Desert Shield V 5.9 C3

 
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Desert Shield Area


Zion National Park, Utah, USA


Trip Report
Rain, Snow, and Sun: Climbing in Zion
Friday March 15, 2013 4:20pm
Credit: Grippa

It's been a long winter here in Salt Lake. With crappy air quality and a lot of low elevation snow unless we've been in the winter doldrums for quite some time.

Luckily we have a few outlets a few hours drive away to escape winter, immerse yourself into a new experience, forget about SLC, and get into some adventure. What better place to throw yourself at something new than Zion National Park? My friend Joey and I work together, climb together, and both needed to play in the sand.

We bailed for the south just as a storm rolled into the state, but this didn't deter us as we knew even if we had to wait it out we'd be in an awesome arena.

Rainy Temple of Sinewava.
Rainy Temple of Sinewava.
Credit: Grippa

After the storm let up we had to dry out all my stuff. I re-sealed as well as nikwaxed my tent last spring before going to Yosemite, but apparently that did no good. I'd wake up to constant dripping on my sleeping bag, my head, everything inside my tent. Somehow I got some sleep!

Credit: Grippa

Snowy narrows
Snowy narrows
Credit: Grippa

Upon drying all my stuff out at the Springdale Laundry mat we cruised the park hiking various day trails we usually avoid due to crowds. Seeing these areas filled with snow and moisture was very different from the Zion I'm used to seeing. Arriving during the storm was a blessing in disguise, and totally worth my soaking the night prior.

Monkeyfinger belay #2
Monkeyfinger belay #2
Credit: Grippa

The day spent hiking around we also scoped which walls saw the most sun, and which were seeping or had an overabundance of moisture. I'm sure Tokervillian could tell you all how hard it rained this past weekend.

After chilling for most of the following day we climbed up to the 5th pitch of Monkeyfinger before rapping off. M.F. is a super good entry level 5.12 free wall that is easily done at 5.10 C1.

starting pitch 2 of MF.
starting pitch 2 of MF.
Credit: Grippa

The Majority of the route is just above me.
The Majority of the route is just above me.
Credit: Grippa

Monkeyfinger got Joey used to jugging and something a little more vertical than his home crag of Little Cottonwood. Having zero wall experience under this belt I decided to drag him up my wall of choice. The Desert Shield.

Credit: Grippa

I'll admit that this decision was a selfish one, but also one to to avoid the constant cluster that is the moonlight area. Good thing Joey is an easy going guy. He agreed to take care of the easy free pitches while I took the upper aid portion.

Definitely didn't take all of this.
Definitely didn't take all of this.
Credit: Grippa

The awesome part about the shield is that it only requires a double rack plus the tiny nuts, offset cams and hooks. Which is a huge difference from the normal 4x racks carried up zion walls nowadays.

The looming headwall.
The looming headwall.
Credit: Grippa

Climbing the shield for me and Joey was also about experiencing the famed jungle bivy.

Where did he come from? Where did he go? How did he get the rope up th...
Where did he come from? Where did he go? How did he get the rope up there? ...Big Wall Joe.
Credit: Grippa

From the bivy we had a birds eye view of Spaceshot! We cruised to the bivy pretty quick and fixed the two above it before retiring for the day. While eating dinner, and enjoying an evening brew we noticed two climbers racking up looking pretty light for how late in the day it was. The time was about 6:15PM when they started up, and we still couldn't figure it out. When they started simul-climbing right off the bat we knew what the deal was. I recognize those voices! I recognize those vans! It was Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold finishing their 4th and final wall of their most recent link up.

Credit: Grippa

Bolt Ladder
Bolt Ladder
Credit: Grippa

Watching these guys send that rig in 3 hours was soooo inspiring. Joey mentioned that to a normal person watching them climb would be like watching paint dry, but to us it was like watching ESPN Live! We gave them a few monkey hoots, and got some back. The stoke level was high to say the least.

Belay 6 I think. Top of the bolt ladder.
Belay 6 I think. Top of the bolt ladder.
Credit: Grippa

Jugging our fixed lines the following morning I was honored to lead the entire bolt ladder to rim block. Without a doubt my most sustained aid lead ever, but also my most satisfying. Don't think it's over once you complete the 1st C3 pitch because the 2nd is the sting in the tail! With the day closing out we short fixed the last pitch had the standard anti-climatic summit experience, and started the raps.

Pitch 7 I think.
Pitch 7 I think.
Credit: Grippa


The Desert Shield was my 3rd wall in Zion, and my 4th wall overall. My last wall was the Prow on Washington's Column which ended when my partner took a huge winger spraining his ankle on the 8th pitch. I think I'm finally ready for El Cap.

Alright I'm going climbing now. Later

My lady calls this my camping face.
My lady calls this my camping face.
Credit: Grippa


  Trip Report Views: 1,830
Grippa
About the Author
Grippa is a wannabe living in Salt Lake City, UT.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Mar 15, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
Great job not letting the winter ruin the fun! "Entry level 5.12" That made me laugh!

Thanks
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 15, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Very cool trip,
nice you got to see Honold and Caldwell also!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Mar 15, 2013 - 08:41pm PT
hey there say, grippa... wonderful share... wonderful pictures, thanks so very much!

:)

wonderful colors of the rocks...
fun to see the pictures load...
god bless, :)
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Mar 15, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
way to go grippa.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Mar 16, 2013 - 11:37am PT
limpincrab - "entry" level in that the 5.12 portion is only 25ft long. the remainder of Monkeyfinger is 11b or under. At 900ft tall it's a very attainable route considering all the other walls in the park offer sustained 5.12 climbing the entire way or the odd 5.13 pitch that I can't even begin to comprehend!
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Mar 16, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
That picture looking up the bolt ladder is one of the finest photos I've seen in a long time. (nice TR too)
pazreal

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 17, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Nice work fellas! Better you than me.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Mar 17, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
whoa,
i've been forever searching
for that
"once upon a time" place.

i see that you've beat me to it.

im stuck here in
"shite hittin the fan" reality.

hope to join you someday in that tangent space.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Mar 17, 2013 - 01:03pm PT
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Mar 17, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Mar 17, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Sweet!
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Mar 17, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
Oh yeah, at the rate you're going, you're ready for El Cap!
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Mar 17, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Very nice Grippa!

TFPU
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Mar 17, 2013 - 02:17pm PT
Nice!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Mar 18, 2013 - 04:31pm PT
Short and sweet!
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Desert Shield Area - Desert Shield V 5.9 C3 - Zion National Park, Utah, USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Chris McNamara
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