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Climbing Partners

Rob Kelman

Mood lighting, Central Area. 4 September, 2009

At work on his 2004 Vedauwoo Rock Climbing publication


Documentation, location, and beta...


End of the first pitch of '5 Days 1 Summer'

5 Days,

Rob leading the 2nd pitch of '5 Days 1 Summer'

5 Days,

Just before the overlap, 2nd pitch

5 Days,

Above the overlap, left to a corner...

5 Days,

I was new to Vedauwoo in 1992, when I happened to run into Rob Kelman on my third day out.
I was crazy-lonely enough to bring my grouchy dog with me, and stupid enough to let him run
unleashed. As I prepped to rope-solo Lower Slot Left on the Nautilus, Mischa suddenly
bolted and went after a pair of climbers approaching the adjacent Lower Slot Right.
I could plainly hear that the dog was causing a stand-off, and before I could get up, a rock
crashed to the ground after glancing off my naughty Eskimo. The projectile did the trick
for everybody concerned. As Mischa returned with his tail between his legs, I received the
consternation I so richly deserved from the two approaching climbers, one of whom just
happened to be Doctor Kelman. Apologies were offered, and the dog was subsequently
secured to the nearest sappy pine tree while we all climbed our respective routes.

From that point on, I was more inclined to agree that dogs have no business
being at the crags. Especially that dog. And I had met one of the latest guidebook
authors. Rob Kelman and Skip Harper published Heel & Toe in 1994.

I had a route or two to submit, so I kept in contact over the years, until finally, a new edition
was in the works. This time Rob was the sole author, although there were numerous other climbers
simultaneously publishing area guidebooks here. Most people I have run into prefer "the red one,"
(That would be Rob's). By 2002, there was a host of new routes to report, some unwittingly so
as many lines at Vedauwoo have actually gone unreported for whatever reason.
Squeak & I had been exploring all over the place, and in 2001 had found a beautiful dome
on the west wall of Brown's Landing, climbing three routes there and finding a few ancient, rusted
1/4-inch hangerless bolts some forty feet up one particular water streak. Winter, and a war
intervened, but once Squeak was back from the desert, we set to work on several projects.

Following a natural line of weaknesses, Five Days One Summer was the first completely-
equipped route on the Dome at Brown's Landing, a formation that Laramites have been known to
refer to as the Beehive Buttress. Its two pitches wander up fine rock, avoiding any artificial plumb line.
Rob came out to judge it for himself in September of '02. More bolts appeared two seasons later,
too late for Rob to publish them in 2004's Rock Climbing at Vedauwoo, Wyoming.

Whistle while you wait... for Ben!


Working hard at another first ascent


Protecting the initial moves of 'American Crawl,' Central area

The Crawl
1st pitch

The undignified-but-stimulating first pitch of 'American Crawl'

The Crawl
1st pitch

It's a trad belay, kids!

The Crawl

Pulling the rope after a first ascent, Central area.


These days, he has so many projects in the works that I bet even he can't count them,
without his famous journal. There's something about these pursuits, that points not only to a sense of
adventure, but also to a dutiful masochism. I am convinced at times that he is more than willing to
to facilitate an early onset to my own Golden Years. I have the ibuprofen ulcerations to prove it!

If you think complaining about your aches, pains, tendonitis or abraded skin will be of any gain,
he will remind you that he can't hear what you're mumbling about because of his own auditory
deficiency. So, go ahead, complain. Obviously, you like hearing the sound of your own voice!

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2009 EBBoykinJr

Omnia iura reservantur

Be strong, be strong.
Let us strengthen each other
and be alert on belay.