A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The overlook

Last weekend we headed out on a climbing club trip to the overlook near Cedar City. Normally I wouldn't think of southern Utah as a good place to go in the middle of July, but this place was up in the mountains above Brian Head Ski area at about 11,000 feet, cool temperatures and beautiful!

We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday since I'd already worked too much last week (floating down the Green River so I can't really complain) and had Friday off and Matthew was able to leave early. We got on a few fun climbs right away then tried to scramble over a few rocks to another climb around the corner when we had a good scare. We heard a strange noise behind us and turned around to see Mojo tumbling down the hillside and falling over a small cliff. We were pretty sure he was going to be pretty seriously hurt or worse and ran down the hill to get to him. We found him standing up, a little dazed looking, a small cut on his eye and paw, but otherwise, amazingly okay. He's still a little tired and sore from the adventure, but I don't think I could have walked away from that fall as easily as he did.

We camped in this beautiful meadow above the cliffs which you can see is called the overlook for a good reason. Amazing sunsets and views of Cedar Breaks National Monument and the valley below. The rock there reminds me a little bit of climbing at home at Smith Rocks, it's fairly different than anything else in Utah we've climbed on with all these little pockets and edges that make for really fun climbing. Matthew proved he was the master of stemming by flying up this corner / crack with ease while the rest of us flailed. Overall a great weekend in a beautiful place.

This week we have the strange Utah holiday of Pioneer Day or pie and beer day which I think I like better. July 24th when the Mormon pioneers came upon the Salt Lake valley and decided this would be their new home. It's a day off work and as big of a deal here as the 4th of July if not bigger. So, for us it's a good excuse to get out of town again, probably down to Maple Canyon.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day Weekend

Well we're almost at the end of our three day weekend. We made the most of it and got out quite a bit, but I've almost forgotten to catch everyone up on our previous weekends excursion as well.

Last weekend we headed out to Strawberry Reservoir (saw no strawberries) to a Division of Wildlife cabin (read House). A cabin doesn't have 3 bedrooms, a living room, and a full kitchen. Strawberry is a reservoir about 30 minutes east of Heber City and is at about 7-8000 feet. It's a nice cool place to get away from the heat of the valley. It was quite the party when everyone finally showed up. Much meat was thrown on the grill and copious amounts of alcohol were quickly consumed (including some boones and a 40, but not by those who know better than to drink that type of spirit). The amount of food was quite outstanding and the setting was beautiful. Cards came out around 9pm and two groups began competing for the mandatory $5 buy in. Cassie and I played well, but had terrible cards for most of the night until Cassie was dealt (by me) the best hand ever (a Royal Straight Flush). Unfortunately that wasn't enough to make up for the rest of her cards. By the end of 3 hours everyone in our game was pretty much even so we called it a night. The other table however was in for a much longer game. I stayed up and watched them play till about 2 am and finally went to bed. Somehow those crazy kids managed to keep playing and drinking till the sun came up and their desire for sleep finally outweighed their drunken fun. We all awoke around 10am made some breakfast to ward off the evil hangovers we were all sporting and headed to Strawberry to do some fishing. Well, our luck with the fishies was about as good as our luck with the cards and we caught basically nothing, (I caught a few crawdads). Mojo did enjoy swimming after some birds for an hour or two though. We called it a day, headed back to town, had some greasy local ice cream shop food and crashed at the house.
The next day we went with our new friends (whom we had met at Strawberry) Paul and Katherine (and Chad) to Maple to do some climbing. Each of them had some experience with climbing and we put them on some 5.6-5-10b routes until everyone's forearms were shot. A good weekend was had by all.

This weekend (Independence Day) we went to Maple on Friday with Paul and Katherine again. Paul led his first route ever (a 5.6) and Katherine was improving as well. We started off on a two 5.8s, did a 5.9, a super long juggy overhanging 5.10a (a fun flash) and ended on a 5.9 which was sparsely bolted. I swung over to a 5.7 and put myself on rappel to try and get some cool pics. I think they turned out quite well. (Hank and Marla how do you always get such cool climbing shots?) The weather was perfect with temps in the high 70s or so (the valley was in the 90s) and we felt lucky to have escaped the heat.
The following day I organized a float trip down the Provo river on tubes (leaky tubes). Chad, Jackie, Paul, and Katherine joined us for one of the coldest floats I've ever done. Imagine having your feet and hands go numb in a few seconds while the air is a scorching 95 degrees. Some opted to walk the last half of the float while other (possibly less intelligent people) decided to give it one more go. I won't say that those of us who continued floating made the right decision as that water was still ice cold. We think maybe the extra snow in the mountains and the late summer may have contributed because we did the same float last year and it was a good bit warmer (still freezing, but not quite as bad). The desired outcome was achieved however as everyone forgot how hot it was outside. Afterwards we had everyone up to our cabin for another summer bbq. I baked an apple pie and we all stuffed ourselves to the brim and maybe a bit beyond.

This morning Cassie and I groggily awoke and headed to American Fork to do some more climbing. Strangely enough there was no one else at a fairly popular crag called Hard Rock (see previous posts) We did a 5.9 and I sent this fun 5.10b called Treehugger which I had not gotten on our previous trip to AF. We decided to call it a day after that and headed back to the cabin. Now we are going to just chill for the rest of the weekend.

We hope everyone out there is enjoying their fourth of july weekend!!!
To see more pics from Maple Canyon Climbing click here