An opportunity to interview for a job in Salt Lake City came up, and although I wasn’t feeling quite ready to end my trip, I was also starting to feel burned out. Despite this fact, leaving Wyoming was hard for me, as it had become home for almost two months. That was the longest I had stayed in any one place all year.

Evan Raines and I spent a few days climbing what he likes to describe as “nonsensical” rock before packing up and heading to Idaho. We drove in from Vedauwoo around midnight and too tired to find free camping, we crashed in one of the visitor’s lots (I slept in my car and Evan slept in a tree.)

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Evan “Quick Draw” Raines at Scarface Wall. Photograph by Chris Spratta

I don’t know many people who get as excited about rock climbing as Evan. I really enjoy climbing with Evan because, in addition to his awesome attitude, he has a beautiful style. He says he genuinely just enjoys the movement in rock climbing. With his natural talent for it combined with dedication and enthusiasm, he’s been putting down some of the hardest routes known in the southeast.

We woke up in the morning and warmed up at Elephant Rock, then ventured on to check out Checkered Demon (5.11a). Evan led it first. Exhaustion began creeping in and after watching the beginning moves (sort of a weird, strenuous layback protected by an old pin) did not motivate me.

My motivation was back the next day.  Evan has this funny knack for picking out bold, testpiece climbs. He’s a real go-getter like that. We took the scenic approach (AKA we got lost) to the Incisor to try Crack of Doom (5.11c). There are two fixed nuts as well as a pin protecting the very beginning of the climb. Again, Evan led the route first and on his way down, cleaned the gear for me.

Frustrated at the opening move on Crack, I became increasingly annoyed at my lack of reach after having watched Evan cruise this section. There is an undercling directly below the fixed nuts that I just couldn’t grab. Finally, I listened to Evan for foot beta and cranked on a small-ish crimp. Bingo.

We climbed a few more routes before I dropped Evan off in Salt Lake City and continued back to Colorado alone.

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Evan was so happy to get to City. He said the climbing at Vedauwoo was “harder than giving birth.”

I think that you need to do something seriously enough to be truly interested in, but you have to keep it in enough perspective so that it doesn’t consume you. I have faith in a chaos that everything will always work out the way that they’re meant to, it’s just continuing the movement until you make it to the chains. It’s keeping perseverance and being patient enough and wise enough not to lose that faith, which is hard. Faith is that really shitty sloper that isn’t always so easy to hold on to. But it’s there and ready to use when you’re ready to see it.

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