My little brother was gone serving a mission for our church for two years and returned in the middle of May. Since no one in the family had seen him in two years, my parents decided to get a couple of condos for a week in St. George, UT so that we could hang out and catch up with him. Of course St. George has quite a bit of fun climbing so we obviously had to use the trip to get as much climbing in as possible too.
We drove out to St. George after work on Thursday the 7th and arived in beautiful St. George around 10:00 pm. We said hi to everyone and talked for a little bit, but soon we headed off to bed since it was June and we wouldn't be able to climb very late in the day because of the heat. In the morning we convinced my sister Steph and my brother Steven to join us as we headed to Chuckwalla wall to do some climbing.
We had two ropes and four people with us so we decided to set them both up to make it so we could get more climbs in, but I was the only one who wanted to lead, so I started out by running up Apostasy (5.10a), then set up Sands of Blood (5.9) and everyone else took turns TRing both routes with Amy going last so that she could clean.
Steph on Apostasy
Everyone had fun, but Steven had forgotten to bring his climbing gear to St. George, so he was climbing in dress shoes (they were all he had brought), and Steph, Steven and Amy all got pretty pumped with the first two climbs, so they were all ready to head out. I on the other hand wanted to get some more climbing in, and since I want to try and redpoint 20 5.12s in 2012, I figured I had better give one a try.
I chose a 5.12a called "Pilgrimage". This route is steep and powerful, but the crux is between the second and third bolts, so I figured it would be good since I'd get it out of the way early. It was a good thing, I did have to hang once to figure out the crux, but it went just fine, the problem was my terrible lack of endurance. After the crux I ended up hanging on almost every single bolt just because I was too pumped to hang onto the good jugs. I also wasn't ready for the 5.11 moves from the last bolt to the anchors and took several falls there before I finally clipped the chains. Overall it was a really fun route with good moves, but I definately don't have that kind of power endurance. I'll have to work on that;)
After that it was getting quite hot, and all of us were too dead to continue climbing, so we called it a day.
The next day we decided to climb at Black Rocks, unfortunately we didn't realize that Black Rocks was closed for the desert tortouses or something like that, so since there isn't a whole lot of climbing right by Black Rocks, and since Amy wanted to try making it up Apostasy cleanly on TR, we decided just to head back to Chuckwala Wall again.
Steph on Apostasy and me on Dirtbag, both 5.10a
Steven on Apostasy
This time we did 4 routes. Once again we started on Apostasy and Sands of Blood, but this time both Amy and Steven also lead the route (we got Steven some new shoes Friday afternoon), and Amy almost TR'd Apostasy cleanly (we'll have to go back some time so that she can get it). After those routes we moved over and did the two routes to the left of them, a 5.10a called "Dirtbag" and a 5.10c called "Popular Demand". I redpointed the two routes and everyone else took turns TRing them. Once again, the shade was quickly leaving the wall and it was getting hot, so we packed up and headed out for the day.
Amy on Apostasy
Me on Popular Demand - 5.10c
Steven on Popular Demand
On Monday the 13th, we decided to go to Green Valley Gap. My nephiews Aiden and Matty both wanted to try climbing and I knew that there was some super easy stuff there so we decided to let them try it out. I started by soloing up a 5.3 called "Brazilian Ninjas" to set up a TR for them and they each took turns on the route.
Matty on Brazilian Ninjas
Aiden on Brazilian Ninjas
Mike on Brazilian Ninjas
Once they were done, we decided to do some slightly harder climbs to let the adults try since my brother-in-law Mike had joined us for the morning. We next climbed a 5.9 called "Perky's Playground", and a 5.10b called "Beggars and Choosers". Both Amy and I redpointed both routes, and Stephanie and Steven TR'd them both, and Mike TR'd Perky's Playground.
Mike on Perkey's Playground
After that all of the tag alongs headed out, so Amy and I decided to do some more difficult climbs before it got way too hot. I recommended that Amy try leading a 5.10a called "Puppet Strings" because it is well protected, ends with a pretty good sized roof, and would be good for working her. She had to hang once through the roof, but ended up doing very well on the route.
Amy pulling the roof on Puppet Strings - 5.10a
Now I wanted to give a 5.12a called "Sandstoner Reverse" a go. I had climbed this route many years ago and remembered the moves being awesome, so I had to try it again. We left Steven and Stephanie at Puppet Strings TRing it while Amy and I crossed over to the other side of the gap to give Sandstoner Reverse a try. This route is awesomely overhung and follows big jugs all the way to the top of the wall with some big moves in between them. The crux comes right at the third bolt where you have to do a big dyno off of a crappy pinch to get to a big ledge where you can clip both the third and forth bolts from. I climbed to the third bolt without any problem, but then I wussed out and didn't want to commit to the big dyno so I fell off. The second time I decided to just go for it and stuck the dyno without any problem (I have to say that it's one of the most fun moves I've ever done on real rock). After the crux it's just a matter of endurance as you continue up the steep juggy rock, so of course I ended up hanging on the rest of the bolts since I have none.
Me climbing Sandstoner Reverse - 5.12a
That finished our climbing for Monday. On Tuesday morning we ended up going for a hike as a family, so no climbing that day, but on Wednesday, we headed out to the Turtle Wall because there were some 5.12s there that I wanted to try. Wednesday ended up being very hot, and it didn't help that Turtle wall is east facing so it gets morning sun. Luckily, there is a big cave that houses several 12's and keeps them out of the sun.
Me on Voodoo Economics - 5.8
For our first climb at Turtle wall we did the easiest route on the wall, a 5.8 called "Voodoo Economics". I lead the route onsight, then left Stephanie and Steven TRing it while Amy and I went to climb a 5.12a called "Lagardo. Lagardo ended up being lots of fun. I had to hang once at the crux to figure out the move, then after clipping the chains with a draw, I had to hang on the last bolt because I was too tired to clip the rope to the chains, but I think I could redpoint the route easily now that I know the moves, and if I had all the draws prehung.
Starting the crux of Lagardo - 5.12a
Clipping the last bolt on Lagardo
Next Amy, Steven, and Stephanie each took turns trying to TR Lagardo, none of them made itthrough the crux but they all had fun trying. I TR'd the route once more to clean it, then Amy climbed Voodoo Economics so that she could clean it. By this time it was too hot to even climb in the shade so we headed back to the condo.
Amy Trying Lagardo
Steven trying Lagardo
Steph trying Lagardo
Amy cleaning Voodoo Economics
Thursday meant that we had to leave St. George, but we decided to hit up the Black Corridor in Red Rock to do a quick climb or two before heading home. The first route we did was a 5.9 called "The Cel". I lead the route and hung the draws so that Amy could lead it. She did a good job, but did have to hang on the first bolt a couple of times to figure out the crux moves.
We didn't have the Red Rock guide book with us, but I wanted to try something a bit harder so I found a climb that looked fun and decided to give it a go. It turns out that the climb was a 5.10d called "Friend". This climb didn't go as well as I had hoped. I ended up slipping off of a sandy hold around the second or third bolt, then at around the fifth or sixth bolt, I tried going directly up between the bolts, which seems doable, but more like 5.12 than 5.10. Eventually I noticed that all the holds out right of the bolt line were chalked up even there was no route there, so I took that route which ended up being the 5.10d way. Overall it was a very fun climb, I just made it much harder than it should have been.
After the two routes we continued on our way home so that we could get there at a decent time. Even though it was summer in the desert, we managed to get a decent amount of climbing in on our trip and had a great time.