I awoke Wednesday morning in a ray of sunlight, the Popo Agie (pronounced: pa-po-ja what? are you serious?) raging just behind me and the dolomite cliffs of Sinks Canyon hanging overhead. The weather was perfect all week, so we decided to go hard and not rest. Short and sweet we climbed all day three days in a row. Marisa and I both put in some good effort and left feeling fired up on our successes. I did a bunch of hard climbing that I am proud of and excited about, but I don't want to spray your head off so I will keep the send-talk to a minimum and share only a couple of my favorites..
'Busload of Faith' is a line that I had eyed on the left side of the Killer Cave when we were out here in March, but had not gotten a chance to climb on. Fresh off of doing 'Primeval' quickly I had Busload on the top of my list to try. Hard, off vertical boulder problems through crappy underclings, a mono and a fiery drive-by characterized this route. It is a brilliant line for sure and at 13d/14a I was stoked to send on my 2nd go. Another line I had eyed (who hasn't) before but not gotten a chance to play on was 'Endeavor to Persevere' 13c. Beginning with a ultra steep thuggish belly, like so many Sinks climbs, this route hits hard from the get go. After an initial boulder problem you find moderate rests throughout, in between awesome steep arete climbing in outer space- the position is rad. I tried hard for the onsight, but when you screw up your sequence in pockets, mostly you're just screwed. I fired on my 2nd go. Another rad climb was called 'Samsara' 13b, that takes the most direct line out of the steepest section of the cave, culminating in a crux boulder problem way the hell up there. Pockets for days, this climb goes on for what seems like 20 minutes.. Marisa will verify the time I'm sure. Perhaps the best line out of the steep cave- awesome, I climbed it onsight. Like I mentioned, I had a successful trip and the list goes on with hard routes mostly in the 4 star quality and up range- this crag is awesome. If you climb 5.13 a/b you will stay busy here for a while and I would bet you will find the climbing fantastic. And might I add that if you climb 5.11 you will stay just as busy with a plethora of great moderates. Marisa had some break through sends on the trip and got tired of waiting on a top rope, and thus started leading hard right out of the blue. Victories for all!
And about this seasonal snake migration thing? While the horror stories of thousands of snakes, jumping from the tops of the cliffs and chasing you down the trail are definitely not true, there were more rattlers up there than I have ever experienced before. On the last night, as we hiked out I was just telling Marisa that I was sorry she only got to see slaughtered snakes and no alive ones, when BOOM, right on the trail in front of me there was a rattler, all fired up and rattlin' its ass off. I experienced some adrenal gland secretion for sure, but we simply found an alternative route and let the beautiful snake do its thing. It was not in any hurry to attack us, it just wanted to be left alone- as they all do.
On our last night we treated ourselves to a veggie burger at the Lander Bar, which is the quintessential after-the-redpoint spot to celebrate. All sun burnt, grimy and tired we crushed those french fries and hot sauce with the same ambition as we did the cliff.
It was short and sweet, but as it always does, a couple days felt like a week or two. I can't wait to head back next month and sample the other famous Lander crag, Wild Iris.. On a side note, all the locals and visitors we met were very cool. Locals happily shared info and Killer Cave link up secrets. Even the crag dogs were out to make friends, with which Marisa bonded nicely. Oh yeah, forgot to mention.. SHHHH!! don't tell your friends how awesome Lander is.