May 302012
 

120528 - Indian Creek

Last month, on a Monday morning, at approximately 3pm Jeremy, Eliot, Cris and I piled into a car destined for Moab and the splitter cracks of Indian Creek.  The car was packed, and by packed I mean…  the two people in the backseat couldn’t see each other!  To lessen the impacts of the cramped backseat and excessive driving, we rotated counterclockwise to ensure equal suffering through the group.  Psyched, and fully caffeinated, we drove through the night and arrived in Moab at 7am Tuesday morning.

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We stumbled out of the car and into the grocery store.  This would prove to be the most difficult trip to the grocery store I have ever had.  Tired, delirious, PSYCHED… and did I mention tired?  We pieced together some meals and snacks for the next 3 days and headed to Castle Valley ready to climb some towers!!  We headed straight for the camping area complete with a fancy new pit toilet partially funded by PG!  The PG pooper has no roof, so you have a glorious view of Castleton tower from the throne.  Definitely the most scenic toilet we had ever … umm… utilized.

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We were all pretty fried from the drive, but the splitter cracks were calling!!  After a quick nap, we started the (rather heinous) approach to Fine Jade (4 pitches, 5.11b) on the Rectory.  This may not have been the wisest choice for a warm-up, but I figured .11b meant the crack would be thinner and thus, easier for me to climb and better for utilizing my stellar French-free skills with all our small gear J (a little backstory… this was my first trip outside in 2 years.  I couldn’t climb for 18 long months with a shoulder injury and subsequent shoulder surgery).    Well on my way to wrapping up the 1st pitch and through the technical crux, I hit a wide section and after a few attempts couldn’t get gear in to pull through and couldn’t gather my guts to get a few feet above my last piece on unfamiliar terrain.

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Eliot and Cris made it up the route while Jeremy and I flailed and bailed – but we will definitely be back to send!  Not wanting to do that approach again the next day, Jeremy and I lobbied to head to The Creek and forego a second day of towers.  Fortunately, Eliot and Cris quickly agreed.  The next morning we headed to the single pitch splitter heaven known as Indian Creek.

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The next many days in the Creek were AMAZING!  If you have not been there and you like to crack climb, you must get out there.  Nowhere in the world are there so many quality splitter cracks.  The amount of climbing, and potential climbing, is truly staggering – the mesas seem to go on forever!

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Given the stellar climbing and free camping, Indian Creek sees more and more visitors every year.    Increased impacts from climbers and other user groups mean places like Indian Creek can easily become affected by access issues — the land is fragile and some of the crags are on, or are approached by, private land.  Before you  head out there, do your homework:  practice Leave No Trace; stay on designated roads and trails; respect the Dugout Ranch; do not climb at crags with bird closures or on routes near petroglyphs; and leave the crags and campgrounds cleaner than you found them.  As with any climbing area, we all need to work together to ensure access for years to come. The Dugout Ranch has graciously allowed climbers to continue to use roads, approaches, and crags on their land and we must all do what we can to keep that relationship strong.  Always check with The Friends of Indian Creek and the Access Fund for the latest information.

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Just by being a member of Planet Granite, you are helping to support organizations such as the ASCA (that has replaced a number of anchors in IC) and the Access Fund.  PG has committed to donating $1 per Member per Month to non-profits in each of the following categories: climbing, community, and environment.  The bathroom project at Castleton Tower was funded, in part, by grant money from this program! More information on the $1 per Member per Month program can be found here and you can update your category preference at the front desk of any of our locations!

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Now back to the climbing!!  We started off on some classics at the Supercrack Buttress and then hit the Battle of the Bulge, Scarface Wall, Way Rambo Wall, Optimator Wall and Power Wall.  We only had one windy day/night, and the rest of the time the weather was perfect.

I got one climb clean – Soul Fire (5.11-) at Optimator Wall. I was also psyched to get up Coyne Crack at the Super Crack Buttress, and The Jane Fonda Total Body Workout at Battle of the Bulge, and other sweet lines. #1 camalots are my favorite!

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Eliot sent a number of fine lines – Way Rambo(5.11+/12-), Power Line(5.12),  Anunaki (.12-), and Swedin-Ringle (5.12) to name a few.

Jeremy also climbed well, sending Anunaki  (.12-), Soul Fire, Hay U Take (aka Hay Duke Lives), the Cave Route, that 3 star unnamed 5.11 to the left of Big Guy at Scarface wall and many more.

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Cris got on the sharp end for the first time outdoors and did an AWESOME job leading Blue Sun (5.10-) at Way Rambo Wall, Binou’s crack (5.9) at Donnelly Canyon, and more.

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We could not have protected the climbing we did without the help of our generous friends who loaned us their gear!  Special thanks go out to Steve Lancaster, JC and Irene Prenner, Jeff Ceccacci, Ethan Pringle, and Mick Petts  who generously loaned us gear to supplement our racks! You need quite a few racks when some climbs call for 10-15 of the same size cam.

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We had just over 150 cams…

Black Diamond Camalots

size

qty

0.3

3

0.4

3

0.5

11

0.75

8

1

12

2

14

3

8

3.5

2

4

5

4.5

2

5

2

6

3

Metolius Master Cams

00

1

0

3

1

3

2

3

3

4

4

3

5

1

Metolius TCUs

00

1

0

1

1

9

2

6

3

3

4

2

5

1

Link Cam

#1

1

Aliens

black

3

blue

3

Green

1

Yellow

3

Red

4

orange

1

Wild Country Friends

1

2

1.25

2

1.5

2

1.75

2

2

2

2.5

2

3

2

3.5

2

4

2

5

2

Metolius Power Cams

2, yellow

1

3, orange

1

8, purple

1

Carolyn is the project manager for PG and can be found at any of our 3 gyms on any given day.  She does the retail buying for all 3 gyms, manages the SF yoga program and is psyched to be climbing again!!  Eliot is a Front Desk staff and instructor at PGSF – his crack climbing class is a great way to dial in your crack technique before heading out to the valley or Indian Creek!  Jeremy is the retail coordinator, front desk staff and one of the senior instructors at PGSF, teaching nearly every class offered at the gym.  He can show you the ropes in a lead class or help fine-tune your technique in our Balance and Technique class.  Cris has been a PG member since she started climbing in May of 2011 and is a ‘graduate’ of Eliot’s crack class and Jeremy’s lead class! Photos were provided thanks to Jeremy Spitz, Eliot Carlsen, Cris Valerio and Carolyn LInk.

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