Alex Vidal and I finally made a trip out there a few weeks ago. It was great! Perfect weather, great climbs with awesome people.
We pulled into the campsite just before midnight. I slept on a picnic table covered by a small roof, and in the morning I saw a GMC pickup pull up and suspiciously look around. Neil Longfellow found us. He's been living in his truck wandering around the desert for a few months.
The climbing is similar to, but shorter than, Indian Creek. After spending quite a bit of time struggling up incredibly stout and powerful climbs in Vedauwoo this summer, the desert hand crack style felt so "easy" and precise (for the most part). After a short, but fun warm up we jumped on an offwidth 5.9 called Junk Corner (given one and half stars, but I had so much fun I climbed it twice). I did junk up the skin on my left elbow pretty good.
|Alex squeezes up the chimney on Junk Corner, 5.9|
|Alex prepares to climb TH Crack (5.8) at the Cabin Area|
It was getting hot so we took a break, went back to camp and jumped into the creek. Well, Alex and Neil did. I hate submersing myself in cold water - it was surprisingly cold.
|The evening light from the Interiors area overlooking our camp and a bunch of climbing not listed on Mountain Project.|
|Alex losing his soul.|
|Neil's homemade rooftop tent silhouetted against the skyline|
|Neil Longfellow got this shot of me testing my flexibility. I need to do more yoga. He just missed the really amazingly awkward shot of my head being stuck below the roof.|
From our campsite we were eyeing the Keyhole route, a 5.10a splitter small hands .75 splitter with "keyhole" pods. The movement through the pods is really awesome, and it was really the first indian creek style crack - uses mostly one size cam the majority of the way up - climb I've led. Especially in the size that wasn't just perfect hands the whole way up. Super-tight hands and fingers is all technique, and if you don't have the technique it's next to impossible. If you do it can be like climbing a ladder. Dealing with feet on these kinds of routes is probably hardest part. In the crux of this route I was able to lieback through the thinnest section and paste my feet on the slightly uneven crack.
|Alex climbs the brilliant Keyhole route (5.10a) at the Interiors Area|
|The top of the route opens up to perfect hands.|
|Neil Longfellow snapped this photo of me climbing Key Hole.|
|Neil Longfellow took this great shot of me on The Shaft|
|"Well, that might hold a wet cat"...tipped out with mud on one side. - Alex Vidal. Photo by Neil Longfellow|