Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lost Dome Bouldering Development - New Finds!

On May 9th and 10th, 2014 I headed out to the Wichitas for a 2 day trip.  I had gotten up around 5am to take my girlfriend Ashley to the airport, and so I was able to leave around 6:30am for the Refuge.  I arrived at the Refuge around 8am when the temps were still really good.  I quickly gathered my pad and pack and started my hike towards Lost Dome.
With how beautiful of a morning it was, I couldn't believe that I was the only at the Sunset Parking Area at 8am.

I decided to time my hike into Lost Dome this time.  It came in at 45 minutes of total hiking time.  I was moving at a pretty chill pace, so if you really hit it, you could probably make it in 30 minutes.  My plan for the day was to hit up a collection of boulders that I had found the week before with Rhyan and Natalie. For now I'm going to call them "The Hallway". The Hallway is located between Crab Eyes and Lost Dome.  It is located below Hidden Wall, in the gulley.  There is the possibility for at least 10 other problems over here, with some being V8 and up.  Below is a collection of what went up this weekend.

This is the first portion of The Hallway that you will see when you approach it.  This boulder is about 18 feet tall and has the possibility for some really hard lines.


 
The boulder on the left is the mentioned boulder above.  The boulder on the right is another that has possibility, but was too in the sun on Friday.  This shows the hallway between the two boulders were two new problems are located. "Rail Gun V4" and "Moon Raker V4"
This boulder houses "Moon Raker V4".  It starts on the lowest sloping rail, with feet on the boulder to the left.  Pull up to a left side pull, and figure out how to gain the ledge over the lip.  Awesome movement on perfect granite.  Located just ahead inside the hallway.

Starting inside the "cave" is "Rail Gun V4".  This problem starts in a bullet proof flake between the two boulders and traverses right along awesome rails.  The mantle finish on this thing is awesome.

At around 3:00pm it became way to hot to continue bouldering, and so I hiked back out to the car.  I decided to do some exploring around the Roadside Boulders with the rest of the day.  The Roadside Boulders are located down the road which leads to the Boulder Picnic Area.  You park at the big pull off before the gate which blocks the road after dark.  Then walk down the road for 2-3 minutes, and the roadside boulders will be on your left.  Below are some of the new finds from this weekend.
This awesome boulder has 3 different variations of V2ish problems on it that are really fun.  It's overhanging at about 30 degrees, but the holds are awesome.  Theres is also the possibility of a harder problem over to the right of it.  The main line on this boulder, "Hangover Recovery V2", starts on the low jug rail in the bottom right.  It moves up and left, and tops out in the middle at the horn/point on jugs.

This 30 foot high monster has 2 good lines on it.  Straight up the crack on the left goes at V0/1.  Climbing the slabby face straight up goes at V3.  I did it on Saturday morning and called it "High and Tight V3".  It is a super fun line, that could be done on top rope, but the highball version is super awesome.  

This cave type are is located just to the right of the overhanging boulder.  Nothing went up in it this weekend, but there is the possibility for some wicked problems coming out of here!

Overall, it was an extremely successful weekend of developing and finding new things.  I'm extremely excited for what I'll find in the coming weeks and months.  Like always, follow me on Instagram for more climbing pictures @ryansheldo.
Happy Climbing,
Ryan





Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lost Dome Bouldering Development - Continued Progress

On Friday May 2, 2014 I headed out to the Refuge after a month long exodus.  I had been dreaming of the refuge for weeks, but school was just keeping me tied down to Norman.  So I packed up in the morning and headed to the refuge with Rhyan like normal.  This time, however, we had a newcomer to the refuge with us.. Miss Natalie Heng.  We were all super psyched to hop on some granite and arrived at the Sunset Parking area around 10am.
The plan for the day was to head out to Lost Dome.  Rhyan wanted to hop on the Angry Inch for a while before it became to warm, and I wanted to make it out to the Black Face Project that eluded me the trip before.  Natalie was just along for the ride,wanting to try some of the V1's and 2's we had, and was one hell of a trooper the entire day. Haha.  The weather was looking not awful, upper 60's with a light breeze.  
We hiked the 2 miles into Lost Dome, following the Charon's Gardens trail and arrived at the warm up around 10:45.  I warmed up on The Russian Cosmonaut, and Rhyan did a bit of traversing before he headed over to the Angry Inch.  I stayed 15 feet downhill at the warm up boulder with Natalie and showed her a V1 on the warm up boulder which she destroyed.  Rhyan tried the Angry Inch for a while, but it was already 60 degrees or so, and the sloping crimps on it were already in the sun and getting slimy.  We decided to pack up and head for some shaded climbing.  I suggested we check out the previously looked at adjacent side of the boulder that houses Drive By Crimpin', so we headed over there.  
This side of the boulder is littered with half-pad to quarter-pad crimps, some chossy and some solid.  While Rhyan looked a some of the super thin crimping on the far side of the boulder, I cleaned up a line right beside Drive By Crimpin'.  It starts on 2 solid half pad crimps and moves up and little right.  The topout, just like Drive By Crimpin', is a balancy-slabtastic mindgame.  Nonetheless, it was a super fun moderate and "Bloody Murder V4/5" was born!

Rhyan on the topout of Bloody Murder V4/5

Rhyan discovered that there is a very possible, but powerful traverse that could be done between the beginning of Drive by Crimpin' into the middle of Bloody Murder, going at about V8/9??  We'll see what happens with that!  We hung out at the boulder for a while, ate lunch, and then decided to hike into the valley area to the back of Lost Dome.
This turned out to be a huge bummer.  We did about 2 hours of hiking, to find that the area over there was mainly choss and holdless boulders.  I'm not going to lie, spirits were definitely low at the end of this portion of the day.  Even though we had established a new moderate earlier that day, it's all about how you end the day right?? 
I took this picture looking back into the valley, back towards Lost Dome (which is behind the hill dead center).  All I could think was, "All of this rock and nothing worth while".

So from the top of the hill I took the previous picture, we decided to head back towards our pads and call it a day.  We began our way back through the thick brush and hopped a ton of boulders.  I should mention that through all of this Natalie wore shorts and head her legs scratched a TON by vines, sticks, and granite.  Not once did she complain though!  Once in the bottom of the valley, I turned left back towards Lost Dome, but a funny thing happened.  We had walked back to far and came out near Crab Eyes! At first I was upset because that meant even more hiking to get back to our gear, and backwards hiking at that.  After about 100 feet though, we saw this boulder.

This guy houses a super awesome climb! Moving straight up this overhanging face on weird sloping holds! Can't wait to hop on this one. 

Suddenly, the day was ending a little better.  About 300 feet downhill, back towards Lost Dome, we found another nest of AWESOME boulders.  

Slightly overhanging face with amazing, bullet proof crimps!

This boulder goes on further 15 feet on both sides and is littered with holds.  This perfect one pad crack caught my eye immediately though.

These were the only two pictures I snapped of the area, but that is because I was like a kid in a candy store!  There were so many possibilities everywhere!  Rhyan had always been saying, "Hey, we should check out the area between Crab Eyes and Lost Dome." but we just never did.  Fate fixed that though. Hahaha.  
We moved on from the amazing find of all of these boulders, got our stuff, and hiked back out.  

All in all, it was an awesome day.  We established a sweet problem and found some potential moderate and double digit boulders, which is amazing.  Overall, we learned 3 things that day.
  1. Amazing things can come when you least expect them too.
  2. The Refuge is by no means "tapped out" and anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy.
  3. Natalie can scratch the crap out of her legs and still have an awesome day.
Hopefully the weather will be good enough to get in some good climbing/establishing here after Finals this week.  Like always guys, follow me on Instagram: @Ryansheldo for more climbing pictures and updates on the area.  If you're ever in the area and want to check it out, just e-mail me and I'd be more than happy to show you around.

Happy Climbing,
Ryan 

All smiles after a great day in the Refuge!






Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Middle Earth Bouldering Development - The First Steps

On April 4th, 2014 Rhyan Brown and I headed out to the Wichita Mountains.  The weather was perfect that day, low 60's and partly cloudy with a light wind, so I was extremely psyched to get out.  I had to go to Drill the following day, so that made being outside even better.  It was about 10am on Friday morning when I picked Rhyan up from his house and we headed down to the Refuge.  If you've read all of my blog posts then I'm sure you are seeing some similarities between them all.

  1. It's usually just me and Rhyan.
  2. We always stop at Love's on our way in to the Refuge, and I always get a Mt. Dew.  Then Rhyan tells me I shouldn't drink Mt. Dew.
  3. I sometimes take more time taking pictures/video than I do climbing.
  4. We always find something new each time we go out.
On this particular day Rhyan wasn't going to climb because he wanted to save himself for a climbing trip to Tulsa the next day.  He has been working a V11ish project up there with Will Hargus at Four Rooms and wanted to be fresh.  Because of this, I planned on brushing up a highball face project that I had been dreaming about.  The face is at the Lost Dome Bouldering Area.  I had assumed when we found it that it had never been attempted before, but found out that it's been attempted by a slew of people over the years and just never completed.  This gave me even more incentive to get out there and finally establish this thing!
A close up picture of project I took the day me and Rhyan saw it for the first time.  Beautiful seems all the way to a very slopey and slabby topout.

This is a wide-eyed view of the boulder from a picture I found on the OKC Climb Facebook page of some other guys trying this.

So anyways, the plan was to hike out to the boulder, rap down it, clean it, and then work it all day.  HOWEVER, as faith would have it, the day was immediately changed when we arrived at the Sunset Parking Area.  I had forgotten my solutions and my chalk bucket somehow.  I still had my very old and almost blown out Katana's in the trunk, so I decided those would have to do.  At this point my psych levels had fallen a few notches.  I suggested to Rhyan that we should go ahead and check out some of the stuff along the Charon's Gardens trail on the way to the project because I didn't think I would be able to try as hard for as long without my shoes.  Little did I know, this turned out to be a good turn of events for us.

We took the trail towards Lost Dome like normal, but turned left at the sign for Treasure Lake, just to check things out for a bit. We ended up walking right into a new bouldering area I dubbed "Middle Earth".  I named it this because of its location between Pear and Apple and Crab Eyes. Below are some of the pictures of the boulders we found at Middle Earth.

This boulder is about 30 feet long and 12 feet tall and has beautiful incut crimps all the way across. Several easy lines are available here, as well as some moderates, and a traverse would be awesome.

This boulder face is on the other side of the face above.  It also has perfect crimp rails on it.  It's about 15 feet tall and would be another great warm up spot.

This knob filled bad boy is right up the hill from the previous 2 boulders.  It is littered with knobs.  A traverse starting on the left and going right, using the knobs would be great.

This line is the reason this area is being written about.  This beatiful horizontal crack leads to an unsettling topout at around 25 feet.  This ones a beauty.  I tried it for about an hour, and Rhyan built a solid landing for it. I'm suggesting a grade of at least V8 for this guy, and I think it's harder.

This highball arete is on the same boudler as the climb above.  I made the first ascent and named it "One to Rule Them All. V3
So many other lines are available on this boulder though.

 The first ascent of No Sweat V1.  This highball slab is 20 feet away from the boulder above it.  There is the possibility for at least 2 more lines on this boulder.


It turned out to be an amazing day in the Refuge.  We found an entirely new area with TONS of potential, all close together, and on great rock quality.  It is all solid.  I will be creating a mountain project page for this area in the next 2 weeks, once I have a chance to get back out there and take some more pictures/get better descriptions.  As always though, follow me on Instagram for more climbing pictures @ryansheldo.  Comment down below on how you think the blog is going, or if there is anything more you'd like to know!

Happy Climbing,
Ryan


Big Whiskey Peak Bouldering Development - The First Steps

On Friday, March 28, 2014 I went to Big Whiskey peak inside of the Refuge with Rhyan Brown.  We had both been training all week, and we decided that this was going to be a rest/hike and look for new projects and areas day.  I picked Rhyan up and we headed towards the refuge around 10am.  We stopped at the Love's like normal, and I picked up my morning Mt. Dew.  Energized for the day now, we set on to hike into Big Whiskey Peak.
I heard about Big Whiskey peak from a friend on Instagram, Paul Grider.  He had some pictures of some boulders out at the area and told me I should go check it out.  Rhyan and I hadn't been over there yet so we thought it couldn't hurt.  We parked at the very last pullout on the Refuge, as it suggests in Tony Mayse guidebook "Oklahoma Select".  We then hiked along the boundary fence line for aproximately 30 minutes, until we got to some rolling hills. We walked over these and eventually decided to check out some of the small peaks in the area for boulders.  We found some potential, but nothing that really got us excited.  We continued to head towards Big Whiskey, and eventually found the face.  Big Whiskey is a small sport climbing face that has 3-4 climbs on it.  One of these climbs is a 5.12d/5.13a sport climb that looked awesome, and definitely worth doing.  After we found the face of Big Whiskey, we hiked back behind it a few hundred yards and came upon an awesome corridor area of boulders with huge potential.  The pictures below are mainly from that area.
Overall, we had a good day over at Big Whiskey.  We ended up finding a much quicker way to get to the bouldering/climbing area than Tony Mayse suggests in Oklahoma Select., which I will describe once I can get back out there and map it out better.  The photos below are all from the hike that day.  Stay tuned on FA's and projects in this area.

The face of Big Whiskey

The Mega Project that we found.  Climbing this face using compression moves and awful feet is going to be a big challenge.

Cool mini-roof by Big Whiskey

A beautiful prow arete by Big Whiskey

The other side of the Mega Project has a difficult face line.

This boulder had perfectly smooth granite, but was located pretty far from  Big Whiskey.

This boulder has several Highball lines on it and was first found by Paul Grider.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lost Dome Bouldering Development: The First Steps

This past weekend I headed out to the Wichita Mountains again with Rhyan Brown.  We made two seperate trips this weekend, one on Friday and one on Sunday.  This was because the weather on Saturday was supposed to be terribly cold and rainy.  Below you'll find separate write ups of Friday and Sunday.  Each time I describe a new route, or existing one, you'll be able to click on that routes name inside the blog and go to its corresponding page on The Mountain Project.  I figured this would be a lot easier for people to access the climbs that seem interesting to them in this blog.  There will still be a direct link to the bouldering areas at the end, with additional videos and pictures! Enjoy!

FRIDAY:
First thing Friday morning Rhyan, my girlfriend Ashley, and I headed out to the Wichita's.  It was supposed to be about a 60 degree day with light winds.  Perfect for hiking, but we knew the afternoon hours would make the granite hot and sweaty, so we were in a hurry to get on things when it was still cool.
Just like each trip to the Wichitas, we made our traditional morning stop at the Love's located right off the exit for the refuge.  I got my customary morning Mountain Dew, great for charging up the climbing tendons, and some Beef Jerky while Rhyan got some coconut water.  It's safe to say we are complete opposites when it comes to eating. I'm the eat whatever you want guy, and Rhyan's the guy who could tell you the complete metabolic breakdown of what you are about to put in your body.  Ashley treated herself to a Subway sandwich and a gatorade.  She was a happy median between the two of us.
Enough about food! We arrived at the trailhead for Charon's Gardens, which again is located at the Sunset Parking area.  We started to hike the trail in at about 10:30am. We kept our eyes peeled for boulders along the way, but we were still in a hurry to get to the boulders while conditions were perfect!  We noticed one massive boulder off the trail high up on a hill at the beginning of the trail, but decided we would check it out Sunday.  Finally we arrived at Lost Dome after about 40 minutes of hiking.  Just as we entered the Lost Dome area, Rhyan noticed a massive, Grandpa Peabody size, boulder off the trail to the right.  We checked it out and found some potential for some amazing highballs and cave projects.  We continued on to the main area though after exploring for a while, but planned on coming back on Sunday.  Rhyan dubbed this area "Dreamland" because we had been talking about all of these boulders he was imagining in his dreams as of recent that morning.
I immediately went to what I dubbed the "Sputnik" boulder.  For no good reason really except for the fact that I love space.  On this boulder are three great and pretty fun warm-up climbs.  The landing is a small porch and is extremely safe and flat by the refuge's standards.  The first starts on a right leaning arete like lip.  You traverse along it up and right until you reach the topout.  We called it The Lip and it goes at about V3.  The next problem starts in the center of the boulder on a left leaning rail.  It goes up and slightly to the left using gastons and sidepulls until you reach the lip.  We called it The Russian Cosmonaut and it to goes at about V3.  The last problem on this boulder starts on the same left leaning rail as "The Russian Cosmonaut, but traverses right through crimps and then up to the top out.  We called it Escape Velocity and it goes slightly harder than the other 2 at V4.  All of these climbs are great warm ups and would be great climbs for fairly new climbers to get on.  If you come up to Lost Dome to do routes on the wall, these would be great to warm up on as well.  I should add, while we were at this boulder, a particularly persistent bee followed Ashley around the entire time me and Rhyan climbed, scaring the crap out of her several times.  She still managed to take all of the video and most of the pictures from this trip though! What a trooper, right?

After we were nice and warmed up, we headed up the hill, about 50-100 feet, behind The Angry Inch to some awesome looking boulders I had seen the week previous.  I had scouted out two lines back here that looked extremely classic and challenging.  We threw the pads down next to the first project I found.  It's a dihedral type slab climb with powerful starting moves, on small sloping crimps.  All of the holds on this problem are solid and remarkably nice on the fingers.  You have no feet towards the bottom, so you are forced to use an awfully high left foot at the start.  Because of this we started the problem with a 2 pad stack.  Not doing so would harden the boulder problem by at least 2 grades.  After pulling onto the start, you rock over your left foor, grab a slightly higher(and better) left hand crimp, rock over even more, and throw up and left to a great ledge.  From here you stand up, match, find good slabby feet, and top out on the slopey lip.  The fall has a death boulder, so 3-4 pads and a spotter is optimal for this guy.  I got close to sending this one on Friday and so did Rhyan, but we decided to move onto another problem instead of using all out strength and skin on this one.  If you're anxious to see what this beauty of a boulder problem looks like, then you can check it out here: The Sun Dial. Next we moved 15 feet left on the SAME BOULDER. Crazy right? Two quality lines on one boulder.  Just to the left of one project was another.  After a quick cleaning session, Rhyan found the flow of the problem. Starting on a flake-like crimp rail with a low left foot, you throw left to a left hand sidepull.  From here you switch feet and do a sick drive-by move into a right hand crimp, bump up to another right hand crimp and from here you work your feet up into a slabby/thin topout.  This climb is full package.  A powerful bottom section, with a technical topout.  All on awesome, not very sharp holds.  Rhyan and I worked the moves on this one for about an hour, as we cleaned it repeatedly as well.  We dubbed this one the drive-by project.  We had to get going though, and so it didn't see a send on Friday either.  So we hiked back to the car and were psyched to get back out on Sunday!  At the car, while I was throwing our gear in the trunk, we met 3 guys from New Zealand.  They were in Texas for work and decided to visit the refuge on their day off.  They asked about the climbing in the refuge, mentioning that they do a lot of trad back in New Zealand.  We told them about some of the areas in the refuge and told them they could pick up a copy of Oklahoma Select at the Visitors Center.  They were some really nice guys and it was awesome to meet climbers from so far away.

SUNDAY:
I picked Rhyan up early at 7am so we could get the most out of our day.  The forecast for the day was similar to Friday, except a little bit windier. We arrived at the Charon's Gardens Wilderness Trailhead at about 8:30am and started our hike in.  We decided to hike in 4 pads this time for extra protection.  I rigged my 2 madpads together, and we stuffed Rhyan's smaller Black Diamond pad inside his Mondo pad, so we were set to go.  Remember that massive boulder right off the trail on top of a hill I talked about seeing on Friday?  It turned out to be about 4 feet tall, perspective can do that out here sometimes.  A rock on a mountain top with no shrubbery next to it can be hard to size up sometimes, but oh well.  We met some trad climbers along the way to Lost Dome who were planning to climb at Crab Eyes that day.  They were from Missouri and were really psyched to be climbing in the refuge.  I was glad to hear them say it was well worth the 7 hour drive they had made for a day of trad climbing.  We parted ways at the fork between Crab Eyes and Lost Dome and wished each other luck in the day of climbing ahead.

We finally arrived back at the drive-by boulder project and immediately dropped pads and warmed up.  Rhyan and I chalked up some new holds on the slabby upper section and got ready to trade send burns.  Rhyan went first, trying the problem from halfway, to get a feel for the topout again.  I went straight for the send and punted off the top like I had Friday.  Rhyan sent on his third try of the day, and we were both stoked that it finally went down!  We named the problem Drive by Crimping and graded it V7.  I sent the problem on my 4th attempt of the day by using a little bit different beta for the topout than Rhyan did.  Rhyan trended more to the left after the last right hand crimp, and I went right.  Both are equally as hard though and definitely test your mantling and slab skills.  Super excited that we sent so soon, we moved the pads straight over to the Sun Dial Project.  I couldn't seem to stick my left foot to the high starting foot and was beginning to get frustrated since I was having the most luck starting the problem Friday.  Rhyan had completed the problem from a move in the day before, but couldn't get the start.  On his 4th attempt, Rhyan was able to pull through the first move and grab the second left hand crimp.  From there he demolished the rest of the balancy problem, and topped it out.  The Sun Dial, V6+, was born.  I tried the starting moves a couple more times, but continued to be frustrated at myself.  I decided it was better to save my skin and strength for some other stuff we had planned that day, so we stopped and relaxed for a bit and got ready to do some hiking.

We took off and hiked all around the backside of Lost Dome and found some amazing boulders and even an overhanging rock face that NEEDS to be bolted so someone to climb it.  It was too perfect.  You can find all of the boulders we found in the pictures below.  At about 1pm we noticed that some friends from Rocktown were climbing over at Lost Dome and we stopped by to watch them climb.  Morgan, Matt, and Claire were all on Come and Get Your Love a 5.10a sport climb on Lost Dome.  After watching and chatting for a while, me and Rhyan decided to check out the area we dubbed "Dreamland" on Friday.  The area is right on the other side of Lost Dome.  It houses a massive boulder with a mainly unclimable roof area underneath.  HOWEVER, this area still has immense potential.  I immediately headed over to a boulder under the overhang of the building size boulder which houses a climb with beautiful rails on it.  The climb starts sitting and to the left of the perfect rails on a flake-like crimp rail and a left foot.  Next you throw to a right hand sidepull, get a right foot, flag, and throw to the first crimp rail above you.  From here, one more slightly difficult move to another right rail leads to the rail climb to the top.  The climb to the top isn't a gimme though mostly because the topout is about 25 feet off the ground.  It's a super fun and classic climb though.  The rails on this thing are just amazing.  Both me and Rhyan were able to send it after about 5 goes.  It took me a little bit longer to dial in the crux portion(throwing for the first crimp rail from the right sidepull) though. We named the problem I Lichen Bouldering and graded it V5.  So far, Rhyan and I had been in the Wichita's for 6 hours and have established 3 new boulder problems.  Needless to say, we were psyched.

From here we contemplated heading home, but I persuaded Rhyan to head over to a beautiful arete we found the week we climbed "The Oklahoma Panhandler", over at Crab Eyes.  This arete is located on a big block, just to the left of the trail when you're hiking into Crab Eyes.  After brushing it off for a while, we noticed that it was going to be super hard.  We still have a lot of brushing to do on this one.  After about 10 minutes of brushing, the heat got the best of me and I fell asleep on the crashpad.  Rhyan however continued to brush the boulder and try the outrageously hard sit start to the arete.  While I was napping in the sun, Rhyan met up with Morgan, Matt, and Claire.  I ended up for sleeping for almost an hour until Morgan and Rhyan woke me up.  From there, we all hiked out together.

It was a super successful and productive day at the Refuge and I'm so psyched to get back out there.  Check the area below like always for more photos and direct links to the Lost Dome Bouldering.  Don't forget to subscribe to the blog so you don't miss any new posts, and follow me on Instagram for more Climbing pictures: @ryansheldo. As always, thanks for reading!

Happy Climbing,
Ryan

Lost Dome Bouldering on Mountain Project

Sunrise on Sunday morning.  The setting of the refuge will always make this a world-class place to climb in my opinion.

My double pad stack, with a backpack on the front!

Me after I topped out "Drive by Crimping"

Amazing boulder with definite project opportunity.


I Liched Bouldering.  Look at those perfect rails!!!

Amazing overhang that needs some bolts.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

Morgan high up on "Come and Get Your Love"

Me checking out the super hard arete project before the sun lulled me to sleep minutes later.

Me on Escape Velocity and Rhyan with the super safe one-handed spot.

Rhyan working the moves on Drive by Crimping, Friday.

A front view of The Sun Dial.  Drive by Crimping starts just to the left on the chalked up rail.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Crab Eyes and Lost Dome Bouldering

On Friday February 28, 2014 I went back to the Wichita Mountains with Rhyan Brown.  I wanted to check out a problem called "The Oklahoma Panhandler" V6.  Depending on the temperature and conditions, me and Rhyan were going to head back to "Jungle Vader" as well.  So that morning I packed up my car early, went to Chemistry lecture, and then went to pick up Rhyan at his house in Newcastle.  I picked him up around 10am and we got to the Charon's Gardens trailhead at around 11:30am.  It was about 60 degrees and sunny when we arrived, but it was still very cool in the shade, so we were sure we'd still be able to get some good climbing in.  The best part about the weather was the non-existent wind.  Instead of a 20MPH wind like normal, there was an awesome 10MPH breeze.  So we were both stoked for a great day of bouldering.
"The Oklahoma Panhandler" is located at Crab Eyes, which is located within the Charon's Gardens Wilderness Area of the Wichita's.  The trail head we took starts at the end of the Sunset Parking Area.  You basically pick up the trail head and follow the trail across the creek, and then across the creek again eventually.  You'll end up on top of a plateau after about a mile and will be able to see Crab Eyes in the distance. After the plateau ends, there will be a point when the trail splits left or right, and following the trail left will take you too Crab Eyes and right will take you to Lost Dome.  When you finally make it to the base of Crab Eyes, "The Oklahoma Panhandler" will be on your right, about 300 yards below Crab Eyes.  The hike took use about 45 minutes, but we stopped several times to check out boulders along the trail.
My plan was to flash "The Oklahoma Panhandler", and I was really determined to do so. When we got to the boulder I brushed down all of the holds, set up the pads, and started working over the sequence I wanted to use.  The problem starts underneath/behind a huge panhandle feature on a large ledge.  You bump up on a sloping block and then to two crimps on the backside of the panhandle.  Next you lean under the panhandle and gain an incut slot, and then up to crimps on the panhandle.  The climb has a lot of flow, and is one of the best I've done in the Refuge.  On my first go, I blew off after the first crimp rail on the panhandle, the second go I missed the throw for the topout, and on my 3rd go it finally all went right and I topped it out.  Rhyan gained the top after his second try.  We were both really psyched to have done the problem with so few tries and to have so much skin left.
At this point in the day it was about 70 degrees in the sun and 50 degrees in the shade.  We decided that it was to warm, and to far of a hike to get on "Jungle Jedi" that day, so we decided to make the shorter hike to Lost Dome and get on "The Angry Inch" V10.  Rhyan and I had both been on the problem before for a day, and decided to see if we could make any more progress.  So we hiked back out to the trail split and followed the trail to Lost Dome.  Once we got to Lost Dome, we found "The Angry Inch".  The boulder is only 100 yards past the main wall of Lost Dome, and is super easy to spot after seeing a picture of it.  Bonus points for you if you're reading this too because you know there is going to be tons of pictures at the bottom of this post!
We set up the pads and got to work on the problem. "The Angry Inch" starts on a double sloping crimp with an okay left foot.  You throw out left to a sloping left hand crimp thing and then get a heel hook with your right foot.  After that you bump to a right hand pinch, then bump again to a better right hand crimp.  After that, a lot of core will get you to an okay left hand sidepull far away.  Gaining this will set you up for a throw to the jug above you.  It's a very short and powerful line that I believe is worthy of the V10 grade.  It was first put up and sent by Sean Dosset.  Super awesome problem.  Rhyan made links to the final left hand sidepull which was awesome because he was 6 days on climbing at the time.  I can only imagine how badly e would've crushed if he was fresh and it was cooler!  He was using some toe hook, Dave Graham-ish beta to work through the starting moves which was awesome.  I could make the first move and almost gain the right hand pinch, so after a little while I began searching the area for new problems!  There are so many possibilities for new problems at both Lost Dome and Crab Eyes. I found and put up a V3 called "The Russian Cosmonaut".  It's on a boulder only 15 feet in front of "The Angry Inch" too, which is almost a rarity in the Refuge.  The problem starts on a sidepull rail and moves up and left using 2 gastons and slopers at the topout.  A great warm up climb for the next time we go out to tackle the inch.
Overall it was an amazing trip.  I didn't get my flash of "The Oklahoma Panhandler", but I was happy with my 3rd try, best try.  I'll be out there again this Friday-Sunday putting up new problems and crushing old ones.  I'm just incredibly psyched over all of the possibilities here.  It's just so exciting.  As always check below for pictures from the trip and links to all of the areas.  Follow me on Instagram for more Oklahoma Climbing pictures @ryansheldo.

Happy Climbing,
Ryan

Lost Dome Bouldering on Mountain Project
The Oklahoma Panhandler on Mountain Project

View of the "Oklahoma Panhandler" V6, from the Crab Eyes trail.

The view of Lost Dome from "The Angry Inch" V10.  Classic climbs "Rap Bolters From Hell" and "Tied to the Whipping Post" are located on the wall.

Rhyan testing a toe hook on "The Angry Inch"

Rhyan trying really hard on the inch.

The Sputnik boulder.  "The Russian Cosmonaut" follows the rail in the middle of the boulder up and left.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Meadows Bouldering Development

Saturday February 22, 2014 I went out to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with Ryan, Alex, and Sheldon.  We packed our pads and gear into Alex's big Dodge truck and headed down around 9 in the morning.  We started out the trip right with a stop at Daylight Donuts for some sugar carbs, and with bellies full we continued on towards the Wichita's.  Rhyan was supposed to go with us on this trip, but got sick the day before.  Now this put a small damper on the trip because we were psyched to get back out to the Jungle Boulders and throw down on "Jungle Vader/Jungle Jedi".  Nevertheless, I headed back towards the Pear and Apple Bouldering, uncertain of what I wanted to accomplish that day.
When we got to the beginning of the bouldering area it was already about 60 degrees and sunny outside.  I decided that I would give "Da Rockwilda" V6 a try since I didn't have Rhyan to collaborate with on "Jungle Vader".  Rhyan had sent this problem the week before and it was something that I definitely thought I could do.  Me and Sheldon warmed up the best we could on the Blackout Boulder, where "Da Rockwilda" is located, and then began trying to work out the moves.  After about 15 minutes or so we decided that today was not our day with this problem.  The moves didn't seem impossible, but we just didn't have the motivation.  So instead of wasting our day climbing something uninspiring we decided to pack up and move to some boulders I had found down by The Meadows.  Before we left though, we all climbed "No Bolt Necessary", the highball V1 established by Ryan the week prior.  So feeling good that we had at least climbed something, and excited for some new boulders, we hiked back to the car and headed for The Meadows.
The trail head for The Meadows climbing area is located at the Quanah Parker Dam parking area.  The turn off for Quanah Parker Dam is just a little ways down the road from the Visitors Center.  The boulder we visited is only a 10 minute hike at the most from the parking lot.  From the parking area follow the trail south, and down the hill.  It will cross through some trees, then back up another hill.  This will eventually bring you to a creek.  During the winter the creek has been almost completely dried out.  Cross over the creek, and head up the hill.  The "Promise Boulder" will be right in front of you, with the small cave being on the other side.
When we got to the "Promise Boulder" we got warmed up and started to mess around on the East side of the boulder.  Here we did a long, probably V2, traverse from north to south, topping out on the south side of the boulder.  Now warmed up, we headed to the south side of the boulder to check out the mini cave that was over there.  I found what looked like a really cool problem that climbed out from under the small roof and onto the thin face.  Me and Sheldon started to work on it, and it started to go.  It starts matched on a rail in the cave, then moves to a right hand undercling.  After leaning out onto the face and grabbing a left hand crimp, you use a right heel hook to grab a high right crimp.  Bump up to a left hand sloper crimp and then right hand to a juggy sloper and match.  From here you can collect yourself and work through the sort of awkward top out.  It's awkward because your center of gravity is forced out by a bulge in the face.  After about 9 tries, and several strenuous cleaning sessions, I sent the problem and named it "Everyone Breaks Promises" V5.  The name came from a joke Sheldon made before we hiked in, and the name seemed fitting for how awkward the top out was.
Now near the "Promise Boulder" there is a 5.7ish, 35 foot face climb that has a weird offwidth section that Ryan found.  Unannounced to us, he decided to climb it multiple times with no spotter.  While I was terrified by his method of not letting anyone know he was climbing, I was impressed by his confidence in doing so. At one point he almost climbed into a patch of cacti, but "strategically" traversed around them.  That's how he described it anyways.
Well it was getting late and we were all pretty wrecked so me and Sheldon decided to hike farther back a little and check for anymore climbing.  We ended up finding several highball possibilities, that would need a good cleaning, but looked super awesome.  I also found a short roof, that looked extremely burly, that I'm excited to get to eventually.  All in all, it was a very good day out in the Wichitas.
So many areas to be discovered out here and so little time to discover them all.  Like always, pictures from the trip are below, as well as a video of me on "Everyone Breaks Promises".  Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more Oklahoma Bouldering pictures @Ryansheldo.
All photo credit on this trip goes to Alex "Cheech" Meron!

Happy Climbing,
Ryan

Loading up the truck in the morning.

Sheldon trying keep the pads from flying out of the bed on the Turnpike.

Cheech on the traverse of the "Promise Boulder"

On the face portion of "Everyone Breaks Promises"

Coming out of the mini cave on "Everyone Breaks Promises"

Sheldon and Ryan finding different ways up the face.

Ryan's near brush with some cactus.

Panorama of the entire area, notice Ryan in the offwidth portion to the left.



Me on "Everyone Breaks Promises" V5