Wild Basin

Wild Basin

Posted on 17. May, 2012 by in RMNP

I finally had a free afternoon and made my way out to a newly developed area in RMNP, Wild Basin. Wild Basin is in the southern part of RMNP and is a beautiful, remote and quiet corner of the Park. It is most well known in the bouldering community for a large erratic halfway along the dirt road that provides quick and easy access to a number of drop-offs of marginal quality. One of the first hard problems I ever climbed is on the back, a crimpy and unnamed V9, listed in Phillip Benningfields first edition of Colorado Bouldering.
Over the years I had visited Wild Basin not only to go for hikes, but to look for new boulders as well. In 2003 I hiked out to the base of Mt. Alice (and a nice boulder field) eventually making my way across the tundra and down to the far shore of Thunder Lake, where there still sits a majestic roof project I chalked and cleaned deep in the forest. Granted, this is 6 or so miles from the trail head (17 miles total for the day). At the time I thought this was far too long to seriously consider a return trip.
In 2006 Ryan Olson and I bushwhacked our way for 7 miles to just shy of Keplinger Lake, to explore a massive talus field on the southwest side of Long’s Peak. Again, after 7 miles of grueling hiking with no trail, it was hard to justify going back.

7 miles in near Eagle Lake. Long’s Peak is the most prominent point in the background.

In 2008 I made a third trip deep into Wild Basin, to check out an area developed by Tommy Caldwell, known as the Box. Again, this was 7 miles or 3 hours of hiking to reach the boulders. The area is incredible in terms of quality, but limited. Impressively enough, Tommy hiked in at least 5 times and put up some really amazing problems, including one called Spread Eagle V11. The low start to this line will someday be one of the best hard problems in America.
Fast forward to 2012. I had written Wild Basin off in terms of a good bouldering area. Little did I know that lurking in the woods just minutes from the trailhead were some of the best boulders in RMNP. Leave it once again to Dave Graham to find and develop these amazing new rocks. Over the last few months Dave has established a number of hard, new problems in this beautiful area.
A few days ago I got the tour from Cameron Maier, proprietor of Bear Cam Media(check out Cam’s gallery of all the best lines in the Basin). I was impressed by the setting, the quality of the rock, and the ease of access. Dave once again picked the stellar lines, and the ones that really stand out in my mind are Dead Meadow V13, a singular line on a large boulder hidden in the woods, Tetris V13, an overhanging compression line, Two Sizes Too Big V11, a stunning and tall face well hidden in the woods, and finally The Grey V14. The Grey is one of the best problems in the Park. It is a singular line on good rock with very unique movement, that finishes on a desperate and sloping topout. Matty Hong attempts The Grey V14, Wild Basin.
Again, Dave is far and away the leader in the development of the good new problems in Wild Basin and the mark he has left on Colorado bouldering at this point is legendary. It’s hard to believe that problems this good are still just sitting in the woods, and it is clear that more will be found. If a new area were to be discovered this summer, I wouldn’t be surprised…

3 Responses to “Wild Basin”

  1. greasy enchiladas

    17. May, 2012

    They don’t call them “the Rockies” for nothing. BTW, I recently went up North Turkey Creek Road at HWY 285 near Indian Hills. Lots of rock – anyone check this out for lurking Midnight Lightning’s?

  2. Wes Walker

    17. May, 2012

    Endless! Thanks for sharing man.

  3. Nietzsche

    17. May, 2012

    Sparklemotion much?

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