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Prodigal Son , Zion
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topramen


Jun 9, 2003, 8:54 PM
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Prodigal Son , Zion
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Hello everyone.

I am in the early stage of planning a climb of Prodigal Son in Zion for late spring of 2004. This will be my first attempt at a bigwall. Hoping to hear from other climbers who have climbed or attempted to climb this route. Would like to be able to pm those that have and get a chance to pick your brain for some advice or beta on certain pitches.
I have heard and read that it is possible to complete the route in a very long day. One question I have is , is this a reasonable expection for someones first bigwall taking in to account the gumbie factor? Or would a smarter option be just to plan a bivy on the wall and do it in two days?

Well looking foward to hearing from other who have " been there, done that" Any Advice will be very much appreciated. Thanks


wigglestick


Jun 10, 2003, 7:29 AM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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My first wall attempt was Spaceshot. We bailed on pitch 5 or 6 because of weather and testicular shrinkage. I did a grand total of 4 aid pitches over the next few months and then came back and did Prodigal with the same partner in about 18 hours without fixing. It was a long day and by no means any speed record but we did it in a day. If you commit to doing it light and as fast as possible it is doable. Prodigal has tons of fixed gear which makes the route go much faster. Don't haul and you will thank me later. Hauling adds at least a day to the climb. PM me if you need specific beta or look in the route database and browse through what other have said about their ascents.


cabouldering


Jun 10, 2003, 8:28 AM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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The last pitch on Prodigal is pretty much a 4th class eco-challenge, and will go much easier if you do not haul. A portaledge bivy is a big wall must and is an experience that should not be missed though.

CABouldering


angelaa


Jun 10, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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Prodigal Son was also my first big wall . . . . OK I did Zenyatta Entrada for aid practice before that, but you don't need to bivy so it really isn't a big wall??

We actually had heard horror stories about this climb. . . and I honestly didn't think we would swing it our first time. I heard that only 1/3 of the people that try this for their first climb actually finish and those that do take 3 days (and while we were in Zion we saw 4 teams start and only one other team finish :shock: ) - so we got a bivy permit for two nights. . . hoping we wouldn't need it all.
We went in the fall, so we had to take the shuttle to the climb and we didn't get started till about 9am on day one!
By lunch on day one we were at our ledge for the evening (we didn't bring a porta ledge, so we HAD to stop there for the night), so we fixed another couple of pitches and went back down to the ledge and spent the evening - watching all the other headlamps in the canyon. After trying to sleep all night, we started getting everything packed up and ready at about 4 am and got started at first light. Day two was VERY long. We thought we were doing good by pitch 6 and would be able to get into town for dinner and a shower that night! Then came the last few pitches . . . they traverse a lot, so they are a pain to lead and an even bigger pain to clean! And when you finally think it is over, you run into the VERY LAST pitch :x . All the stuff I had read made it seem like a walk up, but that isn't what we encountered! It was loose, sandy and long - really hard to haul our bags up! I cannot even describe it ~ I can only say it will be the worst pitch you have EVER had to climb through . . . be careful!
The summit at sunset (this was fall remember) was AWESOME and made for a great photo! You must hike the 200" up from the end of the climb to the summit, it is a Wild trail and a great summit :D . The hike down starts off pretty trechorous, but soon you get on paved trail, and you can run down to the bus and back to camp.
So, we beat the odds, but the climb still beat us . . we looked, felt and smelled like hell when we got down, but we did it! What a rush - you will love it!
Have a great time!
check out www.climbingmoab.com for more trip reports on this climb

EDIT:
Oh and honestly I don't think hauling slowed us down until the last pitch, and we needed all that crap we hauled . . .we knew we would be there for the long haul. he he
I think if we wouldn't have hauled, we wouldn't have finished! So for us anyway, hauling was a must!
We also didn't have a porta ledge, and that sucked & having one would have been easier, but it was do-able with out it.


slabbyd


Jun 10, 2003, 10:09 AM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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Climbed it last fall for my first wall. I think it is an excellent choice due to it's straight forward nature and continually excellent climbing.

For strategy I fixed 2 ropes on the first 3.5 pitches (good intermediate anchor) then jugged in the morning and finished it off. Maybe not a bad idea as you can focus on the climbing not hauling. Used the smallest rack I've ever needed on an aid climb as well. PM me if you want details.


topramen


Jun 11, 2003, 12:23 PM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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Hello Everyone

Glad to see the feedback from all of you. Another question though, can one retreat at any point on this route ? or is there a point where rapping down would not be feasible. From looking at the topo I would venture to guess that it could. Im I wrong?


wigglestick


Jun 11, 2003, 12:31 PM
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I am pretty sure that you could descend from as high as the top of pitch 6. Possibly higher but at that point it might be faster to just keep going up. There is a set of anchors directly across from the start of the pitch 5 bolt ladder and from there you could easily reach the top of pitch 4 or even the intermediate set of anchors that slabbyd describes.


bigdan


Jun 11, 2003, 11:15 PM
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Re: Prodigal Son , Zion [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I am in the early stage of planning a climb of Prodigal Son in Zion for late spring of 2004.

Why wait so long? Go in the fall, as soon as it cools back off. You don't need a year for prep, unless you're flying from Europe or something. Just a day to travel and an hour to sort gear and go!

Seriously, getting ready for your first wall takes a little prep. But I think it's an oft made mistake to hype up the experience so much in your mind. Get psyched, don't get me wrong. But don't bill it in your mind as MEGA EXPEDITION 2004 or anything.

My advice: Just find a weekend and a partner and go. Succeed or fail - either way you've made headway. I never made any wall progress till I dropped the psyche factor and just treated it like the climb that it is. When you just do it, without the bureaucracy stuff, you learn faster.

Just a suggestion. By all means, do as you think will work for you. But that's what has worked for every wall climber I know.


angelaa


Jun 12, 2003, 10:14 AM
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bigdan - I guess I don't agree with you.
Being [mentally & physically] capable of doing a climb like Prodigal, took a lot of time, effort and practice for me. I needed the mental buildup to keep my training and self education levels high.
I knew I had a goal, and I took a year planning and training and I did it. . .
Honestly I think it is the ONLY reason I completed the climb. Had a not been prepared for it, it would have been WAY too easy to back off and make the excuse "it was over my head".
I guess it all depends on your motivation.
I like to learn all I can about what I want to do first, then do it to my best ability, and therefore I believe I succeed more than if I just 'jumped' on to this climb one weekend.

or it could be I needed to plan it so far out because it is a two day drive for me! :wink:


grigriese


Jun 12, 2003, 10:36 AM
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Prodigal Son was my first, and so far only, big wall. Lots of fun and incredibly rewarding. The last pitch would have been awful, but my boyfriend scrambled up to the top with a rope and fixed it. We didn't haul the last pitch, we both wore the haul bags as packs and jumarred the fixed line. Much easier and safer if there is anyone else on the route below ya. The only real problem we had is that we allowed a couple of yahoos who said they were planning on doing the route in a day, go ahead of us. They added about 8-9 hours to our first day. They spent about 6 hours on pitch 3, then ended up bailing at about 9pm in the dark. One guy was whining, practically in tears and was yanking on our ropes while rapping. Very sad! So, donít let anyone pass you unless they catch up to you at lightening speed!!! We had planned to bivy at pitch six on the first night ended up bivying on 3 with ropes fixed on 4. Good luck!!! Have a great time and get a very early start.


topramen


Jun 13, 2003, 7:38 PM
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Hello Bigdan

Thank you for your advice. I have to say in part I agree with you , and on the other hand I like to know Im ready. Some of the climbs I feel the most proud of and rewarding for me, were the ones that I just showed up to and had at it.
The reasons for next year are many. Most having to do nothing with climbing and a few that do. The ones pertaining to climbing mostly have to do with supplementing my rack with smaller gear , better harness , and so on, all of which takes a little time.


moabbeth


Jun 13, 2003, 8:34 PM
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hey topramen - you should PM Ammon (elcapbuzz). He holds the speed record on Prodigal Sun. I'm sure he could give you some good input.


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