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This scene was playing in my head on full repeat as we post holed in knee deep snow over two miles into ice we hoped was there. By we, I mean Joel. He was the young one. The rest of us offered useful encouragement such as, “Take smaller steps for us short guys!”. Sunday was a long day.
I had mixed up signals with the Director of Events, aka the wife. I say I, because you pick your battles. I was sure I told her my friends would be in town for the weekend. With it being winter (well technically fall) a trip up the Southfork was in order. I was reminded Friday that we had an engagement Saturday night. No problem, I’ll drive home after climbing Saturday then meet them at the bunkhouse early Sunday morning.
Day 1 Bozo’s Revenge, WI3+
Saturday morning I get the text that the posse is just outside of Cody. We meet up, I grab a rider and off we go for a Farbeaux mission. There is a very talented climber here who is known for his Mulkey Missions. Tales of radness, high adventure, and first ascents. The Farbeaux mission is almost the antithesis of a Mulkey Mission. We seek out the moderate classics, because frankly we suck at ice climbing and a good solid WI3+ in Cody usually provides plenty of the bug eyed fear.
You can see Pitch 2 from the road. It is the $$$ pitch for the climb. A perfect warm up. The hike into Bozo’s is as moderate as the Southfork gets. It is just over a mile with about 1,200’ vertical.
We followed the wolf tracks for a bit.
Then the climb came into view.
A warm up pitch of about 20m of WI2+ and 40m of waist deep snow brings you to the money P2.
We did laps and variations until dark and walked out without event.
Love this place.
Driving home I was filled with visions of grandeur for the next day. I'd miss the usual skullduggery and nonsense of hanging with the dudes at the bunkhouse, but I had commitments.
“What do you mean you’re getting up at 5am tomorrow?”
“Well yeah, that was the plan remember?”
“No, the plan was for you to climb today, we go to the surprise birthday party (which we were late for the surprise, oops!) tonight, then we have the day together tomorrow”
“But honey, the boys are DEPENDING on me. I need to bring them an extra helmet. It’s perfect conditions. They might get stuck in the snow. LOCUSTS!”
Day 2- Spotted Owl, WI3+
“Holy sh!t! That thing is way up there!”
You can’t see Spotted Owl from the valley floor, so you are going on speculation. Hunter Creek Falls looked nice and fat, so the likelihood of Spotted Owl being in is good.
The approach to Spotted Owl/Hunter Creek Falls (WI5) is about 2.5 miles and 1,800’ vertical to the start. NBD. About 60% of the mellow hike was knee deep plus. Grande Type 2 fun. One in the party thought it crossed the line to Type 3. We mentioned that hardening the fvck up would help.
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The guard let us pass.
This isn’t so bad. (yet)
Ah, thar she be!
Spotted Owl continues for two more pitches. The second had a lot of death crust and snow and wasn’t particularly appealing. The nice thing about the climb is you rappel Hunter Creek Falls. None of us had ever been on a WI5 before so we opted (mostly due to the late hour) to try our hand at being top rope heros rather than slog up the intended route.
Great views of the north side of the valley.
Of course we walked out in the dark. Like usual. Noobs.
I was tired. The wife wasn't going to be pleased with the late hour. I'm missing another night at the bunkhouse. Stupid work. Grrrrr.
“Did you have fun honey?”
(Whoa, not the reaction I was expecting!)
“I did. Remember it’s not my fault you made me move here.”
(She thinks that is hilarious, but it is true. It was her idea to move here. I wasn’t going to argue, after all you pick your battles.)