Trip Report
Looking Glass Rock, Moab
Wednesday November 27, 2013 5:46pm
So the fix was on. Every fall we come out to Moab for a month to do the stuff it offers: Mountain Biking, Climbing, hiking, canyoneering, river stuff, good micro brews and just hanging out with buds. It's never enough time.

So, we’d been doing a lot of biking and it was time to throw in some climbing. I had my good friends and adventure buddies arriving from Boulder soon. They are expert mountain bikers but climbing noObs. They have gym climbed a few times, and Lisa, especially, claims to have an acute fear of heights…but she still wanted to give it a go. We’d also had a chance to spend a few days with Jaybro before he headed out to Balch Camp. He had me sitting on the edge of my sofa telling us about that and the approach. He shared many pictures and I was in awe. It’s not something I could ever do…but it did give me some motivation to pick something special for us.

My motivation was to find something we could all do and still represented a challenge. I love open air rappels and we needed an easy enough climb so everyone could do it. My first thought was Wall Street, but geez, you just drive up to Wall Street and belay from your front seat. Plus it didn’t give me any rappels that would be of interest.

So, I thought, since I’m motivated about hearing about Balch Camp (best trip report ever :http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Balch-Fest-2013-Two-Days-in-and-Around-and-On-The-Flake-The-Official-Trip-Report/t12199n.html); and its gnarly approach I’ll challenge myself. And after some “research” I decided on Looking Glass Rock. The approach would be a challenge for sure compared to Wall Street, my trusty old friend, the climbing good for beginners and oh yes, the beautiful, 185 foot open air rappel.

So the first challenge was the approach. One encounters barbed wire. One way to get past it is go under it. Little did I know if I had looked eastward about 50 feet I could have walked around it.
No poison oak here...
ohhhh….tough tough….I shoulda looked 50 yards east.  End of barbed wir...
ohhhh….tough tough….I shoulda looked 50 yards east. End of barbed wire.
Credit: SCseagoat

Then we all know about the Crytobiotic Soil in Moab and do not trample!
Ahhhh…..is this crypto on sterioids???? Or is this dessicated cow turds? Regardless, best not to trample.
Crytpo on steriods or cow dung?
Crytpo on steriods or cow dung?
Credit: SCseagoat
Then the Moab sand. Legendary for stopping mountain bikes dead. Dead. As one can see here the imprint of my foot and you can extrapolate what the hike to the base was like. Sand Whacking.
Credit: SCseagoat
Phew, 10 minutes of pure hell and we are at the base. My friend Lisa would like to call us Dolls with Balls since we get into some pretty extreme adventures. But I tell her that the moniker “Dolls” at my age just doesn’t work. So now it’s “Susan’s Adventure Bitches”… ahhh. Ok. I think they pay me a compliment when they say “when we’re as old as you we hope we can do half the stuff you do”. Lisa, in addition to being a expert MTBer is an extreme trail marathoner and won’t go out for a run unless it’s at least 25 miles. She's delighted to have just turned 50 since it bumps her up to another age group and she top of the head again. Dawn is a phenom MTBer and races Super Moto Cross with her husband and teenagers. Geez, I thought most families went to church together.
Dawn motor crossing with her husband.
Dawn and her husband moto crossing
Dawn and her husband moto crossing
Credit: SCseagoat
Lisa, Susan and Dawn  always seeking adventure
Lisa, Susan and Dawn always seeking adventure
Credit: SCseagoat
Dawn racing
Dawn racing
Credit: SCseagoat

The ritual of gear sorting completed and we are at the base. Michael suddenly remembers he has forgotten the SAT phone in the car. Well apparently not a problem since Art’s cell phone rings. He’s not retired yet and is now making international deals to make the world safe for democracy at the base of Looking Glass. Then Mike’s phone rings as he fields a local call from Pagan Mountaineering who wants to charge him a lot more for gear, that, he politely explains to them, he could walk down to Gear Heads and get for a lot less. Oh boy, now Dawn’s phone goes off and she is reassuring her teenagers back in Boulder they can make their own sandwiches and get off to school.

Finally, the climb is on. Lisa and Dawn have harnesses on as well as we put swami belts on them. They aren’t going anywhere with out backed up and redundant protection. Art leads. Lisa and Dawn follow. There are some little whimpers but all appears to be going according to plan. Mike goes and then I will clean.

I give the rock a hug and ask for the spirit of Looking Glass to be kind to me. I think about my local Moab climbing heroes and what they might divine. Jaybro, kinda zen like might say, “flow up the rock, like water flows down it” Larry would scold me for forgetting a hoola hoop and summit beer.
Credit: SCseagoat

So I start the 5.5 crux move. Right foot up, stem across with the left and reach for a handhold. Ooops, a small part of the handhold breaks off. What was a nice 5.5 start is now a 5.5a. Oh boy…and I think about angering the spirit of the Indian who did a petroglyph on the backside of the start. Am I doomed? Will the Boy Scout leaders come out and obliterate the start because now I have made it "unsafe????"

The 5.5 crux start
The 5.5 crux start
Credit: SCseagoat
a lovely petroglyph
a lovely petroglyph
Credit: SCseagoat
Mike survives the first crux move
Ahhhhh he made that opening move
Ahhhhh he made that opening move
Credit: SCseagoat

The first pitch is low angle, lots of features, we all navigate it easily.
The 2nd pitch has a short 5.4 face move which seems simple enough until one puts their foot on it and it cries fine grand sand. Foot does not want to stay on this little face section. Skates right off. I regrade it a 5.4s for "sand" move. A few features to climbers right, a quick move and onto pitch 3. Pitch 3 is just a walk up to the summit.
Dawn and her all purpose climbing and biking helmet
Dawn and her all purpose climbing and biking helmet
Credit: SCseagoat
Mike topping out
Mike topping out
Credit: SCseagoat
Me topping out
Me topping out
Credit: SCseagoat
Michael topping out
photo not found
Missing photo ID#332511

The summit is huge..with lots of room to run around, eat lunch, look at the views feel the wind starting to BLOW.

Mike herding cats
Mike herding cats
Credit: SCseagoat
Women on top and all that
Women on top and all that
Credit: SCseagoat
Credit: SCseagoat

Art checking out the guide book for the rap anchors. He looks around and finally looks down into a slot and says “this will be interesting”. Suddenly Dawn and Lisa perk up with a shaky “what???” as they start to run towards Art to check it out. I yell out that it’s probably not a good idea to be running towards Art without ropes on. The rap anchors are down in a little slot which we will all need to get into and then we will exit through a "keyhole". Yup, interesting for sure!
Art looking for the anchors
Art looking for the anchors
Credit: SCseagoat
So the anchor is set and now we all line up in this narrow little slot that I think must look like a birth canal (been many years since I’ve seen the inside of one of those). I’m excited and a little nervous about the long rappel. You have to slither out of the slot butt first, kinda like a breach birth. So your butt and legs are out starting the rap while your head and chest is still in the slot. At first you don’t really know when your feet are going to drop into open air. But it’s about 10 feet so you are fully out of the slot before you’re into open air.
The slot through which we all must come
The slot through which we all must come
Credit: SCseagoat
In the "birth canal"
In the "birth canal"
Credit: SCseagoat
The look on Lisa’s face tells volumes about what is going on her mind!
Lisa, Susan and Mike.  Lisa looking a little anxious
Lisa, Susan and Mike. Lisa looking a little anxious
Credit: SCseagoat
After we get into the slot, we get lined up for our exit via the keyhole. Yipppeeeee…
Dawn gets ready to be launched…big smile
Dawn with a big smile, since she can't see below herself anyway
Dawn with a big smile, since she can't see below herself anyway
Credit: SCseagoat
view from the "other" side…looks like a breach birth
Credit: SCseagoat
Lisa just isn't sure about how this whole rap thing works. But not to worry, she is on an upper belay…
Credit: SCseagoat
Well when she lands….she's ready to do laps
me loving this rap
me loving this rap
Credit: SCseagoat
Me on my way down….I LOVED IT….best open air rap I've ever done. I just wanted to hang there.
Lisa ready to do laps!
Lisa ready to do laps!
Credit: SCseagoat
Mike on his way down
Credit: SCseagoat
Lovely area
On the way down <br/>
On the way down

Credit: SCseagoat
The lovely "Looking Glass" opening
Credit: SCseagoat
Lisa doing rope management with time tested chin binder
Credit: SCseagoat
Art, who did most of the photography headed back through the Looking Glass
Credit: SCseagoat

And the next day the girls were back to their bikes and headed to the-not-so-Flat Pass.
Credit: SCseagoat

Moab rocks, but anyone that's been there knows that!

Susan

  Trip Report Views: 2,016
SCseagoat
About the Author
SCseagoat is a trad climber from Santa Cruz.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Nov 27, 2013 - 05:49pm PT
Nice
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Nov 27, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Excellent TR. looks like y'all had quite a party! Some great pics of a beautiful place too.


Thanks for sharing.
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Nov 27, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
Time with friends is always the best......Thanx for sharing...........

Stevo
canyonrat

Trad climber
vernon BC
  Nov 27, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
Thanks for the report. I'll take my wife on that climb
Gilroy

Social climber
Bolderado
  Nov 27, 2013 - 07:13pm PT
What Fun! Type 2 for some it seems.

TFPU
locker

climber
STFU n00b!!!
  Nov 27, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
I like the entire read/photo's...


But for some reason this (along with the caption) from the very opening cracked me up...

...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Nov 27, 2013 - 07:42pm PT
plush, dig it
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
  Nov 27, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
Woot! Fun climb. Thanks for the read and picsSusan. Glad you guys had a great trip.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Nov 27, 2013 - 11:39pm PT
Yeeee haw!! Nice work Susan! Thanks for the report!
10b4me

climber
  Nov 28, 2013 - 01:42am PT
TFPU, Susan.
I will have to check that place out, next time.
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Nov 28, 2013 - 02:11am PT
Fun read!

TFPU

Andrzej
sullly

Gym climber
  Nov 28, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Love the belay shots. So far, it seems, you and Donini have the most enviable retirement packages.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Nov 29, 2013 - 01:02pm PT
Fun to read! Sounds like a great time.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Nov 29, 2013 - 03:06pm PT
Chin beaner? I'll have to try that.

TFPU!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Nov 29, 2013 - 03:52pm PT

Whoo hoo!!!
Loved the pic of the rope coming down the looking glass--what
a neat looking rock!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Nov 29, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Fun
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Nov 29, 2013 - 07:01pm PT
Susan-

Fun TR! But the ex-military me sez: always go under barbed wire on your back! That way you can disentangle yourself.
Boulder Dawn

Social climber
Boulder
  Nov 30, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
It was a fun time, Susan. I'd like to do even more! Thank you guys for taking me outside climbing for the first time. A few more pictures. See you next week in Vail!

Lisa, Dawn, Mike, Susan
Lisa, Dawn, Mike, Susan
Credit: Boulder Dawn

Susan on the next to last pitch.
Susan on the next to last pitch.
Credit: Boulder Dawn

Susan, base of Looking Glass
Susan, base of Looking Glass
Credit: Boulder Dawn

Kizzie

climber
Crewe, England
  Dec 4, 2013 - 05:32am PT
I had never heard of cryptobiotic soil, so I googled it and found a link to some excellent information: http://www.gomoab.com/moab_environment.html

Seems the top surface of the ground is in reality a very slow growing living thing and even the tread of a camping shoe could damage it so much, it might not recover in one persons lifetime. Wow, that is awesome!

Please tread real careful folks, such a rare wonderful life-form must be protected for other generations.

Excellent pictures, you all seemed to have some really good times there. well done.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Dec 4, 2013 - 08:58am PT
Sweet TR!
TFPU
Tad
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
  Dec 4, 2013 - 09:44am PT
Great stuff! I wanna get out there someday...
this just in

climber
north fork
  Dec 4, 2013 - 09:52am PT
The before rap and after rap pics of Lisa are priceless. I think every climber has been there. Thanks Susan.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Dec 4, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Perfect weather, perfect friends.....what more could you want?
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go