Trip Report
Standard issue red rocks/zion trip report
Monday April 8, 2013 12:34am
The first crux of this trip was getting my girlfriend to give me a "hallpass".

"MeowWhat? You're going away for how long?"
"Don't worry honey, I'll leave you a big bag of food."
Credit: Short Fall Sean

And we're off. Ever noticed how the scenery turns from "Holy sh#t, that's amazing!" to "Meh," right around the time you pass from California into Nevada?
Credit: Short Fall Sean

OK, I guess it's not all bad. There might even be some decent climbing in some of these canyons.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

The first day we went sport climbing. Phil kept insisting that he was off route. Once I radioed up to him that he just needed to turn around and follow the chalk he settled right down and sent.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

No trip to Red Rock(s) would be complete without a visit to the Black Velvet, so we tromped on over to check out The Delicate Sound of Thunder.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Credit: Short Fall Sean

This is a totally bad ass route. Amazing, sustained face climbing on the first pitch and then a wicked hard (at least if you're me, which you aren't, but it still might be hard) traverse to a runout pull around a roof. There were some moves that were a lot easier for me at 6'0" than my partner at 5'6" so you might want to have the tall guy lead the first pitch. That is, unless the tall guy sucks at climbing and is a big fraidy cat.

The 2nd pitch is also pretty rad. It starts up a slab, which looks totally ridiculous but is actually not hard at all. Then you get maybe 40' of steep, hard arete climbing and another 40' or so of steep, runout 5.8ish jug hauling. I had broken a hold following the first pitch and was a bit worried about breaking something else up high, but a judicious amount of tapping and a bit of luck saw me through.
Bomber gear on the 2nd pitch. I actually just placed this because I wa...
Bomber gear on the 2nd pitch. I actually just placed this because I was tired of hauling around the extra weight.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

My picture taking definitely scales inversely with the difficulty of the route because after this I got zero pictures from Only the Good Die Young (way freaking hard, bailed after a couple pitches due to, uh "the late hour"), one picture from The Next Century:
Credit: Short Fall Sean

and about a bazillion pictures from Dark Shadows:
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Uh, ya that's one way to keep your rope out of the stream at the botto...
Uh, ya that's one way to keep your rope out of the stream at the bottom.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

After that it was time to move on to Zion, where I'd heard you could achieve BigWallGlory for only climbing 8 pitches!

We found a halfway decent camping spot
Credit: Short Fall Sean

And commenced to racking and beer drinking.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Touchstone wall seemed like the easiest way to claim the aforementioned BWG so we got an early start and caught the first shuttle. Either I ran out of biners on the first pitch or it was so early that I fogot to clip my last two pieces. Regardless, I certainly wasn't going to bother to back clean them when there was some other dude behind me who could do that.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

The crux of the route for a couple of aid gumbies was definitely this roof on p2. You have to make a weird move (inasmuch as aid climbing consists of "moves") in a blown out pin scar when you're in that awkward "but my aiders are just dangling in space" spot. There's a bomber pin right below, so no worries, but it took a bit of doing to get through.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

After that we were back into the more familiar world of standing on rock instead of gear. Killer splitter fingers and edges on p3:
Credit: Short Fall Sean

After the halfway point all the belays are at great ledges, which made some of us really stoked:
Credit: Short Fall Sean

And allowed some of us to work on our best Fabio impressions:
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Either way, the scenery was spectacular:
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Soon enough we were on top. We figured we should include the #4 cam in our summit shot since it came in so handy on the upper pitches. I even used it to chisel some holds into the final sandy slab.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Has anyone ever told you that Zion is not the most beautiful place in the world? If so, that person is lying and you should waterboard them until they relent and show you this picture.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Back at camp we relaxed and pondered how many different combinations we could make out of cheez-its, pickles, cracker jack, turkey, and snickers bars (I'll save you the math, it's 26):
Credit: Short Fall Sean

The next day I wanted to go canyoneering, but Phil informed me that it was "Pretty much like doing the descent from Touchstone," so we drove around taking tourist photos.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

We also met some of the friendly locals.
Credit: Short Fall Sean

The next day, our last, we climbed smashmouth, which is a freakin' amazing route and a really good confidence booster if you believe the guidebook ratings. My camera died, so no pics. I'm pretty sure it looked something like this:
Credit: Short Fall Sean

Boo yah!

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Short Fall Sean
About the Author
Short Fall Sean is a social climber from .

Comments
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Short Fall Sean

Social climber
Author's Reply  Apr 8, 2013 - 01:29am PT
Thanks WML. Touchstone was warm, but not hot. I think I drank about a liter of water from base to summit, although I certainly wouldn't have minded drinking a bit more. There was only one point where I thought, "F*#k, I'm kinda hot," so that's not too bad.

It's kind of hard for me to say how hard smashmouth felt because this was pretty much my first climbing trip of the year. Once I get out to the valley and get beat down on slippery granite I'll have some kind of reference point. It's definitely 5.10, probably 10+, maybe 11-, possibly 11, and definitely not 11+. I suck at rating stuff. But it's all really well protected as long as you bring a stack of #3 metolius/.4 camalot/.5 camalot for the last two pitches, so I say go for it.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Apr 8, 2013 - 08:23am PT
Cool report!

Back at camp we relaxed and pondered how many different combinations we could make out of cheez-its, pickles, cracker jack, turkey, and snickers bars (I'll save you the math, it's 26):

Hmmm...more pondering would have been in order. There are 32 combinations (2 raised to the number of individual items) if you count "nothing" as a "combination," otherwise 31 if a "combination" has to include at least one of the individual items.

Things do change if there are forbidden combinations (pickles and snickers bars comes to mind).
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Apr 8, 2013 - 10:19am PT
Fantastic TR
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Apr 8, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Well done TR! I like your pictures.
Short Fall Sean

Social climber
Author's Reply  Apr 8, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Rgold, I was thinking of a combination as two or more items, in which case it would be 26. (Your 32 minus the zero combination minus the 5 lone item combinations.)

I seem to recall from abundant lurking around here that you're a mathematician, right? I definitely appreciate the critique, I like to keep my math skills sharp!
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
  Apr 8, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Ugh, let your partner write the TR and he puts in the creepy cleavage shot. Still, a thumbs-up from Donini and a quantitative analysis from RGold... you must be doing something right. And that Smashmouth placeholder shot is way better than the pics I got from the actual climb.

For the record, we did not empirically test all of the potential food combinations; Sean's findings are from a purely mathematics-based research model--a perhaps overly simple one at that. RGold's argument about forbidden combinations is thought-provoking, and suggests that further research is warranted.

Smashmouth grades, a more opinionated take:
p1. short 11- crux
p2. 10d sport-bolted face
p3. 11- sustained
p4. 11- easier overall than p3 but with a one-move crux at a bolt

Maybe subtract one letter grade if you're trying to conserve your 11's.

Sick TR, brah!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Apr 8, 2013 - 04:45pm PT
I was thinking of a combination as two or more items...

Well then, 26 it is!

Mathematicians often use English terms in ways that are not entirely in synch with their everyday meanings, hence a "combination" of one or even zero items. Apologies for that...
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 8, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
Love the girlfriend, low maintenance fo sho!
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  Apr 8, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
And allowed some of us to work on our best Fabio impressions:

Oh my!


Great TR... awesome shots.


~peace
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Apr 16, 2013 - 06:07pm PT
Fun and funny TR. Thanks for it.
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