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Indian Creek part 1: Blue Gramma, Technicolor, and Battle of the Bulge

The trip has started out great.  We started on Blue Gramma on day one, Technicolor wall on day two, and Battle of the Bulge on day three.  Now we’re hanging out in Moab, recovering on a rest day, getting ready for more.  Keeping our fingers crossed that the weather improves.

A big dust storm rolled in last night, unfortunately just as Kevin arrived.  That, coupled with three days of hard (for me) climbing meant that his trip starts with a rest day!  Well, almost — On the way into town we stopped at Blue Gramma and Kevin had a good time leading and then TR’ing his first IC climb:  Mexican Unicorn (5.9+).  This climb is unnamed in the David Bloom guidebook, but is a hands-to-wide-hands corner.

I didn’t bring my climbing log into town, so you’ll have to wait until I update my climbing log for the full set of climbs so far.

First, we roll into the ‘Creek and setup camp at the Superbowl campground with the Six-Shooters in the background.

Matt L, Matt R, Bojan and Tad with one of the Six Shooters in the background

Matt L, Matt R, Bojan and Tad with one of the Six Shooters in the background

On arrival day, after setting up camp we climbed on Blue Gramma cliff.  This cliff contains an amazing set of petroglyphs, which cover vast stretches of the rock face, continuing around corners and everything.  There are even large glyphs on top of some fairly tall pillars.  Guess the Indians were climbers too!

Petroglyphs cover lots of Blue Gramma cliff

Petroglyphs cover lots of Blue Gramma cliff

Of course, given that this was our first day of climbing, we took the obligatory “unscuffed hands before sandpapering them in IC” photo.

Before: our hands before climbing

Before: our hands before climbing

Petrelli Motors was first up.  It goes at about 5.10, and you get perfect (almost too good!) finger locks all the way up.  The crack runs up a low angle face, with (gasp!) features for your right foot.

Matt R. gets down to business on Pirelli Motors, Blue Gramma

Matt R. gets down to business on Pitrelli Motors, Blue Gramma

We didn’t feel strong enough to jump on the cliff’s namesake climb, with it’s “effortless liebacks”, but we did some other fun stuff.  I chewed up my arm TR’ing a wide thing, and hung through the wide crux of this cool (unnamed) hand crack to chimney behind a flake (to pro in the flake), followed by downclimbing until you can lieback out from under the flake and establish yourself in wide (slowly narrowing) crack above.  I had to hang once there because I couldn’t figure out how to get out of the lieback and back into the crack (Grr..).  Cool short climb!

Day two brought us out to Technicolor Wall, where we climbed a bunch of really fun stuff.  I started with this easy and fun chimney that offered all the protection you could ask for.  Want to protect with wide gear?  Sure, we’ve got placements up to #4 camalot,  Want to protect with small gear?  Got that too.  What about nuts?  Yup.  I mixed it up, nuts, wide, and small.  Bojan stuck to wide (heck if you’re gonna carry that stuff, you might as well place it!)

Well protected chimney two climbs right of 60 Beers Later

Well protected chimney two climbs right of 60 Beers Later

Next I climbed a wide-ish thing called 60 Beers Later. This was a short fun climb of varying width.  I failed miserably on the wide corner between 60 Beers and the chimney.  I had to lower off and Matt L. finished it (which he cruised up).  Apparently #4 camalots are fist jams for him!  (They’re hand/fist stacks for me!).

The best climb of the day however, had to have been the last one we did — Goldeneye (5.10+ / 5.11-).  We negotiated lots of sketchy unstable scree slopes to traverse over to (not recommended!).  This climb was 120 feet of fingers to hands back to steeeeep fingers. Way fun, and definitely deserving of four stars.  This climb even had a knee-lock-no-hands-rest to recover on before the steep fingers.  Unfortunately I had one hang in the steep fingers section at the top.  That just means I’ll have to return someday!

Tad entering the crux on Goldeneye (5.10+ / 5.11-), Technicolor Wall

Tad entering the crux on Goldeneye (5.10+ / 5.11-), Technicolor Wall

After a great dinner and a good night’s sleep we headed out on day three to Battle of the Bulge.  We had a beautiful sunny day that threatened rain in the evening (which never materialized).  After warming up on Railroad Tracks (5.10-), I launched myself at Swedin Ringle (5.12-).  Whoo boy, that was hard!  I made it through the fingers and thin hands back into the fingers before hanging.  From there (about the last 15 feet), I hung on every piece.  I placed all the gear and clipped from stances before hanging though, so I know I can do all the moves, I just need to work on the endurance.

At the end of the day we ran up the cliff’s namesake climb, Battle of the Bulge (5.11), which Matt R. put up.  Lots of 0.75 camalots and #2 friends (bring more than you think you might need — or be willing to run it out through the bulge!)

Tad getting ready to TR Battle of the Bulge (5.11)

Tad getting ready to TR Battle of the Bulge (5.11)

Three great days of climbing, and then rest.  Phew!  Stay tuned for the next installment sometime in the next week or so.

1 comment to Indian Creek part 1: Blue Gramma, Technicolor, and Battle of the Bulge

  • Danielle

    Love the rock angles! Climbs look so much fun. It sounds like you experienced a wide range of climbs that pushed your abilities :-)

    notes: Chimney shot is my favorite. Where is your beer?

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