying to figure out living, jobs etc. all while trying to slow it down and soak it in. Every once in a while I just start laughing. This kind of maniacal laugh of disbelief. We love this place so much and it feels amazing to be back. It reminded me of a Cinderella power ballad “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till it’s Gone)” so I googled it. Totally just watched the music video which is worth 5 minutes of your life! It looks like it was filmed at Mono Lake in California. Tangent there. So let’s leave it at that.