Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park

Today we woke up [kinda] early and left St. George for Kolob Canyon.

Kolob is a sector of Zion National Park that is accessed by Highway 15, a completely different entrance than the main Zion approach.

The south fork of Taylor Creek hosts some of the only sport climbs in Zion.  Indeed if you read the literature they give you when you arrive it will state that there are 'no sport climbs in Zion'.  Untrue.

There are not many, but there are a few of the most stunning lines I have ever climbed on.  And they're long.  Real long.  I took 18 draws with me and when Amanda lowered me, our 80 meter rope was completely taught and I was a good forty feet or so away from the wall.  Sick.

The routes were 130 to 150 feet long, I onsighted the five routes I tried within the three hours we were there.  I was so impressed by the quality of the stone and how fun they were to climb.  Lines of huecos led up the red sandstone cliff deep in the slot canyon.  Time sorta flew by--I love long routes.

Since it was just the two of us, we couldn't take photos of the climbing, but we did get a few descriptive shots of the action after the fact.

(Google image search Namaste 5.12a and Huecos Rancheros 5.12c at Kolob Canyon for other folks' shots of the routes in action.)

We're spending the night in Cedar City this evening and then will be heading on to Joe's Valley in the morning.

Weather is perfect and we are ready to rip it up.

We probably won't be able to post many more blog entries until we leave Joe's Valley, but we will try.

This is taken from the parking area of the South 'finger' of Kolob Canyon, notice how the canyon narrows toward the back--that is where we are headed.  Roughly a mile hike or so.

Gettin' closer to the action.  I've never heard echo's like the ones this canyon provided.

Rackin' up 16 draws for Namaste, 5.12a.  First route of the day.

Here is a nice detail of the giant pod-like hueco's that decorate the wall.  So much fun.

Another detail, the wall is a lot steeper than it seems.  Check out our neon blue 80 meter rope on the right, thats hangin' from the chains gettin' ready to be pulled through.  The route it's hanging from is Hueco's Rancheros.  About 150 feet tall.

And another detail shot.

Here is a detail of the ladder of jugs of Namaste, 5.12a.

One of the 'shorter' routes I'm cleaning.  Last route of the day.  Amanda is zoomed in for this shot by the way...

"Ah man I can't believe I just ripped all those routes like a total badass..." or Amanda telling me that my hair looks funny.  See how steep that wall is above me!?

And I said:  "Whats funny about this hair?"

She looks good doesn't she?

It was cold in the canyon.  Stone cold.

Magical approach trail.  Leaves fallen over red sand.

More trail, more magic.

On the way out of the slot canyon into the warm air.

So I says:  "Take a photo of that tree"  The only red leafed one we passed.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

How do you make beautiful scenery better?  Add twizzlers.

Her and I at the end of the day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vegas baby! VEGAS!

We were just going to stop through Las Vegas.

Maybe stay a day and say hello to an old friend and his family (the family responsible for getting me to Nashville actually...he always says:  "I can't believe you are still there!"  What can I say, Nashville is a pretty sweet place to live.).

Then, we went to Red Rocks.

Then, Amanda's parents came to visit us.

Then, we all went back to Red Rocks for a couple of days.

So we actually stayed in Vegas a bit longer than expected.  But you know, Vegas is a pretty cool place, my friend took us out to many delicious restaurants including the Lotus of Siam, which had some bangin' thai food.

And then, we left.  And are currently in St. George enjoying some sport climbing at the local crags.  I must say, the locals here are super friendly, inviting us to their homes for dinner and showers.  We will be hitting a few more areas up before leaving, we have climbed three days and already have done more than 50 routes!  The soft red sandstone is easy on the hands.

Hopefully, the Cathedral and Kolob Canyon in Zion will be as rewarding.

We are in the final leg of the journey already.  I can't believe time has gone by so swiftly.  We will be heading to Joe's Valley in central Utah next and then down through Arizona to Flagstaff and then wrapping up the trip in Sedona.

We expect to be back in the Nashville area sometime in December.

However, I am starting to miss the Obed...

I wanted to make a quick note that some of our readers have been wanting to hear less about the climbing and more about how we are doing.  Even though we are on a roadtrip so obviously we are doing extremely well, we have decided to include a segment in this blog post that covers what other major pastimes are at play during our day:  Eating food!

We have cooked tons of great and creative meals in Vanny White (we named the van), but have chosen one meal in particular to share with all of you...all 14 of you faithful blog readers--especially the one who didn't find the existing content enough.

Without further adieu, here is one from the vaults:

Red Cabbage Tempeh Wraps

1 head Red Cabbage
1 package Tempeh
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Bragg's Liquid Aminos (we used the spritzer bottle)
1 cucumber (chopped)
Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Fresh Spinach
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Olive Oil

Cooking the Tempeh:  Chop up that tempeh however you like it, we chopped it pretty good, looked like ground hamburger when we finished with it!  Heat up some olive oil in a skillet, medium heat.  Toss that tempeh in and once it starts to brown, spray it down with the Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  Sprinkle some Nutritional Yeast Flakes on, stir, and spray it down again.  Add salt and pepper to taste and before you finish, turn the heat up a little and see if you can't get it a bit crispy.

Take your Cabbage leaf, load it up with the spinach leaves, tempeh, chopped cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes, close the wrap and don't let it go till you finish that bad boy.  Straws recommended so you don't have to let the wrap go with your hands to take a sip of your beverage.  Since the cabbage has a mind of its own, it doesn't really keep it's 'wrapped' shape.


Onsighting Fear and Loathing (5.12a) at Red Rocks, Las Vegas.  Photo taken by Jeremy Hall.

Check this out #5

Another exploratory hike through the volcanic tablelands in Bishop led us to some ancient petroglyphs.  Namely, Sky Rock.  As it's name implies, the rock faces the sky, making it very difficult to locate.

This particular petroglyph site is kept hush-hush by the local rangers, and even trying to find directions on the internet proved impossible.

We were lucky enough to bump into a guy bouldering who was filming the rock and after inviting him to join us, he told us about it.  After some other investigating, we located the rock which was quite magnificent.

Check it out!

Apparently the true meaning of this site has been lost through the ages--or at least thats what they tell us!  Amanda said it is instructions on how to make a pizza.  She may be right.