Jan 21, 2012

Back to the Desert

West Yellowstone . . . 10 hours to go
Sitting in a warm comfortable coffee shop, off the road, and trying to regurgitate my most recent foray in climbing; I feel nearly ashamed for ever questioning my motivations. However, three weeks ago, while driving on the worst roads imaginable, I had a hard time swallowing my decision to drive all the way to Indian Creek for only three days of climbing. Following some invisible Zamboni, it became clear the damage to life and property would be similar if you drove 5 or 50 miles per hour through Island Park. As the road was a sheet of ice, any attempt to use the breaks would only result in Blades of Glory inspired shit show of sliding. But now, this stressful event seems but a tiny price to pay for three days of uncrowded bliss in The Creek. How could I even begin to question a chance to go to Indian Creek? You stupid American, only concerned with the now! As per usual, we rolled into the creek late on the night of New Years Day and attempted to head to our favorite camping sites near the Bridger Jacks. . . key word "attempted". The river crossing ended up being a full on 4X4, slap into a Slim Jim rally causing our trusty old Subaru Wagon to magically gain the sound of Turbo Charged, tricked out, STI.

M and Lhotse enjoying the desert's best 
The climbing was incredible, as if it could be anything but! Marge is on a climbing hot streak right now and pulled out the big guns with several leads and numerous impressive top rope sessions. The most impressive of which was a battle of all battles to reach the top of Dos Hermanos! We had the place to ourselves and spent a day at Supercrack, a day at Donnely Canyon, and a day at Reservoir Wall. To keep balance in the world, my climbing for the trip was much less impressive than my wife's (as been the case lately). I managed one hang every hard lead I tried only to fire the remainder of the route with minimal rests (heartbreaker).
M loving every inch of what could be one of the greatest wide hand cracks out there!
M finding some motivation to try hard on the incredible Left Crack 
The love affair with the desert continues 
As fast as we arrived it was already time to leave. It doesn't even quite feel like the trip even happened. The lack of other climbers, the short duration, and the overall dreamlike lifestyle Indian Creek ushers have combined to make my fleeting memories of those days more like a dream than reality. However, in contrast to Thanksgiving spent in Indian Creek, this trip was focused on the experience and much less the climbing. With this shifted focused, I've been remembered why I love Indian Creek. Yes, the climbing is world class, and yes I am a crack junkie . . . but Indian Creek offers something else. Something totally intangible sitting just beyond the realm of civilization. I've typed and deleted sentence after sentence and none of them sticks to further express my feelings toward the creek. I would say you have to go there to understand, but I don't think that logic works either. Indian Creek is special to me on so many personal levels, I could never guarantee a similar feeling would ever capture anyone else visiting the area. However, I do recommend that every person should find this sort of place, be it connected to the vertical world or not. It's the place that saves you, motivates you, and eludes you.

 On the way home from Indian Creek for Thanksgiving we stumbled into Pegan Mountain Sports in Moab to discover the rebirth of the small cam! Finally, a climbing gear company pulled their head out of the sand, sacked up, and started making nearly identical copies of the one and only original Aliens. I've climbed with a double set of the old ones now for just over a year and could not wait for the new ones to arrive (some of the oldies but goldies were in pretty rough shape). These are pretty much the exact same cam as before. Fixe has cleaned up some the cosmetic design features, but everything else remains the same. Which is how it should be seeing as NOTHING needed to be changed on these babies. While at Pegan back in November, I purchased a blue and a green and was very excited to place them when Marge and I returned to Indian Creek. They place, function, and hold just like the old Aliens. I hope the point I'm able to stress right now is that these cams are truly the same cams they were . . . so the numerous reasons why Aliens were so popular still apply.

  • Narrow heads which fit better than any other small cam in pin scars
  • Narrow heads also allow them to place well in pods 
  • Flexible nature of the entire unit decreases walking 
  • Flexible nature of the entire unit allows them to hold very well even when not placed in the direction of loading 
  • $80 is a high price to pay for one cam (TOTALLY WORTH IT)
  • Hard to find (even the new ones)

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