"Not all those who wander are lost"

Ten Sleep (Part I)

If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.  Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spend in a miserable way.

-Alan Watts

 

The wheels began rolling and I felt a surge of excitement.  I was finally headed to the primary destination of my trip: Ten Sleep.  The rolling hills seemed to team up with my car in an attempt to keep me away, but I pressed the accelerator closer to the floor and managed to chug up the hill while tractors passed me.  Alright, I didn’t see any tractors, but my car did feel like it might burst into flames any second.

Excitement peaked as I pulled onto the old dirt road, old Highway 16 that is, and sped around washboard corners.  I found my friend Toby camped among the boulders and set up camp.  We caught up for a bit, but I was eager to get to sleep and speed up the time until I was climbing.

In the morning we headed to World Domination.  The routes were filled with superb crimping and pocket pulling.  I immediately liked the area when I managed to get three quarters of the way up ‘Napoleon’s Highchair’ after just doing one quick warm up.

I had a startling moment on the route when I reached for a two finger pocket and felt a buzzing against the tips of my fingers.  I pulled my hand out before the wasps stung me and quickly down-climbed away from them.  I waited until they calmed down and managed to cautiously climb around their hole.

Despite making it past the wasps on point I ended up falling while resting on a pair of crimps.  Yes, I fell while resting.  I somehow lost my balance and wasn’t able to recover.  I was disappointed, but was not interested in a second attempt even though I knew I could send.  My skin was precious and I wanted to try more routes.

We got on a few more routes and I was psyched to onsight ‘Moltar!’ at the end of the day.  One onsight and another onsight that really should have happened made me pretty happy about the day.  The climbing was my style and the grades weren’t very hard; what a great place to spend some time and boost the confidence!

Hanging out at camp was prime as well.  In addition to Toby, Matt and Ben had made the migration from Lander, my friend Kat, who I met in Thailand, had come down with her friend Christine, I finally managed find my friend Joe, who I met it New Zealand back when I started climbing, after several days of searching, and several new friends, Erika, Steve, Brian, and Asha, were made.

My second day I was really psyched to get on the classic rig ‘Cocaine Rodeo’ and see what I could do.  I was a little surprised and a lot happy when I onsighted the beast.  It’s a stunning route with a three mini-cruxes.  The first one is right after the second bolt on some poor pockets and crimps with awkward feet.  The second is, I thought, the hardest one, involving a long reach on a mediocre pocket or a move off a shallow mono.  The third one I couldn’t even tell you much about besides that it’s pretty close to the anchor, it’s awkward techy moves, and I was really focused on not falling by that point.

After a rest day I convinced Toby and Joe to head over to the Shinto wall so I could try the second of the three routes I was most interested in: ‘Center El Shinto.’  After Toby hung draws I flashed it.  I lost heaps of skin, but I managed to pull through.  Incredible!  Three days in a row I onsighted or flashed 5.12!  Certainly a new point in my climbing life, but it was hard to figure out if it’s because the climbing is my style and I’ve improved this year or if the routes are just soft.  I suspect a combination, but still like to take the credit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had some great times cragging, playing guide book charades, playing monopoly deal, baking cinnamon rolls and mango-chili-brownies, but as always, good things end.  Far too soon, in my opinion, much of the crew headed on to other climbing or returned to their normal lives.

 


 

[Credit to Toby Butterfield for the three photos of me]

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