15 miles west of Laramie in the southeastern Wyoming is a climbing area known as Vedauwoo (pronounced vee-da-voo). The name means “Land of the Earthborn Spirit” to the Arapahoe Indians and “insanely sharp rock” to rock climbers like me.
The climbing crag is a fantastically short 20 minute hike from the campground, and as I watched my friends put on tape gloves (which is exactly what it sounds like), I commented that I had never worn them. The guys in the group casually mentioned that I would probably want them while the lawyer in our midst quoted the guide book with something like “wear tape gloves to avoid certain and severe hand mutilation”. Point taken, I received one assembling tape glove lesson and proceeded to do a crappy imitation on my other hand. Oh well.
I can’t say my first climb was stellar. Vedauwoo is primarily a crack area and there was no subtly to the first few cracks we explored. Some climbing features intricacies involving delicate weight balancing and sequential movements. These cracks were nothing like that. As I repeatedly shoved my hand past cheese grater rock and contorted my ankles to shimmy my body up that stupid wall, I questioned why I ever said that I enjoyed crack climbing.
Frustrated and pumped out, I called the first day quits after just four routes and headed back to the camper to drink beer, which was delicious. Although the second day featured a better classic climb, I have come to the conclusion off-the-couch crack climbing at Vedauwoo is crap.