Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unfinished Business

After nearly three weeks in the Moab area, we were ready to move on, but first we had some unfinished business. The Kor-Ingless route on Castleton tower had been on our tick list since we first got to Moab, but poor weather had kept us off it. Castleton Tower is an impressive skyscraper that dominates the desert skyline and I couldn't bring myself to leave without attempting it.

The downside to the Kor-Ingless route is that it's one of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. Now, I know that sounds like it would be a good thing, but mostly it just means big crowds. We figured we'd be safe on a Wednesday in November, starting later than most reasonable climbers would be willing to start a four hundred foot climb with a hour long approach up a scree slope. Nope. There were three parties ahead of us when we staggered up to the base and then a crazy Swiss pair showed up half an hour later. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have the tower to yourself it you decided to climb it on a new moon in a January blizzard.

The climbing itself was pretty interesting, but made much more insecure by the slick coating of calcite that covered much of the cracks. With our late start we were a bit anxious that we wouldn't finish before the sun set. The Swiss pair behind us must have been even more nervous- I've never had anyone follow quite so closely. I was terrified to slip on top-rope, sure that if I fell I'd knock their leader off the climb. At times he was less than a couple of feet below me. As Jason followed the last pitch, their leader actually beat him to the summit!

Anyways, the tailgating Swiss party got a pretty good shot of us on the summit.

And the view from the top was definitely worth the climb.

Finally finished our business in Moab, we headed to Zion National Park. Zion has been called the sandstone Yosemite and hosts some of the world's steepest and tallest sandstone walls. The fist view of the canyon is awesome, and a bit intimidating. I feel like I'd need to spend a lot more time practicing in Indian Creek before I'm willing to attempt any of these walls.

Instead, we opted to climb a chill, slabby route called Led By Sheep up Aries Butte.

The approach itself was pretty cool. After passing a wall of petroglyphs, the trail led up steep slickrock to a saddle between two buttes.

The route climbs a gentle, but runnout slab. Here I am on the first pitch after clipping one of the few bolts.

With 13 bolts (and one marginal cam placement) in 600 feet, we were pretty glad the climbing was easy. It was a pretty nice change from all the steep crack climbing we've been on recently. Here I am, leaving our mark on the summit.

1 comment:

  1. wow guys, that photo of you guys at the summit of castleton is phenomenal!

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