Saturday, October 5, 2013

Climbing Therapy

I was at my wits end.  Maybe I'm just spoiled or weak but once in a while I need a break from all the little shit associated with everyday life.  It wasn't really the best timing and was very spur of the moment but a short climbing trip was about the only thing that could keep me from exploding.  Luckily I think Matt was feeling something similar and we were able to get out.  The first couple hours in the car didn't have the the usual banter I associate with long car trips with the boys.  However as we got further from Durango all the shit and stress started to fall away and the plans, schemes, and smack talking started to flow.
First stop was a climb that has been on the list for over a decade.  'Wind, Sand and Stars' is as one guidebook put it, "legendary".  It doesn't get as much traffic as some multi-pitch free routes in Zion but in terms of quality of climbing, location, and history, it is inferior to few.  Pitch after pitch was more fun, cleaner, more solid, less scary, better protected, and all around higher quality than I expected.  Top free climb of my year without a doubt.  The only downer on the day was having a locker unlock and a #4 camalot unclip on the descent.

The day after 'Wind, Sand and Stars' we woke in Red Rock to start a sport climbing "rest day".  After only a handful of pitches my skin was done and we headed to the movie theater.  We entered at 2:30pm and exited 2.5 movies later at 8:30pm.  We might not have started the rest day very well but we sure ended it well! 
'Sergeant Slaughter' was a little bit of an unknown.  There was a little blurb in a guide book and it had a great name so we decided to give it a go. Unfortunately it called for a #6 camalot, a #5, and two #4's. We had forgotten the #6 in Durango and our other #4 was somewhere on the descent of W.S.S.  How bad could it be? Luckily we didn't miss either cam and the route turned out to be a gem.  The guidebook said the upper pitches were loose and runout we found neither to be true. To descend we rappelled the Original Route On the Rainbow Wall which we had climbed a few years before.  It was great to get another look at at those incredible pitches.  So much good climbing all on one piece of rock!
We climbed 'Sergeant Slaughter' of course on October 1st which was the first day of the government shut down.  Meaning that we had to hike an additional half our in and out since the road was closed into Red Rock.  While on the route I watched a helicopter fly over the park with a loud speaker saying over and over, "THE PARK IS CLOSED!"
The next morning we woke up in the Chuckwalla parking lot outside of St. George.  After climbing a bunch of pitches with 'vacation grades' we decided to head home.  But instead of leaving at noon we spent 5 hours in St. George waiting for my water pump, timing belt, thermostat, and a fan belt to get replaced before finishing the drive home.  
It's hard to beat climbing on sandstone in the fall!

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