Touchstone Wall IV/V 5.10 C1 or 5.13b

 
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Cerberus Gendarme


Zion National Park, Utah, USA


Trip Report
Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
Thursday March 11, 2010 5:50am
So I wrangled up a couple days off around the first weekend in March and made plans to go to Zion and get my first big wall under my belt. I had been trying to get a climbing partner to head out there with me but hadnít received any definite yesís from my buddies so Iíd been practicing my roped soloing with my SP. A few days before I left I had a partner all lined up, but at the last second he got a job heíd been interviewing for and had to bail.
So it was off to Zion all by my lonesome and super excited to get climbing.

Within only 8 hours from San Diego, I was in beautiful Zion National Park. Here's a lovely view of my campsite at Watchman Campground the next morning:
Watchman Campground
Watchman Campground
Credit: scott

Had to get my day started, so I drove over to the pull-out across the road from the Cerberus Gendarme area. Hereís the wall from the pull-out:
Touchstone Wall, view from turn out
Touchstone Wall, view from turn out
Credit: crossman04
Touchstone ascends the wall just to the left of the obvious crack/corner that goes most the way up.

With a nice short approach I was looking up at the bolt ladder first pitch in no time:
pitch 1 bolt ladder
pitch 1 bolt ladder
Credit: scott

The first 5 or 6 bolts are definitely REACHY. Iím 5í8Ē with a reach a little longer than my height and I had to top step like a mo-fo. But I got them all and made my way to the second pitch with the short roof.
Hereís the view after I rapped the 1st pitch and getting ready to clean. You can see the 2nd pitchís roof section (triangular shadow I think) above my lead line on the upper left:
Credit: crossman04

I was surprised at how straight forward the roof section was. Purple link cam was magic in that slot just over the roof edge. Nice and short and more fun than I expected. The 3rd pitch was pretty straight forward and went smoothly. Hereís the view looking down from the top of the 3rd (or maybe 2nd) pitch. Either way...fun shot:
Credit: crossman04

I called it for the day, fixed my two lines, and headed back into camp.

Got up the next day to get going up my fixed lines. Didnít realize how tiring jugging up about 300ft can be. Once I got back up to the top of the 3rd I snapped a couple pics of Angels Landing behind me:
Angel's Landing behind me
Angel's Landing behind me
Credit: crossman04
Closer shot of Angelís Landing. Prodigal Sun goes up to the right of the light, square notch and Angelís Hair follows the crack system to the left of it:
Angelís Landing. Prodigal Sun goes up to the right of the light, squar...
Angelís Landing. Prodigal Sun goes up to the right of the light, square notch and Angelís Hair follows the crack system to the left of it
Credit: crossman04

Well the 4th pitch went fairly quickly and it was off to the 5th. Now I think I got off route on my way up the 5th pitch because I ended up doing some very sparsely protected face climbing way to the left of the next anchors. Needless to say I had a few choice swear words at one point but got through ok (even though I had to run it out some). I donít think it would have been as bad if I wasnít solo, but climbing solo always adds that extra factor in that spices up the climb. Being off route doesnít help any either.

At the top of the 5th I took 10 minutes to refuel and actually look around and had my WOW moment when I got this view that I donít think too many people get:
view from Touchstone
view from Touchstone
Credit: crossman04

Now that I was refocused it was on to pitches with more free climbing than aid. Hereís a shot looking up at the 6th pitch:
pitch 6, touchstone wall
pitch 6, touchstone wall
Credit: crossman04

The 7th pitch was another interesting one with the long crack that took #4 C4s, but as I only had two I had to leap frog them all the way up (at least 20-30 feet) to the short chimney squeeze. I stopped there as there was a bunch of slings/ropes around a huge fixed chock stone and I was running out of light and just ran out of water. I know the top of the 7th ends at the tree but I made the call to start rappelling from where I was.
Thanks to all the fixed anchors, rappelling the route was very straight forward even by headlamp. I did have a stuck rope scare at one point on my way down, but was able to get it unstuck with an almost full body weight yank. Finally down to the car, exhausted, I threw my gear down and made my way back to camp once again:
Credit: crossman04

Next day I drove around and just enjoyed the park. Had a good trip all in all. An absolutely amazing place to be. Hereís one last B&W picture I took:
Beutiful Zion landscape
Beutiful Zion landscape
Credit: crossman04

  Trip Report Views: 2,852
crossman04
About the Author
crossman04 is a trad climber from san diego, ca.

Comments
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John_Box

climber
  Mar 11, 2010 - 07:56pm PT
Awesome photos. That view is amazing. Can't wait to get down to that area.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Mar 12, 2010 - 01:53am PT
I loved this TR. Thanks for posting it.
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
  Mar 12, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Sweet! Must have been a fun adventure.
Paulina

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 12, 2010 - 02:16pm PT
Congrats on your first wall! Solo, no less.
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Photo: Bryan Bird
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