We rise early and set off bravely through the fog to Vedauwoo, where the frosty weather inspires us to take a nap in the car. We’re woken pleasantly by the sun, and we pack off happily towards Walt’s Wall. In the pay-parking area four climbers dart off as soon as they see us without so much as a wave. Sure enough, we find them on Edward’s Crack, the climb we were headed for. We make sure to be extra nice to them.
Instead of Edwards, I climb the first pitch of Walt’s Wall, 5.4, and put a toprope on the Mantle Route, 5.9. This proves to be an excellent warmup, and it becomes clear why this one-bolt wonder is not often lead. The mantle that is still a move below the bolt is an awkward, dicey contortion. Next I set my sights on Friday’s Follies, 5.9+. This route was the scene of my only lead fall in high school, a cheese grater that turned my hands into pizza and left me with a permanent fear of the route. It feels good to give a solid, if not completely quiver-free lead.
Next we hang a toprope on In the Out Door, 5.10a, a route that was bolted from the ground up in 2002. It’s a superb, sustained slab route. Each move seems better than the last, and you are posed with interesting choices. It’s protected well enough with four bolts, but would be a nailbiter of a lead nonetheless. Someday.