What: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Zion National Park
Who: Cheang Moore, B-Rad Benny Hardin, Germany Hendrix, and myself
When: April 9-13, 2015
What: Climb "dumb" Rocks
Trip report will include some beta, lots of pics, few vids.
Day 1: Climb Birdland 5.7+, 5 pitch climb
Approach: Enter the Scenic Loop Rd., pay $7 entry fee, drive 10 miles around to Pine Creek Canyon Parking Lot. Load up and the Birdland approach is 1.3 miles to the base of the climb. The trail is both rocky and sandy at times. Rugged trail but no bushwacking involved. We entered the Scenic loop at 6:00 a.m., which is the time they open this time of year (check for times, they vary depending on time of year). It took about 15-20 minutes to get to parking lot. The approach to the base of the wall took us about half an hour or so. After racking up, the first climber was on the wall by 7:30am. We were all off the route and and rapped off by 2-2:30p.m. Back at the car by 3:15 p.m.
You can identify the route by finding the bushy ledges. It climbs the crack system up through three pitches, face climbs the 4th pitch and finishes on a sweet finger crack on pitch 5. The topo of the route is above. If you look (or click on picture) hard enough in picture above, you can find parties of climbers at different belay stations...give you a good scale of wall. There is one bolt on pitch three protecting the traverse into the crack. Important to have several runners for this route...as this route wanders and traverses after pitch 3.
We were a party of four, but climbed as a group of three. Climbers three and four climbed simultaneously. This is definitely a slower way to multipitch climb...but we were in it to hang out and enjoy each other while climbing. Enjoy the pics...
So after pitch three...we just kinda stopped taking pics. Sorry...after climbing Birdland, we head over to Calico Basin...
and climbed a couple routes. There are several routes on this huge boulder. routes from 5.8 through 5.12+. There is a red rock classic 11b/c on the arête I wish I would have done. maybe next time. (Brad blends in with rock in picture above).
Day 2: Climb Physical Graffit 5.6 and Big Bad Wolf 5.9...Drink Beer 5.Wonderful
The approach is mellow compared to everything in Red Rock. Park at the Red Spring Parking, and you don't have to enter the loop and save $7 bucks. The approach to the base is 1/2 mile. You hike past Cannibal Crag and hike West up the slabs towards the route. This area is beautiful with cool looking rock everywhere...
Physical Graffiti is a fun 5.6 cruiser. At least the first pitch. The second pitch is a long 180' crack climb that takes gear all the way to the top...minus the last 10 or 15 feet on easy 5.0 terrain. Person leading the second pitch needs to be ready to plug anywhere from 15-20 pieces, depending on how comfortable they feel on this grade and climb.
When you top out, you will anchor off and climb 10-15' unprotected on 5.0 terrain and head south on class 3/4 ramp until you see cairns. Be careful, there is loose rock up there...
Big Bad Wolf is the 5.9 to the left of Physical Graffiti. Although, I thought the beginning of the 3rd pitch slabs were the crux...that sketched me out. Jeremy and I went up this quickly, swapping leads. We chose to rap off since there was no party below us.
After two days of climbing...we headed over to the "Old Strip" off of Fremont in Vegas to enjoy the brews and views...
Had a few drinks at Bangers Brewery in Vegas...
and enjoyed the lights. Next Stop...Zion National Park.
Day 3: Hike Angel's Landing and explore the Narrows...
Sean coming up Walter's Wiggles...
Great White Throne in the background...Brad was the only one to summit. Sean, Jeremy, and I stayed right here...where you see this last picture taken. There were many people on the trail already and I quite frankly didn't want to get frustrated being "stuck" behind people. I was ok with this decision.
We jumped on the shuttle from Angel's and headed straight to Narrows. We got on the trail and took a detour to eat lunch.
The narrows has to be the best hike in America. So far it's my favorite. There is so much...it's my third time up this creek and I feel like it's new everytime. This time around, we to Orderville Canyon and went up creek for 1/4 a mile. It's a spectacular slot canyon. There will be a day when I hike all the 16 miles down the Virgin River...from top to bottom. One day.
Sean, after doing the Landing and Narrows. What a wuss...
After taking a nap...he bounced back and joined in on an hour of bouldering in arguably the most scenic bouldering spot in America...
I mean...seriously...that's our bouldering session! How bad ass is this?
Oh yeah...our campsite views!
Day 4: Hike in Kolob Canyon's South Fork of Taylor Creek...go get on Namaste 5.12a.
Dos Mitras 5.11b
Sweet place to recover...full body back and knee bar...If you plan it right, you can find sweet no hands rest...
These walls are anywhere from 45-55 degrees...for 120-140' long. The name of the game is power endurance! Routes are bolted to the top. All you need is about 12-14 draws. Be careful, there are some runouts with potential decking.
Some 10b/c slab...forget about it. No thank you. Give me the overhanging stuff. Jeremy enjoys these routes. I think he is crazy. There are a handful of slab routes on the opposite side of the canyon. Again...some of these routes are crazy run out.
Day 5: We climbed at the Panty Wall. Great outing. We climbed several routes...ranging from 5.8s to 12a. My favorite climb on the wall is Panty Raid 5.10a trad route that goes up a beautiful plated varnish. Takes big stoppers and small cams. We climbed for half a day on this wall...we were flying out this same day.
This was an incredible trip. With incredible guys. I had a blast...from connecting the pitches on Birdland through Zion and the random smoky rundown Casino...this was a great trip. The weather was good, the beers even better, and the views perfect. Thanks to the guys for joining me...and can't wait for another Red Rock trip!!!
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:15-16
As we were headed to the airport, reflecting back on several days worth of memories, good times, and sharing each other's personal highs for the trip...I told the guys I was most proud of how we worked well as a team. Our first prayer together was to be patient with one another, to communicate effectively, to work efficiently, and to remain calm within and with each other so we can all enjoy what we came to do: To climb a whole lot and most importantly return to our families safely.
Multi pitch climbing is a serious deal. Many things can go wrong and can lead to serious consequences. Fortunately, with good preparation, competence, and skill, this highly potentially dangerous activity can also be a freakin' awesome experience. But ultimately, a successful day depends on having a team on the same page, who can communicate and relay clear and concise messages, work in unison, be patient, remain calm and composed, and respect each other's plans, abilities, and thought process. There are many variables, and each person has to do their part.
And in the several days we were together, I felt like we did an incredible job of being on the same page. From early 5 a.m. starts through sunsets...we prepared breakfasts, broke and established camps, sorted out equipment, racked and re-racked gear, flaked out ropes, went over strategies on our climbs, and kept things moving forward for five consecutive days. Sure their were a few hang-ups like a rope caught, losing gear, tiredness, heat, cold, soreness, hunger, dirtiness...but we kept a good attitude and focused on getting the job done. All in all...we stuck together, stayed positive, encouraged each other, and kept moving forward.
Truly, truly...all of this is a product of one thing: Trust. I trust these men (Brad, Jeremy and Sean). I trust them with my life. It doesn't matter if you are up 100' or 1000' on a wall...many things have to be in place to remain safe and be successful, but it all starts with Trust. Trust in one another.
I don't take Trust for granted. It is not given...it is developed. And it is developed over time and it requires maintenance, care, and above all...investment.
MAINTENANCE: This requires communication and action. The apostle Paul says, "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body (Eph 4:25)." Communication is key. We need to be able to tell each other exactly what we are thinking. How we feel, what makes us uncomfortable, what hurts, our doubts, our frustrations...In regards to the trip, a goal was to communicate how we felt about the climbs, the walls, the protections, the anchors, etc, etc. At any point, if something wasn't "right," we needed to voice it and most importantly, be able to receive it, act accordingly, and bail if need be. Our safety is priority over personal achievement. In regards to action, the bible asks, "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so (Amos 3:3)? Being on the same page, doing things together, participation, being involved in each other's plans is another major tenet in growing trust with one another. As we walk along each other, we naturally begin to assimilate into each other's lives. We can relate. We can begin to see and understand each other.
CARE: As we spend more time together, we begin to feel more...care more for each other. Understand each other. "...clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. (Col 3:12-13)" This is a must...and we spoke of this before our climbs. We understood our abilities, concerns, and fears. We knew we needed to be compassionate towards our partners and tow the fine line of "pushing" and encouraging our friends and knowing when to back off and allow everyone to do what was best for them. We also needed to be patient, merciful with one another. There is no room for hurry on these walls. That's when mistakes are made. Mistakes results in desperation, which inevitably puts everyone at risk. By taking care of everyone's needs, we minimized certain risks. In addition and above "...all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Col 3:15" To keep morale, rapport, and the peace going...we loved on each other by positively encouraging each other throughout the days, embracing with celebratory hugs, high-fiving both big and small accomplishments, and never dwelling on each other's mistakes or disappointments. We loved on each other by constantly building each other up. This is how we took care of each other.
INVESTMENT:Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of Peace. (Eph 4:2-3)"When we are involved and caring for each other, naturally we become invested in one another. This is called friendship. I love the scripture above, specifically where it says we "bear" with one another in love. Or in another words...we "struggle" with one another in love. These trips I go on...they are not easy. They are typically long hard days. Hard on the body. We are constantly on the go and there is a "grind" mentality to them. I typically surround myself with partners that are willing to submit themselves to hurt, tiredness, and pain for vacation. After long days in the sun, we go get restless sleep out in the desert just to carry heavy packs, climb steep walls, take a beating by the hot sun, cold nights, freezing waters, and then go do it over again. But we do it together, working towards a common goal, to go where most people don't, so we can share our common bond of love for each other and the places we deem precious to us. It's in those moments, I know I can count on my partner. I need him and he needs me. Partnership...Friendship. We are invested in each other. Out here in the wilderness, I can trust them with my life...
...but importantly, I trust these men even more with my spiritual life. You know what is more scary to me than being on the side of a cliff, just tied into a cord only 9.5 mm around...and runout above a microwire sketch placement in crumbly rock? Having a wife that doesn't feel served and loved by her husband. A wife that feels isolated, scared and alone. A wife that feels like she is doing life on her own. You know what is scarier than crossing a frozen creek and suffering through hypothermia? Having daughters that feel like their daddy has turned a cold shoulder to them. A daddy that has abandoned them physically and emotionally. A daddy that thinks his job or money is more important. You know what is scarier than being exposed on a mountainside with quickly deteriorating weather? Being a selfish man, inconsiderate of others, never caring for my family, community, neighbors, and clients. Being apathetic, never loving and or pouring into other people. Living a life alone. You know what is more scary than being lost in the wilderness? It's being lost in the wilderness. The scariest thing I can imagine...is losing my Way in life. It's to stop looking at Jesus, lose trust, and look down in the water...only to lose my footing, and sink down to the depths of my doubts. The scariest thing I do...is face my doubt in Jesus everyday. I hate this about myself. I get anxious even writing about it because even thinking of it makes it feel more true. Being a believer in Jesus, and trusting in Him and His ways...is scary. It takes more than what I can give or do. It takes a lot more.
In my life, I have men that are willing to bear with me through life. Men that are willing to hear my heart, hear my struggles, hear my pain. Men that are willing to maintain our relationship. Men that are willing to talk to me, and speak truthfully to me. Men that are willing to spend time with me. Men that find peace and unity, despite my different and difficult ways. Men that are kind to me and my family. Men that love my family and will make my family their own. Men that have made the investment, have drawn the line in the sand, and proudly call me one of their own...men that call me Friend. In my life, these men help me grow, support me, and love me. These are the guys that when I look down, and face my fears, and feel most exposed and scared...they lift me up out of the water when I'm drowning.
So truly, truly...I just don't trust these men with my life in the outdoors. I trust them with my life where it matters most. I trust them to speak truth in love, to help me grow into him who is the Head...to join and hold me together by every supporting ligament, to build me up in love...so I can fulfill my calling in this world. These guys are my partners outdoors...but most of all, they are my partners in life. Thank you fellas...I love and trust you forever.
Next Post...Trip and More Pics...and hopefully some videos.