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racsom

[TR] Zion National Park, Mountain of the Sun - Eye Shadow 10/18/2009

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Trip: Zion National Park, Mountain of the Sun - Eye Shadow

 

Date: 10/18/2009

 

Trip Report:

(The trip occurred in 2008, but the website didn't let me choose 2008, so I had to leave it as 2009)

 

The Obscurists

 

Obscurist: A climber who climbs less traveled climbs.

 

Well at least that is my overall definition of what is an obscurest climber.

 

On October 18th thru the 22nd, Robert (fenderfour), Nate (madeinmontana) and I (Oscar) attempted a route on Zion National Park on the Mountain of the Sun. The name of the route is Eye Shadow, Grade VI 5.9R A2+ 16 pitches. This is a short description of how we worked on the route, the problems that we faced and our eventual retreat.

For most of the summer I had wanted to do a big wall. However, I had been very busy with work and had been lazy with my planning. Towards the end of the summer, I finally decided that it was time to try my first big wall. My experience with big wall climbing was very limited. I had never hauled a bag up a wall, had done very little aid climbing and really had no concept for how difficult it was going to be. However, I believe that if a problem is too big, I need to throw myself into it and solve it as I go. Thats how most of my climbs go.

I emailed fenderfour and immediately got a reply: "Yes!" Then I emailed Nate, and after several weeks Robert, Nate and I were throwing together a plan. First, we had to decide where. Yosemite offered good opportunities, but we were unsure what the weather would hold so late in the year. Instead we decided to go toward the stable weather of Zion National Park. We chose the easiest Grade VI in the Select Climbs of Utah. We figure that if it was in the book, it was a good route.

We drove for a day and a half from Seattle to Zion and we arrived on Sunday afternoon to a spectacular view of the park.

 

 

Our objective was the following mountain:

mountain_of_the_sum.jpg

The route goes up the main headwall

 

The first thing that we needed to do was to register with the park, and find as much beta about our route as possible. The park ranger asked us what we were going to climb and we told him "Eye Shadow." He looked at us quizzically and replied that he had never heard of it. We told him it was on Mountain of the Sun and asked if we could see the folder which contained years of accumulated beta for climbs in the park. He asked us if we were obscurists to which we replied, "No." That was amusing. I do not consider myself an obscurist but I do find something very enjoyable about doing something not too many people have done. It feels original. In any case, the ranger gave us his blessing and off we went to start packing for the next day. It was a little disturbing to see how much water, food and climbing gear we had. We had enough gear for 3 people to live on the mountain for 4 days. The bags were very heavy.

The route climbs on the right side of the headwall and traverses to the left. Our strategy involved climbing the first 4 technical pitches including a traverse and drop ropes to begin hauling the bags. On Monday Nate and I climbed the first 4 pitches of the route. Nate had the privilege to climb the 4th class scramble to the start of our crack corner system. I took the second 5.9 C1 pitch. Then we swapped leads and Nate took on the 5.8 C1 pitch. The book topo indicated that were only two rappels necessary to reach the ground from the top of pitch 4. At the top of pitch 3, Nate and I heard Robert yelling from the base of the climb. He had gone back to the ranger station in the morning after sherpa-ing the haul bags to the base (great effort Robert!) and found some more beta showing three sets of rappels, not two. Nate rapped down, retrieved a third rope and jugged back up to the top of 3. Finally I did the 5.7 traverse that put us above the bags.

 

Pitch 1/2 : 4th class, We lead up to the bottom of the offwidth/chimney.

Pitch 2: 5.9 C1

Pitch 3: 5.8 C1

Pitch 4: 5.7 Traverse

 

off_width.jpg

Aiding the chimney/ offwidth.

 

step_across.jpg

Doing the traverse….(see the small dot stepping across? AIRY!)

5.7 my ass, especially with crumbly rock

 

sending_up_rope.jpg

Nate jumaring up the ropes after getting the much needed third rope...

 

Once we did the traverse, we soon realized that we were about 160+ meters above the bags that we had to haul up the wall. We rapped down from the top of 4 to a set of anchors on the face and set up the next rappel. After Nate rapped another full rope length he couldn't find that 3rd mysterious set of anchors so instead he tied the remaining two ropes together and got to the ground. Robert jumared up the two ropes to the first set of anchors and Robert and I had a go at hauling the bags. The bags were too heavy to haul all at once and it was late in the day so we left the ropes hanging and the bags at the base of the headwall.

The next day I jugged up the first two (tied together) ropes and started hauling 1/2 of our gear. That had to be the hardest workout I've had had on a long time. It took a looooong time. After hauling the initial set of bags, Nate and Robert jumared up the two rope lengths to the first anchor. Nate hauled the other 1/2 of the gear while Robert jumared up the next rope and started hauling at the top of 4. In any case we managed to get to the top of our last rope by 4pm ish. Yikes. Robert took the next lead. It was a llllooonnnggg 5.9 A1 pitch which Robert did an awesome job at sending.

 

Pitch 5 5.9 A1.

 

view_from_hauling_station.jpg

View from the hauling station.

 

yeah_it_was_that_hard.jpg

Yeah, it was darn hard to haul those bags.!!!!!!!!

 

Robert-leading.jpg

Robert Leading pitch 5 5.9 A1.

 

Unfortunately nightfall came and we found ourselves jumaring/hauling up the rest of the bags during the night.

 

After setting up the bags on a big ledge we found, we unpacked our bivy gear, ate, talked, joked and finally went to sleep. We discussed what we were going to do the next day given the conditions that we had found on the route. During the day, 2 out of 3 of our ropes had somehow received some bad core shots, and we were already late on our original schedule.

 

nate_and_i_bivied.jpg

Nate and I bivied here while Robert slept in a cave.

 

roberts_cave.jpg

Robert’s cave…..

 

one_of_our_core_shots.jpg

One of our core shots…..

 

The next morning we decided to bail off the route. We didn't feel like we could risk damaging our last good rope. Doing that would really complicate climbing and retreat. It took us the better part of the day to come down. Robert rapped all the way down, guiding the bags, while Nate and I rapped down a different way in order to recover the ropes that we had set up.

 

gear1.jpg

Our climbing gear……….

 

Happy-Nate.jpg

FU Mountain of the Sun, maybe next time…..

 

 

We sure hope that this TR is of benefit to other people trying that route. Even though we are newbies to the big wall experience, we know that that route has chossy rock, lots of drag when hauling a bag and it is NOT a trade route. We believe there haven't been too many ascents of that route.

 

Cheers, keep climbing……

 

Oscar

 

 

Gear Notes:

Standard big wall gear. Since there are a lot of offwidths and chimmeneys, big gear is recommended. I had a number 6 which I lost since it was stuck in a crack. O well, live and learn.

 

Approach Notes:

I don't remember. It is a short hike (30 minutes). But every single plant will attack you bruise you and tell you who is the boss.

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Nice job guys, welcome to the obscure wall climbing club! Suffering is more of a requirement than summiting.

 

Yeah, and it looks like you got full value on that! Good on you folks for going for it!

 

Happy-Nate.jpg

 

You folks have a contest to see who could load the most shit on them and still stand up longer than 10 seconds here? I think I'm looking at the winner here:-)

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Nice job guys. It's good to see the pics to remind me of the sad sad experience I had there last weekend where partner number one reaches belay at top of P2 on Prodigal Son to tell me he can't hang in his harness and is rapping down followed by partner number two arriving at belay to tell me he may not be a big wall climber and would like to spend day two hiking.

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Nice job guys. It's good to see the pics to remind me of the sad sad experience I had there last weekend where partner number one reaches belay at top of P2 on Prodigal Son to tell me he can't hang in his harness and is rapping down followed by partner number two arriving at belay to tell me he may not be a big wall climber and would like to spend day two hiking.

 

Where'd you meet your partners? Cascadeclimbers.com?

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Thanks guys. Yeah, the route was sandbag for sure. geoff, sorry to hear about your partners. Sucks that you had to go through that.

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Its interesting no one goes to Zion to free climb. Aid climbing on shitty sandstone is kind of dumb and there's so many very high quality Grade IV free routes at a reasonable grade there.

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Doing anything but the trade routes in Zion for a first wall is a reasonably bold proposition, thanks for the TR.

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Nice job guys. It's good to see the pics to remind me of the sad sad experience I had there last weekend where partner number one reaches belay at top of P2 on Prodigal Son to tell me he can't hang in his harness and is rapping down followed by partner number two arriving at belay to tell me he may not be a big wall climber and would like to spend day two hiking.

 

Where'd you meet your partners? Cascadeclimbers.com?

 

It's not like that. Partner #1 was his brother who is more than capable but had recently had the 2nd hernia operation. 1st one was still causing him some pain. Turns out that doing a pitch here and a pitch there doesn't prepare you for the extreme pain of long hanging sling belays with the webbing pushing right in the wrong place. Partner #2 wants to learn aid, and is competent but had just bought a pair of jugs a month ago, had never been on a wall, or done any aid. I'm gonna fix him up on that end this spring, dudes a great person and solid free climber...shouldn't be a big thing, stuff like this is not uncommon around walls and longer committing routes.

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Oh ... partners were from Portland. That explains things.

 

LOL!

 

Portland Oregon, home of the other white meat! :lmao:

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