Friday, December 12, 2014

Bell Rock, Mars Attacks, and Priest Draw

December 10-11, 2014

With great weather and couple days in between finals and an academic conference in San Francisco, Sedona climbing was calling.  On Wednesday, Paul, Hilary and I went to scramble up and climb Bell Rock on the south side of town.  We scrambled up a gully on the west side of the formation and climbed one short pitch at 5.8 to gain the summit.  A fun little spire with a nice summit.  

Hilary and Paul scrambling up Bell Rock 
Panorama from Bell Rock
That afternoon, Paul and I went and messed around on some of the boulders at Priest Draw - a world famous bouldering destination.  I'm no "boulderer" but this was a fun time.  Tons of cool problems, mostly too hard for me to even make the first move.  We climbed on and around the Triangle Rock.

On Thursday, George and I climbed Mars Attacks! in Sedona (5.9 trad/sport, 4 pitches, Grade II).  We parked at the Devil's Bridge trailhead (4x4 necessary) and made the 30 minute approach to the base of the route. This route is a favorite among locals, and for good reason!  Pretty solid rock (for Sedona) and varied and quality climbing.  

Pitch 1 - Bolted slab pitch (thin!) up and right to a 2-bolt anchor on the limestone band (5.9+)

Pitch 2 - Bolted traverse on the limestone band to a 2-bolt anchor (5.8)

Pitch 3 - Long trad pitch up a super fun and varied crack, chimney - 2-bolt anchor on the left (5.7)

Pitch 4 - Finish off the crack and bolted slab to the top - 2-bolt anchor (5.9)

Descent: 3 rappels with a 70-m rope  (use chains 30 feet to right of top anchor)

Slabby, bolted first pitch
George coming up the thin slab
2nd pitch - the $$ pitch
Such a unique and awesome pitch
Curious bird
George finishing off the traverse pitch
Third pitch - crack and chimney
George finishing up the sweet 3rd pitch 
4th pitch crack before the slab
Top of the route
Mars Attacked - we won
Agave attacked - I lost
Unfortunately I somehow got a 1 inch long agave spike entirely inside my leg on our hike out.  Also unfortunate, I had to go to the hospital to get it out.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Red Rocks: November 14-16

November 14-16, 2014

Five of us (Paul, Richard, Jessica, George, and I) drove from Flagstaff on Thursday night and arrived to a full campground, packed with Subarus and trucks plastered with mud and climbing logo bumper stickers.  It was obvious, that the majority 100+ people crammed into the isolated, non-charming campground were here to climb at Red Rocks. With mild temperatures and clear skies, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area becomes a destination for climbers in the spring and fall months of the year.  There are a numberless amount of routes that climb 500 to 2,000 ft walls at a moderate grade; this is all I have ever asked for!  Almost all of Zion's and Yosemite's walls require at least free climbing at 5.10 on gear AND some serious aid climbing.  This makes Red Rocks unique.

The group
Friday morning, we drove out to Black Velvet Canyon to climb Frogland (5.8 trad, 7 pitches, 770 ft.). Due to a late start and short line to climb this very popular route, we didn't start climbing until after 11 am.  Paul, Richard, and Jessica climbed Bourbon Street (right next door) to save time.  One particularly slow party prevented us from moving very fast at all.  I led all the pitches, and my roommate (George) who just started climbing this fall, followed. Champ.  We waited at every belay for at least 30 minutes as the slow party moved along and our frustration mounted.  As we got higher on the wall, the wind picked up and the sun got lower turning our casual outing into more of an epic night climb. Luckily we climbed the runout crux pitch and got on top of the famous chockstone before it got dark. Unluckily, we only had one headlamp.  I led the final two pitches, in the dark without a headlamp...exciting!  We were greeted by our friends at the top and a nice view of the Las Vegas lights 20 miles to the east.  We scrambled down the gully to the southeast and hiked back to our gear and car.

George finishing up the first pitch
Richard leading the second pitch of Bourbon Street
George finishing up the second pitch 
If you look closely, you can see Richard belaying up top, Jessica climbing with the orange helmet and the spider-like figure below is Paul
Pitch 3
Mid-climb picture of George belaying me on pitch 5
George approaching the chockstone on Pitch 5
George climbing up the 6th pitch with a headlamp
Saturday morning we got up a little earlier and made our way to Pine Creek Canyon to climb Dark Shadows (5.8 trad, 3-4 pitches, 360 ft.).  This route was fantastic.  The route starts above a pool in the creek that flows through the shady and wooded canyon.  It climbs an easy slab and then a nice dihedral and crack to the top.  We were the only ones there when we arrived.  I led all the pitches and George happily followed.  The second pitch is the money pitch and it was so sweet.  Paul, Richard, and Jessica climbed as a team of three right behind us.  We rapped the route with one 60 m rope from the lower chains on top of the route.
Pine Creek Canyon 
George coming up the first pitch (we combined pitches 1 and 2)
George traversing to the belay ledge at the top of pitch 1
George working his way up the steep corner towards the MEGA jugs on the classic 2nd pitch of Dark Shadows
Our buddies starting the third pitch as we rappel down
Richard working through the crux 
Paul and Jess on top of pitch 2
Looking up at the route as Paul, Jess, and Richard prepare for their second rappel
Eroded concretions on a sandstone block
After finishing up Dark Shadows, we stopped by Straight Shooter Wall to climb Straight Shooter (5.9+ trad, 1 pitch) and other routes.  Richard led this route and we all had our fun on top rope.

Paul on a 5.7 close to Straight Shooter
Richard on Straight Shooter
After a long windy night in the Red Rocks campground, we spent a cold, windy Sunday morning at Cannibal Crag climbing a bunch of sport routes.  Highlights of the day: Paul led a 10d, George led his first route ever, Richard and Jessica huddled for warmth.    

Cannibal Crag 
Random guy on the 11b arete
George leading his first route ever.     

The following weekend I went back for more.  This time we climbed 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Humphreys Peak in November

My Brazilian buddy, Mateus, doesn't have a car and has always wanted to hike up Humphrey's Peak so I took him.  Dani happened to be driving through Flagstaff too, so the three us went for it on Friday.  Luckily for us, it was a beautiful and mild November day.  We followed the Humphrey's Peak trail from the Snowbowl parking lot to the top but on the way down we took a short-cut and hiked down the partially snow-covered ski runs of the Snowbowl Ski Resort.  The hike down took an hour less than it would have on the meandering trail through the woods.  
Looking south towards Agassiz Peak
Hiking along the windy ridge
The summit
Pals on the summit
Close to the bottom of Snowbowl

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Southern Utah Fall Hiking and Climbing

I spent Halloween weekend in southern Utah with family and friends.  I spent Halloween with my sister and her family and did some local climbing.  I spent Saturday and Sunday with Ryan, Charlotte, Kayte, Dani, and Luke.  Our original plan was to hike Buckskin Gulch but we were deterred due to cold water and air temperatures.  Our plan B was to do some less involved hikes in the Zion area.  We hiked the Subway from the bottom up on Saturday in chilly and wet weather.  We then hiked Angels Landing on Sunday in similar conditions.  Monday morning (those of us who stuck around) went climbing in Kolob Canyon and did some of the classic sport climbs in the area in frigid conditions.
John leading a fun 5.9 at Pocket Rocks 
John leading a fun 10b at Pocket Rocks
Geology picture - weathered fiammé in an ash-flow tuff deposit 
Dani leading a juggy 5.8 on a conglomerate unit near Gap, west of Parowan

The group on the approach to the Subway 
Ryan and Charlotte leading the way towards the Subway 
The beginning of the Subway
Luke stemming up above the frigid water, trying to get above the impassable waterfall 
Sketchy traverse above the 20 foot waterfall - don't try this in chacos
Braving the waist deep cold water in November in the Subway
The Subway in November 
Looking down on the Virgin River from the Angels Landing trail
Zion Valley 
Angels Landing
Virgin River
John leading Namaste 5.12
Luke climbing Huevos Rancheros