The Saratoga Valley in Wyoming is a great choice this time of year, and I went back recently to see some new boulders. Although I had made a previous trip to nearby Bennett Peak, I was looking forward to seeing new stuff at Needle Peak. It is my first priority when visiting a new area is to get a tour from the local developers, and in this instance it was the dynamic duo Davin Bagdonas and Bryan Vansickle. They always know the best lines, best projects, best approaches, wildlife, geology, and history of an area and they know where to look for new rock. This day was no different.
Needle Peak is a remote outcrop of metamorphosed rock and the hillside is littered with hundreds of boulders. The place is quintessentially Wyoming. Remote, isolated, lonely, and beautiful. Scattered bones and lion tracks only add to the adventure. Bald eagles soared and battled overheard.
I strolled up and the boys had a new project prepped and ready to go. It was motivating to say the least. Start on a jug, cross to a crimp, hard move to a terrible slimper, and a huge move to a good edge. Jump to a perfect jug. What initially seemed like V10 went to V13, and then back down to V11. We did all the moves but one, and I hope to get back soon to put some more effort into this crimpy and powerful line.
Established lines, new projects, and tons of rock surrounded us. We walked back down the hill to check out an old line, tried in the early years, The Polish Project. I felt immediately that it would go and we set the pads down and furiously cleaned. I figured out a less direct but easier sequence than had previously been tried and climbed it fairly quickly. The edges are crisp, the feet are horrible and the movement is excellent. I topped out Echo’s Bones V10 in beautiful evening light. Here is uncut footage of the FA:
We walked just a few hundred feet to the next classic. The golden sun stretched across the sage, and Vansickle finished his project Grand Hobby (a recently established difficult Bagdonas line). It was a great day out at the rocks and I look forward for more to come!