The Vedauwoo Sushifest;
-A Firemonkey’s journey east, to the Wild West.
I was out,
it was grim,
then things began to change...
Last time we made this trip had been in the famed 5.10OW,
A/c Tunes, no engine noise, it was a different, more 21st century experience, set the cruise control and stop for gas in Wells(?)
I drove another three hundred miles or so, My record for distance driven in one of Ed’s vehicles without exploding it!! ( See Sushifest one Tr somehere in the Taco archives)
Overnight at Mike’s in SLC was once again the welcomly non kinetic, thought provoking, oasis that is a key feature of this drive. Dinner on the back deck in the last of the light to the serenade of Locust, rested the bones. Man Costco makes a mean Blackbean portabello burger!
Up in the morning and on the road a scant two coffees after mike’s 5:30 workday start. A mere, 450 Miles, to go!
The Plan was to get to Vedauwoo (1200 mikes) with only gas stop. After some serious number crunching and an uncomfortable section of driving through the unpopulated wilds with the the 'lo gas' light on we stopped for fuel some 22 miles short of Laramie. Ed informed me that this was an over 600 mile Tank. The gauges and computers on the car said 47MPG but Ed seemed skeptical... These mad scientists can be a surly, analytic lot... in any case we each had ice cream to celebrate. Oh and Plums! Did I mention that Mike had bushels of freshly harvested Plums and we had a bag of them which he promised to add to when he was to meet us @ Sushivoo, three days hence?
Ed and Luciile, we must be getting close!
Vedauwoo at Last!!
First stop site 11 in the lower campground. The bark beetle tree devastation is even worse than last year; didn’t that stump used to be the tree that Peewee hung a pullup bar from last summer?
Storms brewing the skies were ominous, time to go Climbing. What better way to translate angular momentum upward Vedauwoo-eze than a quick Romping Team Solo up TM Chimney? 200 feet of 1 to three foot wide chimney, Nestled here at 8k,’ what could be better for unfolding limbs that have been confined in a car for two days and a trip that started at 72 feet above sea level?
As we prepare, a strange, to me, County 5 pickup drives past, stops and Backs up. Rachel and Zac, local guidebook Moguls. Laughs were had, stories shared. Introductions made.
Thomas Magary, aka, TM chimney, does not disappoint! Especially after the better part of two days in the car, a trip that started at sea level and had deposited us at over eight thousand feet!
Wheeze, all the way head rushes, I had been training a lot (100 plus bike miles and 500 pullups the week before) and it helped but 8k is 8k!! I looked over at the eledg on top of Fall wall, an easy stroll unless I totally blacked out and pitched, which was possible!! But I didn’t and had a sitdown.
How's Ed Doing?
how's the weather?
How's Ed taking it?
Maybe we should get going?
Or hang out a little more
Take in the view of MRC
okay pop up to the top, one more breather, and we're out of here...
Wednesday morning like the old guys we are, we were up at dawn after going to bed possibly before dark the night before. A jog around the turtle rock trail as the sun rose seemed to set the world a right and secure my place in it.
Not in tune yet, last year I went too fast here, fooled by getting in killer indian Creek/desert shape and expecting it to carry over into Vedauwoo, I missed a nuance on a free solo, took a twenty footer and broke my foot.
So we went slowly,
and onto Spin to win
Oh man did I feel out of Shape! shoulders popping from too much training and too little climbing....
As the heat built we headed to the shade, which fooled us into complacency and going out into the high desert sun again, this time to romp up on Plumbline, classic 5.9 Handcrack, only to find it was the only, occupied, climb in Vedauwoo. Five hippie children and a dog name Zappa, struggled in the sun listening to a boombox belting Creedence. I’d done an early ascent of this route 30-35 years before and the scene seemed eerily similar.
After the kids split Ed led and I clung to every bit of shade available. Ack! 8,000’ 90ºF, south facing, What were we thinking? After Ed got the rope up I tied in, hiding in a crevice to lace my TC’s before offering my rand trapped toes to the furnace. As I stood up into the crack I felt queazy, hmm, something alimentary, maybe it was the plums. The jams felt okay though, as the sweat poured down the bill of my King’s rope™ hat and dripped onto my glasses, foggin them. More jams, more cams, more gurgles from the lower intestines....
a moment of battle with a stubborn green (small) camalot at the top and I tightened against a coming Kruck moment....
Top out and lower. “Ed Toilet paper?”
... filling uo the hole fifteen minutes later and I felt better, still dizzy, but stable enough to burrow into a shaded hole and belay Ed on Toprope. ( I decided no more plums!) Couldn’t hide from the sun to pack the pack, and it seemed to take forever. The hike over the boulders was trippy and tippy, but by the time we got back in the aspens with the breeze, life was again good!
The delerium may have affected my sense of order here but I believe we revived enough for a team solo up Ed’s crack with soothing breezes and scorching rock, Even that one had it’s moments.
Somewhere in there we learned that Nature and Tarbuster were due in sometime around 11 that, night. We knew it would be a challenge to stay up, so we gathered up our tired dried up bones to find tired dried up firewood, Which, thanks to the beetle kill, was easy to come by!
We talked sh#t until late building the fire as we sank further into our (Ed’s) chairs.
“It’s got a trailer”
Nature ‘n Tar, it had been a long time....
The next morning
there were even more additional arrivals;
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Then Grug showed, up and as there were only three Moose they felt intimidated and wandered off.
Em had made a reservation of the Gazebo
which looked handy for our needs
But it was determined that it was only open till 8pm! So further exploration was in order
Blair was chosen over the road 700 corridor to Cheyenne/tweaker expressway.
We Were a caravan. Ed and I decided to leave camp pitched in the campground ’just in case’ and break camp later. So I road with Nature and Ed and Tar pooled and Grug brought up the rear, over the course of the morning we flipflopped between cars.
Many spots were looked at, dang there are some fine bivvy spots in Blair!!
Doug the ever responsible host with the most
Sushi Central established
we sat down to hors devour and a taste of what was to come,
Another morning, a restday from, running,a time to take time out, smell the sage and snap some photos;
A ten minute stroll and it was time to armor up
Then it was time to head back to the main area and greet sushifest arrivals
Blitzo, Locker, Gal, Mike F!
We split up for more climbing Ed and I with Mike and the ever adventurous Gal went Sportclimbing with Blitzo and Locker!
Followed by Mark Jenkins who wandered up, fresh from Summiting Mt Everest!
didn't we have dinner plans?
Soon, back at the Ranch
More first night Frolix;
Six hours of fish feeding the first night, if anyone is counting
When in Blair climb spectreman!
But Back to Spectreman...
Referred to by many as "The best Climb in Vedauwoo" (even though it's in Blair.)
5.11 wide hands to fingers, with stems, in a double overhanging corner.
Fa By John Wilke Ca 1980. A party ascent, Myself, John Rutt, Maybe Greg Waterman, in attendance and all Tr-ed it. I swear Joe Cupps was there too, but this day he said he thought he wasn't present. Time be time and 32/420 years is a long time ago...
It was on the Cover of one of the Heel and Toe guidebooks.
Mike Friedrichs has probably climbed it more times than anyone else on this orb.
here he goes now!
Here's Grug, determined to do some damge to his new shoulder.
Max lead it this day, too! Welcome to Vedauwoo!
There's Catherine (gal) about to top out
I couldn't climb it for shiit that day,
So Sushi, Spectreman, Saturday was also punctuated by the appearance of Human Centaurs, some sort of equistrian event that was to go on all weekend;
solar panels, V-10?
I kinda want one....
After spectreman and before time for more sushi the crowd dispersed to various other projects. Many stayed and climbed around Blair, Some chopped Fish, and some of us went to central Vedaudoo.
As part of an ongoing Video project Mike F soloed upper slot wjile Ed videoed. Then the weather got rough! unfortunately stranding Mike on the summit, in shorts without a rope!
Max, to the rescue, his second climb in Vedauwoo!
As we walked around seeing the sights, the storm returned, our plans were dashed, but Greg's adventure, just below the face exit, was just beginning.
Below, a wider view
all too soon, back at camp....
eight hours of Sushi!!