I think the title speaks for itself...aside from the occasional send parties...Indian Creek has now become my most treasured climbing spot (along with hordes of other people, I'm fully aware of that). I'm also aware that broadcasting this sort of information can have drastic consequences but if you haven't heard of this place by now you probably never will. These last several weeks my schedule has been, more or less, work Sunday to Friday, leave work Friday night, climb all day Saturday, rest, repeat.
This weekend was no different except I decided to opt for the full weekend off and try to bruise and batter myself in as many ways as possible. Another wonderful advantage of living in the Salt Lake area is that the creek is a mere 4.5 hrs southeast and even with a full study schedule Chesy was able to make a trip down on Saturday evening. Hence why there are less "belay shots" in the pictures below...Enjoy.
Mark on Blue Sun needless to say, Chesy hasn't arrived yet.
Embraced with the long weekend Chesy and I figured we could sneak away from work/med school related material for at least a day and head down to Indian Creek, or the creek as the locals say. We departed early on Saturday morning to hopefully greener pastures and sunny skies. Unfortunately, sandstone is known for two things; crushing the souls of helpless hang-doggers like myself (I’ll get to this point later) and being unclimbable when wet. Well the unclimbable part is always a hassle as the Utah state forecast ranges from “30% to 40% chance of thunderstorms” from about……June to September.
Needless to say, we had a good run of bad luck and pulled into an empty but sunny Supercrack Parking Lot. After speaking to some other climbers from Arizona we learned that it indeed did rain the night prior (even some flash flooding) causing a great deal of apprehension to proceed with our original plan (I guess that 30 was more like 100).
Given the circumstances we began the go thorugh the motions check the soil (just a little wet), flip over rocks (a little wet) feel the inside of the crack (not too wet) but is it worth it? Long story short…we waited.........
A semi-unclimbable Generic Crack
"Man this bouldering is awesome" said no one ever (actually if the creek boulders were anywhere else they'd be world class.)
Finally, after about 4 hours of pissing around we observed a number of individuals climbing and spoke to some who gave us the ok. Just the sort of pack following mentality we needed.
We had joked in the car that we were gonna warm up on Scarface (5.11-)...well as it turned out given the remaining daylight we did just that and I was humbled completely, hangdogging on almost every possible cam...it's a solid C1.
Don't worry I'm not that good...I took about 50 cams out when I got lowered
Chesy on TR
The universal sign for rock and roll
Obstructing a great view with common douchebaggery
Before we knew it we'd run out of daylight and water and it was to camp for the night.
Before we left on Sunday we headed up to the Optimater Wall...and ended up walking a green C4 about 12 inches into the crack (don't ask me how...but it's free to a good home).
Chesy on Casey's Route? 5.11-
We'll be back to the humbling again before we know it (actually it happens daily).
It's funny, two weeks before the Speedgoat I found myself loathing my training schedule, I could barely put in a few miles before I'd find myself trying to find any excuse to turn around. Now with that abomination long in the past I started running for fun again, not for some contrived purpose. In turn it's actually fun to run...here are some pictures.
High up Bells canyon
Interesting rock formation (maybe it could use some bolts)
Preface: 1 year and 7 months ago a friend of mine took me to
a small quartzite top-roping crag just outside of Little Cottonwood Canyon. It
was my first experience with rock climbing. I struggled on every move and foot
placement, and wasn’t quite confident in taking on the rope. Your mind rushes
with so many different scenarios as to what could go wrong; what if the rope
snapped?, did I put my harness on right?, what if the anchor breaks?, etc.,
etc. Nonetheless, as we departed from this crag I was completely hooked, our
drive home was spent in awe, looking up at every rock face and wondering if it
too could be climbed. The following day I bought a membership to one of the
local gyms in town, excited for the day when I could top-rope climb a gym 5.10.
As spring came, I made my first real purchase; rope,
quickdraws, and a new harness (up until then I was using a lightweight ski
mountaineering harness). I scoured the archives of Mountain Project looking for
every possible place within 50 miles to set up a top-rope anchor. Routes slowly
began to be ticked, and finally I got on lead, some shotty little 5.6 in
Now, up until then, I was satiated, satisfied with these
sport climbs (most of which I did as top-ropes), but an advertisement caught my
eye, 30% OFF 5 BLACK DIAMOND CAMS WHEN PURCHASED TOGETHER. I meddled over this
for a few days, several friends even said “Why do that? Why spend that money?
You have no idea what you’re doing.”
Well against their better judgment I left work one Friday and picked
them up. 5 shiny new C4’s Purple to Blue. The woman that checked me out even
said I’d never climb sport again. Little did I know…
Flash forward one year:
I’ve climbed splitters in Zion, Indian Creek, and spent a
wee little bit of time in The Valley. Return was inevitable, it was simply a
matter of when. As luck would have it, I spotted a campsite opening (for more
than one day) 15 miles outside of The Valley (Crane Flat) and reserved it
immediately. Ropes, cams, and shoes were all gathered and strewn across the car
with a mixture of other camping supplies. All in hopes that these would soon be
Now before I delve into the details of our trip, one large
task stood in our way. The Speedgoat 50K, rated by many as “The Hardest 50K in
North America”. We were hard pressed to get to Yosemite but this colossal race obstructed
our passage. For all the climbers reading this just skip forward to the other
pictures and story, but the Speedgoat is such an impressive race I can’t not
give it some acknowledgement.
We were greeted at Snowbird by probably the best weather any
racer could ask for. Scattered showers all day with a high of 65. Before you
could say “hurt” the race was off…I laid back for the first 10 or so miles
trying not to blow up with the rookies like I did last year. I soon found
myself cruising into Pacific Mine (Mile 16) with fresh legs and cool weather. Soon
after I was climbing out of Mineral and on my way to Baldy. Mt. Baldy is Karl’s
masterpiece, 2000 ft. in less than a few miles, most of which is on open grassy
fields (no single track). Now on any other day 2000 ft. is an after work run up
Mt. Wire but given this 2000 ft. comes uninvited around mile 26 it was not
greeted with the same sentiment. I soon found myself on top and was cruising my
way to the last climb. A little nutrition plus some good weather got me back up
the final 1600 ft. onto Hidden Peak in no time and a few Ibuprofen later
(somebody thank a chemist) I was well on my way to the finish and clocked in at
8 hrs 40 mins, 1 hour better than last year but still not in the 7.5 hour range
where I would like to be. This was also Chesy’s first ultra-marathon and she
crushed with a time of 11 hrs 54 mins.
Distance: 50K (more like 34 miles [55K])
Elevation gain: Around 11,000 ft.
Lowest elevation: 7800 ft.
Chesy with race administrator and founder and famous ultra-runner,
Karl Meltzer (photobombed by the kid in the background)
We departed on Sunday, tired legs and all, and slowly ticked
off the towns along the way:
Wendover - “check”
Ely - “check”
Tonopah - “check”
We set up camp somewhere across the CA border inside the
Inyo National Forest.
Panorama of our campsite
Boundary Peak, the highest point in NV.
The Valley greeted us the next morning and we were well on
our way to getting spanked.
Chesy following the second pitch of Jamcrack (5.9)
Looking back up, it deserves way more than the 3 stars it
gets in the ST book.
The greatest gummies ever invented
Can't beat that view
Since spanking was the theme of this trip we headed up to
Bishop Terraces…sure everyone remarks on how glorious the hand cracks are…but
the wide stuff is nearly unbearable at least for a wuss like me (should have
brought two #4’s)
Looking up at the pain, there’s probably still some blood up
The following day we linked up After Seven with After Six
and great climbing was had all around. The handcrack on After Seven is the Bee's Knee's and the face climbing is spicy.
Bomber places to build an anchor.
Chesy coming up
Top out onto Manure Pile Butress
One more douche in Yosemite
Chesy TR'ing the splitter pitch of Commitment
A very sunny Lost Arrow Spire Tip through the trees
Conductor Crack on TR
Yosemite always has a place in my climbing heart...I can't wait to return.
My favorite of all the Extraterrestrial Highways is definitely the one in NV.
Lunar Crater...if you drive from SLC to the valley stop here and stretch your legs it's actually kind of cool as far a big holes are concerned.