Our next stop was the Moab area. It would be a short visit, only two days in fact, but we would be back again shortly. The first day we spent in Arches National Park, which has some breathtaking scenery. Pretty much everywhere you look reveals beautiful vistas. We climbed two towers, the first being Owl Rock, up a nice 5.8 single pitch route.
Here are some interesting rock formations as seen from the top.
The next route we climbed was up Tonka Tower, which went at 5.8 A0, and became our first foray into aid climbing. According to the guidebook the aid climbing was minimal, and included a short section of climbing up a bolt ladder on the second pitch. We didn't have any aid gear, but figured we could easily wing it by stepping into slings. Thankfully we didn't have to resort to any such rudimentary techniques. We quickly befriended the party ahead of us, and they graciously left their Etries clipped into the bolts for us to use. Good thing too, as the 'bolt ladder' consisted of only two well spaced bolts on a minimally featured sandy face of rock. It would certainly have been interesting for us to get through that on our own. Here is Kristal at the summit with our new friends Ethan and Mike, with the tower next door to the right.
For the rest of the day we did some touring around the park. Here is Landscape Arch, supposedly the longest arch in the world, spanning 290 feet.
The ridiculous Balanced Rock.
And Kristal with Delicate Arch in the background.
On day two we did some bouldering at Big Bend, a small bouldering spot just outside of Moab, in the valley cut by the Colorado river. Despite it's small size, it contains a surprising number of quality problems, with an epic backdrop of sandstone cliffs.