The highlight of my fall is a trip to Indian Creek, where great camping meets superb crack climbing. Each year I meet Jim Donini and other friends there for a couple of weeks of full body abuse.
I hadn’t seen Steve Arsenault in years; our first meeting was in the early 70’s when I was a ranger at Jenny Lake, when Steve and John Bouchard came to the station and registered to climb the Black Ice Couloir and the West Face of the Grand Teton. I had just set up camp at Pasture Creek when Jim Donini’s white Sportsmobile pulled up a few yards away, followed by Steve and his friend Brian Delaney. Their friend Ran, also from back East showed up a minute later.
Time around a campfire with good friends is the best! More folks from neighboring camps came over. A bottle of fine tequila appeared and made its way around the group. Lots of old stories and lies emerged over the evening, and at a respectable hour the crowd dissipated.
In the morning we headed to the ‘Cat Wall’ for some moderate 5.10’s. By the time I had camp clean and had negotiated my rental Camry over the rocky approach road, Jim was already up a 120’ Unnamed crack. We took turns on the yo-yo to warm up.
Jim leads the 120’ ‘Unnamed’ crack on the Cat Wall
Steve gets a tan
Jim in rest mode
It seemed there was hardly a soul on the rock, so we had our pick of climbs and moved left to another fine crack. A couple or three climbs and the day was done.
Steve on Tomcat
The geezers: Steve, Ralph, and Jim
Lethargy and geezerdom finally got the best of us and we settled down in the afternoon hot sun like lizards. Jim headed to Ouray in order to regroup for the next climbing trip where I would again meet him: Gateway/Unaweep. John and I went on a search for Anasazi ruins and pictographs.
Then back to camp where I cooked salmon fettucine for the gang.
Brian Delaney in camp
The next morning Ran left early; Brian, and John headed for the 4 X 4 Wall for their last climbs; I headed to Moab and ultimately Gateway for a birthday party...and more climbing with Donini.