Sunday, February 22, 2015

Climbing in Solitude Canyon - Mt. Elden

Spent the better part of my Saturday climbing the dacite rocks in Solitude Canyon high on Mt. Elden. The approach required a demanding 1.75 mile 1100 vertical feet hike to reach the Higher Solitude Crag. Despite the steep hike, the climbing is fantastic and offers several 5.10 sport routes and even some multi-pitch climbing at 8,600 ft - all of which offer great views of the surrounding area.  It's a fun little crag.  

We climbed Man on the Moon (5.10 sport, 4 pitches) and then had to head out.  The first pitch was very cool, the others not so much.   

Hiking up on the approach 
Brad is finally visible above the overhung section on Man on the Moon
Brad moving into the balancy upper section of Man on the Moon
Top of pitch 1 - Man on the Moon
Pitch 4 of Man on the Moon - 5.8 dihedral 
Paul got a picture of me from the route next door. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Streaker Spire, Sedona

February 14th

Streaker Spire - Original North Face Route (5.7+ trad, 3 pitches)

Church Spires, Streaker Spire is on the right
"Slab paddling" on the approach
Brad traversing on the first pitch on Streaker Spire 
Brad working through the awkward crux - transition from overhung climbing into an off-width slot
Brad about to top out on the 3rd pitch
Streaker Spire bros
Streaker Spire summit shot 
Cactus Heart
Streaker Spire, we traversed to the big crack from the left and followed the crack/chimney to the summit
Some fun scrambling on the descent and the approach

Observation Point and Hidden Canyon, Zion

February 7, 2015

With unseasonably warm weather all over the American west, I made my way to Zion to do some hiking. We decided on Observation Point and if we felt up to it, Hidden Canyon. Observation Point offers spectacular views of Zion Canyon from the rim above. The trail climbs about 2,000 ft. over 4 miles and offers a variety of scenery as you make your way up. Although Angel's Landing is a little more exciting, Observation Point has superior views and is less crowded.
Had to stop at Horseshoe Bend on my way from Flagstaff to southern Utah
Looking across towards Angel's Landing from the Observation Point trail 
Hiking through a cool canyon on the Observation Point trail 
Ashlee hiking above the slot canyon along the Observation Point trail
We emerged from the canyon below to vistas of Zion Canyon
The view from Observation Point. Note that Angel's Landing is about 1,000 ft below us.  
Ashlee led the way up the Hidden Canyon trail
Mini arch in Hidden Canyon

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Technicolor Corner and Others, Sedona

Spent another Saturday in Sedona and it did not disappoint.  Other than cold temps and gusty winds in the morning, it was a perfect day. We intended on climbing Epitaph (5.9+) but on the approach we passed a beautiful and clean corner that was sitting directly in the sun, which turned out to a classic route in the area - Technicolor Corner. So rather than climbing Epitaph in the shade, we opted for Technicolor Corner in the warm sun. The route is 3 pitches:
  • Pitch 1 is just the way to get to the climb (5.8)
  • Pitch 2 is THE pitch which climbs a beautiful dihedral crack (5.10)
  • Pitch 3 is a very fun and varied slab line past ~8 bolts (mostly not very trustworthy) - climb at your own risk (5.9 R) 
Windy on the early approach
Paul leading pitch 1 of Technicolor Corner
Richard leading the way up the money pitch of Technicolor Corner (5.10 trad) 
    Me working up the corner
Paul laying back on that crack
Paul on the crux
A small pocket felt like a giant hold after working through the crux
Our fearless leader on pitch 3, clipping into bolt hangers made of flimsy metal 
Me looking cool on pitch 3 of Technicolor Corner
Looking down the slab towards Paul 
This pitch was steep, ignore what your senses may tell you 
I'm all about belaying with guide ATC's and putting out the vibe 
Paul - send this one to your mom 

So after Technicolor Corner, we also climbed Anvil Spire and an unnamed Spire just next door.  It made for a full day with 3 of us.

Guys, I had to crawl to make it to the top of Anvil Spire 
Belaying Richard up Anvil Tower
Schnebly Hill Rd in the background, learn more about the namesake of Sedona and Schnebly Hill Rd HERE
Watch this cool video of Richard climbing the unnamed tower VIDEO

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Mace, Sedona

The Mace via The Original Route
5.9+ trad, 5 pitches, Grade III

The Mace is one of the most well-known climbs in Northern Arizona. In fact, I heard about it within a week of moving to Flagstaff last year. The route climbs a double spire that requires a wide step over a 300 ft. gap on the final pitch, which makes for an exciting finish to a challenging and adventurous route.

Richard and I climbed The Mace yesterday in 65 degree weather, it was perfect. We alternated leads and started climbing around 8 am.
15-minute approach at 7:30 am to the Mace, the furthest left spire(s) (400 ft.)
1st Pitch:
I lead the first pitch up an insecure flaring crack and over a small limestone roof to an eyebolt anchor. 5.8
Richard coming up the first pitch
2nd Pitch:
Richard the second pitch up a crack with a tricky start and into a chimney and a short off-width crack to the belay. 5.9
3rd Pitch:
The third pitch begins with an exposed traverse, then climbs another awkward crack system. 5.9 
4th Pitch:
Richard leading the 4th pitch through the slot between two different spires. 5.9+
The beginning of this pitch required stemming both walls, eventually Richard put some gear in the crack on the right side 
Close to the crux on pitch 4 (steep offwidth)
Mid-climb pic of this cool mushroom rock
5th Pitch:
Richard crossing the gap between the lower summit and the true summit on the 5th pitch.  Fortunately it is well protected by a bolt and there is a small flake for your hands (not much feet though!) 5.9
Rappelling from the lower summit.  You can see the gap we crossed to get to and from the true summit.