Category Archives: Yankee Jim Canyon

the Narnia Cave

On Sunday Holmer, Joe and myself headed out to Yankee Jim.  The mission was to head up to a overhanging cave that I’d discovered a couple years ago and put up some new lines.  I was a little nervous for two reasons: 1.  It’s a bitch of a hike to get up to the cave.  I’m guessing it’s not more than a mile, but it took us a solid 45 minutes, mostly straight up hill.  2.  I wasn’t sure how good the cave would actually be, and I thought it might end up being a complete waste of time.  I remembered seeing two potential lines of holds on the wall, one easier on the left and the other harder on the right with about 10-15 of blank rock between them.

Well, it turns out I was wrong, the whole thing is covered in holds.  The cave is about 30 feet long, 10-12 feet high, and overhangs about 30 degrees.  There’s potentially 6 straight up lines and countless variations, mostly really hard (V7 and up).  It’s Yankee Jim’s version of the Antelope Boulder (Cody – see previous post’s vid), with obvious straight up problems and enough holds between them to make a lot of link-ups.  We ended up doing 4 lines on it.  I did a crappy V2 arete, which is the easiest and the worst line (by far) in the cave.  We all did the joint FA on a cool V4 dyno problem “Five Foot Punch.”  I did it from a higher hold, writing off the lower start as bunchy and not worth doing, but fortunately I had Joe and Holmer there to show me the error of my way.  The low start adds another fun move to this great problem and was definitely the obvious start.

Next up, Joe decided to try a little harder and added a couple cool problems on the right side of the cave, Big Crimpin’ V8 and Lunge Left V6/7.  Joe was definitely the hero of the day: he sent two new, hard problems, he cleared out all of the thistle bushes from the landing zone in the cave and he saved my ass (literally) when I botched one of the last moves of Five Foot Punch without a pad under me.  Thanks again Joe!  I think Holmer got all the moves on Big Crimpin’, but couldn’t get the link going.  Musta been the altitude!  Next trip for sure.

I made a vid of Joe doing the 3 good problems that were put up.  It’s definitely not the best quality footage I’ve got, but I think it’s gives a general feel of the new steepnes, the Narnia Cave.  FYI: Joe and Holmer were joking that the area should be called Narnia, so that’s how I came up with the name.

I’d give directions to the Narnia Cave but they’re kind of useless without someone who’s been there.  You may find it eventually, but there’s no easy directions straight to it.  I’m guessing we’ll make another trip up there sometime this year, so let me know if you want in and I’ll show you where it is.  Enjoy!

-EC

Injury, Cody, & Yankee Jim

Well, I’ve been holding off on posting since I got from Cody because I wanted to wait until after my doctor’s appointment this morning.  Yep, injury time.  Long story short: Cody bouldering – sit start heel hook – POP! – knee hurts.  I was completely sure that I tore my ACL because of the pop, but luckily I didn’t… I tore my meniscus.  I’m going to give it a few weeks to a month and see how it feels once it has settled down.  If it feels good after a month, I shouldn’t have to worry about it.  But if it’s still bad, I may need to have it repaired.  Either way, it’s a lot better than tearing my ACL, like I thought in the first place.  It could be a blessing in disguise.  I’ve been meaning to take five or six weeks off of climbing for a long time to give my fingers a break, so now I can.  Hopefully I’ll be back just in time for the summer heat…

Onto the fun stuff.  As I mentioned before, I made a little bouldering trip down to Cody.  The plan was to head out Friday night and climb in Yankee Jim then climb in Cody Sat, Sun, Tues, and Wed.  I hurt my knee on Tuesday so I cut it short by a day to get back to Bozeman before my knee started swelling up.  It ended up being one of my best climbing trips ever.  I managed to finish off all of my projects in Cody within the first couple days and did a bunch of other classics as well.  I took a ton of video on the trip so I’ll start off with some of the problems I did in Yankee Jim.

I’m starting to get really psyched on Yankee Jim again.  Lot’s of good, steep problems with really good movement.  I’ve even found my sick proj for the summer/fall, the Way Out Variation.  It’s a little contrived, but it’s right at my limit (if I can do it) and it’s really good movement.  It’s pretty much a 3 or 4 move V6 crouch start that links into a V3 dyno (see vid below).  I’ve gotten really close to sticking the first couple slap compression moves, but I think getting into the dyno position is going to be the crux.  Unfortunately, the first few moves are off of a right heel-hook, which is where my injury is, so it may have to wait until the fall.

Anyway, the hightlight of the first day of the trip, Friday evening, was Jars of Clay, a sandbagged V3 on the far end of the Locomotives.  I remember trying this one of the first times I went to Yankee Jim, years ago.  I couldn’t even pull off the starting holds.  Well, I still couldn’t pull off the starting holds until I found a sneaky toe-hook that made it do-able and really, really fun.  It’s a short problem, but it’s some of the coolest movement I’ve done in Montana, the toe-hook makes it feel more like Hueco than Montana.

Stay tuned for a bunch of video and some more climbing ramblings about my time in Cody.  For now, heres a vid of me at Yankee Jim doing Stronghold, Way Out Stand, and Jars of Clay, all excellent problems.  Enjoy!

-EC