Long Weekend at Indian Creek

Long Weekend at Indian Creek

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 7, 2010
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall


Generic Crack 5.10Generic Crack
Newspaper rockNewspaper Rock

Indian Creek I heard so much about this climbing area and I was both afraid and excited about my first trip. My friends warned me - the first time there, you cannot climb much, sometimes nothing, your hands get beaten up, and you get mentally wasted. There are no easy climbs there, hard to find those few 5.9s. And crack climbing is different, almost like a new sport compared to face climbing. I wondered what will happen to me there. Will I get defeated by those smooth walls with cracks, or will I conquer it? I knew deeply in my heart that I will not accept any defeat. I will eventually crack those cracks!

I got invited to go there over Halloween, but my son had 2 parties that weekend, so deeply disappointed I excused myself. Luckily, my good friend (a first person I met in a storage unit when I was moving to Colorado) Michael Covington offered that he would be more than happy to go climbing there with me the following weekend. And I had 3 days off! Surely enough time to figure out crack climbing. Patience is not one my virtues.

Newspaper Rock is an obligatory visit. The rock climbing starts just pass this site.

Our first day - Supercrack Buttress

We arrived around noon and set up a camp at Bridger Jack Campground. The campground was lovely, tons of space, amazing views, gratis camping (I did donate money to Friends of Indian Creek afterwards), but my donation was voluntary. We had wonderful views of both Six Shooters. And there was climbing right there above us, on Bridger Jack Mesa.
Sunset over ShootersSunset over Six Shooters

Twin Cracks 5.9
Twin Cracks 5.9

We set up the tents, made a nice lunch and took off for my first Indian Creek crack experience at Supercrack Buttress. It was pretty late, so we had a time only for one route. Michael C. chose Twin Crack - a nice climb with two cracks next to each other, rated 5.9, and about 60 feet long. It was not so bad! I actually like it so much that I did it 4x!
There were many climbers on Supercrack Buttress, and it was interesting to see so many climbing parties, some people just sitting and smoking and watching, and some hanging on difficult cracks with a little progression during my observation. A nice place to hang out.
I wished to have more time for climbing, and of course I was hoping to try the most famous climb on this wall - Supercrack (a.k.a. Super Crack of the Desert) 5.10 wide hand splitter. There were people on it, oh well...some other time.
It is amazing to watch Michael Covington climb. He moves so smoothly, he appears so confident about his moves, and he placed one gear on 60 foot climb - a nut! I heard that you need to have like 8 # 1 camelots for one crack, and here this old man flies up and places one nut! Obviously, he got some comments from close by observers. We finished the day with a nice dinner and a bottle of Pinot Noir by the fire. Michael C. finally started to feel comfortable to tell me about his past, about his climbs, his guiding. It took him over 3 months. I had no clue initially about his accomplishments, and was amazed how much respect he was getting in the local climbing community. Finally, I got some more insight and directly from him. This guy has climbed with Yvon Chouinard, Doug Scott, Reinhold Messner, Royal Robins, Layton Kor and many, many others. Wow! I heard those names before.

Images from the Bridger Jack Campground

Lunch is ready
Bridger Jack Campground
Evening fire
Bridger Jack Campground
Our campsite

2nd day - Donnelly Canyon

Bridger Jack MesaClimber on Bridger Jack
We had a lazy start. The morning was cold in the desert. And both Michaels - Michael Covington and my son Michael do not like to be rushed. Ok. I have to slow down (at least that is what I was telling to myself). I made a nice breakfast - fruit, and toasted bagels. Michael C. made a good coffee. He even brought soy milk for me, not exactly soy latte, but a good morning drink. And while cooking and getting ready, I could watch climbers on Bridger Jack's Mesa right above us climbing. I got inpatient. Finally, nearly noon, and we were ready. Michael C. chose Donnelly Canyon - one of the easier walls featuring a couple of 5.9s, and some easier 5.10s.
Our first climb was Binou's Crack, an easy 5.9, about 50 feet long, rated with 3 stars in the guidebook. He lead it again with his old rack, and he placed one hex on his way up to the anchors. He told me that it was his strength - moving fast and feeling comfortable with placing minimal gear. He has done in this way for more than 50 years, no reason to change it now. I found no difficulties with this crack, and after experiencing it several times I was ready to challenge another one.
What a surprise! I ran into my boss at the Chocolate Corner crack, another 5.9 at Donnelly's Canyon. No, he did not like me asking him to give me one more day off, but I tried. My boss took Monday off instead of me! And he got punished. As I was watching him struggle on Chocolate Corner, his pants ripped on his ass. No, I actually felt sorry for him. He is a great guy, and we love to discuss our adventures in work and let patients wait. We have our priorities.
Our last crack of the day was Elephant Man 5.10 route. My boss and his friends were amazed as they watched Michael Covington climbing it without being belayed, and I kept talking to them. Well, why to belay him immediately, he is not going to place any gear until about 30 feet high up, and it will be some super old hex. I will put him on the belay then. We all admired the experience and the confidence which this man possesses. And yes, I wanted to look cool, but deeply I was worried. What about if he would slip? He did not.

Images from Donnelly Canyon

Binou s Crack 5.9
White Apache
Feet in the crack
Elephant Man 5.10
Detail of Binou s Crack 5.9
Running into some friends

3rd day - Time to pack

Friction Slabs
Sundance 5.7

We had a pretty luxurious campsite, and it took us a long time to pack. I started to complain a little bit. I wanted to climb so much more, and Michael C. just patiently looked at me and smiled: "What are you talking about. You climbed yesterday 3 different cracks and each one 4x times, that is 12 pitches. Just relax". So, after another huge breakfast, and all packing up, we decided that my buggered hands needed a break. We went to check out the slabs. Friction Slab area is the first rock climbing area you see when driving into the Indian Creek. It features 4 climbs, protected with very widely spaced bolts, and fixed anchors at the top. It was nice to try something different.

I loved my first Indian Creek experience, and can't wait to go back there. There is so much to do! And the towers below need to be climbed.

Views of North and South Six Shooter Peaks

Sunset Sunset
Sunrise over Six ShootersSunrise


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-19 of 19

EricChu - Nov 11, 2010 3:17 am - Voted 10/10

Good report Liba!

Sounds like a lot of fun you had - but poor boss - I feel sorry for him! ;-))

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 11, 2010 7:46 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Good report Liba!

Thank you Eric for visiting. My boss is ok now - hahaha

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Nov 14, 2010 12:42 pm - Voted 10/10


Enough is enough, Liba! You're having too much fun! Is it legal to be having so much fun?

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 14, 2010 2:08 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Enough!

I need more fun... hahaaha
Thank you.


SarahThompson - Nov 15, 2010 3:18 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice writeup

Nice writeup, an interesting read since I've been wanting to make my first trip to the cracks of Indian Creek. You are very fortunate to have such a mentor.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 15, 2010 9:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice writeup

Thank you Sarah. Yes, he is a great mentor. Indian Creek is amazing!


BigRob - Nov 15, 2010 4:27 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice Reading

I was just out at the Creek last Saturday. On to ice season now.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 15, 2010 9:41 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice Reading

And I did not see you!
Yes, Ice climbing is here, very exciting! Thanks for visiting.

Gobit180 - Nov 15, 2010 4:39 pm - Hasn't voted

The Music Man

Hi Liba
You might be interested in Mike's musical history if you're not aware of it already. have a look at:

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 15, 2010 9:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: The Music Man

Thanks, yes, I know about that website, and also his side of the story. He denies it, but it is again mentioned in the Yosemite in the 60s book.
He is pretty open about it. He has no recording of his own music, which I was interested in.


runawayreignbow - Nov 17, 2010 11:58 am - Voted 10/10


I can't wait to get out to IC...I've heard nothing but stellar things. Glad you had fun! :)

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 17, 2010 12:38 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great!

Thanks, I hope that you will get to go there... really amazing place. Can get a little bit crowded over the weekends, especially in the fall and spring, but it is great to watch other people climbing as well.
Happy climbing!


TimB - Nov 19, 2010 1:33 pm - Voted 10/10


Very good story and photos.
Made me feel like I was out there climbing also!


Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 19, 2010 4:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Liba,

Thank you very much. It is a very popular climbing destination.


peninsula - Nov 20, 2010 8:41 am - Voted 10/10

Fun Read

Thanks for sharing. Having the likes of Michael C. in the group... Wow, what a treat. I enjoyed the read, the photos, too.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Nov 20, 2010 9:02 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Fun Read

Thank you very much. Yes, Michael C. is impressive, and climbing 5.10s under his guidance seems so easy.


CClaude - Dec 7, 2010 8:38 am - Hasn't voted


IC is a magical place, especially in the Falls for the colors and in the Spring while the wildflowers are blooming.

Sarah, if you ever need anyone to give you a tour of the area, drop me a line. I do a lot of day trips and some longer trips to the Creek.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Dec 8, 2010 12:33 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Thanks

Thanks for visiting. I love Indian Creek and will definitively go back.


CClaude - Dec 8, 2010 8:19 am - Hasn't voted

if you

are ever in need of a partner, feel free to drop me a line.

Viewing: 1-19 of 19



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