I found The Expanse by accident. I was warming up for a different project on the classic Crack Boulder in left fork, something I’ve done countless times. After topping out one of the warm-ups, I looked out and saw a nice looking boulder. Since it looked to be only a short walk, I decided to look at what was on it. To my surprise, there was a perfect arete that was untouched.
It looked difficult, but not hard enough to dismiss altogether. In my experience with FAs, you have to chalk it up, throw your shoes on, and give it some effort before you can say it’s impossible. I ended up spending all day trying to figure out the sequence and was amazed at the perfect complexity of it. It revealed itself to be an almost World Cup-style boulder in the middle of Joe’s Valley!
After 6 days of effort, I was finally able to link the shoulder breaking first move, the dreaded foot traverse, the tricky horizontal arete, the unintuitive hand flip, and the sharp finish to produce possibly Joe’s Valley’s hardest boulder problem!
Photos: Brandon Fox