Cowboy Ridge (AKA Southwest RIdge) III 5.7
Trip ReportCowboy Ridge (at Zion National Park)
If you saw my last trip report (see link below), my climbing partner and I went to Zion to climb Moonlight Buttress (YAY) only to have my forearm blow out on the third pitch (BOO)!
So, instead, we went off on an adventure outside of Zion proper - Cowboy Ridge.
Check out the video here:
Supertopo calls Cowboy Ridge grade III 5.7 - heres more info:
It was a 'lets get up at dark' type of morning. But then... it was cold so... we drank coffee and hung out til the sun rose. Then we hiked in - for three hours. Wasn't bad though - AMAZING VIEWS!
Once we got up to the ridge it was an easy saunter up a big ole wide ass chimney before a couple rope length, no gear, pitches.
The fun started when, after a rap, we scrambled over, up, across, down, in, out, etc for about an hour. Half the time we did no ropes, the other half we did alpine style running belays. The third half (?!?) we did actual 'belay' belays and climbed like real (like 'for real' for real).
After a couple hours we ate lunch. Then we ate lunch again.
Getting to the summit we decided to go down the way we came as we knew it and could reverse it quickly. We did a few scrambles, followed by some full rope length rappels.
It was late afternoon but we got down and started the hike out before dark with no worries. The only issue was there was a series of cliffs and we had to walk over, see if we could scramble or rap down, find it was too high, then keep skirting the cliff edge. Took quite a while as it was dark. We had headlamps but they didn't see down the cliff far enough to see the ground.
Eventually we got to a spot where we could rap down to the flat ground/trail. Once we got on the trail it was a simple walk to the car - and then the grocery store for microwave burritos and ice cream - hellz to the motha phukin yizzah!
If you go I'd recommend doing everything in approach shoes (climbing shoes are unnecessary and boots are too clunky), as well as lots of double/triple slings (some of the rope pulls/rappels will need them), a second line (preferably a tag line or thin rope) would be helpful so you can rap further, and LOTS of food (we ate everything - including our extra 'emergency' food) - its a LONG approach and descent!
Overall, Cowboy Way - is the way!
NOTE: I LOVE ridgelines and alpine style mountaineering kinda routes - my partner however was not as psyched about the poor/sparse/non-existent gear, exposure, poor rock quality, rock fall, and 500 options on every pitch style climbing. If you like that kinda thing - you'll love it! If not - skip it.
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