Jump to content

[TR] RR, Zion, Moab - A Sandstone Extravaganza 10/12/2013

Recommended Posts

Trip: RR, Zion, Moab - A Sandstone Extravaganza


Date: 10/12/2013


Trip Report:

Trish and I had a week free to go play so we made plans to find some adventure among the various types of sandstone found in the desert southwest. We figured stops in Red Rocks, Zion and Moab would provide us with just what we were looking for. The government shutdown had us looking forward to even more adventure as we made plans to go rogue in Zion on some climbs that could be accessed from outside the park boundaries, but alas, the State of Utah preempted our civilly disobedient plans by paying to open the National Parks within it's borders. Nevertheless, much adventure was found...


Our first stop was Red Rocks and a quick trip into Black Velvet Canyon to a climb called Texas Hold 'Em.

Trish getting stoked!



Looking north along the sandstone escarpment of Red Rocks



Looking up at the big roofs capping Texas Hold 'Em



The route climbs a little over 1,000' via four easy 5.8ish pitches followed by two 5.10 pitches and then two 11c and one more 10d up into the roofs, all on a wall that's pretty steep by Red Rocks standards.





Up into the 10d roof on the Panhandle Crack pitch...good fun!



Looking up at the big roofs capping the route



Trish got pretty worked on the 11c pitches but still managed alright after sorting out the powerful and steep moves. What a really cool route on an expansive wall...good fun!


After grabbing dinner in Vegas we were off to Zion!

Our favorite place to climb? I think so



First up...Lapdance, a three pitch jaunt up a splitter corner...like the Creek came to Zion!





Trish following the first pitch





The second pitch climbs more splitters after you get past the tree!



Trish just about to the top



Looking back down at the road towards Zion Canyon



The weather had been threatening all day and we had a few sprinkles along the way



After rapping back down the route, we hemmed and hawed a bit about what to do next. The weather was iffy at best, and the wind had picked up. I walked around and checked out a couple of routes, but wasn't convinced the weather would hold, so we decided to just pack up and head back to the car and down to the campground to set up camp...

Turned out to be a good choice because as soon as we started walking towards the car it started pouring rain!

We got some nice scenery on the way to the campground after the storm passed through





That evening the weather was still unruly and it was pretty windy so lounging at camp wasn't all that appealing, so we went to the brew pub right by the visitors center and had wings and beers, and met up with Mark Westman who had been climbing Smashmouth with Dylan when the weather hit...sounded like they had some good fun up there!


Anyhow, the next morning the weather was good again so we hiked up to the Gatekeeper Wall to climb the Locksmith Dihedral, a really cool looking corner system on a nice wall.

Some big carnivores back in here



Gatekeeper Wall on the left, and the Watchman on the right



Locksmith climbs the corner in the center of the photo...a really aesthetic line



First pitch starts with a little chimney funk up to a roof, and then steep fingers



Trish following p1



Looking up the sweet fingers corner on p2



up p2



Right near the top of the pitch, just as I was committing to a layback, I pulled off a football sized block of rock, I'm not sure how I didn't go for a big whip, but I stayed on, and yelled 'rock' and 'heads up' to to Trish who was standing on a small belay ledge about 120' below. I couldn't see her but I could see a bit of the ledge and what looked like a loop of rope sitting on the ledge...then, smash! The rock blew up right on the ledge! I asked if she was ok and she said yeah it had landed about a foot from her as she leaned to the left to avoid getting smoked. Super scary! Then I asked if the rope got smashed and she said that somehow the rock had missed it and gone between the loop which was actually up off the ledge a couple of feet. She examined the rope carefully and said it was ok. But she was way spooked. She got it together enough to follow the pitch but when she got to the belay we decided that that was enough excitement for one day and headed down.

Great route though, we'll definitely come back and finish it!

Cool scenery too



Trish following p2 after her close call





Psyched to be alive, but ready to go down



The next day we went back up by the tunnel to climb yet another sick corner route called Warzone.

The route climbs the corner in the center of the pic in 4 pitches, and varies from loose funk, to ridiculous splitter to complete jungle and back again



Better weather again today



While carefully climbing the funky and loose first pitch I must have pulled off a dozen decent sized blocks and sent them whistling down, prompting Trish to comment on the naming of the route...quite appropriate from the belayer's perspective! The climbing on the first pitch was quite good despite the looseness

Trish following





p2 climbs this insane splitter, up through a crux tips layback through a steep bulge...so sick!



p3 is absolute jungle, albeit with some really cool climbing!

Trish exiting the jungle near the top of the pitch



p4...more sick splitter to a funky wide slot to easy but loose chimney to a really sweet top out!



Trish on the summit





After that it was time to leave Zion...we had dinner at our favorite place in town and then hit the road in search of...Towers!



We got to Moab super late and got a hotel room in town, the next morning we got a great breakfast at the Love Muffin Cafe...great place to go for breakfast if you're ever in Moab! And then went and set up camp at the Castleton Campground right below the tower. Then we headed off to pop our tower climbing cherries on Jah Man


Trish starting the long approach



and then up the scree cone



and finally, Sister Superior and Jah Man



p1 chimney funk



Trish about to exit the top of the chimney



And happy to be out of there



The second pitch is all time classic...step left into sick splitter up the steep wall





Trish following p2







and, topping out!



First tower summit after a great little climb!





Trish rapping, and then it was quickly back to the car for cold beer!



La Sal Mountains, Priest, Rectory and Castleton...pretty area



The next day we were looking for something a bit bigger, so we made the wild drive down to Moses, what a crazy road down that cliff!

Trish starting the approach to the towers





We had planned on climbing Primrose Dihedrals but when we got there there was a party of three at the top of the first pitch hauling a bag, and then two french guys on p1 with the leader flailing and attempting to aid the crux, with to of their friends waiting behind them. This put us way back in line, and given our already mid-day start things weren't looking good for Primrose.

We mulled our options and decided to walk around to the north side of Moses and have a go on Pale Fire.


Aphrodite and Zeus



and around to the dark side



Looking up at the crux of Pale Fire, a sick splitter that overhangs and ranges from fingers to rattly fingers to .75s to tight hands, all with zero feet...it's dastardly! And on this day too hard for me to free, so I pulled on a couple pieces through the worst of it, and sent the rest.

Would definitely come back and work on this pitch...it's sick! After the crux you continue past an intermediate hanging belay and up into a hero hand crack...so good!




We took our time gearing up and getting psyched for the challenge, and before long the two french guys who were also waiting for Primrose joined us.


Trish following





Looking up p2, sweet hands with a little bit of funk



At some point along the route, I heard a huge 'whoomph' and thought it was rock fall from one of the surrounding walls or towers, I looked all around from my vantage point, but all I could see was this big shadow circling slowly around...turns out someone had BASE jumped from the top. That had been what the party of three was hauling in their bag...pretty sick! And, as we would later discover, it had been Trish's major girl crush Steph Davis...maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to make comments of junk show going on hahaha...


P3 starts with an awkward leany slot thingy



and still plenty steep



Trish getting to the crux bit on p3



p4 climbs steep funky face protected by all manner of ancient hardware, star drives with home made hangers, ancient 1/4 inchers, loose drilled pitons and other museum relics are found on this wild pitch, finishing up a cool slabby arete, and one last little chimney and short face section



To a very cool summit!



Nap time on top



Nice scenery and light on the raps down



and a full moon rising over the towers of Taylor Canyon...man what a day!!!



That night we were expecting Sky and Micah to join us at camp at some time during the night but when we woke in the morning they were nowhere to be found. Neither of us had cell service at camp so we went over our options of what to do. Moab was crazy busy and the campground was nice, but crowded, as were the routes, we had half a mind to head back to the tranquility and solitude found in Zion, but we wanted to find out what Sky and Micah were up to before we left. We decided to stop in Moab for breakfast again, try to get ahold of the guys, and then go climb in Arches for the day.

In a fortuitous , and lucky bit of timing, just as we were turning onto River Road back towards Moab, who should be turning onto Castle Valley road towards camp...Sky and Micah! Impeccible timing no doubt! ahahaha....we chatted briefly and all decided to hit the Love Muffin for breakfast and then carpool up to Arches for the day.


Sky and Micah chose to climb on Argon Tower while Trish and I decided that the west face of Three Gossips looked good to us, and at some point we would all meet up again either to climb another route, or to drink more beer.


Sky and Micah hiked off toward their adventure and Trish and I towards ours...

Looks good anyway...but looks can be deceiving



True to form per our stay in Moab, there was a party of 6 when we got to the base. Three were about to start up the West Face, which was the route Trish and I had wanted to climb, and the other three didn't know what they were going to climb. We went through the book and saw that there was a climb just to the right called the Lyons-Trautner...we asked them if they had any interest in that, and when they said no, Trish and I started gearing up.


A climber on the west face route, the Lyons-Trautner climbs the steep flake system just right of center in the photo



The route was sandy, very loose, and fairly scary, although the first pitch had some really good climbing on it, it was hard to enjoy it because of all the sand and the very real possibility of pulling large portions of the route completely off the wall.

The second and third pitches climb an assortment of sandbox offwidth and chimney all full of loose rock...good times! We were both very relieved to get up and down that route without incident.

Trish following the p2 OW/Squeeze





Rapping down the west face route in afternoon light...man it sure looks pretty...but buyer beware on this one!



That evening we rehashed tales of the day's adventure climbing in Arches while drinking beers and partaking heavily in the all you can eat pizza and salad buffet at ZAX in Moab. Full value adventure was had all around in Arches today!

At some point we began discussing options for the next day, but first we had to stop off and restock the supply of beer and whiskey for camp.

The party moved to camp where we met with the Diamond, and commenced to downing just about the last drops of said supply of whiskey and beer.

Plans for the next day were indeed laid, with Micah and Dave casting off for Jah Man, and Sky and I heading up to Coyote Calling, with Trish taking a much welcomed rest day after 7 days in a row of hard climbing!


Heading up to The Rectory



Castleton from the approach



North Face



Climbers on Fine Jade, turns out it was a party from Ecuador shooting a documentary



Looking up the insane goodness of Coyote Calling, techy moves followed by a burning layback up into a very perplexing crux coming out of a slot and over a bulge...so good! And hard!



Sky following p1








Sky making thin balancy moves left(a theme for his leads) into the ridiculous splitter on p2



The splitter goes and goes, from fingers to off fingers to ones, to hero hand crack to funk slot and all the way back again to finger layback...so good!



WHAT!?! Looking down p3, as Sky starts up, another ridonkulous splitter in an outrageous position on this blunt arete



sweet climbing!



so good




Sky calmly dispatching the delicate moves left into, yep, another sick splitter on p4



The splitter ends at a notch and a big ledge where you transfer from climbing on the east face of the formation to the south face, and into the sun, and after climbing in the shade all day it felt great to shed some layers

Sky making moves on the last 20' to the summit



fucking sick ass climb!



Looking north onto the Priest, Sister Superior, and the Colorado River



Summit plateau of The Rectory with the La Sal Mountains and Castleton Tower just peaking above



Castleton, standing proud



What an insanely great route, and the perfect way to end a very memorable week of climbing! Thanks Sky...glad you guys made it!


Parting shot...until next time





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 5
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...