Wild Iris

Wild Iris

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by in News

My sport climbing adventure to Wild Iris was humbling, motivating, relaxing and not without some bouldering. Fall had arrived at the high elevations in Wyoming. The aspen were brilliantly gold, red and orange and the weather was warm and dry. Saturday we got out early, warmed up on a 5.10d and got right to work on Throwin’ the Hoolihan 5.14a. The route consists of a number of long pulls on shallow two-finger pockets and monos. Although it is somewhat manufactured, which I don’t approve of, the rock is otherwise bullet hard, bone-white dolomite, and the line itself is nice. It’s set away from the main cliff amongst some tall pines.

IMG_0128Throwin’ the Hoolihan

I was somewhat apprehensive about grabbing such severe holds, particularly after not having climbed on serious pockets in years. We climbed on the route most of the day, and I did but two moves in the hard section. One of the moves was a huge cross off of mono, and it seemed more scary than difficult, as my self-preservation continually exceeded my desire to do the move. The other was a huge dyno off of a three finger pocket. Having not climbed on rope seriously, on lead, outside, in so long, on such a hard route in a style I haven’t practiced, I felt fairly happy with my performance. The route felt doable, with some work, and I look forward to going back and trying again. It was also really nice to reconnect with Lander local BJ Tilden, and we saw him nearly climb the FA of a beautiful and natural line to the left of TTH. BJ has been a dedicated climber for years now, and his continued motivation is inspiring. Not to mention he’s just a genuinely good guy.

IMG_0161 BJ Tilden sticks the crux of a beautiful project (potentially 5.14c), only to fall just after.

The second half of the day was spent on Rodeo Free Europe, a short and bouldery 5.14a on the Rodeo Wave Wall. This route is more straight forward and I climbed better on it. If I have a chance to climb a 5.14 quickly, this would be my best option. The crux of this route can be seen in the movie Core, when Tilden does it as the first part of the Genetic Drifter link-up.

Sunday, which was supposed to be a rest day, we went to check out Falcon’s Lair. Falcon’s Lair is an alpine bouldering area outside of Lander near the Devil’s Kitchen. The driving approach is 20 minutes shorter, and all of it is on a graded dirt road. We packed up our gear and started down the 3.5 mile trail. It took us an hour and half to make it to the boulders. Falcon’s Lair is a small area, and when all of it is developed there maybe 75 problems there. The rock is good polished alpine granite, similar to best rock at Lincoln Lake. The best established problem was put up by Chris Marley and called World Conquerer. Here is video of the FA.

World Conqueror from chris marley on Vimeo.

After looking around I wasn’t sure if I would return in the near future, so I put my shoes on and after nearly flashing it, I repeated it in a couple tries. This is an excellent V9 that would be classic at any bouldering area in the world.

IMG_0208Collin Horvat makes the third ascent of World Conquerer

I took a break, hiked up to the top of the pass above the Lair and sat alone in the Wind Rivers. I watched a beautiful sunset from across an alpine meadow. The failing sun lit the auburn bushes aglow in iridescence. This was perhaps the highlight of my entire weekend. I walked back down the steep hill feeling happy and content, but only momentarily. I couldn’t resist putting my shoes on again and came agonizing close to climbing Spitfire (suggested to be V12) in a matter of tries before darkness forced me to stop trying. Spitfire is a short but beautiful problem on near perfect rock. It’s hard to grade a problem I didn’t climb, but my guess is that this one will come down to V10 after some repeats.

Again, it is motivating to know that climbers like Davin Bagdonas and Chris Marley are out there hiking and finding such beautiful places to hike to and climb.

Monday I was worked but managed to climb the crux moves of Rodeo Free Europe.

IMG_0260-1Rodeo Free Europe

There was only one move I didn’t do, and it is a huge move off of a mono undercling. It’s not the crux and I felt as though if I were to do the move I would have a chance to climb to the top. I am going to try and make it back to Wild Iris before it gets too cold and finish the route. All in all a successful and enjoyable weekend away from Boulder, and one that has given me the confidence to know I can climb hard on a rope!


Thanks to Collin Horvat for providing all of the photos for this post!

6 Responses to “Wild Iris”

  1. Adam M

    04. Oct, 2011

    Way to go Jamie. Great pulling in a new area with a new style!

    And props to Marley. Little PA, Doylestown pride man. Hommage to the roots at haycock!

  2. Beau

    05. Oct, 2011

    Sick! Can’t wait to go!

  3. Mike B

    05. Oct, 2011

    Jamie, congrats on finally getting on a rope. I assume that you are spending some time on a rope for the impending WC at Movement? I guess as having climbed a lot more than you on a rope (although still not much in proportion to the amount of time that I spend bouldering as well), I would suggest that you actually try route climbing. I know that the feeling of climbing on a rope is achieved by climbing sport routes that are 40 feet tall, but to really understand how to climb, and from a setting point of view set good, progressively hard routes, one needs to climb actual routes that are more power endurance than short and boulder intensive. Thats just my opinion. Congrats on getting on a rope, I think it makes people better to branch out and hopefully it will propel you into the next level for yourself.

  4. Davin

    05. Oct, 2011

    The Lair is indeed a beautiful place. Good you got to see it and understand the place. Awesome you guys repeated World Conquerer too. Truly world class. It is too bad that Falcon’s Lair is small with such good rock. Though there is potential for a few more than 75, maybe double that, but still not all of the high grade rock. Chris has done well up there and I’m sure he’s happy to get others on his lines. So much motivation from him!

    When you come back up for Rodeo Free Europe there may be some other rest day options with an order of magnitude greater in potential. Some more stuff to down rate:) and some really good rock. We loose perspective in isolation here, grades are hard to decide on when developing, and repeats have been hard to come by. Psyched that the whisper that has been Wyoming bouldering is becoming a bit louder.

  5. cardboard_dog

    06. Oct, 2011

    Adam .. That kid is from Doylestown? Rad. It would seem Diabase is THE rock to start on. haha.

  6. kilian

    17. Oct, 2011

    hi jamie!
    i consider this lander/wyoming story as a complete hoax! i don’t really believe that you used a rope, nor the fact that you had fun doing so….. come on!
    by the way, if you come to Europe, let’s go bouldering in the Frankenjura…. haha

Leave a Reply