Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Fourth-The Fest

We spent the Fourth of July at the Flaming Gorge reservoir with Kelby Scott and his family.  
It was a lovely drive through a green desert, and we only got lost once or twice!  The gorge is surrounded by nondescript dirt roads leading into camping spots, and eventually, Kelby had to come find us.  

But once we were found, we went boating, 

The big Wyoming sky at twilight.


The Kokanee Salmon were delicious!

Spear Fishing

The water was too murky for much fishing, but they sure do look good! 

Cornhole playing

Cody and I got schooled!

and firework watching.    

We missed our 16 layer jello, but it was a pretty fun Fourth nonetheless.  We headed to Lander, Wyoming for the Annual Climber's Festival next.  

The climbers festival didn't start until the sixth, but we like to get there a little early to get used to the rock and rope climbing again.  The first day we took it easy and did the usual climbs we had done in years past, took some practice falls and were feeling good.  The second day I tried a cool 5.13a called Full Circle that Brian Dunnohew talked me into.  I usually don't like really steep climbing, but the route turned out to be pretty cool. 
Brian Dunnohew pulling hard on Full Circle (5.13a).

 Later that day I decided to try a climb I have always wanted to do.  It is called Last Man Standing, a 5.13b.  I got on the climb and things were going well.  I was working on the crux move, which involves grabbing a mono (one finger pocket) and lunging to the next hold when it happened.  I dug my finger into the small pocket, adjusted my feet and threw for the next hold.  The only problem was that my finger stayed in the pocket.  We all heard a loud crack and I fell of the route.  Hanging in my harness I looked at my finger, it wasn't bent, or in any pain, so I thought maybe I just popped the knuckle, no harm done.  I was wrong, I pulled onto the route again and felt pain, and the swelling came shortly after.  My finger was not in good shape, maybe broken.  It's been about two weeks now, and the swelling has gone.  I have full range of motion, but if my finger is side-loaded at all in the direction of my injury, I feel sharp pain.  I'm going to take it easy for a while and let it heal.   

A classic mono move.  

 While Cody was injured, I had a belay slave at my disposal.  I made good use of him and got a lot of climbing in.    Last summer, my goal was to climb a climb graded 5.12.  I sent several 5.11d climbs, but could never quite make the .12 happen.  This year, I was determined.  I worked out the crux move to Tomahawk Slam, a 5.12a near Full Circle, and had worked out the top sequences.  I felt the butterflies that come when you realize that this time, it just might be possible.  You could send it, if you don't screw up.  I took a few deep breaths and tied in, fought the pump, pulled the crux, and before I knew it, I was clipping the chains.   I lowered down elated.  The send was made even sweeter by watching a tall man try to climb the same route, copying my method, and fail.  Repeatedly.  (I do the route much differently than most tall people do, and he just didn't realize there was another option!)   After some encouragement from Cody, I got on another .12a a few days later.  This one was called The Solace of Bolted Faces, and was much more suited to my style, despite the crux consisting of a long reach off a mono pocket.  After a day of work, I came back and sent.  It was a good summer for climbing at the Iris, as usual!  

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