ZNP - Cosmic Egg: Trip Report


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Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 4, 2006 - 05:08pm PT

It was 11:30am and Chris and I were still sitting around drinking coffee. The aches and pain of the Streaked Wall still lingered with my muscles in my neck and back. The thought of putting on my harness on my bruised and raw hips made me wince. I sucked it up, gave Chris a smile and said, “Let’s send it”.

We headed into the park toward Mt. Moroni intending on climbing the Smoot-Ellison, also known as Cosmic Egg. I’ve always heard really good things about the route and it has been on my “must do” list for a while now. We arrived at the parking area, pulled out the gear and realized we hadn’t even packed a lead line. Oh man, great start. We definitely are not on the top of our game today, I thought.

After going back into town and retrieving a lead line we were back at the parking area, ready for the approach. A “park visitor” asked us as we were crossing the bridge, “Are you guys camping up there or just practicing?” We assured her that we were merely practicing and that we would be back in a few hours.

It was a little tough to find the trailhead once we hit the Springdale Band and ended up just bushwhacking to the base of the climb. For some reason I figured the climb would be a semi-trade route since I’ve always heard such good things about it. We figured out that it hadn’t seen a ton of traffic and reasoned that it was most likely because of the first pitch.

The plan was for me to lead the first five pitches, which where mostly aid, then Chris lead the last five, which were mostly free. This was a perfect combination for our strong points.

I took off at 12:45pm, not exactly an alpine start. The first pitch got my attention immediately. It wasn’t difficult at all but had to get on a small cam thirty-five feet off the deck. It was an ok piece but if it did blow you would hit the ground for sure. I hurried up my ladder and placed another one, trying not to think about it.

We brought a couple of pins and hammer but tried not to use them. I hooked instead around pin placements. We were able to climb the entire route clean, without placing any pitons. The one thing I wished I had brought more of where medium nuts. I also wish we would have had some off-set brassies. We had zero.

The pitches fell quickly and my five pitch block was soon over after two and a half hours. Chris took over and flew up the next pitch. He did get off route a couple of times but quickly saw the errors and was back on target in no time.

Chris was leading the last couple of pitches, which he linked, and I was jugging the line to the belay. At one point my rope knocked off a basketball sized rock and I had to high-tail it across the face to avoid getting hit. I got up to where the rock was a saw ledges littered with rocks of all sizes, just waiting to get the next party.

I got to the belay and Chris was having a tough time leaning around a corner, trying to clip a fixed angle. It took him a few tries but finally busted a half free move and sank the biner in the eye hole of the pin. A few more aid moves and he was at the top of the route. I sped up the rope while cleaning the gear and was at Chris’s side in no time.

Four hours and ten minutes!!! We did a high five and quickly started the rapells. We were able to do it in five raps, using sixty meter ropes, avoiding a couple anchors on the way down.

We packed up, ate a snickers bar and headed to the parking area. On the way down we found the actual trail that was well marked by cairns. Half way down we managed to get off route, again.

My excuse: Both, my brain was still not functioning correctly from the epic on the Streaked Wall AND I’m still not in sync from the disturbance in the force caused by “yo”.

We headed to the Bit&Spur where my girlfriend, Cheryl had a gift certificate waiting for us to celebrate.

We INDEED had a celebration!!!


Sport climber
St. Louis
Mar 4, 2006 - 05:16pm PT
Beautiful! Thanks for posting.

Social climber
The West
Mar 4, 2006 - 05:23pm PT
another one I've always wanted to do.
I talked with Les when he was leaving the park after that one. Loved the name, lead me to research the monkey god. Then I saw pictures.


Crestline CA
Mar 4, 2006 - 08:55pm PT
Sweet.. another great Ammon climb... and Chris is back in wild man status with his recent spate of BW Climbing.. keep up the fun so that we old guys can enjoy it vacariously!!!

Big Wall climber
Blue Jay, California
Mar 4, 2006 - 11:47pm PT
Ahhh sending like a mad man... as usual!

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Mar 5, 2006 - 12:21am PT
That's awesome. You guys continue to inspire. I loved your shots from the JR too Ammon. Did you post a TR on that as well anywhere?

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2006 - 11:55am PT

No TR on JR, yet, Michael. I will post something on my site at some point.


Mar 5, 2006 - 01:02pm PT
Ammon & Chris

You lucky guys, you have all the fun.

That looks like a nice line and fun route.

Big Wall climber
Valencia, CA
Mar 5, 2006 - 01:12pm PT
Ammon - You mention that you hooked around pin placements. How long were these sections? Also, what type of hooking, cam or edge?

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Mar 5, 2006 - 10:42pm PT
ahh, another fun day of big wall craggin with the el cap pirate. pretty nice to do a suffer-free route after the streaked wall.

ammon, sorry about rock fall. for some reason i couldn't route find to save my life on this ascent- even though the route finding is relative straight-forward. and as a result the rope criss crossed around and got some big blocks. oops. well, nobody got hurt so its all good, right? arrrrrr

super fun route.

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2006 - 03:36am PT

Aaarrrhh, that's right Chris.


Now, I want the TR from RQ.

Good times on Disco today. Yeeaahhh, I'm heading into the mines.....



Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2006 - 11:36am PT

Matty, the hooking is pretty straight forward. It gets thin at the top of the first pitch. Reach high and hook. No cam hooks!!!

David Nelson

San Francisco
Mar 7, 2006 - 05:49pm PT
Pretty awesome pix and great color in the rock.

Chris, one of your img links did not fly, so check out your syntax or details on the filename.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Mar 17, 2006 - 11:42am PT
here is a topo i made of the route

there are more topos here

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Mar 17, 2006 - 11:45am PT
i just looked at the original topo and i now realize i did a variation to pitches 7 and 8. i think the new variation is the way to go because its got some great free climbing. otherwise i think you need to bring lots of big cams to aid in the big chimney thing

Social climber
The West
Mar 17, 2006 - 12:03pm PT
Does "the big Chimney thing," go free?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Mar 17, 2006 - 11:04pm PT
the big chimney might go free. but according to the topo it is aid on big cams

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2006 - 01:24am PT

Ha, that's right, I forgot about this discrepancy. We were hoping Brian Smoot would chime in and tell us if we were off route, or not.

Ha, too funny. Did we do a new variation?

My fault... ha HA.
More Air

Big Wall climber
Mar 18, 2006 - 01:53pm PT
Hey, Ammon/Chris great job!

The variation looks cool! You must have seen the rap bolts and just headed that direction. How was the face climbing?

The original route also has excellent climbing. The chimney Isn't too bad (5.8+), but exiting it requires aid (unless you want to do a hard 5.11 undercling). On the first ascent we only had 2 #4 friends, which got us by...we didn't need that much big gear. The pitch above that was a clean corner crack on perfect rock. I remember way back, using those old Star Drive-ins, they were kind of fun to place. 2 years ago I climbed the route again and noticed that those old bolts were still quite solid! The rock on this route is quite good.

It's nice to see you guy's climbing all these seldom-done quality routes in Zion. There are a lot more too.

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2006 - 02:31pm PT

Ahhh, thanks Brian. Cool, give us some more ideas on the obscurites in Zion.

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