Saturday, April 7, 2012

Free Zion

As is usual with a Zion trip we drove straight to Zion, got in late and found some free camping.  After a good night's sleep, we cooked up some breakfast burritos and chilled in the car to get out of the cold wind until the temperatures warmed up a little.  We wanted to climb a classic route called 'Monkeyfinger'.  Eventually we got out of the car and started the 5 minute approach.  'Monkeyfinger' ended up being pitch after pitch of stellar free climbing, definitely the highest quality free route I have gotten on in Zion.  It's easy to see why its a classic.
When we got back to the ground we still had some light so we waded across the Virgin River to get to the 'Pulpit' and the 'Pulpette', both of which are small towers.
Following pitch 3.

Matt following pitch 4.

Me following the crux pitch.

Matt topping out.
Rappelling 'The Pulpit'.
The next day we got up earlier and started the 1.5 hour approach to West Temple to climb a route called 'The Big Lebowski'.  If you haven't seen the movie I highly recommend it!  (I ended up taking a tumble during the approach and cut up the back of my hand.  5 days later I pulled a small stick which had impaled itself during the fall out of my hand.)  We got to the base of  the route all cut up from bush whacking as the sun was coming up and started the route.  With our 70 meter rope we were able to link two pitches into one long pitch most of the time, making the route go fast.  The climbing ended up being less then stellar, with a few exceptions.  Back at the base it was another 1.5 hour hike back to the car.  Giving us a car to car time of 15 hours.  On the hike out we went over the route and gave each pitch a 'good' or 'crap' rating.  The route had a 75% crap rating.  At the very least it was a long adventurous day.
Matt on pitch 4.

Starting the offwidth on pitch 8.  

Matt starting a pitch with a rack rigged for battle.

Matt starting the pitches 'Walter's Whites' and 'The Jesus'.

Matt on a 'good pitch', pitch 18.

Looking toward Springdale from high on the route.

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