The weekend of Classics
A trip back to Indian Creek was long overdue and the ticklist of things I wanted to get on had grown way too long. I had discussed his with a bunch of climbers from Flagstaff, but most of them were travelling elsewhere. Cici, and her friend Ryan, after having finished up her Masters thesis in Geology was game. On Thursday night we loaded up the car, and it always seems like so much stuff. It was long dark by the time we stopped at Kayenta on the Navajo Reservation. After a short stop at Sonic we were back on the road. Too bad it was dark since Monument Valley is amazing. By midnight we pulled into the campsites below the Bridger Jacks. In no time the tents were up and everyone was snoring.
We awoke to a beautiful day with blue skies and soon to be perfect temperatures. We had a leisurely breakfast and slowly rambled off to the crag of the day, Battle of the Bulge. Since I’m the only one who doesn’t like to warm up but since I was the one to do all the leading, we started out on Railway Tracks, a short set of splitter cracks that go at 5.10a, that was actually quite fun, but way too short.
After that we went over to the base of the Swedlin-Ringle route (5.12a). Its an amazing splitter crack that is very obvious from the parking area. I rack from blue (0.3) camalots to red (1.0) camalots with mostly green (0.75) and maroon (0.5) camalots. The climbing was VERY fun Swedlin-Ringle
but I fell at the top of the crux, just below the chains. I was hoping to try it again but as I lowered off a trio from Switzerland crowded around the basehoping to get onto it. Everyone else gave it a run on toprope and was quite excited about the quality of the route. I ran up it one last time to remove my stuff from the anchors. As we walked past the trio from Switzerland we watched as they fell their way up Railroad Tracks.
We wished them luck, and headed down to Battle of the Bulge (5.11b/c). I racked a few green camalots and all the red camalots I had. Heading up Battle of the Bulge I noticed I should have racked green camalots and a few red. Oh well. Getting to the bulge I noticed I should have waited a few minutes to let the pump from my last time up Swedlin Ringle to go down. Getting to the top I lowered off, everyone else pounced on it, whooping it up, with the thin hands climbing. After that we headed down to the Cave Route (5.10d) to get out of the sun. The Cave Route is fairly unique, and is at the back of a small cave formed when part of the cliff sheared off. As we waited for the route, I went down to check out Digital Readout (5.12c) and Rubys Café (5.13a). Both were amazing but too difficult for everyone else in the group. These will wait for my next trip. Now the Cave Route, AGAIN, was thin hands, which I always do.... After that, we needed to make a trip into Monticello for water, which someone forgot to bring. We spent the rest of the night talking around the campfire with a group from Reno and another group from Boulder.
The following day we head out to the Cat Wall. As we hike it, immediately we know what had to be done first, and that was Johnny Cat (5.11d). You can see Johnny Cat or miles (ok, atleast from Reservoir Wall). I rack up a bunch (7) of maroon (0.5) camalots, and 2 grey (0.4) camalots and start up the route. The route starts with a bouldery start up blocky holds for about 15 feet, and then leaves you at perfect wide fingers (for me). The climbing was amazing Johnny Cat
and sooo….. good. Again, at the end of the crux, just before the final few moves I fell. Oh well. Cici was up next and was concerned about the size, but even she commented on how amazing the climbing was. Next up was Puma (5.11d/.12a). Starting up that I noticed how much skin I lost on Johnny Cat. We decide to go to a classic thin hands crack. We exit the Cat Wall and go to the Incrediable Hand Crack area and go over to Coyne Crack (5.11d). The book says only a few green camalots (0.75) but that area looks hard and well polished, so I rack up extra. It also recommends 7 red (1.0) camalots so I take every piece I have. Starting up the ring lock section I slip on the polish, and I slip again. Ahhhh…. This doesn’t bode well. After about 25ft, I actually get a tight handjam. I plug a red camalot, breath deep and go for it. The next 75 feet is all tight hands and very enjoyable, moderate to easy climbing. Everyone takes a run on TR on the route and comments on how hard the first 25ft were.
The following day we climb with the guys from Boulder. We start on Annunaki (soft 5.12a), which a cool route that is slightly overhanging at the Optimator Wall.
All I remember is starting up the route, and before I could think of anything, I was clipping the chains and lowering off, thinking the route was way easy for the grade. Everyone else climbs it on TR and at most fell once. The guys from Boulder start up the wide thing behind us and when he lowers off, looks like he was digging a grave with the amount of dirt he was covered in. After this we head over to Reservoir Wall and do a bunch of easier 5.10’s before needing to head home. What more can you as in a weekend, great weather, fun classic climbs and hanging out with cool people. Thanks to all those climbers from Boulder, Reno, Czech, France, and the other guys from Switzerland, for helping make it a great weekend.