11/2017: Boise, Zion


Worked in the morning, went climbing in the afternoon at the Black Cliffs. I led Bushwhacker (5.7), which felt harder than the 5.7s at the City of Rocks due to the slick rock and very vertical climbing. Lisa followed, then I went again and tried moving the anchor to a neighboring route. I had to stay on rope and there was a ton of drag when I tried to clean things, so aborted, got all the gear, and rapped down. Still a good intro to the area.


Worked in the morning, built a new trellis for the duplex in the afternoon.


It was rainy, so I worked all day.


Worked most of the day, biked the Kestrel / Red Cliffs loop with Lisa in the afternoon.


It was rainy, worked all day.


In the afternoon went solo climbing for a couple hours at the Black Cliffs (New Fringe). I led Bushwacker (5.7) again, which felt more secure than the last time, then toproped neighboring Bryan’s Route (5.8) and Sweet Thing (5.9). Both of these were really fun.


Worked in the morning, spent several hours painting the trellis with Lisa in the afternoon, then we biked the Kestrel / Red Cliffs loop together in late afternoon.


In the afternoon went solo climbing at the Black Cliffs (Populace Wall). I did a trad lead on Stems and Jammies (5.7), very secure and lots of fun, then neighboring climbs BSU Fantasy (5.9), Sweet Adene (5.8), and White Wash (5.9). All lots of fun. Afterwards I went with Lisa to an indoor climbing gym in town, where we met up with a couple friends and did a bunch more climbing. This was a very different experience — there hadn’t been anyone else at the Black Cliffs, while there were dozens of people at the gym, music, heat, etc. It was pretty fun, the indoor routes seemed to demand a lot more finger strength than I was able to manage and pretty soon my fingers were feeling out of it, but I kept doing progressively easier stuff for a couple hours.


Worked on the duplex much of the day.


Worked on the duplex to finish up some last remaining jobs.


Moved out of the duplex, did some work and tree removal with Matt and Erik. Stayed in a hotel in Boise overnight.


In the morning went biking with Lisa at the military reserve, heading up and doing Shane’s loop before returning. After some last tasks at the duplex, went to a thanksgiving dinner with Lisa and her mom at her mom’s church, a nice experience with very friendly people and great food.


Got up early and drove to SLC in the morning, spent a couple hours at the house putting some things in storage and walking around the park and aviary, then drove another hour or two towards Saint George before spending the night in a hotel.


In the morning we drove the rest of the way to Saint George, spent the afternoon with Everett and then went to the Green Valley Gap area. I biked the Zen trail in late afternoon, which was fun but tricky to follow in places and more technical than anything I’d ridden for a couple months. It was getting pretty dark when I got back to the van. We camped in the area and — after stress had been building for a couple days — had kind of a bad fight in the night about climbing and van life.


In the morning we made up and things felt ok. We dropped off the van at a shop to get serviced, then Everett picked us up and we drove to the Kolob Terrace and hiked the east and west Northgate Peaks. These were really fun with great views. The east peak was a sandy slog up a use trail to get to the top, while the west peak was low angle slickrock up the north ridge — much better, though longer. About 4.5 hours round trip for both peaks. Afterwards Everett showed us the Cave Valley pictographs off the terrace road, which were really interesting, and we all had dinner with Felicia in Springdale before returning to Saint George to get a hotel.


We picked the van up in the late morning and then did a trail run together on the Zen trail. This was lots of fun, it was a nice pace walking/running the technical parts of the trail rather than biking them, and we could take time to check out the views and cliffs here. Afterwards we drove to Snow Canyon and got a campsite, then I went and did a couple climbs. I led Twist and Shout (5.7), which was tricky at the beginning but then improved, and tried to toprope neighboring Little Miss Demeanor, but it was getting too late and the wandering nature of the route was aggravating so I gave up about halfway up.


After a few hours working I went climbing on Pygmy Alien (5.7) in Snow Canyon. Several years ago Lisa and I did the first pitch together, and today I went and did the rest of the route, which was mostly trad climbing and required building a couple anchors. This was lots of fun, the climbing felt easier than yesterday though there were a couple spots that were tricky on the first couple pitches. After finishing the climb I scrambled to the top of Island in the Sky and then descended via the traverse route which Lisa and I did with Everett last year. About four hours round trip; no issues, just a fun day. Afterwards we camped between Hurricane and Virgin, sitting out a substantial rain and wind storm.


In the morning we tried to climb Tinaja Knoll (Courtney Purcell’s name; south of Cave Knoll and east of Lamb’s Knoll off the Kolob Terrace Road). We got up to the base of the knoll and found some steep slickrock that seemed a lot less secure than we were expecting. I think the rock was soft from the rain the previous day. We got partway up what seemed like the best approach, but things still felt bad so we retreated. After getting back to the van I tried again by myself, making it past the spot which had turned us around and then up onto the top of the knoll. Fun landscape around here with lots of hoodoos, I made my way over to the summit proper, didn’t scout it properly and climbed it from the wrong side — class 4 with no rope, kind of disconcerting — then finding nice views and an easier way down and back to the van. 1:30 RT. Afterwards we did an out and back ride on the Jem trail in Virgin, felt really good.


We got up early and drove to the east side of Zion before the weekend rush, parking at the trailhead for Keyhole. We started climbing up to Nippletop Peak together, making our way up a nice slickrock ramp before doing a class 3 bit (set a handline to help Lisa) to get onto the peak’s north ridge. Fun walking and light scrambling from there, eventually we made it to the sub peak on the north ridge and took photos. The route up to the summit looked very challenging, much moreso than we were expecting, so Lisa stayed behind and I went and tried it by myself. It turned out to be a lot easier than it looked, a good use trail with some steep sand and then a couple short class 3 sections, before topping out on the summit cap and an easy trail to the summit proper.


In the late morning I went out by myself and climbed Tabernacle Dome (5.2). This took about 2:45 and was lots of fun. A few scrambly spots down low intermixed with sandy walking and route finding, then 200′ or so of easy but exposed climbing on a slab. I used a rope here and mostly slung small trees for protection. After the slab the climbing the rest of the way up was easy and not exposed, with great views from the top. Coming down I cleaned the gear while downclimbing, which was kind of a mess with all the rope out and needs some improvement. 2:45 RT. This was my first time doing a “backcountry” (well, 10 min walk from the road) 5th class peak, a great time out. After getting back we had a few hours of light so drove to the Wildcat trailhead, did some trail running together out to the Northgate Peaks, and did some rambling around on the lower slickrock parts of the western peak there. Another really good time out. Lots of wildlife out today: saw a roadrunner in the morning, woodpeckers later, and lots of deer on the hike and drive afterwards.


Worked all day.


Dropped Lisa off at the library in Springdale to work and spend time with a friend. I went and climbed North Guardian Angel (class 4), checking the route out so we could hopefully do it together later. Fun climbing, mostly pretty straightforward though I roped up at the bottom of the technical part to do a class 5.5 crack, and later towards the top at a very exposed spot.


In the morning we met up with Lisa’s friend, Shanti, and her husband, Mark, and some other folks to take some photos. Afterwards I went and did North Guardian Angel again with Mark, having lots of fun again, while Lisa did some hiking with Shanti. In the evening we had thanksgiving dinner with canyoneering friends at a restaurant in Springdale.


In the late morning we drove to Little Creek mesa and biked there for a few hours, doing a loop in the western part of the trails here using the magic carpet ride as a connector. It had been a few years since we had ridden here and it felt great, really nice slickrock and a good time dealing with the technical obstacles.


We met with Everett in the morning and went off to do North Guardian Angel together. This went pretty well, though partway up the technical section Lisa started getting anxious due to the exposure and stopped while me and Everett continued the rest of the way to the summit. We camped near Everett in the evening and spent some time relaxing and talking to him and a couple other friends in the area.


In the late morning we went biking in the Jem trail system, doing a loop with Dead Ringer, More Cowbells, the Jem trail itself, Goosebumps, and Cryptobionic. Pretty much everything is buffed and easy to ride, no stiff or otherwise very challenging riding but lots of fun. Afterwards we spent the afternoon and early evening with friends at Cameron’s house.


Had another fight about climbing in the morning, we decided to try trading off who plans each day to see if that can avoid some of the problems we’ve been running into. Later in the morning we did some climbing together at Green Valley Gap (where we were camping) which helped us feel better. Just mellow toproping, did some stuff together — Cool Katz (5.7), The Offering (5.6), REDACTED (5.7) — and then I did a few more by myself — Where Egos Dare (5.9), Luck of the Irish (5.9).


Great day climbing with Lisa. We went up Tabernacle Dome together, belaying through the 5th class stuff lower down and then leading up the more exposed 5th class parts so I could provide a top rope belay. Everything went pretty smoothly, great time checking out the summit and the views. About the only tricky part we had was using a tree off the ridgeline as the top of the first pitch, which required a bit of a traverse and later on a long rappel that just barely reached a good spot with a tree lower down.


Lisa drove to Nevada for errands while I climbed Red Butte (5.6) by myself. This went pretty well, though I got a little bit schooled — I picked a spot to climb up onto the lower terrace which was pretty far from the peak itself, requiring extra route finding and bushwhacking, and on the descent I brushed a cactus and had to pick out lots of little spines. Other than all the bushes the climbing was fun, I didn’t find the 5th class stuff all that difficult and the crux portions near the summit took some OK pro — cams 1″-2″, one stopper near the top of the chimney. On the way down I found a climbers trail to the base of the peak which would be a much better route for climbing up; this route is to looker’s left above the closest gully to the peak, a GPS point for the start is N 37.36121, W 113.14300. Car-to-car time was 5:40.


We were planning on hiking Lady Mountain with Everett, but Lisa was feeling sick in the morning so Everett and I went and climbed Led By Sheep (5.5), a four pitch route going up Aires Butte. This was lots of fun and we got through the climb quickly, generally easy and very fun, reaching the summit after less than two hours from the car. We checked things out on top and after rapelling down, went up neighboring South Ariel peak as well. I misremembered the beta for the easy descent from this peak and we ended up going down a few pretty tricky ledges on the southeast side of the summit, which felt harder than anything on Aires Butte itself.

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