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Upper Blair

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Upper Blair  


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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki, Mike Snyder, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Milhaupt on May 5, 2002  with updates from cstebbins024 and 1 more
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BETA PHOTO: Getting to Upper Blair.

Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The Upper Blair area of Vedauwoo offers many nice lines on a small band of tightly knit rock formations. A lot of the routes here face north, offering shade all, or part of the day. The lines are easy to find, and most are quite descript. The area is easy to navigate thanks to excellent topos, pictures, and descriptions in the "Heel and Toe: The Climbs of Greater Vedauwoo" guide. Another nice quality of this area is the lack of boulder fields at the base of the rocks, making canine access a breeze. Don't forget to check out Spectreman, the area classic.

Per Skip Harper: Upper Blair is literally bursting with high quality climbs - if you know where to find them. When I first started trying to make sense out of it (mid-eighties), I was blown away by the unruly disorganization of the place. One look at the 'Upper Blair topo' indicates just how crazy it is. I knew there were some great climbs 'up in here' and a few talented climbers were 'quietly at work', but there was no truly definitive material available. Using a combination of USGS Topos, an early aerial photo, mental notes from prior conversations, and a brief tour with one of the 'old guard' from Laramie who had summited some of the formations, I set out to 'decode' the place mostly devoid of trails and well-known landmarks. Yes, many knew where the '8 Ball' and 'John's Tower' were (they are hard to miss), but how about 'South Corner', 'Medium Cool' or 'Little Creatures'? No answers! Then Scarpelli's opus 'The Cracksmen' appeared ('87). Here was a compilation of detailed, hand-drawn 'route topos' of lines put up in Blair until that time. So if I could find the route - it would confirm the formation. The incomplete results ended up in "Heel and Toe" ('94); however, it also became apparent there was still lots of virgin territory to be explored.

Despite what is stated elsewhere, nearly 1/3 of the climbs in Upper Blair were put in during the nineties, an effort that continued to a lesser degree after 2000. Even today, with high resolution satellite information, GPS and new guidebooks, there are some climbs that continue to defy one's ability to find them. Perhaps the fabled 'Spectreman' is one of the most sought after climbs located here, yet there are many other climbs of (nearly) similar quality. There are thin fingers to hard offwidth in one climb (Ultraviolets), lengthy offwidths (SS Maywood), fun yet challenging climbs (Baobab Tree), big roofs (Roofinit), finger cracks that will really push you (What the French Girl Said), fine bolted routes (Easter Island), mixed climbs (trad+bolts = Disappearing Act) and other interesting concoctions (Inebriation Confabulation). No matter what your comfort level is, you will find adventures here that will keep you coming back again and again.

Getting There 

From the I-80 exit drive west on the FR 705. This dirt road parallels the big skid on it's south side for 1.5 miles eventually going north underneath. Follow this road into the national forest and past the Lower Blair parking. The road curves and rises. Turn right onto FR 705A, and again onto FR705AF. Note the 8ball as you approach. Park at the end. Alternatively one can approach from the Lower Blair parking, or at a cattleguard uphill from Lower Blair with a trail on the south side of the barbed wire fence.

Per cstebbins024: from the I-80 exit 329, take Lincoln Hwy (the highway parallel to I-80) northwest watching for a right turn that goes underneath the interstate. This is FR 705. Follow this road into the national forest and past the Lower Blair parking. The road curves and rises. Turn right onto FR 707. After a short distance, either park at a less obvious road (now closed) just past a cattle guard or continue a little more and park near another barricade on FR 707.A, a more obvious road (also permanently closed). Note the 8 Ball as you approach. Alternatively one can approach from the Lower Blair parking, or at a cattleguard uphill from Lower Blair with a trail on the south side of the barbed wire fence.

Per Skip Harper: the topo was drawn as a basic guide to the formations and locator for some of the more well known climbs. Using this and one or more of the existing guidebooks, you can zero in on your chosen destination.

Refer to the directions for Blair, including directions for Upper Blair. No need to reiterate it here. Worthy of mention is that during this year ('14), due to the temporary closing of Road #707a, people have been accessing Upper Blair from a 'new' turnoff from Road #707 slightly downhill (w) of the usual turnoff (#707a) near an obvious cattle guard. A makeshift parking area is forming here and the hike in is shorter than following the usual roads

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.8 miles from here

68 Total Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',27],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',7],['5.7',4],['5.8',6],['5.9',6],['5.10',11],['5.11',17],['5.12',5],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',4],['V2-3',6],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',4],['V8-9',1],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',2],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Upper Blair:
Taco Filling   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   John's Tower
Becker   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   John's Tower
Big House   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   John's Tower
Baobab Tree   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Little John's Tower
Fun House   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   John's Tower
My Clone Sleeps Alone   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   The Heap
Yellow Belly   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   John's Tower
SS Maywood   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   North Corner
Double Dippin'   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   John's Tower
Storm Watch   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   The Heap
Ultra Violets   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 60'   John's Tower
Burning Man   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   John's Tower
Jamminy Crackit   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 105'   John's Tower
Behind Blue Eyes   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Upper Blair Boulder Problem...
Iron Maiden a.k.a. Blood Drive   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   John's Tower
Spectreman   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   The Heap
Call Me Barney   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   The Heap
Country Western Swing aka Mystery Blocks   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   The Heap
The Rookie   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   The Heap
Married On Morphine   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   John's Tower
Browse More Classics in Upper Blair

Featured Route For Upper Blair
SS Maywood.

SS Maywood 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  WY : Vedauwoo : ... : North Corner
A good wide hand and fist crack on the North Corner. This route sees very little sun. Approach from FR705AF parking area. Hike past the 8 Ball, then uphill to the left of Long John's Tower which is directly behind the 8 Ball (tough break) with several good looking easy cracks on its north face. From the ridge left of Long John's Tower, the climb is clearly visible as a giant, left-facing dihedral on the left side of North Corner. Approach from the ledge on the right. Good rap rings, 100' d...[more]   Browse More Classics in WY

Photos of Upper Blair Slideshow Add Photo
Spectreman.
Spectreman.
Looking towards the Heap/Upper Blair on a cloudy m...
Looking towards the Heap/Upper Blair on a cloudy m...
Topo info and abbreviations:  Two main trails exis...
BETA PHOTO: Topo info and abbreviations: Two main trails exis...
BLAIR OVERVIEW:  A nearly 3D view of the Blair Are...
BETA PHOTO: BLAIR OVERVIEW: A nearly 3D view of the Blair Are...
At first, Blair seems like a giant jigsaw puzzle; ...
BETA PHOTO: At first, Blair seems like a giant jigsaw puzzle; ...
Closure of road #707a to Upper Blair. The sign say...
BETA PHOTO: Closure of road #707a to Upper Blair. The sign say...

Comments on Upper Blair Add Comment
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By Mark Morehouse
May 6, 2002
A note on your personal safety. Last time I was in the Blair area and pulled into the Upper parking are on FR 705AF I was welcomed by a small band of confederate army supporters. Luckly they were still passed out, but they made their presence noticable by the collection of empty bottles creativly placed everywhere, a wide selection of shotgun shells decorating the parking lot, and a conspicuous confederate flag hung between trees. We decided to park somewhere else and avoid and accidental shooting, travel at your own risk.

By Anonymous Coward
May 6, 2002
On hot days dogs seem to like the hang at the base of Spectreman, so if you are a climber that brings dogs to the crags, please be considerate and keep your dog away from there if climbers are attempting this route. Thanks.
By Jordan Wood
May 15, 2006
After about a half an hour of driving around aimlessly this weekend, I thought I'd submit "alternate" directions.

From the Vedauwoo road exit, turn left and you will come to a paved frontage road. Turn right, drive for about two miles and turn right on blair road. This is 705. Continue for several miles. You will see a sign saying that you are entering Medicine Bow. You are looking for the 707 right turn off. There is a patch of grass and trees in the middle of the intersection. The signs are set back from the road, so keep your eyes open. You will soon take another right on 707AF.

This road dead ends in a wooded camping area. There is another parking area about fifty yards before this one, but it tends to have a lot more traffic.

There is a trail that continues in roughly the same direction as the road after it ends, rather than going uphill immediately. Follow this trail until you see a barbed wire fence uphill to your right and a large, low angle slab. Crossing the fence and heading up the slab will lead you to the base of Spectraman.

If you instead, want to get to the area around Big House crack (the obvious splitter on the large formation), take the faint trail leading uphill from the campground. You should end up on top of a hill, with the eight ball rock on your right. Hiking down from here will take you to a more distinct path leading along the base of the cliff. Turn left and look for an easy scramble to get to the base of the routes.


By Chris Brus
From: Libby, MT
Aug 11, 2008
Does anyone know anything about a small formation to the southeast of The Heap containing a right arching hand crack which faces the northwest? This formation almost directly east from blue eyes and southeast from the heap. Does anyone know what this formation and route are? Also on a side note, there is currently a wasp nest inside the crack on Behind Blue Eyes. My partner was stung three times after sticking his fingers directly in the nest so watch out.