Trip Report
The slowest solo push on record. Desert Shield in a day

by Burt
Thursday March 10, 2011 2:03pm
Yeah bored
Yeah bored
Credit: Burt

“Boredom is an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in their surroundings.”

Yeah, it was time to go get some sand in the eyes and fell the grinding of knuckles on the sandstone of Zion. School was overwhelming, starting a new job, and hey got a really smoking hot new girlfriend… I am a busy guy.
She is so awesome
She is so awesome
Credit: Burt

So before my next epic push through life I needed to go do something, kill the boredom, so a push solo of Desert Shield sounded like a plan… one problem I only had Friday, that means leaving class at 10pm on Thursday, driving to the park, starting at night, climb the route, then drive back to Vegas that same day. This is gonna hurt…
I have been avoiding Desert Shield for many years now. In the late 90’s a friend of mine was going through a rough patch in his life. We talked about it some, but I was a 19-year-old kid, and Dave was in his 30’s. Not much advise I could give him. We drowned ourselves in climbing and Dave was really into wall climbing as I was. After a few trips together we attempted a winter ascent of Desert Shield. Three pitches up, we got hammered by a storm. We spent the next few days in the ledge laughing as spindrift fell down the route onto us from the gully above. We came down planning to come back soon. As he worked out his problems we lost touch for well over a half a year. One day at the local rock shop we ran into each other. Dave looked not himself. He begged me to go climbing; he said he needed to get out. I was so happy to see him and we agreed on Desert Shield, leaving the next day. I ran home so excited to climb with Dave again. I packed, loaded the car, and just had to work a few hours before our adventure began. As I pulled into work my phone rang. A mutual friend of ours called to inform me that Dave just took his own life. I was floored. I couldn’t move. Not Dave. Why did I have to work for those few hours? Why didn’t he call me? Why did he do this? I have lived with these questions for many years. I have avoided this route ever since, but look at it every time I am in the park. I needed to go up there.

4 hours of sleep the night before, because a 7-page paper on mechanical ventilation and how heat and humidity vs. HME style devices affect VAP rates (ventilator associated pneumonias)… wow sound fun eh?
looks like I am having a great time
looks like I am having a great time
Credit: Burt

I thought for sure I could nap before class but that didn’t happen. I looked at the supertopo (Chris I am expecting a new book for this product placement) of the route and it calls for 4-5 sets of offsets… huh… 2 will do, that’s all I have. The girlfriend is new to climbing and was not impressed with this at all. I assured her that Chris Mac was just trying to save the world and probably gets a kick back from the offset companies to recommend so many pieces, besides that is just merely a guideline… but hardmen like myself just back clean I told her. Deep down all I could do was wish the offset god would rain down 3 more sets of these badboys, but come on I couldn’t admit that in front of her, remember new girlfriend, smoking hot, and I needed to look as bad ass as I could… try and keep up.
10pm in the school parking lot with my haulbag, am I really doing this? F*#k I am. Stop for some 5-hour energy drinks, 3 coffee Monster drinks, and candy. I needed to stay awake for the drive. So I took the plunge and bought an iPhone a few weeks ago. Wow the drive was so short, I just watched episodes of Family Guy and Jackass… those guys are weak. I mean stapling your balls to your legs? Come on! Solo a wall in a push, it’s just about as stupid and I didn’t get paid millions to do it. So who is the dumbass now? Oh wait, me. Sh#t, Parking under the wall I wanted to puke, either the nerves of puddy or the 15,000mg of sugar and caffeine I just ingested. I am still really tired and all I could think about is for the next 20 hours I am not going to get to sleep. I am f*#king retarded.
Food for the route... Now that is a balanced meal
Food for the route... Now that is a balanced meal
Credit: Burt


The bag being heavy, I dreaded the approach… have you seen this thing? Sherpas, or troubled youth need to be for hire to haul my sh#t up there. It has to be at least a full 7 minutes to get to the base. I need to take up power knitting or something. This sh#t is for the birds. Flake the ropes; get the rack out, check the watch… 3am. Wow I have already been up for 20 hours.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mq-BO-lgkU

The first pitch is an easy one, really just a solo with a weird move at the end. The rock was super sandy and wet from some snow melt above, so trying to climb as easy as possible and avoid the water streaks. As I rapped down the energy lightning bolt hit me and the doubt started to fade, I wanted to climb this thing. I needed to climb this thing. With school and work commitments that I have, this will be the last adventure for until summer more then likely. I made a goal, top of the 3rd pitch by sunrise.

As I started up the 3rd pitch, some easy free to what the topo says “5.8 awkward chimney or 5.9 stem” all I could think is 2 things… one, great one of these, and two, if you are stemming on the outside of a chimney how on earth are you getting pro? Well I charged into the chimney and quickly realized with my solo device, rack, and fat ass, I am not fitting in this mother. After a heart stopping slip on the reversal of this maneuver, I stemmed the damn thing (5.9 and scary and dark and sandy yikes) and linked with the next pitch. I hit the ledge on the top of pitch 4 as the sun came up.
Top of pitch 4 I think, yeah smiling cause it doesn't hurt yet.
Top of pitch 4 I think, yeah smiling cause it doesn't hurt yet.
Credit: Burt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIjn6ZXBVe8

Pitch 5 is a steep 5.9 lieback (or A1 hehe) that is loose and sandy, but I made quick work of this, and as I hit the anchor I had plenty of rope so I linked the bolt ladder pitch with this one. Holy crap this thing is steep and cool.
The steep bolt ladder while linking pitch 5 and 6
The steep bolt ladder while linking pitch 5 and 6
Credit: Burt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfwkzd85z0M

Rap down, kick the bag loose and away we go.
Yeah I was told to smile in pictures... the price we pay to get some l...
Yeah I was told to smile in pictures... the price we pay to get some lovin...
Credit: Burt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlA5KX_XSyM

The headwall is stellar. The cracks are tasty from this point on.
Splitter on P8
Splitter on P8
Credit: Burt

Pitch 7 is straight up and thin. No real hard sections, just eats up the offsets and offset cams.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzb0Sjksei8

The dreaded arm locks started at this point. I was bonking. I rapped the pitch cleaned as fast as I could, hauled the pig and stopped for a half hour break. I was so smoked at this point. I wanted to go down, I wanted some sleep, f*#k rock climbing and hello NASCAR. Couch sitting, beer drinking, and steak eating sounded perfect.
Yeah buddy
Yeah buddy
Credit: Burt
My kind of people
My kind of people
Credit: Burt

I listened to some great music on the Ipod, ate four packages of clifblocks (the only food I brought) and pounded two 5-hour energy drinks. I wanted to link the last two pitches. The raps make it, so why not the lead I told myself. Without knowing, I convinced myself that it would be no biggie. It is truly amazing what we really talk ourselves into when in certain situations. I mean damn that is why I am up here in the first place. So I charged off on lead,I needed off this thing so I committed.
Pitch 8 is the crux for me by leaps and bounds. I was so smoked, cooked, and hung out to dry at this point. Every time I pulled up to move onto another piece my arms would lock and I would have to force them straight. I had ripped the crap out of my cuticle earlier, so every time I touched something it would catch, bleed more, and hurt like a son of a bitch. Yes, for all you keeping up, I broke a nail and it hurt. Shut up it really hurt! (the girlfriend said she would kiss it and make it better)
See all better, now  I can climb
See all better, now I can climb
Credit: Burt

I am a baby, and really I should have been wearing a skirt. The crack high on this pitch really pinches down, and for ten minutes I got stuck. I was out on some hooks, some really small brass, and I was two moves from the anchor… WTF! I didn’t have much gear in that inspired confidence for some ways, so I did the best thing I could think out. I started screaming and throwing a tantrum.
Prob looked like this
Prob looked like this
Credit: Burt

I am sure the guys over on Space Shot got a kick out of that one!
Guys on the last few of Space Shot, They are on earth orbit
Guys on the last few of Space Shot, They are on earth orbit
Credit: Burt

Finally right in front of my face was a #1 HB placement, I yelled more cause I am a jackass, stood up freed the loose crap to the anchor and said SH#T! I wanted to link this pitch with the next one. That pitch took me close to 2 hours or longer to lead and I wanted down. I knew that if I rapped to my bag I was going to bail one pitch from the top. I didn’t have as much rope as I had hoped for since the pitch traversed some, but I looked at the next pitch saw that most of it was bolts so I was off. I made it to the anchor at pitch 9 a few minutes later. I was wasted. But Stoked.
Yeah I want food, feed the bear
Yeah I want food, feed the bear
Credit: Burt

Looking down the p9
Looking down the p9
Credit: Burt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pln5aW1RKo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5HR3IaLuN4
In all I had a great time on a great route. My time was right about 13 hours to the top of the route, but I rapped cleaned the last pitch so whatever. It took me longer to lead one pitch then for Ammon and Chris to climb the route… just brings everything into perspective for me. I really do suck. From the time leaving the last pitch I was on the ground 30 minutes later. One small snafu on the decent, I was rapping off the top of pitch 6 to pitch 4 but its way steep. You land on this slab and one must swing way over to get back to the ledge on top of pitch 4. I couldn't, I was so tired. Well with 70M ropes it kinda made it down to the bivy on top of pitch 3. With tails in my device I just let them pop through and landed on the ledge a few feet below. IT worked... but a few minutes later I was on the ground. I was so tired, but this overwhelming sense of accomplishment flooded over me. I was really stoked about this one. I missed my friend. Dave thank you for the memories, I hope you have found peace my friend. I had a few minutes alone at the base; I leaned back on the haulbag and looked up. I felt like I was nineteen years old again, sitting there like I had with Dave wondering what this route was going to dish out. I quietly picked up my bag and started off to the truck. I was planning on sleeping in the truck as I got tired, but somehow I stayed awake all the way back to Vegas. I arrived home around 8:30pm after almost 40 hours on the go. It was a great trip.
See, look at that massive cut, I mean rescue was almost called, but I ...
See, look at that massive cut, I mean rescue was almost called, but I sucked it up and said f*#k it, I got myself into this and I will get myself out of it even if it kills me... I am that hardcore.
Credit: Burt

Looking out towards the Temple
Looking out towards the Temple
Credit: Burt

Looking at the route after getting done. I am glad I had my friend alo...
Looking at the route after getting done. I am glad I had my friend along for the ride that we were supposed to complete so many years ago.
Credit: Burt

Rack I took (I linked a lot, so back cleaning was a must)
2 70m ropes
2 sets offset mastercams
2 sets tcu (over kill)
3 sets cams to 2 camalot
2 ea 3-4 camalot
1 ea 5 camalot (not needed)
2 sets DMM brass offset
2 sets DMM alum offset
1 set BD nuts
1 big bd hook
1 talon


  Trip Report Views: 4,009
Burt
About the Author
Burt is a social butterfly from Las Vegas, Nv.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:17pm PT
Thanks for that man, made my day!
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:19pm PT
Yay! Great report! TFPU
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:21pm PT
Neat route, nice pics (particularly in solo mode) and excellent TR. Thanks!

John
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:24pm PT
Fine TR and a Proud send!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:25pm PT
BURT!!!1111111

DMT
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:31pm PT
Excellent TR!

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Mar 10, 2011 - 02:59pm PT
Nice!
kent

Trad climber
SLC, Ut
  Mar 10, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
so proud! congrats!
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Mar 10, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
Cool report Burt. Didn't answer the question of why we do the stupid things climbers do, but captured the essence of the fact that we do them anyway, and it feels so darn good at the end.

Thanks for sharing.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Mar 10, 2011 - 04:17pm PT
Nice job. Way to hang in there and get 'er done!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Mar 10, 2011 - 04:33pm PT
Bad to the bone brah. Thanks for the after lunch workday bigwall stoke.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Mar 10, 2011 - 04:36pm PT
thanks. Nice send.
Hoots

climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Mar 10, 2011 - 04:37pm PT
Great TR. Thanks.
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
  Mar 10, 2011 - 05:01pm PT
Cool Trip report. Nice job on the send & sorry about the loss of your friend. You can't blame yourself when something like this happens. It's not like he was giving you warning signs that he was depressed and you ignored it.
Burt

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  Mar 10, 2011 - 05:05pm PT
Right on guys thanks. It was a fun day and the route is stellar.

Levy thanks. I spent a long time with the dreaded "what ifs" but I know that he just had to do what he had to do. As much as it hurt all of us I can't imagine the pain he must have been in to do this. If the pain was that bad maybe he needed to be free of this earth. Thanks again.

Kurtburt
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
  Mar 10, 2011 - 05:11pm PT
Awesome, but you should have called for the heli rescue. I would have.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Mar 10, 2011 - 05:27pm PT
Nice report! Sounds like it was a good soul healing trip. Be careful on the drives back from that kinda stuff!
yo

climber
Mudcat Spire
  Mar 10, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
Nice!

(Pushing that route is a bad idea, tho, cause then you can't cook up brats on the grill, hehe.)
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 10, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
bump for climbing and self deprecating humor.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Mar 10, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
Great job on the route and the entertaining trip report! Loved your big wall diet - very nutritious and stimulating! Those headwall cracks are sweet eh? Personally, I'm glad I had more than 2 sets of BrassNuts up there myself - me too chicken to back clean that much!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Mar 10, 2011 - 11:40pm PT
STout.
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Mar 11, 2011 - 12:07am PT
You kick ass!
domngo

climber
Canada
  Mar 11, 2011 - 12:11am PT
haha! good job!
P.Kingsbury

Trad climber
the jeep
  Mar 11, 2011 - 01:20am PT
Thanks for posting up Burt! Sounds like an excellent adventure and tribute to your friend.

Patrick
Brian Biega

climber
Truckee, CA
  Mar 11, 2011 - 04:29am PT
Great job! Looks like a nice climb and sounds like a fun time.

Cheers, Brian
Jeremy

climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 10:49am PT
BURT BUMP!
Silver

Gym climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 11:48am PT
Burt great TR and way to go on the solo. Proud.

I would like to recommend to you another wall food you might enjoy.

The 6 foot long ROPE O Roni. Basically a 6 foot long Slim Jim.

It serves two purposes. 1. Food 2. A whip to get you moving when you want to quit.

I hope your injury does not result in infection and amputation that looked really nasty.

Oh I guess you could have used the Rope O Roni as a tourniquet for the wound.

Nice Job
Silver
skywalker

climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 12:24pm PT
Bump.
perswig

climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 12:35pm PT
Yes, you are that hardcore!
Excellent TR; grisly hangnail pic.
Thanks.

Dale
poop_tube

Big Wall climber
33° 45' N 117° 52' W
  Mar 11, 2011 - 01:12pm PT
badass
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Mar 11, 2011 - 06:34pm PT
bump for CLIMBING!
couchmaster

climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 08:20pm PT
haha haha ! THATS! what a TR is meant to be my friends! Right dere! Pictures-check humor-check , suffering-check , climbing-check even a hottie!
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
  Mar 11, 2011 - 10:06pm PT
Very nicely done, Burt. I liked it.
Mike.

climber
  Mar 11, 2011 - 10:32pm PT
Great report on an even greater effort, Burt. Nice going on all fronts. Many extra points for sleep deprivation. Cheers, man.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 11, 2011 - 10:37pm PT
Awesome Job, a great tribute to Dave!
Way to Rally!
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
  Mar 11, 2011 - 11:30pm PT
The effort is ALL. At least while you're THERE.
A really good TR, there, I conclude. Resisting the BONK is HARD!
Burt

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  Mar 12, 2011 - 01:41am PT
Silver, the girlfriend loved the suggestion of the ropeoroni thing. I am in my own mists of another type of epic push... 12 hour work days, long nights of writing papers and projects, finals in a week, then clinicals and work so like 6 12 hour days here real soon. But graduation is in the end of July so lets hope I make it to then. Thanks all for the awesome motivation.

Kurtburt
tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
  Mar 12, 2011 - 07:53pm PT
I like the brainless bashing of NASCAR fans. Makes you much more hip than anyone else.

Will you be senselessly bashing Muslims next? They are also different than you.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Mar 12, 2011 - 10:13pm PT
Nice! Another one I've long wanted to do!

Tom tom, as always stick a pooptube in it!
mattclimber

Trad climber
Chicago,IL
  Mar 14, 2011 - 08:25pm PT
Way to go Burt! Awesome TR.
Burt

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  Mar 14, 2011 - 08:39pm PT
Tomtom see you got it all wrong, not only did I bash NASCAR fans, but also gays as well. That is the beauty of this that must have gone over your little head. F*#king tool...

Oh and waiting for a much bigger solo to go after the Muslims...

Thanks for the props guys... back to hospital hell

Kurtburt
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Mar 14, 2011 - 08:54pm PT
Thug Life!

Burt you rule.

Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Mar 14, 2011 - 09:12pm PT
Nice TR. I seriously got jittery just reading all that caffeine. My heart would have exploded. Thanks!
seneca

climber
jamais, jamais pays
  Mar 14, 2011 - 09:17pm PT
Well done, an inspiration for the rest of us.

NASCAR and gays HA!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 14, 2011 - 09:26pm PT
Very nice report.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Mar 14, 2011 - 09:49pm PT
Great report man.

Dealing with the physical aspects of this climb alone is enough; having the courage to do it with the heavy emotional baggage attached to it is amazing.

Looking forward to more TRs from you! Well done.
Celtics1217

climber
Newfoundland
  Mar 22, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
thats a pretty meaty rack... recommended or room to thin it?

if so where would be good to be 'thin' so to speak?

Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Mar 22, 2013 - 11:50pm PT
WORD!
A5scott

Trad climber
Chicago
  Mar 23, 2013 - 12:15am PT
Awesome report Burt!
thanks for posting

scott
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Mar 23, 2013 - 03:08am PT
So good!!!!!!!! Way to get after it. Get that unfinished business done for you and your friend. RIP. Great TR.

Thanks

Wes
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 27, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
Celtic - If you want to thin the rack just bring doubles to #4 camalot, but I would advise you to bring the remaining items he listed.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Apr 1, 2013 - 04:33pm PT
Bump for the eyeball!!!
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