Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Gabriel is an incredible roof crack down on Zion, that long ago captured my interest and has been in the back of my mind for far too long. 
This fall I finally went down to give it ago, and was in for quite a surprise. 
Its soooo wide, my feet wouldn't cam enough to hold my body weight, fortunately it also offers a plethora of crimps and jugs for some kind of "inverted campusing". 
The beta is to leg bar the thing by creating counter pressure between your knees and heels, and use features outside the crack to help you move and clip the bolts. 
Yes, bolts, back when Varco found this thing big big gear really wasn't a thing, So at one point the route had five or so bolts placed on it. Today it has three still, two are on the wrong side of the crack, which makes for annoying potentially dangerous climbing, and they're all so close to eachother it really doesn't protect more than 20% of the route. Which got me thinking, we have the gear to protect this thing now, maybe it's time to climb it cleanly. 

So I rounded up every Valley Giant I could and went back down there, not sure if it's plausible (for me) to climb something at that grade with a potentially 15 pound rack. 

I spent a day reworking sections of the route, but placing gear this time, and come back the following day to give it a redpoint attempt. 

My first attempt was garbage, I rushed, missed holds, botched sequences made it ten feet from the chains and blew it.
I was pretty upset with myself, I wasted a lot of energy giving a poor effort, I may not have enough in the tank for a decent second go, and it was the last day of the trip. After a nap and massage and a little meditation, I gave it a second go. 

This time, I took my time, rested when I could, and didn't lose focus. It felt like a rehearsal, next thing I knew I was clipping the chains. 
                 (Taking it all in) 

A huge thank you to Ashley for all of the belays, cleaning, and aiding this route. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wapiti Crack

"WAPITI" a Shawnee word meaning white rump, or elk.

Wapiti crack is a beautiful sandstone offwidth in southern Utah, it features a short five foot roof about ten feet off the ground, followed by one hundered feet of six inch crack. 

I first heard about this crack from Scott Carson, he's the super friendly guy who works at IME in Salt Lake, oh yeah everyone who works there is friendly, he's the guy with the horrifically fat fingers, turns out those fat fingers are the by product of being a finger crack crusher. 

Whenever I would visit IME, Scott would always tell me about a specific place in southern Utah that he had been developing for many years, he would tell me about the beatiful untouched offwidths that were just waiting for ascents. 

             (Leon loves the desert) 
So Ashley and I finally got around to going down there and found Wapiti, we spent a day cleaning the route with toilet scrubbers and a crow bar, installed some anchors an got to work. 

At first glance, I thought this wouldn't be too difficult, and that Ashley and I would make short work of it. Two full days of absolute failure later, we were still trying to make it around the short roof. 
At the end of day two I finally managed to pull the roof, but unfortunately I had not expected to do so, and hadn't brought the gear I needed to finish the pitch. Ashley and I swapped leads and she subsequently pulled the roof too, we decided to call it a day and come back the next day for the redpoint attempt.

The following morning I took the first lead and blew the moves at the roof, swapped with Ashley and she danced her way to the top. Wahoo go Ashley! 
Feeling quite proud of her, I opted to follow the pitch as she belayed me from the top. 

I'm sure I'll get back and give this one a proper send at some point, but for now this ones all Ashleys.