Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Saint George - Sport Paradise

After leaving wet rainy Moab we took our overheating over weighted unhappy car and ventured on down I-70 toward Price. We had little hope by this point of actually getting to stop at Joe's Valley and Triassic because the weather had been forecasting snow. Once we reached our turn off we made the unanimous decision to continue on the road in search of warmer climates. We hadn't driven 16 hours to freeze our fingers off, we could do that at home.

We continued on down I-70 past a sign that said "Next services 130 miles" We had a half of a tank and should have been fine. Unfortunately the sign did not say, "130 miles of windy mountain passes covered in ice and snow." If it had said that we may have topped off the tank and may not have run out of gas 5 miles from the nearest gas station. We nearly made it when we came chugging to a stop. Thank god for AAA. Also thank god for my car's mysterious magnetic properties. Matt left his phone on the hood and it was still there after 5 miles at 75mph.

Having a drink, waiting for AAA:

After that little fauz pas we were a bit more careful about watching the gas gauge. We continued on the road to I-15 South where we made the democratic decision to skip past Cedar City's bouldering because the ground was still covered in white. Onward we went to Saint George.

We rolled into town at about 3:30am and went in search of camping. After very little luck we pulled into Denny's and after a minor misunderstanding in which the staff thought Joe was homeless we got directions to Red Cliffs Campground in Leeds, UT. It was gorgeous!

I woke up before the boys and had a chat with the camp host who coincidentally was from North Idaho. She sent me off in search of a waterfall.

I suppose this might be what constitutes a waterfall in the Utah desert:

And let's get artsy one more time here:

We adventured up the slot canyon for a while just checking everything out, there were lots of cool features and fun little scrambles. It must be a popular hike because on the way out we passed a TON of people. I guess we got there just early enough to have it to ourselves.

After adventuring up the slot canyons around our campsite we headed out to The Chuckwalla Wall for some sport climbing. There aren't nearly as many pictures as one might expect because we were just having so much fun climbing that we didn't stop and shoot.

Matt warming up on a high 10.

Joe on "As the Crow Flies" 11b. This was one of my favorite climbs this trip. I wish I would have lead it!

Back at camp we bought some real beer, steaks, mushrooms and green beans and settled down to stuff ourselves. We started a small fire to cook our steaks and joe found an unamused guest in out wood pile. Matt named him Snuggles.

After a night of stiff drinks, a pillow fight and some pissed off neighbors we got up and headed for The Prophesy Wall.
None of us really liked the rock here. It was okay but it was just this weird varnished sandstone with lots of crimps and really sharp features. After a small fiasco in which we named outselves "Team Clusterfuck" we wandered down the wall and go onto a reallllly long 5.9. When Matt lead it on the 60m rope he took up about 15 feet past the midpoint and definitely made us a little nervous. Thankfully once he was up and clipped and the slack was pulled out everything worked out just fine.

The view from the base of the 5.9:

And it's never a trip until the Subaru gets stuck. I am just thankful that she is light and the jack is always easily accessible. It only took about 5 minutes to get out of this jam so we definitely couldn't complain.
After the liberation we went to Starbucks and then decided it was time to get the car checked. $150 and 7 hours later we had a new thermostat and were finally on the road to Vegas.

Friday, March 26, 2010

In Search of Sandstone - Moab Edition

After months of anticipation we finally took off on our long awaited trip to the Red Rock Rendezvous with planned stops along the way to Moab, UT, Joes Valley, Triassic and St. George. It didn't exactly work out like that, but we still had a blast.
We left Spokane at 6pm en-route to Moab, UT, 16 hours away. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning the car began to over heat so we ended up rolling through Salt Lake with snow on the ground, the windows down and the heater all the way up. After a pretty uneventful and uninspiring sunrise we rolled into Moab and went straight to Pancake Haus for breakfast followed by a trip to GearHeads to pick up the Utah Boulder guide. Then rather than sleep we headed out to Big Bend.

Joe looking like a ball of sunshine after being up for 30 some-odd hours:

Matt warming up on the Sandy Traverse Boulder
This is just a fun problem:

Joe climbing, Matt dismounting, I could not be more pleased with the weather that day:
Toppin' Out

Joe is a big fan of things that make him look taller, like wide lenses and standing near me:

After getting our fill of the Sandy Traverse we moved northwest of it (I can't remember the boulders name right now) to a fun problem that i just couldn't quite get when I was down there in November. I think I was suffering a mental block, but either way this time with a little work it went down:

Joe did work on it too, but he is going to have to re-visit Moab to get the clean send:
Every time I go to Utah or Nevada I am so happy to see all of the red rocks and cacti. Including both in a photo just makes my day, soooo pretty!

Matt smashing a problem that plagued me, big surprise:
This guy was there from Cheyenne with his girlfriend. He and Matt worked Circus Trick v$ for a while, to no avail:
Mmmmm.....huecos are nice for barefoot heel hooks:

Toward the end of the day we were getting tired and hungry and losing motivation, you'd never guess though....

This problem was on the south face of this same boulder, it was crimpy and balancey, just my style!

Finally once we were completely trashed we wandered back into Moab and got a cabin at the Lazy Lizard where we ate some food and sat in the hot tub and marinated until the thunder and lightning started. The rain hadn't let up the next morning so we decided to pull up our roots and venture on down the road toward warmer drier climates.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vantage version 2.0.

Purging the rest of my Vantage photos before I leave this afternoon for more sandy pastures. I'm headed down to Moab, Triassic and Red Rock with Matt and Joe so if I don't post these now they may never get posted at all!

I climbed up to the top of The Feathers with my trusty 7D and anchored in for a photo session. It seems like I was up there for DAYS! My legs went numb while I danced around waiting for Sanders to teach a lead climbing/belaying clinic. Sarah was the first one up:

Jared....screwing off? Who'da thought? At least he's not on belay. I'm just teasing, I love that guy. Definitely the coolest weirdo I've met via Facebook.

Joe doing a mock-lead for his first time, he's learning quickly:

Alyssa doing her mock-lead as well and making it look good! I love when someone is easy to photograph, it makes dangling there with my legs going to sleep go much more smoothly.

Kaitlyn isn't quite up for a lead yet, but she was able to keep up this weekend, she did really well for her first time on real rock!

Rezzy is also kicking ass for only having been climbing for a couple of months. Here she is hanging out at the top of Don Coyote (5.9)

Alyssa doing her first actual lead, she did great! Now she just needs to take her first whipper!

Matt, my awesome climbing partner/rope gun. It's nice to have someone who is always willing to hang your draws no matter what you throw at him.

Again, Jon and his awesome shirt.

Good lighting, fill flash, blue sky with happy clouds and an awesome sweater. Nope, not much can improve upon this photo.

On the way to Blustery's (No Vantage trip is complete without a burger and a shake!) We got lost and wound up on Mars or something....This guy made his astronaut suit from duct tape, pretty impressive really.
The whole gang:

Up next: UTAH!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

(Not so) Screaming Barfies

February 2010. I am so thankful for an unseasonably warm and dry winter. Last year we hit Vantage early in the season and froze nearly to death. This year at the encouragement of the crew from the westside we decided to give it another go since it had been long enough since the last unpleasant experience that it was no longer as vivid a memory in our minds, Just flashes of campfires, unicycles and a rockin' spodie.
This year's intro to the outdoor climbing season was much more pleasant. Sun, sun and more sun!

Day one: Sunshine Wall

Sarah playing rope gun on her first lead on the Sunshine Wall:

Jon Jantz; photographer, dirtbag, future millionaire. Slaying hipsters since before the thrift store clothes they like were considered vintage.

Kaitlyn- She totally kicked ass on her first time out on real rock!

Vantage Point 5.9(?) It may be an 5.8, I can't remember. This is one of my favorite climbs on the sunshine wall. Alas, we never go on it because it was so high traffic the whole weekend. There's always next time though.

Matt playing the part of belay slave. Thanks for being a rope-gun all weekend!

Hakuna Matata 10a. Another Sunshine Wall classic. I think everyone in our group made it up it.

Joe enjoying the view of Echo Basin

Not a lot of Climbing photos from the Sunshine Wall, I was busy climbing! We all soaked up the sun and had our fun then headed back to camp for some warm food and refreshments. A big "Thank you!" to the guys in the next camp who allowed us to commandeer their campfire while enjoying the aforementioned beverages.

The scene the next morning:

Watch this space for Vantage pt. 2 "The Feathers" I've got a ton of climbing photos from Sunday that I'll post when I find the time!