Indian Creek

September 24, 2009

We arrived in Moab Tuesday afternoon. There was fresh snow on the La Sals, and the forecast called for thunderstorms, so we delayed going down to the Creek. Wednesday we repeated a couple of climbs along Potash road, bouldered at Big Bend, and then bought groceries for camping at the Creek.

We arrived in the Creek after dark, and we discovered that camping is no longer permitted at Newspaper Rock. Always a bad idea because the canyon is narrow and there is a danger of flash floods. The sandy, vegetation-free soil of the campground should have been a clue, but it was nice camping under the cottonwoods.

We camped at the Needles Outpost $25 a night. Showers are available. We met Tracy Napolitano. Thursday and Friday we climbed on Scarface Buttress. Here is a list of climbs I did. Of the climbs we did Thurs and Fri, I like these the most (2nd ed. numbering): #9 thin hands, face holds, and lieback, #34 wide hands and chimney, #12 Scarface. The guidebook is great. It amazes me that when the Wiggins party climbed Supercrack in 1976, the road into Moab was dirt and a wooden bridge crossed the Colorado. When were highways 191 and 211 paved?

Friday night we returned to Moab. Thousands were in town for a bike race, so we couldn’t get a hotel. We got a campsite in the Moab RV park near City Market $20 a night. The first night was marred by the drunken hillbillies next to us. The man kept calling the woman a stupid cunt. Apparently she turned his dog against him.

Saturday we climbed at Potash Road again. I did “Nervous in Suburbia” 10a, “Lucy in the Sky with Potash” 10a, and “30 Seconds Over Potash” 5.8. A couple of locals climbed next to us, and they referred to the woman making the odd calls from the other side of the Colorado as “goose lady”.

After climbing we drove the bike race route in reverse, going down river road and then up Castle Valley into the La Sals. We discovered Mill Creek, and saw where people park and hike down to the climbing. It is obvious the climbing is on Entrada sandstone. I asked someone at Pagan about it, and there are about 100 routes there. No guidebook, so just choose something you think you might be able to climb. It isn’t all high-end climbing: there is stuff in the 5.10 and 5.11 range.

I studied the map and consulted a hiking guide in the bookstore. If you were interested in making an ascent of Mt Peale (12721 ft elevation, 6200 ft of prominence, 23rd most prominent peak in the lower 48), you would take highway 46 east from La Sal Junction, and then get on Upper Two Mile Rd to La Sal Pass Rd. The latter two roads are dirt, but passable with 2WD. Drive up to the vicinity of La Sal Pass, a col which separates the south La Sals from the central La Sals. Mt Peale is an off trail route straight up to the north.

Sunday we went skydiving. When we walked back to the hangar, Steph Davis was sitting on her tailgate in her wingsuit.

We returned to the Creek and camped on the Bridger Jack Shelf Sunday evening. A thunderstorm came through and doused everything. We cooked pork chops, rotini pasta, and broccoli. A large praying mantis visited our campsite and I can’t recall ever watching one of them up close.

Monday we climbed again on Scarface Buttress. Climb #10 to the left of “Where’s Carruthers” is superb. It is 100′ long, and it starts out with thin hands and stemming in a pair of cracks. The upper section has cruxy liebacks between good rests. I protected in both cracks without using runners, which caused the 0.75 Camalot to walk deep into the crack. I spent over 15 minutes retrieving it by using nut tools and a sling to reach the release bar.

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