BD athlete J.P. Oullete repeats desperate crack climb in Vedauwoo, Wyoming
Black Diamond athlete J.P. Oullete (aka, Pee Wee) is always on the hunt for difficult cracks to add to his mounting resume. Recently he traveled to Vedauwoo, Wyoming to have a go at the second ascent of the short-but-fierce Home On The Range, graded 5.14. Below is his report and a few pics from photographer Andrew Burr. Nice job on the send, Pee Wee!
This past month, In my crack climbing quest, I found myself at Vedauwoo. VW is world renown for its nasty offwidth climbing. People go there armed with #5 and #6 Camalots and Big Bros, tons of athletic tape, jeans and long sleeve shirts. The rock is good and textured and will leave you bleeding no matter how many layers of tape you wear… I love it.
Hidden in a sea of wide cracks, there is a couple very hard finger (fairy) cracks I wanted to try. The first one I tackled was The Vedajuicer (V10). This is a very flared boulder roof crack. Yes you heard it BOULDERING CRACKS… Vedauwoo is packed with good roof crack bouldering and you can find any size from finger to OW boulder problems. Although Vedajuicer is very close to the ground this crack problem deserves more attention, because it is really good climbing. Justin Edl, the local hardcore, put than one up a couple years ago and apparently my ascent was the first repeat… Who knows… The same day I ended up climbing two other classic roof crack problems: Deserata and PsychoShop (V7) both first try.
These problems ended up being a really good warm-up/training for my next project: Home on the Range (5.14-).
Justin also did the first free ascent of this little gem in 2009. Although, HTR is only 50 feet long, this little bastard is very hard. It is slightly overhanging and it aggressively leans right at a 45 degrees angle. And it is as flared as the Vedauwoo cracks gets… For this kind of crack I use a weird sloper-hand-finger jam combo… It works really well until your foot slips or you grease out of the crack… It’s an interesting crack skill to develop but it can be frustrating, as it doesn’t take much to just slip out of the crack…
This thing is really weather dependent (for me anyway). You need a good breeze to make the flary/sloppy/fingery jams hold. On some humid days the crux was simply impossible for me and I would get really frustrated, but on windy days I would do really well on the route and make good progress fast. Since it leans a lot it is almost impossible to jam both feet. I ended up using the good old combo for that kind of cracks: Supermocc on the left foot for jamming and Anasazi Verde on the right for edging. After a week hiatus to go work at a trade show, I ended up sending the route. It took me about 20 tries over 2 weeks.
Home on the Range is really hard to rate because it is so short. The crux is comparable to a V9 crack but it’s pretty easy before and after the crux (as usual I fell/punted a couple times in the easy finish…). When I compare HTR to other hard cracks I’ve been on, the grade that comes to mind is 5.13+. It’s harder than Fiddler on the Roof, Learning to Fly, From Switzerland, Deadline, Sphinx Crack, No Way Jose and Master Blaster, BUT easier than Stingray, La Zebree, Cobra Crack, Conception, Bushido and Orangutan Overhang. No matter how hard it is, it's a pretty cool line! Good job finding this little gem Justin!