Monday, October 8, 2012

Three Times Ten Sleep Part 2

Submitted by Ken

Here's Part 2 of my three-part series on climbing at Ten Sleep this year.

July 31 to August 5

July is the peak season in the canyon. The July 4th rodeo and street festival swells the town of Ten Sleep and the original core of Ten Sleep route developers, including guidebook author Aaron Huey (also assemble for an annual bacchanal at the main climbers' campsite off the old road. The crowds thin somewhat as August approaches, but there are still plenty of climbers throughout the canyon.

Leslie was back in Ten Sleep for 10 days with Kelsey and hanging with Bozeman road-trippers Peder and Jess, and another full-timer, Scott, from SLC. Leslie was gunning for Great White Behemoth, which is a route high on my list, so I packed up the car, loaded June, and drove down to get in on some single-focus, project mode climbing.

This trip reminded me of how much fun the social elements of climbing can be, and how great it is to meet new people, hear their stories, and cross paths at the crag throughout the day. Scott, Peder and Jess had scored the big campsite and we had plenty of room for 4 vehicles and a good representation of dogs, including June, Kelsey's dog Titia, Peder and Jess's dogs Maverick and Berkeley, and Scott's heeler puppy, Mondo, who easily qualifies as the cutest blue heeler puppy, ever.

Scott and Mondo

June, Maverick, Berkeley
The weather was warm and the regular Ten Sleep climbing cycle was in full swing: Sleep late, hang around camp (a good reason to find a campsite with morning shade), pack up around 1:30pm, drive to one of the parking areas, hike in and start climbing in the shade at 2pm, climb in full shade until dusk, return to camp, spray on mosquito repellent, eat, visit and go to bed. Repeat.

Leslie and Kelsey
20 5.12s in 2012 (and counting).

Camp action - Mondo!

We met a lot of climbers at the cliffs, from the perpetually-psyched Justin of Lander, to three visitors from the Czech Republic who showed surprise when I knew the names of their famous countrymen Tomas Mrazek and Adam Ondra. With heavy accents, they told us the Ten Sleep dolomite equaled the good quality stone of Europe.

Definitely not alone at Home Alone wall
(Michael, this one's for you!)

We also met another full-time climbing couple, the way-dialed Becca and Mike, from Canada. Mike was projecting Hellion (13c), demonstrating unwavering tenacity, throwing burn after burn at the low crux.

Mike - Hellion 5.13c
(Great White Behemoth draw to the right.)

Scott was also working the route and we all soon found ourselves in many of the same sectors, exchanging stories and beta. Besides being super chill people, Becca and Mike were practicing what they preached. Becca runs an online lifestyle coaching business called The Uncaged Life where she guides people through life changes that move them toward their dreams. So if you have a dream of, say, quitting your job and traveling full time as a climber, then check out Becca's site. She's living the proof of her own advice.

Scott replaying Hellion beta to Becca and Mike
Mike sent Hellion on his last day before he and Becca left for Squamish. Scott sent shortly after. Leslie crushed Great White Behemoth for the send. And with a redpoint of Dickens Cider, Kelsey reached her own goal of climbing 12 5.12s in 2012. Oh, and Peder and Jess... well, they crush everything. I refined beta on GWB but was still far from sending. I did manage a flash of a technical 12a that Scott climbed first in order to collect the booty of one bale 'biner -an action of which our own Kurt would highly approve.

At the end of the trip, Kelsey drove on to Salt Lake and Leslie caught a ride back to Bozeman with me and June. Somehow all our gear fit into the Yaris.

Jess and Peder 5.11 warmup before both onsighted the 5.12 to the left.

Little Smokey was a great trip.
Bonus footage!

As if this post hasn't already gone to the dogs, here's a video that all Mondo fans will appreciate. After days of being teased and taunted by June, Mondo gets revenge!