When we last left the action, our tragic hero had decided that he wasn’t a crappy climber and it was time to “Tie one on” to poorly-quote Stephen King’s – Lisey’s Story.
|The Cigar at Ten Sleep|
With my Spanish buddy, David, we hiked our butts up to the “Slavery Crag.” Did I ever mention how tough the hikes are at Ten Sleep? Well. After doing the hike to the “Ark”, the hike to Slavery really only did take us 15 minutes! I was feeling STOKED. PYSCHED. CRUSH MODE. I warmed up on “Head Like a Hole” (12a) by hanging the draws. This route is pretty popular so I figured I’d do the nice guy thing and leave my draws on it for the day.
|Calm Like a Bomb 12d climbs the right of center crack|
My goal for the day was to try and send the fairly steep “Calm Like a Bomb” 12d. The route is one of the non-descript pitches at Slavery. Most people spend their time on “Happiness in Slavery” 12b and “EKV” 12c, but I had already done those pitches. “Calm Like a Bomb” climbs a crack that peters out toward the top. The first half of the route is pretty easy – maybe 10+ or 11- climbing, but then it gets real, really fast. I had the pleasure of hanging the draws as well, and started pulling pretty hard – semi-small moves between really small holds and bad feet. As with any onsite climb, the details are pretty fuzzy, but I definitely remember hanging a draw on a really bad right-hand pinch and clipping. I think this was right in the middle of the crux! I managed to hang on though. I did a few more hard moves and was moving over into the “vert section” and I had one more hard move.
Once again, the details were fuzzy, but I remember being really out of balance on some pretty bad holds. I looked down, saw a really bad looking smear, and made the instant decision to trust my Tenaya Tarifa. They stuck and I stuck it! I spent some time on the last rest before the final boulder problem shaking (I was onsite) but the move to the anchors ended up being only 12- or 11+ and BOO YAH! I was so stoked. It was my Third 12d onsite and probably my second legit one.
|Georgie Abel on Shut the Duck Up 13a at Pyschoactive|
|Lena Moinova – Go Back to Colorado 12b at Psychoactive. Lena swears that move is totally necessary.|
The next day I took a semi-rest day to shoot photo and hang out with my fellow Trango teammate Ethan Pringle and his gal Georgie Abel. We climbed at the “Psychoactive Wall” which stays in the shade almost all day (just in the early and late day sun FYI.) Last year I sent the 13a pitch “Shut the Duck Up” so I had no problem warming up on the route with a few takes to get the line rigged for images. I was pretty proud of myself – doing all the moves first try on it (off the hang for the crux.) I shot some images of Georgie working the route and did “Mirth” 12a onsite. Remember my prime directive – climb as many 5.12s as I can (that was number 434 lifetime.)
|Did you see that cow?????? WOOF!|
|CHILDREN OF THE COWS|
The next day, my friends and I checked out the “Sidewalk” area at Ten Sleep, a notable and atypical morning crag. I warmed up sending “If Dreams Were Thunder” 12b hanging the draws. THE route to do, however is the super duper luper long (25 bolts) route: “Sheep Reaction” 12a. This one just goes on FOREVER. I’m a pretty good enduro climber and this one felt easy for the grade – I was never pumped and not a single move felt hard. It was a really nice and good experience though. It was great to get so much climbing in! I certainly recommend this route to anyone who is looking for adventures. I don’t really like adventures myself, but every now and then, its good to get into one so you can remember why you try to avoid them.
|Bob Value on Sheep Reaction 12a at the Sidewalk|
|You said 25 draws right? Plus anchors yeah.|
The next two days were hard going. Its rained on us, and we couldn’t climb :/. The end of the trip was approaching quickly so I really had to get some routes done.
We went up to the cool kid’s crag and I decided to try a new route that Eric Horst bolted at the Sphinx. It was a good pitch and he rated it 12b. I got the onsite pretty easy – it being small holds and big moves, both of which suit me well.
I then set my sites on the “Tangerine Fat Explosion” 13a.
I heard that this route was a total gimme and a pretty easy onsite, so I tried it. The bottom of it was wet and it was pretty humid out, but I managed to fire through the boulder problem pretty easily. Coming out of the boulder problem (it climbs over a small roof) I made a dead-point move to a sloper hoping it was good and it turned out to be…good enough. The next sequence involved (I think) some smaller holds and maybe a mono with good feet and then a rest. Then there was a run-out section; there are generally two types of run-outs on hard sport climbs:
1. The climbing is so easy that it doesn’t matter.
2. The climbing is so hard, you can’t stop to clip.
Well. It was one of those cases where the climbing was hard :/. But I managed to make it through the boulder problem. Having good grip strength is one of the most important aspects in climbing and thanks to the Mark and Mike Anderson training program, that is one of my strengths.
|Another hard day at camp|
There was some butter and bread climbing for a few bolts with big holds to stand on and incut jugs to rest, though I continued to climb conservatively. On routes like this, I’ve learned there is usually one more big punch at the end. And so was the case. Guarding the last bolt and some obviously easy flow-stone climbing, there were a series of chalked holds. I went up off a big lock-off and felt several of them and immediately sorted out my strategy. I made a big lock-off (skipping several holds) going up right hand to this right facing sidepull and stepped my feet up. For the second time on the trip, my onsite depending on standing on a small really bad smear. My Tarifa came through for me and, out of balance, I made a dead-point move for the hold below the bolt. I remember thinking…….please let it be good please let it be good, though I was prepared for it to not be good. And the hold was – a nice ¼ pad incut crimper! BOO YAH! Onsite baby! And also hanging the draws.
|This is where they put bad people who downgrade Tangerine Fat Explosion|
The trip was quickly winding down and I had one more day. I was feeling good and we headed up to the “Downtown Area” which contains the phallic free-standing pillar…the…uh..cigar…yeah…Really doesn’t look like a cigar to me ;).
The previous two years, I worked the route “Sleep Reaction” 13a to no avail. Conditions weren’t super good, but after about 30 or 40 tries, I finally got route! For me, sending the route revolved around a single movement – grabbing two of the worst holds I’ve ever grabbed in my life. I was actually quite close to being able to just hold the holds and do a pull-up, but I couldn’t and I had to actually use my feet which was quite hard. When I got it, it was pretty anti-climatic for me. I was happy to get it of course, but it really didn’t feel like a major accomplishment for me.
|Sleep Reaction 13a|
|Sleep Reaction 13a
|Sleep Reaction 13a
I think my most memorable send was also my last major send of the trip: my onsite of “Heart Breaker” 12c. This route starts off pretty easy as it shares the start with a 5.11. “Heart Breaker” however, busts out of the dihedral left directly into some seriously HUGE moves. I’m good at big moves. I have long arms and I have a lot or power, so the first couple big ones were pretty easy for me – I didn’t have to jump or anything, just make big reaches.
At one big move I felt that I would have to jump. I was going from a good hold to another (seemed to be) good hold but at the last second, I intuitively dropped a really high back step and just reached. OMG….that’s right OMG. Not a good hold. Not a good hold at all. “OH DUCK OH DUCK OH DUCK.” Yeah. I did that a few times when I grabbed the hold, matched up, then fired for a good glory jug.
|Don’t forget the dog!|
And that’s when the pump settled in. I was on a really good horizontal rest with so-so feet (the option of too high feet or lower, but worse feet.) I took a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng rest here, but really couldn’t get the tingles out. It looked like there was one more hard move before the glory section. (Seems to be a theme at Ten Sleep?) I made a exploratory move up to what looked like a mono. It was a VERY deep drilled mono that was big enough for me to two-finger stack. I committed to the move and hiked the feet going for a left-hand sidepull….which was crap. Totally crap.
I was red-lining and couldn’t hold the sidepull so I WENT HARD again left to what ended up being a ½ pad jug crimper! Glory! I was still super pumped, but the rest was cake. Back to “OH DUCK OH DUCK OH DUCK OH DUCK OH DUCK.” I couldn’t stop saying. That route just blew my mind. That was for sure one of the best experiences of my climbing career.
After climbing, we crawled back to the camp site and started packing things up. We had to leave in the morning and I had a 24 hour drive to do. It was sad to leave the campsite – my home for the past two weeks. I took a few photos, jumped in the creek naked on last time for good luck and waved good bye to Ten Sleep. Maybe forever? Maybe just for another year.
|Who’s ready for some beeeeeer!|
|This could be all yours for 350k Its for sale.|
|The cup cakes at Dirty Sallies are excellent|