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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vedauwoo

Wyoming is different. There's a real sense of freedom and independence up here. I love it.

My posse and I have been camping out here since Friday evening, and yesterday, I had the crack climbing experience of my life.

Vedauwoo is this fascinating Mecca of sharp rocks and cracks. There are cracks that will swallow you whole, and there are cracks that you can barely force your fingers into. The rock itself seems to be this conglomerate of millions of sharp pebbles glued together. It's amazing.

The area looks like God was simply picking up boulders the size of houses and trucks and dropping them all over the landscape, as if these boulders were popcorn. The formations of some of the more unique rocks I've ever seen, too. There is one formation called the "Nautilus", which is the picture I attached to this entry. The top of it looks like the ship from the Disney version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

We climbed a route on it, a very stout 5.7. I think everything here by default should be rated two or three grades more difficult. Unlike normal or "slab" climbing, crack climbing is a much more involved. There are instances where you're forced to shove your toes deep into the crack and stand on just the friction created between the shoes and the crack. There are times where you'll put your hand in a crack and make a fist and pull all your weight on the sides of it. It's ugly and it hurts, but it's so much fun.

The only negatives I can find with this park: the people. It's not overcrowded by any means, but it is full.  We didn't camp inside the park, but I also did find a bit of trash left here by the previous parties. People suck. The only other negative is the park's proximity to I-80. There's a background noise associated with trucks and trains that seems to permiate the park.

That being said, this place is amazing! And being two hours from Denver, it may easily replace Moab as my go-to for climbing (although Moab is so awesome... have you read "The Rock That Changed My Life"?). It's good for families, too, with a huge variety of easy trails, mountain bike routes, and FREAKIN AWESOME rocks that everyone can scramble around.

I love Vedauwoo.

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