Sunday, March 13, 2011

life back in these United States...

After a wonderful seven weeks in Mexico, we returned to the homeland to continue our travels and adventures north of the border...

The first stop was with our friend Charlie Harman in Austin, TX.  Although we were unable to do any climbing this visit, we did have the pleasure of spending time with Diego the Australian Mastif; who clearly took a liking to Nyssa.

As we headed west through Texas, it seemed as if the boredom might never come to an end.  When all of a sudden we found ourselves in a slightly ironic landscape for Texas... a massive field of Wind Turbines.

And finally after two days of driving through fairly bleak portions of our country, we arrived in Moab to a beautiful sunset over the sandstone cliffs.

And to the west the La Sal Mountains glowed...

We awoke our first morning in Moab to find ourselves in a serious "room with a view". Through the window you can see Castle Valley, home of the infamous Castleton Tower.

Our first day in Moab was spent climbing at the very "Dr. Seussical"  Fisher Tower.  We attempted to climb Ancient Art; however, we were unfortunately rained off the route.

Below, Rich is belaying our good friend and excellent host, Jeff on the first pitch.

Our second day in Moab was spent 40 miles south in Indian Creek, the land of splitter everything, and on this fine day we were able to have it all, splitter weather and splitter cracks. Below is the Supercrack Buttress, where it all began in the Creek.

And for all you trad climbing enthusiasts out there... the Indian Creek obligatory rack. 

Rich giving his damdest effort on Generic Crack (5.10)

And despite the beautiful crack in front of me, I had been climbing in Mexico for seven weeks and could not resist the urge to crimp as hard as I could on the smallest face hold that I could find... oh well...

Nyssa trying to gain as much surface contact as possible... she fit a little bit better in the crack than I did...

Sunset illuminates the silhouettes of the North and South Six Shooter Peaks of Indian Creek.

Our third day in Moab was spent at a truly beautiful and extremely easy to access crag called Wall Street.  The photograph below does an excellent job of illustrating the name... world class single-pitch sport and trad climbing... easily belayed from the back of your car... Utah is a wonderful place!

Rich trying to push the carrying capacity for appendages on this sloping crimp rail on Nervous in Suburbia (5.10a)... and even the locals told me it was a sandbag...

In standard Utah fashion, right across the street from the climbing a breath-taking view featuring the Colorado River awaits...

On our final day in Moab we climb The Looking Glass Arch (5.4) This line offered fun slab climbing to a beautiful summit and an extremely rewarding rappel.  Below Nyssa, Jeff and Mike climb the second pitch.  

And after all the work, the reward... a 185 foot free hanging rappel that actually starts off by moving through a hole in the summit of the arch! Once again, Utah is so cool! Below, Nyssa enjoys the glorious ride.

We finished off our final day in Moab with a visit to Arches National Park, another strangely beautiful and "Dr. Seussical" landscape.  

Nyssa and Rich in the South Window arch. 

The North and South Window Arches at dusk.

And finally, the license plate featured attraction of Utah, The Delicate Arch.  Being a big fan of Edward Abbey, and Desert Solitare in particular, visiting this fantastic place provided a great deal of perspective into the sublimity of the landscapes that he described with such admiration. 

And so as not to deviate from precedents set... more local wildlife photos... here a lizard makes sure our climbing gear doesn't completely deprive him of his favorite sun-bathing rock.  

until next time...

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