In September my partner Nat and I decided to meet up in Zion in October to do Moonlight Buttress (her 1st big wall climb) and -as luck would have it- THE DAY I was to leave the government shut down happened!
SEE THE VIDEO HERE:
We decided to delay the trip until November which luckily -aha- meant it would be colder and AND give us less daylight but alas...
And then we waited.
And then we waited some more.
And then it was November.
Finally, I flew out to meet Nat and we drove to Zion. Getting there late at night it was cold as balls ("cold as balls" being an official measurement on the 'cold' scale) we couldn't see anything so simply went to bed.
We got up the next morning tired but, as we stayed at the La Quinta a mere five minutes from the park gate, we got the free breakfast buffet (which was good) and coffee (which was SH#TTY).
Entering the park, we quickly drove down the wrong road (there are only TWO) and then lost a half hour as we turned around, drove down the right one, and parked.
As we packed our climbing gear in the parking lot, a "we packed our gear beforehand" party pulled in, jumped out of the car, asked what climb we were going to do, said "Us too." And took off.
Hurriedly finishing our packing, we watched them cross the river and go in OVER THEIR WAISTS!!! Having stopped by the Ranger Station that morning (we wanted SOMEONE in the state to know where we were going that day) we found the water temp to be a balmy 44 degrees! To say the prospect of that much of a dunking was a little YO is putting it mildly.
Having a little look round, we found an easier place to cross (but took out socks, shoes, and pants off anyway) and succeeded in only getting wet up to our shins - SUCCESS!!!
We then quickly hiked towards the base. Getting close, we saw a party on the first pitch but, thinking they'd be done by the time we got up there and got ready, we were surprised to see a party on it when we arrived.
Figuring it was a third party, we decided to do the direct 5.10 C1 pitch (instead of the 5.7 C1 pitch they were on). Arriving at the anchor I was surprised to see it was the party we met in the parking lot (the leader had epiced so it took them a while).
Meanwhile, Nat jugged up and I blasted off on the 2nd pitch (also 5.10 C1). The vertical was super fun but the traverse was thin. Had to do a bunch of "well -phuk- what do I do here" / back cleaning et al. Got through it and had lunch at the base of the 3rd pitch.
Although we had a mini-haulbag only (with food, water, and extra layers, all the hauling had shredded my admittedly (too late) injured forearm. Undeterred, I got up on the bolt ladder pitch only to find I was unable to make it past the sub-anchor (you need to bust out a mandatory free move there). Every time I lept up and over to the side pull, I could grab it, but when I went to pull up on it my forearm would fail and I'd fall off.
After about ten minutes of fiddling, my forearm completely failed. So, we bailed.
Here's some good news! If you need to bail from the 3rd pitch sub anchor, rather than pendulumim W-A-Y to the right to get to the rap anchor (as seen in the supertopo book), you can simply double rope rap straight down to another anchor which is DIRECTLY below (the sub anchor).
From this anchor, you can then do a second two rope rap to the ground (rather than the 190' and 60' rap anchors to the right).
Here's the 'general notes' roundup:
-super great route
-park is AMAZING
-river is cold but there are low parts (shin height as opposed to waist deep if you look around)
-follow the river and you'll come to a SINGLE trail to the base of the route (we bushwhacked around a bit before we found it then were like "oh that was dumb")
-the 5.10 C1 alternate start is super fun and may be a faster/more direct way to the 1st pitch anchor as you top out a few feet to the left of the anchor - on the 5.7 C1 start you are W-A-Y to the left (the other party had to do one hell of a traverse to reach the anchor)
-supertopo aint jokin about the 3-4 cams in each size (especially the 2nd pitch traverse)
-all bolts and anchors on the first three pitches are YO (that means 'good') except a few pins on the bolt ladder pitch (some are only half in the rock - all okay though)
-if you want to rap from the 3rd pitch sub anchor you can go straight down (probably not a good idea for fixing ropes as you'd end up in the middle of a pitch as opposed to the 'anchor' anchor)
-the La Quinta was a good deal if you can swing it, $80 a night for two beds, hot tub, pool, free breakfast and coffee, and only 5 minutes from the park entry (considering it was dark and COLD by 5pm it was nice to get a hot shower, a soak in the hot tub, and sleep in a real bed/im old)
Best to you all over the winter,
PS - as seen in one of the local coffee shops:
Missing photo ID#333719