Let’s look back at an awesome weekend. It was wonderful, and the reason I’m not reporting about it till now is that we kept right on enjoying it through last night.
Well, actually, we worked remotely Monday-Wednesday, but still, living out of the van, camping in Kane Creek, playing at the bmx track (true, yes, true), reading, hiking, running, climbing, eating at Moab’s new Thai restaurant (also true, and it’s not bad)….it was awesome.
On Friday morning I ran 9 hilly miles with the dogs. It was hotter than I’d expected, so I was glad the dogs got water breaks (stream crossings) at miles 4 and 7. I went home and worked all day and then Brad and I hopped in the van (with two dogs, one motorcycle, one bmx bike, one autobiography of Warren Buffett on cd, six sets of camalots, four ropes, two bottles of Pinot Noir and three bags of baked organic jalepeno cheese curls) and headed south.
We climbed at Indian Creek on Saturday and Sunday, and despite passing dozens of Subaru Outbacks with Petzl and La Sportiva (“I’m a climber! I’m a climber!”) stickers on them, we were among the only people at the crag. Ari and Lizzie were with us, and Ed and Matt came out, too.
Despite waking up with a really sore shoulder on Friday (goddamn purple route in the gym with its big throws to slopers…why am I still working on it?), I felt good on Saturday. I didn’t get on anything hard, but I climbed a bunch of mellow routes with no pain. Brad and Ari climbed 30 pitches – a huge accomplishment at Indian Creek, because almost all of the routes are long and require huge outlay of effort.
The boys decided to end their day at Supercrack Buttress. Just before sunset, we hiked up the approach, watching party after party descend and head to their campsites for cold beers and burritos and climbing-talk. We kept heading up, though, and as the sun set behind the Bridger Jacks, the boys climbed and climbed. When they clicked on headlamps and climbed into blackness, I belayed and cheered them on. It felt good to help them, to support them, to make sure they were fed and watered. Brad is always so supportive of my goals (even when they’re over my head and completely absurd, e.g. “I’m gonna run a 50k!”), so it felt nice to help him accomplish one of his.
Being there at Supercrack Buttress, which is stacked with classics, I thought about my first experiences at Indian Creek. In the early days, I went to Supercrack all the time, partially because I didn’t know about the endless buttresses down the road, but also because the routes are pretty doable. I thought about the day, with Cindy Trotter, that it all clicked for me, the day Incredible Handcrack went down without a fight. I felt like I'd arrived; it was pivotal.
In many ways I’ve evolved as a climber – honed my skills, learned my strengths – but mostly I’m still that girl who doesn’t know how to make tape gloves and hates to place gear blindly. And even though Incredible Handcrack is a warm up for me now, I still get a little nervous when I look up at it, because in some ways it will always be the coolest, hardest route imaginable.
After a steak dinner at camp (endless thanks to Ed for taking such good care of us), we all went to bed dreaming of another day of crack climbing. Brad fell asleep in his tape gloves; I wish I’d gotten a photo.
Sunday was beautiful. I got on Coyne Crack, which didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Before I started, I looked up at the route, took a deep breath and focused. Then proceeded to do everything wrong and inefficiently and backwards and as though I had never touched rock in my life.
I tried to jam the beginning even though I knew that it was smarter to lay it back. I tried to shove in #2s even though I could see that the crack was an inch and a half. Where I could have placed a #2, I wasted time fiddling with #1s.
It was ugly. My feet were slappy and sloppy. I placed gear above my head (stupid because then the rope is in the way). I didn’t rest in the smart spots, opting to say, “take” instead.
Sigh. Next time will be better.
It was a nice day, though. Brad was exhausted enough that he didn’t put up a fight when I suggested going to the only crowded buttress in the Creek (uh, yeah, that’s right: Supercrack again). There were puppies and people and ropes and flailers everywhere, and he didn’t growl once, prompting Lizzie to comment, “I think Brad should climb 30 pitches everytime he climbs! This is great! He’s so mellow!”
I had pictures but somewhere en route from my camera to my computer, they disappeared. Instead, I’ll leave you with a photo that Matt took. Matt is a professional photographer; his work is breathtaking. Check it out now.