After getting our showers, we made our sad farewell to RMNP and hit the road for Lander, WY. The 5 hour drive felt like nothing after the 23 hours to Boulder. The drive to Wyoming felt far more remote than the drive across the plains. If you didn't stop at the one gas station and were below half a tank, you're likely getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Once we got to Lander, we stopped at the gear shop and picked up our guide book for the area. We then proceeded to the Lander Bar to watch the first half of the opening day football game. It was here that I made the dumb decision to leave town(we planned on camping in the city park which is free) and try and set up camp at Wild Iris, in the dark, at an area I didn't know AT all. Did I mention that everything in Wyoming feels remote? We drove through the dark and found the Wild Iris camping ground, but couldn't find a main camping ground. It was dark, remote, and if honest, rather ominous. We drove around a bit before deciding to cut our losses and head back to Lander to camp at the park.
The next day, we drove to Wild Iris and found the camping areas. We set up shop and started climbing at the OK Corral on the pocketed limestone. The OK Corral was a cool area, made even cooler due to it's proximity to the campsite. It is literally, a 2 minute hike from the tent to the crag. The climbing is unlike anything I've ever done and really cool. I've found it super difficult for me to on-sight anything relatively hard because the holds are SO subtle. Grab a hold one way, it sucks, pull your hand out a 1/4 inch and it's a jug. Either way, the climbing is very cool.
That night, we camped at Wild Iris, which, as you probably gather from my previous ramblings, has a very remote feel to it. There are signs warning of Grizzly Bears all over and we had heard stories of redneck tweakers coming up to the camp and threatening people. Needless to say, we were tense (at least I was). After going to sleep for a couple of hours, I was awakened to the rumblings of thunder. I've never been the type of person who loves storms, despite that, I've never had such an adverse reaction to one as this night. Shortly after waking, I broke into a cold sweat as the time between the flashes of lighting and the rumbling of thunder grew closer together. At some point, my erratic breathing must have woken Alanna and she realized that I was really upset. We actually had to move from the tent to my car in order for me to calm down. It's actually rather embarassing for me to include in this blog, but I had a panic attack from this storm. I generally pride myself on being able to maintain calm in uncertain situations, but there was something about the remoteness of the campsite and our exposure to the storm that made me, well, freak out.
Anyway, shortly after we moved to the car, the storm passed and we were able to sleep comfortably. The next day, we headed to the main wall and had a blast there. I did the AWESOME route, wind and rattlesnakes, reccommended by ex landerite, Julie. Awesome problem! Alanna did great on it also, figuring out all the moves and making some links. Besides that, we pretty much went about trying to climb the 3 star problems in the book. I've been fairly unimpressed with the guidebook's descriptions of the routes and locations, but the stars are dead on. Every 3 star route, from 5.8 to 5.12 has been stellar. To end our day, we sprinted along an open ridge from the main wall back to the camping lot as a thunder storm approached. Literally, sprinted.
Tomorrow, we're going to go to the Zorro wall to do the 3 star routes there and then leave for Jackson where we'll catch the Giants opener and meet up with our Friend Jamie before doing the Grand on Monday!