Nearing the end of my time off from work, I wanted to do my annual pilgrimage to the Utah desert. Next to the alpine, I find the desert to be the most visually appealing setting. I made 2 lists this time. The most important list consisted of possible partners to go down there with. Lately, I have struggled with finding a partner for just about any plan, but a road trip partner seemed almost impossible. I advertised on every climbing site I could find. I found the usual” hey lets meet here or there” type, but I had big plans that required a constant and reliable companion. I had almost given up hope when I received a random text about going alpine climbing. Adam was a motivated and flexible candidate that took to the idea of going to the desert if he could get a few days in Indian Creek. With 10 days at our disposal, I could see spending a few of them at the best crack-climbing venue in the world.
At the top of my climbs list was Fine Jade on the Rectory. Beau and I got blown off the start of the route in’10. It was time for revenge. We got it, but I didn’t pull the crux clean on one of the best routes in the state. The next day we did the Honeymoon Chimney on the Priest. What a great route that is, with an amazing, and exposed step-across to 5.11 face. Back to intense planning. How do I get back into the White Rim road with my Prius? Big $$$ will get you anywhere. Renting a jeep seemed logical, but it did not seem possible to get in, and do Standing Rock, and get out in 24 hours. Given 2 days though we could get in and do 2 towers though. We picked Monster Tower as our bonus route, and nearly regretted it. It is a ferocious climb that pushed us both and got our only 70m stuck on the 1st rappel. We barely made it down with the remaining 60m tag line and sections of the stuck rope.
Standing Rock was the one route I had most desired. It is an exciting and memorable route. Seeing it at Joe Puryears slide show in 2009 was the original inspiration for my desert career. We enjoyed the fear and exhilaration of this beautiful tower. 4 days and $700 (rope and jeep) later we were satisfied with our tower bagging for now.
I had had 6 prior days at Indian Creek, but never got to see more than 2 crags. A lapse in seasonal bird closures allowed us to experience Cat and Reservoir Wall. We ended up doing 12(me), and 20+(adam) amazing routes, mostly in the 11+ range. Adam went on a tear, I don’t see where he gets the energy. My favorite was on-siting Dos Hermanos(11+). 3 great days there, and we went for the tower that Adam most wanted: N Face of Castleton. It had eluded us previously due to cold temps, and nearly did again when we succeeded . Try it when it is warm and get an early start. It is justifiably popular as a climb and descent route.
We had perfect weather and the climbs were fantastic. I am grateful for this because I am about to start a 2 year work project that will keep me from doing extended trips. I am happy for the time off and the opportunity to work too. Hopefully I can find interesting things to write about in the meantime, until then, please share your adventures with the busy masses, and know that it is appreciated. Thanks to Adam, Pro Mountain Sports and Canyonlands Adventures for making the trip possible
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