Thanksgiving – Joe’s Valley Style

Last week Fletcher and I took off for a record long 13 hour drive from Bozeman to Orangeville. The roads were terrible from West Yellowstone south to Price as a huge storm hit Idaho and the Wasatch front. We drove by numerous people out in ditches and had to take it really slow; driving 20 MPH for long periods of time. After almost giving up on making it to Joe’s that night, we arrived in the right fork at 3:30 am Saturday morning set up camp and crashed.

Both of us were sleep deprived from finishing the school work that was required prior to leaving in combination with the long drive. Thankfully I slept in until 10:45 and Fletcher didn’t wake up till noon. Since we didn’t know where to find Henry et al. we decided to drive towards the UMWA boulder and happened to drive right past Henry, Michela, Issac, Ken, and John aka Red at the Warm Up Boulder! Jeff, Erik and Ethan, a friend of Ken and Red’s from Ft Collins, arrived that evening at the campsite we had taken over right at the entrance to the left fork, rounding out the crew to 10 for the first half of the trip.

The next day we had the worst weather of the trip waking up to light snow that accumulated a half inch and turned all the sand into sticky mud. We had to wait till noon for the boulders to dry but otherwise we had great temps in the low to mid 40s most days.

Post snow melt off

Right away all of us started out using search and destroy tactics to sending all the projects we had lusted over for the last month: Erik sent Planet of the Apes V6 first go after falling from the top out his last climb of last years trip and then started working Stand Up V8. Fletcher Flashed Chips and sent Planet of the Apes, both V6, Ethan got Pocket Rocket V6 2nd go, and Jeff and I got on Bubbatronic V9 and Worse Case Scenario V9, all before the weekend had ended.

Erik sending Planet of the Apes V6 first go of the year

Fletcher flashing Chips V6

Jeff came very close on sending Gurkha Knife V9 but took a horrible fall from the top out and miraculously landed taco style inside of a pad and got tackled, pad and all, by Henry into a 2nd pad. Jeff’s fall worked out but the landing under Gurkha Knife makes any fall from there very sketchy. It has two rocks the size of end tables sticking out 3 feet above the landing at odd angles directly under the top out. We had 5 pads beneath Jeff to keep the landing safe, but the fall was still ridiculous and Jeff decided not to tempt fate again, rightly so.

On Tuesday we went to the Beach, aka Riverside, and an area I hadn’t been too before: Cabin Fever. Henry and Jeff worked a magic trick of a boulder problem: Battletoads, Jeff spent the day on it coming agonizingly close to the send after Henry sent in just a couple of tries. Fletcher, Henry, and myself then went to try Playmate of the Year V9, while the send seemed close for all of us none of us could link the first move to the top showing just how much we all needed a rest day.

Ken attempting Feels Like Grit V8

Henry using some Grrr power on Battletoads V10

That night Jarred and Kelsey came down from Salt Lake to spend the rest of the trip with us, unfortunately Issac, Micaela, and Ethan had to leave the next day to make it back to their respective homes for Thanksgiving with their families. So Henry, Erik, and I took the free time to shoot lots of pictures and video of Jarred and Kelsey climbing while Fletcher and Jeff provided moral support and spotting.

Everyone getting involved with Jarred's send of External Tulips

Thursday, Henry, Fletcher, Jeff and I went back up to Cabin Fever to get revenge from Tuesday’s thrashing. While Henry, Fletcher, Jarred and I worked on Playmates, Jeff quietly put down Battletoads by himself. Being Thanksgiving we went back to camp and started cooking all the food we had gotten in Price on Wednesday night. We managed to cook 1 loaf of garlic bread, 7 acorn squash, 3 sweet potatoes, untold numbers of russet potatoes, and 6 or 7 small dishes of mixed vegetables all over the fire, which we had to make bigger to accommodate all the food. The only things we didn’t cook over the fire was the ham, instant stuffing, the two desert pies that Jeff got and Kelsey’s amazing pumpkin bars!

On Friday it was so nice out, we decided to go check out Dairy Canyon, up towards the top of the Right Fork. Despite its elevation, the snow wasn’t an issue because most of the boulders face directly south. Dairy Canyon held some gems like Vertical Ice V6, and some dyno that was a V7 in the guide, even though it was much easier than Propa Dyno V5 in Cabin Fever. Most of the grades were all over the place from V2 that felt like V4 to V7 that felt like V2. One of the boulders was very sandy and didn’t look like it was climbed very often.

The last day of our trip we were feeling sore from all the days of climbing, but Erik and Fletcher wanted to go and finish out Wills A Fire V6 before we left, and Jeff wanted to try We Call Him Micheal V10/11.  After waiting for the temperatures to rise Fletcher sent 2nd go and Erik sent a couple of tries later.

Erik on Wills A Fire V6

Fletcher trying They call Him Jordan V8

Jeff tried We Call Him Micheal a couple of times without much luck. So instead I looked at Beyond Life V10 and decided that my skin would like it better. In classic, last day style, my best try was my first and then I had to take a break before I got back to the last move. My first try I had avoided the obvious sequence by trying to not pull on the mono. The next time I made it to the mono I was desperate that I wouldn’t make it back to this move again and went for it. I stuck the last crimp and then jumped for the jug. After topping out I found a flapper on my right hand middle finger, but it was totally worth it! Since Jeff had already done Beyond Life, he tried to work out the moves for the sit start.

Beyond Life V10

Jeff figuring out the moves on Beyond Life SDS V12

All In all it was a great trip filled with great friends, great sends, and warm weather! As much as the drive down sucked, the week away from school and all other worries was amazing. Unfortunately school has resumed its death grip on my free time as the semester winds down with exams and last minute projects. Fortunately in less than two weeks I’ll be back in New England for Christmas break with nothing to do but relax with family and friends I haven’t seen for at least 6 months. School is a necessary evil though and even though it may be annoying I’m ready to dig in and get it done and move on to the next thing.

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