THE VERTICAL FREEWAY
Here’s an informative shot of the “backside”, the NE exposure of the Reynold’s Complex;
VF = Vertical Freeway, R = Reynold’s proper, GC = Granite Staircase.
There is a place where “ALL ROADS GO UP”. The Vertical Freeway (VF) can be seen from the southwestern view (usual approach) of the Reynold’s Complex – on the far right side – see the MAP. However, the climbing is directly in back of that. Approach using a modestly used trail that circles the right end of the complex and continue about 200 yards along the backside. Stay up close to the rock as you’ll be in shady, dense forest; and if you do, you can’t really miss this unusual formation consisting of several very large, vertically situated flakes with big off width cracks in between. When these routes were being put in years ago, there was a moderately large herd of deer that always hung out in the silent little valley below. They wouldn’t even stir when we walked next to them. Now, they are long gone.
** NOTE: Bring at least one 60 meter rope, plenty of tape, big pro and wear long pants!!
Because the entire formation called Vertical Freeway can’t be seen its entirety from any vantage point (the forest is really dense back in here), its really difficult to tell where you’re going when you get to the base of the formation. Here’s a composite photo showing what the routes look like from the top – and from the bottom. *Most are long offwidths with some variation.
1.) Frontage Road 9 Cruise it at 3/4 speed, gets interesting at top. Save some wide pro. (Harper and Thomas, ’93)
2.) Left Lane 8 Getting off the ground may be the hardest part of this one. (Thomas and Harper, ’93)
3.) Passing Lane 10b (Harper and Diamond, ’92)
4.) The Gas Hog 10c Gas up before you start this one. Requires ingenuity. (Diamond and Harper, ’93)
5.) Main Lane 10a Long haul offwidth. Drops off in grade past the crux, but don’t forget the pro. Imagine sliding down into that abyss? (Harper and Duff, ’93)
6.) Overdrive 12a Starts with Main lane and veers off left onto the flat, near-vertical face of the next big flake. It goes immediately from 10a offwidth to 11a face, a truly challenging transition. Follow the bolt line up the flake’s edge, using a rest at a shelf (only for sissies) or preferably not. The thin crux is directly above here. Once the top knife edge is attained, progressive heel hooking it seems to be the way to go, not confronting the edge directly as Mark Duff is doing (especially on lead) here on his first ‘follow’ (shot 1 seen at top of page), about 100′ off the deck. Shot 2 below is a lower mag photo showing the surroundings and putting things into better perspective. No doubt, this climb offers one of the most exposed positions in all of Vedauwoo. (Harper and Duff, ’94)
7.) Right lane 10c Find a large roof slanting upwards. Can get surprisingly strenuous. (Scarpelli, early ’90’s)
DESCENT: There’s a bolted rap station near the top of Main Lane – two ropes will get you down. You can also downclimb the gully shown to the right side (N)
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