Desert Storm

Our rest day resulted in us attempting Castleton Tower. Now I say attempt as we were repulsed not by the climbing, not by the heat but by a desert storm. We started out by driving there and decided rather than wait for the next day we would climb it that day, as my boredom threshold would face waiting round for an entire day. So we walked up through layer upon layer of geological time.

It is a major irony with Utah, home of numerous religious believes that have creationism at there hearts, yet everywhere i look there are signs that scream out that evolution has occurred. Those layers of sandstone we walk through are visible everywhere, do these guys have their eyes closed, that and the mass of ‘dinosaur museum/relic shops’.

Anyway we headed up to castleton Tower in the sun, and by the second pitch it was thundering about five miles away, determined to keep going I grabbed the rack, and didn’t give llion much of a choice, despite his protesting. Halfway up the 5.9 off width pitch llion screamed that we needed to get out of there, as the lightning was getting mighty close. It suddenly dawn on me that we were climbing a massive lightning conductor. In my haste I tangled myself in a bit of a knot, and had to rest to untangle myself. I am sure they heard the ‘take’ in Moab.

I complete the pitch still determined to get to the top, with one thing that would stop me. the first drops of rain would indicate the storm really being upon us. Llion was halfway up the pitch when those drops hit, and we went into full on retreat mode.

We got down as the winds hit gale force, and the rain start to hit properly. We were one pitch off the top, but I guess making sure you live another day to climb these things rather than be potentially fried by lightning are more important. We head off to Indian Creek, and will have to return for the castleton summit at some point.

Moab Rant session

Three different types of sweetener but the people are still fat!

Well after a busy day I felt it necessary to sum up my findings on Moab.

1. Its hot, the kind of heat that kills people. The car registered 107 F which is 41 degrees C FFS!
2. It may be the home of mountain biking but it is also the home of 4×4 nut jobs, who seem determined to up the already scorching temperature by helping global warming along. Having driven everywhere with the Air Con on Super Max Plus, I too feel the irony.
3. You can get three different types of artificial sweetener in the cafes, but only one type of sugar. However the locals are still fat?
4. You simply must get a campsite with a pool and hot tub, I have been soaking away the aches and pains all day, but still I am screwed through the heat.
5. In a tent you get 8 hours off cooking a day, from sunset to sunrise.

Place you should visit here are the Hippy Smoothie Cafe, Iced fruit drinks to die for, and the swimming pool.

Dust Devil

Life’s a beach!

Ancient Art photos

Well having arrived just before sunset, we took some photos before, during and after our rapid dawn raid. We were back at the car at 9.55 am! we climbed the route in the shade and got the summit shots in the sun, before heading down before the world turned into a furnace again.

I have to say that Llion, my climbing partner is madder than a fish. The final walkway across, he wandered a long it very casually. When i went to repeat the act i had to crawl one section, where Llion had simply shouted slack and then jumped. The boy’s crazy. Anyway what an amazing summit. i am still buzzing as is llion. This route is a must do.

Me on the Summit of Ancient Art – Corkscrew Summit

Llion on the summit of Ancient Art

Llion on the summit of Ancient Art

Llion follows the awesome chimney/groove pitch

The Titan at sunset – free climbed by Llanberis’ Pete Robins and Ben Bransby a few years back.

The Fisher towers

Someone stands atop the Summit.

Someone stands atop the summit.

The view from the Campsite towards Castleton Towers?

Otto’s Route

Given that Llion had broken a toe, and it was hotter than Kentucky Whore house, we opted to skip the Black Canyon, sorry, but I guess it is something to come back for!! I’ll hvae to let Jack and Wraith tell me all about it in September. It sounds awesome though.

Anyway we found this route in the colorado guide which is awesome by the way, and a handy bible with only just enough information in.

Anyway if hell is this hot, i am going to have to be very good from now on!

The friendly Lizard!

Our route was on the Shady Side!

There are a few harder routes on this side of the tower.

A flowering Cactus

Putting it in perspective!

Looking head on at the last pitch, over the mushroom.

Goosed after the long hot hike out!

Totally knackered, after the hike out

Moab: Hotter than the devils pizza oven

Well its been a few days and they have taken there toll on both me and llion, we have managed to climb everyday, from a few days ago scaling the 1st Flatiron just above boulder, a fantastic 10 pitch 5.8. Followed by a drive across the Rockies to land us in Fruita and set us up to scale Otto’s Route up the Independence Monument.

We woke to find one of llions toes the size of his big toe, he managed to break it stubbing it on the way off the Flatiron. He forged on and we made the long walk (1hr) to the sandstone tower that this legend called Otto. Now think Otto in ‘Fish Called Wanda’ kinda crazy. As in the 1920’s he basically chipped his way up the monument, which is now a fantastic 5.8. My small camera had run out of batteries so no climbing shots, however the top pitch was incredible.

Otto had literally cut steps to the top mushroom, and then cut holds through the overhang. Absolute genius.

Anyway we then had to hike out, about 2 hours in an oven, despite taking on loads of fluids I was basically destroyed by the heat, and nearly collapsed when we reached the car, a short drive to climb the Awesome ancient art, meant I was out in the heat all evening, and got me some heat stroke. llion looked after me well, as I basically slept in the shade.

Anyway its 11.30 am and we have already been up and down ancient art in the the cool shade, before heading to Moab, which is really really hot. Not sure we will be able to climb after 12noon due to the heat. Anyway we hare thinking of having a rest day, as we have climbed about 6-8 pitches a day on average, as well as all the hiking in and out.

Hello from somewhere

Well we’ve hit the road and are in a Starbucks shit coffee great for Wifi though. 

Just tries to shop in costco, and apparently you can’t shop if your not a member, I ain’t paying $50 for membership. Anyway 200 miles to get to Colorado State Monument, for our first tower, then down to Black Canyon.
The Flat iron was great we climbed all 1000ft in 3 hours. Not bad for a couple of grey haired dudes.

Flatirons and South

Well, heading back down to Boulder, I will try not to get whiplash as I crane my neck to look at all the hotties. We are climbing on the flatirons today before heading down to Colorado independence monument and then the Black Canyon. I suspect we will hit a wifi black hole so probably be a few days before I blog again. Hopefully I will have a bank card and the scenic cruise ticked.

We did have some yank suggest Shelf road because it is a ‘way rad limestone sports climbing venue dude’. No I didn’t tell him to F off, but I nearly did! 

The Book

Well if you have never heard of this crag then you really should. We were drawn to it because of where we ended up camping last night. We look in the Colorado climbing guide and found some crags in the Rockies, after we were tipped off by a local guide about ‘Lumpy Ridge’. The rock is amazing granite, and I mean amazing, i thought it was as good as anything for free climbing that you’d find in Yosemite.

We had two minor epics the first was turning up to find notices that parts of the crag were banded, but no notice to tell you which parts. So we had to drive to the park office, where a warden who was about as on the ball as the idiot who charged me twice for the hire car, and managed to freeze my bank card (Twat). It transpired that the piece of paper with the routes on we can’t climb was posted at the car park, only about 50ft away from the car and any notice boards. Which meant we wasted 40 minutes on an unnecessary goose chase.

Our first route was meant to start at 5.8, a particularly nasty Off-width section nearly sent me packing, but somehow i stayed on. Although I ended up really running it out, as I reminded myself of the fact that a hand crack forever means that you never have enough cam three’s! Anyway after Llion’s pitch I had to try and man up into another Off width chimney, I got myself so ticht in I placed a cam, but for the life off me could get a hand up to it with the rope in to clip it. We engaged reverse thruster and tried an easier route left a nice five pitch 5.9, with lots of stuff a little easier.

Llion lead the crux, as very hard tenuous, but very well protected crack up the head wall. A grand effort. At the top we sat exhausted, as our easier day out had seen climb another 7 pitches at 5.7 to 5.9, roughly VS to E1. What a day, although I am glad we taped up.

I have been suffering a bit with dehydration, and it wasn’t until I asked a local our altitude that we realised we were in fact at about 2-3000 metres above sea level. Llion had thought it was a little tiring going up hill out of the car park!

God knows where we will climb tomorrow, hopefully somewhere without a massive walk in as my legs are tired after the last two days, and my arms and shoulders hurt, and….

Again some pictures of the days.

Waymark paths – we need these at tremadog mike!!!

Twin Owls Crag, current restricted.

Taped up for rough granite cracks

Random Tree

Random Tree

A classic 5.7 pitch on the Classic Orisis

Exhausted at the top.

The book is the large 500ft cliff on the right of the picture.

Llion one luxury Item, an expresso machine. What a genius!

The large and very aggressive bird of prey. they have been know to take small children