Trip Report
one day solo of Swoop Gimp in Zion

by Burt
Thursday October 22, 2009 7:23pm
First off, I want to write a public apology for the supertopo books.... I never

have owned one (till now), always thought they were stupid and over kill, but

to each his own. A book can't climb the route, nor can Chris and Bird give all

the beta, and in fact sometimes is just wrong, which makes the whole supertopo

thing useless anyways. I like the fact they put in so much free climbing,

hopefully to spread apart some of the crowds off the big 5 (moonlight,

touchstone, etc) and also to Mike Anderson. I don't agree with him on many

issues, including some items in the book, but he is a hard man and what him and

Rob have done in the park is a great achievement. Anyways, just wanted to make

it clear that I do have strong feelings about items and I let my mouth write

things before I truly process them.

Swoop Gimp

I haven't wall climbed in well over 4 years. The last route that I did was the

FA of Silverback in the Temple with Flyn Brian. I stopped climbing got really

fat, just kinda had given up after my injuries.

Rad scar from hitting the ground from 50ft and breaking 3 vert in my b...
Rad scar from hitting the ground from 50ft and breaking 3 vert in my back now permanently fused with 2 rods and some screws
Credit: Burt

yeah this is my foot, 33 days after the fall, so yeah I hit the ground...
yeah this is my foot, 33 days after the fall, so yeah I hit the ground hard
Credit: Burt

So last week I dusted off the ole credit card and bought some wall gear,

thought it was time. God we need a lot of crap for this dance huh? Anyways, I

had been on Swoop twice before. Once many moons ago with a guy named Josh and

we tried a one day, got royally spanked and came down. The 2nd time I meet this

guy who wanted to just jumar, perfect I thought, beats soloing! Our first wall

together he was cleaning the first pitch, a sideways 5.6 leaner, decides

instead of lowering off a cam to the anchor and retrieving it on the next

pitch, that he could just walk across the slab. I assured him that if Chris

Sharma climbed slab as good as he can pull on limestone, no way in hell he

could do it but bigwall'n Bob had other plans. He took one step, slipped, and

rockets at mock 3 across the wall breaking his ankle really bad. Bob is a

really good guy and great partner he ended up getting drug up Ball and Chain in

a day, some new routes, and the Zodiac in a day, all jugging just chasin me.

Really good guy. So anyways, I needed to get this route done.

I left Vegas after school at around 9pm. I was so stoked and nervous to get

back on a wall, but I needed it. I stopped for some 5 hour energy shots in St.

George, and was in the park faster than I could think. I has gotten a permit to

drive into the canyon so I was parked and getting out of my scrubs and into my

climbing apparel before I had time to think. I threw on my pack that was so

fu*king heavy, and did the river crossing dance at 1 in the morning. I thought

I knew the trail to the base, god was I wrong! About 2 hours later of the Zion

scramble to get to the base I started racking gear, flaking ropes, and started

freeing the first pitch. All went well as is should, and then came the second

pitch. This pitch is one of the coolest on the route. A splitter on an

overhanging wall for 160ft. All on small brass with the occasional cam or

bigger nut. Since it was dark I had no pictures of the pitch so sorry Chris I

am stealing one of yours.

Ammon on the pitch stolen from Chris Mac sorry dude
Ammon on the pitch stolen from Chris Mac sorry dude
Credit: Burt

I couldn't believe how fast the pitch went for me. I didn't have a watch but I

thought for sure it would have been a 3 or 4 hour job since I haven't climbed

in so long. I rapped down got my bag off the anchor and was wondering why the

sun wasn't coming up. I took off on the next pitch which continues along the

same splitter for a ways (I think it's the crux of the whole route bad brass

etc) to a ladder that cuts left. A few bad bolts to some really cool hooks to

the belay. As I rapped off the sun was just coming up. Not bad I thought for a

fat guy.

top of pitch 3 after cleaning the pitch
top of pitch 3 after cleaning the pitch
Credit: Burt

I cast off on the hooking pitch, which on those kinds of hooks you can move

quickly and even take pics while on them

Pitch 4 of Swoop Gimp
Pitch 4 of Swoop Gimp
Credit: Burt

good drilled hooks
good drilled hooks
Credit: Burt

This pitch is a quick one, rapped and cleaned. From the topo, I thought I was

in there, all C1 5.9, 6 more to go, I am in like flinn, even thought I could

make it before dark.

Yeah I think the worst is over
Yeah I think the worst is over
Credit: Burt

Boy was I wrong...

Pitch 5 of Swoop Gimp where I started to melt
Pitch 5 of Swoop Gimp where I started to melt
Credit: Burt

I started up the pitch then as I got higher the crack got wider. I got in the

slot, but with no pro I freed up in my Madrock Appraoch shoes, and before I

knew it I was way out above my pro and falling out of the slot. I placed a

hook on a really hollow flake and fell on it with a my daisy attached! It held!

I unpumed myself and finished the pitch taking everything out of me and over 3

hours to lead. It finshed on a really cool ledge.

top of pitch 5 Swoop Gimp
top of pitch 5 Swoop Gimp
Credit: Burt

Start of pitch 6 5.8 fun! according to Chris Mac. He is an idiot! JK c...
Start of pitch 6 5.8 fun! according to Chris Mac. He is an idiot! JK chris
Credit: Burt

Started off leading pitch 6 after a ten minute break on the ledge ate half a

cliff bar, one shot of 5 hour, and listened to some Manson on the Ipod. Chris

Mac said t he next pitch is 5.8 fun to a 5.9 fun OW. I was totally expecting

clowns and ballons since it was so much "FUN". Well if loose Zion rock and

weird gear are fun, you will be in heaven. It really was fun, I was just

totally cooked at this point, and I ran out of water, I was a barrel of laughs

at this point. The beauty of soloing is there is no rope drag, so I just

linked 6/7 together which doing as a team would be a nightmare. Now the last


pitch 8 freeing up the face to the cracks on the left with no pro
pitch 8 freeing up the face to the cracks on the left with no pro
Credit: Burt

I was so cooked at this point, I looked up and saw the 5.7R section and said

what the FU*K! If this is 5.7 I will slap my mom right now, I got up on top of

this little tower and reached up to the big jugs that seemed to be glued to

kitty litter. I did the nice lock off throw and my lead line was stuck! I had

to reverse the death fall free the line and start over. I think a tear fell

from my eyes at this point and the phrase I fu*king hate this. I re did the

drop knee Egyptian campus throw lock off thing, then started up about 20 feet

off the tower which is 10 feet off this ledge. If you fall your tib and fib

will come rocketing threw your knee caps for sure! I started getting the

dreaded arm locks (were your arm locks in the bent position) and I was going to

fall. There is a really big bush on the ledge I contemplated jumping for it to

soften the landing, then I just said at least break your bones trying you

puss. I stood up ditched for a side pull and slammed in a cam and just

weighted it. Glad it held. I finished the pitch and was relived I only had

350ft of 4th to go.

Getting happy and near the top
Getting happy and near the top
Credit: Burt

The Zion jungle 350 ft to the top
The Zion jungle 350 ft to the top
Credit: Burt

I decided to leave the rack and bag at the belay and I soloed to the top with

the ropes on my back. I got to the top and rapped back in put the rack and bags

on my back and jugged out. I topped out just after the sun set, and was so

happy that I pulled it off. Now just a quick walk down...

yeah I am not all there
yeah I am not all there
Credit: Burt

I was going to rap Moonlight, but thought it was a total dick thing to do with

parties on the wall, so I walked. I made it down and the tram dropped me off at

my truck. Drove to St. George and slept for a few then back home to Vegas. It

was a great trip, great route, just wish I was lightning like my bros Ammon and


  Trip Report Views: 5,099
About the Author
Burt is a social butterfly from Las Vegas, Nv.

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Comment on this Trip Report

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 22, 2009 - 10:37pm PT
kick ass Burt!! the come back kid!

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Oct 23, 2009 - 11:08am PT
Great TR! man, if i were soloing that free climbing up high, i would probably think it sucked, too. I don't generally think I was sandbagging, I just am always a bit scared on sandstone so I worry about fluffiny the ratings just cuz I am too used to granite. Anyway, proud solo and great story! What is the next solo? And what were your tricks for making that supersplitter pitch 2 go fast? I was really glad ammon lead that. looked unrelenting

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  Oct 23, 2009 - 11:43am PT
Hey Chris, thanks for the props, the free climbing sucked yeah cause I was soloing and I was so cooked. Just talked with Ammon last night he just got off some crazy work schedule, so looks like you guys might get your fingers cold again this winter huh? Pitch 2 was so classic, I just top stepped a lot and passed placements, and also just kinda didn't care if I whipped, just placed a brassie, stepped up, placed again, still not nearly as fast as you too, but prob an hour and a half for the pitch. I only had 2 sets of brass so I back cleaned a lot and placed reg stoppers for pro. It worked fine. Thanks again for not chewin me for stealing your photo see ya around.

Trad climber
  Oct 23, 2009 - 12:39pm PT
Hope you're getting back to full strength, it'll happen. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
  Oct 23, 2009 - 03:19pm PT
The most fear I ever felt on a wall was back cleaning brassies near the top of P2 for like 30' at time. Beautiful pitch but jesus if you jump on that thing bring as many #4-#6 offset brassies as you can get your hands on.

Thats a hell of an off-the-couch effort BTW.

black hills, south dakota
  Oct 27, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
Great report Burt! Nice to hear you are back at it after your injury. A day solo of SG is no small undertaking and a proud style for a comeback route.

Trad climber
  Oct 27, 2009 - 07:18pm PT
"If this is 5.7 I will slap my mom right now"

Love it!!

Great TR...thanks!

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Oct 29, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
Welcome back! Super proud send.

Trad climber
  Oct 31, 2009 - 11:21pm PT
Sick send and a well done TR.

Trad climber
Behind the Zion Curtain
  Nov 4, 2009 - 01:33am PT
Kick ass Burt. Strong work!

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  Nov 4, 2009 - 01:38am PT
Tea! I bought your old A5 double gear sling, and used it on the route. Your name is written on the back, every time I took the rack off it made me laugh. Thanks again to all, just got my ass handed to me on G-money though, tried in a push took a big ride on pitch 2 fixed my ropes and limped home. Think I gotta do that one wall style!

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  May 6, 2010 - 11:00pm PT
just to comment on the "ride" it was a gear ripper and limped home was bruising up and down one side from slamming the corner. (i heard the "wind" as Ammon calls it so it was a big one...) I have since pulled my ropes and focused on my studying :)
Kurt "Burt"

Big Wall climber
Long Beach, CA.
  May 6, 2010 - 11:57pm PT
Great TR and proud send bro! Way to jump back on it! You've got some huge balls brother!

Wade Icey

Trad climber
  May 26, 2010 - 12:16am PT
nice. inspiring TR

  May 26, 2010 - 11:46pm PT
Good trip report.

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  May 10, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
nice one! looks like your docs might have harvested your spleen or liver while you were in Morpheus's narcotic embrace

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  May 10, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
I missed this TR, nice write up Kurt. And good on ya for getting back in the saddle. You still at it?

Yeah, climbing with Chris IS all clowns and balloons, ha haa! You nailed it.

No, I'm being serious... DAMN IT!

Social climber
Lida Junction
  May 11, 2013 - 01:05am PT
Missed this the first time. Great tr, thanks
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  May 11, 2013 - 11:43am PT
Just did this route two weeks ago! Fun route, good on you for the day solo!

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Author's Reply  May 12, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Right on Mark how did it go? It is a fun little route. Haven't been on the taco in months, good to see climbing still kinda exists on here! And to Mr. Mcneely, yeah haven't climbed in forever. Battling
injuries has killed my psych, trying to find it again.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  May 12, 2013 - 12:08pm PT
I thought it was a great route! I was down there with Skot Richards and we had lots of fun. We fixed 2.5 pitches and then came back the next day and finished it.

I think I'm going to put a long weekend trip to Zion on my permanent spring schedule.
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