I can’t resist this area of Vedauwoo. This time our friend Eryka comes along, and we hike into Valley Massif from the west instead of east. The flowers have totally changed, from pasque flowers and paintbrush to evening primrose, harebell, yarrow, and many I don’t know. The mosquitos are out in force now, and poor Eryka gets half a dozen bites in just a few minutes.
We spend the day on two classic climbs. Bill’s Steal, 5.6, reminds me a little bit of Double Cross at Joshua Tree. It’s stiffer than you’d expect, definitely holds your attention, but provides good protection and fun moves. Just to try a new technique, after leading it I anchor one end of the rope to the ground and belay myself up the other using a Grigri. It works fine, and allows me to hang a toprope on the enticing Hooker dihedral, 5.10c, just to the right. Ann climbs this in fine form, Eryka manages a few moves on it, and I grunt and claw my way up. It’s a sweet, thin friction seam at the bottom, opening into a grunting lieback at the top. It would be a little bit hard to protect the bottom on lead.