Category Archives: SD

the Summer of EC – Part 1: SD, MN & Lander

Early in May, I received an unexpected, indefinite break from work so I thought I’d better take advantage and go on a road trip.  I was going “home” to South Dakota anyway for a quick weekend trip.  That weekend trip morphed into a 4 week (mostly) sport climbing extravaganza.

While I was in Sioux Falls, I managed to get out to one of the two climbing areas near town, Blue Mounds State Park, which is about 45 minutes east of SF in Minnesota.  Yes, there is some climbing near Sioux Falls!  While Blue Mounds is quite a destination area, I would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in eastern SoDak or western Minnesota.  The climbing is on super slick quartz – zero friction!  There was one boulder there that I’ve wanted to climb on for at least a few years, ever since I first saw photos of it on the ol’ interweb – the Quarry Boulder.  This giant boulder sits in the middle of an old quarry that provided much of the material for local building about a century ago.  It’s easily one of the more aesthetic boulders I’ve seen, especially in the midwest!

the Quarry Boulder - Blue Mounds State Park, MN

the Quarry Boulder – Blue Mounds State Park, MN

the Quarry - Blue Mounds State Park, MN

the Quarry – Blue Mounds State Park, MN

From there I went to Lander, WY for some good old fashioned sport climbing.  But, I couldn’t leave SD without showing Sequoia the greatest tourist trap in the universe – Wall Drug.  She was impressed.

Wall Drug!

Wall Drug!

Onward to Lander…  Inge and Leslie were kind enough to let me slum it up with them for a couple weeks in Wyoming.  I’ve never climbed around Lander and as I was expecting it was a blast.  Tons of amazing climbs of all styles.  We mostly climbed at Sinks Canyon, but were able to sneak in a couple days at the Wild Iris before leaving.  Some of my favorites of the trip:  Second Hand Nova 5.11a, Face Dancer 5.11b, Put Down Your Ducky 5.8, Weasels Ripped My Flesh 5.12b, and Zorro 5.11d.    Photos:

Inge - Animal Sounds 5.12b

Inge – Animal Sounds 5.12b

Inge - Dogs of War 5.13b

Inge – Dogs of War 5.13b

EC - Full Irations 5.12a (photo by Inge)

EC – Full Irations 5.12a (photo by Inge)

Leslie - Corner Drug 5.11a

Leslie – Corner Drug 5.11a

Leslie - Blue Moon 5.12a

Leslie – Blue Moon 5.12a

EC - Spook Eyes 5.12b (photo by Leslie)

EC – Spook Eyes 5.12b (photo by Leslie)

Next up Cobble-ville, UT…


Old Baldy, SD

Took last week off of work and went on a little road trip.  First up was one of the most under-rated granite bouldering destinations in the west – Old Baldy, SD.  Old Baldy is basically located at Mount Rushmore right in the middle of tons of other excellent climbing (check out the new Spearfish sport climbing guide – WOW!).  Excellent course sandpaper granite slopers and crimps.  I think the Black Hills granite is the roughest rock I’ve bouldered on – it wears your skin off like nothing else.  I spent 2 days here and 4 days bouldering elsewhere and my skin/fingertips actually improved throughout the trip because I’d started at such a rough area.  I would highly recommend a trip here, especially if you throw in the sport climbing at Rushmore and Spearfish and the spicey trad throughout the Hills.  Check it out!  Here’s a few pics and a video I put together:

Rushmore - Old Baldy is out of the photo to the right


Next up – Rocky Mountain National Park, CO…


Summer is Here!

Here’s a few bullet points from the last few weeks.

-Went to the Black Hills of SD and fell off the last move of Orange Roughy, a super classic V6, after two days of work.  Didn’t send a single problem besides my warm-ups.  Really psyched on the bouldering there and I will be back for the better temps in the fall.

-Roped up outside for the first time since October (9 months!) and just about gave up twice on a 5.8 at Natural Bridge, but I made it, barely.  Pumped out half-way up a four bolt 5.10… on top rope.  Yep, I’m in awesome rope climbing shape.  It was still a fun day climbing with Jenn while she was on vacation from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

-Matt showed Ho and I a new bouldering area in the TRs today.  CRAZY HUGE BOULDERS!!!  A dozen house sized boulders in a small area.  I’m not talking 15 footers, real house sized boulders… some 40 feet tall.   Some comparable to the Grandpa Peabody in Bishop.  Way better than the Cataracts and N. Willow Boulders, but probably about an hour farther away, including a semi-rough hike.    We did about 10 new problems, with each of us getting the FA of an excellent problem.  I got pretty good video of the best 3 problems and I’ll post it up in a couple of days.  For now here’s a pic of Matt on a new semi-highball.  It’s only V1/2 to the lip, but the mantle is the crux (I didn’t even try the mantle).

-Lastly, for those curious, my knee has been doing really well.  I’ve been climbing on it, and doing everything else, just fine for about a month now.   The only thing I’ve been avoiding is heel-hooks like the one that caused it (right foot, toes pointing in), which is a pretty rare maneuver.