Monday, April 30, 2012

Valley of the Gods Part 1

Bill, Ian and I were going to the desert for a day of climbing without a plan.  Well with out a plan other then the climbing done was going to be on towers.  Bill nor Ian had been to the 'Valley of the Gods' before and I had not been since Brad and I spent a weekend there in 2006.  So the decision was made.  (Brad has some great TR from those climbs here, here and here.)  We talked to Jeff since he has climbed everything in the area to see what he would suggest.  We were told that Tom-Tom, Tommy Knocker, and Tides of Mind would make a good day.  Of the little that I remembered from my last trip, I did remember to expect some loose rock.

Tommy Knocker was first since it was closest to the road.  Besides a fall on the first pitch because of loose rock, it went well.  We did apparently did the third ascent which is hard to believe.

Starting Pitch 1.

Checking out the offwidth on the last pitch.

Bill on top of Tommy Knocker.

We had read the route description of Tom-Tom and looked at the route and were less then impressed.  So when it looked as if we could put up a two pitch link up/variation we did it.  We rapped off Tommy Knocker back to the notch between the two towers and were able to traverse a loose ledge over to the original route of Tom-Tom.  Meeting it part way through the last pitch.  Skipping the loose rock and unprotectable chimneys/offwidths below.  Tom-Tom must have felt cheated or maybe thought we didn't try hard enough, because our ropes got stuck on top of pitch one on the rappels.  Meaning we had to lead the first pitch of the original route to retrieve them.

The traverse ledge on Tom-Tom.

Ian's attentive belay for the traverse lead.

Bill showing off on the last bit to the summit.


Less then an inspiring anchor situation.

Retrieving the stuck rope.

On the hike to Tides of Mind we noticed a tower that was not in the guide books.  We made a mental note and kept hiking.  Stick to the Mission!  Tides of Mind goes all free and of the 10 towers I've done in the valley, by far the most quality!  Super fun way to finish the day!

The unknown tower...
Leading Tides of Mind.

Bill rappeling off of Tides of Mind.

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