Thursday, March 25, 2010

Indian Creek

Just a few short days after I got back from Joshua Tree, before I could unpack my car and air out my sleeping bag I was packing it all back up for a trip to Indian Creek. It's a different kind of climbing down there. It's crack climbing at it's finest. You could spend months there, and some people do, and still never climb all the perfect splitter cracks Indian Creek has to offer. We spent 3 days there and I'm hooked on it. Towering red sandstone, frigged camping at night, incredibly friendly people from all over the globe all climbing and sharing everything. It was a really great trip! Mark on the first climb of the trip. Heading up Generic Crack.
Me attempting Quarter Of A Man. I only made it about a quarter of the way up too, which is actually pretty far considering most climbs there are over 100 feet.
Did I mention frigged camping? It was the coldest I've ever been camping. We woke up the second morning to snow so we all drove into Moab for the day and hoped for better weather when we got back.There was on old corral by where we were camping. I put on all the clothes I brought with me and took a long walk to the outhouse at Newspaper Rock to try and warm up. It didn't work. Our third and last day was sunny! We headed out to The Cat Wall for more climbing.
Above is Adam in the parking lot before we hiked up to the base of the climbs. Below is a view up the creek from the base of what we thought was The Cat Wall. Turns out that The Cat Wall was actually that first formation on the left of the picture. They all look so similar! We had Jennilyn's kids with us and didn't want to do another hike right away so half of us went back down and drove over to the Supercrack area and the other half stayed put and climbed there.
I tried the famous Supercrack but didn't love it too much. I did however love everything else I climbed on that wall that day. Price led a bunch of climbs for me and his fiance Cyndi and I couldn't have been happier with everything he picked out for us.
This is Price with Cyndi on his shoulders. Like I said pretty much everyone there acts like old friends, loaning gear and sharing ropes. These two were helping some other climbers get some stuck gear out of the crack.
This was the climb that made me really love Indian Creek. Incredible Hand Crack. It was just as fun as everyone says it is and more. I loved it and only had a problem on the one overhanging bulge part. Someday I'll climb this clean I know it. Here I'm mantling up a ledge near the base, proof that it's not all hand jams in Indian Creek.
...half way up...
...and at the top.
This was an odd one called Wild Works of Fire
Here Price is leading it for us.
Cyndi practicing placing gear while on a top rope.
Here is Jennilyn going up Coyne Crack. This is my favorite picture from the trip. It was also my favorite climb of the trip and hers as well. If I lived any closer to Indian Creek I think I would make this crack a project and go try and climb it everyday after work. When I got down they told me it's rated 5.12! I don't think I'd have attempted it if I'd known that, but then ratings for cracks are all relative to hand size.
I love this picture of Jennilyn with her hand in position aiming it for the crack.
Then there were the kids...I'll leave out any comments about them. It's impressive that Jennilyn takes them with us wherever we go and sometimes they're pretty cute. This is Fisher, the youngest at the base of the wall. I'd be surprised if they don't grow up to be climbers. I ended up having an empty car on my drive home since some people came later and some stayed and climbed on Sunday. Since I was alone I stopped over at Wilson's Arch and scrambled up under to see the view. It was better than I expected.
One last picture of the whole group...minus me: Jennilyn is climbing, Adam is on belay, Mark is sorting gear, Ben is watching the boys in the shade, Price and Cyndi are kissing, and I'm taking pictures.
And that's it! My first but definitely not my last trip to Indian Creek.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Day of Spring (road trip detours)

The climbing in Joshua Tree was over and it was time to go home. It was the first day of spring and the drive was...long, but we stopped for a nice picnic lunch of all our left over food at the Virgin River Gorge area. The view was nice, too bad the bananas had made all the cookies taste like bananas. We took a picture of our beat up climbing hands, but it really doesn't do them justice. They were way cooler looking in person. A little while later we took the scenic loop to check out Kolob Canyon which was freezing cold but gorgeous. I'd love to go back there and explore sometime...or climb. You can climb there too! (find our shadows)Can't really go anywhere with Jake without getting the standard picture of him gazing off at a cool view. I swear I never pose these shots, they just happen. After these nice spring detours though it was back to the drive and the most exciting thing that happened was figuring out that this purple cam fit perfectly into the clock on my dashboard and me learning how to eat a cheekfull of sunflower seeds, which I previously thought was one of the most disgusting habits ever.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Joshua Tree Climbing Trip

So I just finished loading up a bunch of my photos from my Joshua Tree climbing trip and the thought of writing all about the trip now seems daunting. I'll just write a bit about the each photo but it'll be a lot more brief than my normal posts and it also means I'll end up leaving out a lot. In short: It was Jake's spring break from school out in Oklahoma, he asked if I wanted to go on a climbing trip somewhere warm, I'd have been crazy to have passed up a trip like that...a few weeks later we were in Joshua Tree National Park climbing for 5 days. It was fantastic. Day 1: Climbing in Conan's Corridor. I got my own rope, it was band new and this was it's inaugural climb, our first climb of Joshua Tree, Gem. Jake at the top and looking for the downclimb. (Normally he doesn't wear a purple wind breaker but it was super windy there and he borrowed mine to wear while he sat at the top and I climbed.)
A cool tree
Wandering around looking for something to climb. Lucky for us Jake bought the GPS guide to finding climbs. Last climb of the day, Touch and Go. It got dark a little faster than we expected when the sunset and I had to climb in quickly growing darkness. I took this picture just as I started to climb. We down climbed with headlamps.
Day 2: We'd borrowed some camp chairs from Alicia and James and when I sat down to eat my oatmeal party I ended up on the ground and the chairs ended up in the dumpster when we left. Sorry Alicia. On the trail to Hemingway Buttress
At the top
Jake on rappel
So we were climbing Overseer and a tour bus let out a whole bus load of Chinese men and they came all the way up the boulders to us and announced, "We are here to cheer you on!" They were so loud I couldn't hear Jake at the top of the climb. They took so many pictures of me as I climbed, I turned around and took a picture of them part way up and they all waved at me. When I got to the top they all cheered and clapped like I was a hero. I felt like I was in some kind of competition and I'd won. It was so much fun.
Day 3: Intersection Rock
We climbed a couple of multipitch climbs at Intersection Rock and "rendezvoused at the top for an abseil" with some Icelandic climbers. This is me waiting at the top for my turn to go down. This water was pretty cool and even had tadpoles in it. I secretly wanted to take a sample of it and look at it under a microscope. Jake wanted to climb this route and I didn't. Lucky for me another pair of climbers had the same predicament so Jake cleaned it for one of them and me and his partner got to sit at the bottom and watch...and take pictures. If you look close in the one below you'll see Jake rappelling off the top. This is the same rappel that I'm waiting to go down in the earlier picture with the pool of water. Pretty sunset...pretty much ever night it was a pretty sunset. Jake making dinner including fancy salads. Our Lady of San Juan candle.
Day 4: Doing laps on Dappled MareWhenever I climb mulitpitches and my partner is out of view, it's always nice when you see them for the first time. You know you're close to the top and you're not alone anymore. This was my first view of Jake on this pitch. We'd take a lot of shot of ourselves and somehow we'd end up with some like this. I don't really get it. I mean, I'm taking the picture so how am I not looking at the camera? It's not like you can catch yourself off guard right? I also think it looks like Jake's shooting me with something. Maybe it's just me that thinks this picture is funny. Jake took the camera next. This above picture cracks me up. It looks like someone photoshoped me in and got the perspective all wrong.
ACTION SHOTS: yeah cool!(Thanks Jake!)Climbing makes me happy!The view from the top. Just rocks and joshua trees as far as you can see.
Another Jake self portrait where if you look close you can find me in it. (check his sunglasses)Jake scrambled up to the very top. The end of the day walking back to the car.
The Subaru is so much better for stuff like this than the Audi was.Another beautiful sunset. The layers of blue mountains looked so perfect we pulled over for some photos.
Day 5: Climbing at Playhouse Rock (no photos) Then one or two more back at The Old Woman. Me at the top of Double Cross, my last climb...looking tired...looking at my beat up legs...and looking at the sunset.
Jake at the top watching the sunset too.
Overall it was a great trip. The weather was great, the camping was relaxing, the food was good, the company was fun, and the climbing lived up to all the hype Joshua Tree gets. I wish I could have stayed a month, I'd happily go back to climb there some more.