Medicine Bow Bike/Climb
Sometime during the day on friday as I was driving south to Larimie, WDOT decided to install a road closure for a brief storm that blew in the night before??? Luckily SIMS team member Joel stopped by on his mountain bike and a new plan was hatched. Being we were in earnest to try some ice and mixed climbing in a new area for us; the Medicine Bow National Forest. Our original plan had been to drive up from Larimie Saturday morning and park at the Mirror Lake Parking area to an easy stroll to a number of walls. The decision to go old school was Dans , and images of Hermann Buhl riding his bike through the Alps on his way to solo some gnarly peak and back to work by monday flooded my being.
After a couple miles of icy road and strong headwinds we knew we didnt want to go all the way to Mirror Lake, so the decision was made to go a bit further as some other peaks were closer that had some interesting walls and towers we thought we could perhaps reach for our day trip. So at our first turn out (Sugarloaf) we headed into the snows after stashing the bikes.
Our target became the pyramid shaped buttress to the right of the large snow gully. The winds continued to rake across the entire alpine zone. Casually we made our way past and over marginally frozen lakes until scrambling up a snow covered scree slope brought us to a large snow shelf at the base of the white rock that the Medicine Bow is known for.
Dan led for two fun pitches that required small amounts of route finding with not much ice around, but proved to be some good try tooling and winter climbing conditions. I was suprised we made it this far honestly, ha ha. The top of the second pitch that needed a short bit of simul climbing to get upper stance, was around the prow and we started feeling the full force of the winds blasting and raking down upon us from the large gully and over the Medicine Bow itself. we liked the small shrub at the stance and decided to pull the plug for the day as the winds seemed to be intensifying and sustained. Three raps brought us back down to Houdini’s shelf and chilled coffees and snacks in the sun out of the wind for a moment.