Forums: Climbing Disciplines: Big Wall and Aid Climbing:
Best Zion big wall for newbie
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Big Wall and Aid Climbing

Premier Sponsor:

 
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All


ryanpfleger


Jul 3, 2004, 6:10 PM
Post #1 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2003
Posts: 243

Best Zion big wall for newbie
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

So weigh in everyone. Whats the best in Zion for a wall virgin like myself. Could be climbing one anytime between the middle of July and winter. Among the things to consider would be temps, time commitment, gear required, etc.

So the two routes I am seriously considering are Prodigal Son and Spaceshot. Maybe there are others I am overlooking though?


flamer


Jul 3, 2004, 9:31 PM
Post #2 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 22, 2002
Posts: 2955

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

You're probably going to want to wait until at least October. The temps are ungodly hot in july and august, and sept. is not much better.

That being said I'd say prodigal, lot's more fixed gear should allow you to move faster.

josh


ryanpfleger


Jul 3, 2004, 11:05 PM
Post #3 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2003
Posts: 243

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

So are November and December (or even January) doable? How cold does it average during the days and nights? How often do you get a few storm free days together? I had heard from someone that its rare to get 3 or 4 consecutive clear days, but that seems a bit off. I mean this is Southern Utah, not Patagonia.


flamer


Jul 4, 2004, 3:33 PM
Post #4 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 22, 2002
Posts: 2955

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
So are November and December (or even January) doable? How cold does it average during the days and nights? How often do you get a few storm free days together? I had heard from someone that its rare to get 3 or 4 consecutive clear days, but that seems a bit off. I mean this is Southern Utah, not Patagonia.

Rare to get 3 or 4 clear days?? Whoever said that is on crack!!
Weather is not totally predictable and changes year to year....but Zion is not somewhere that gets racked by storms!

I've climbed in Zion in January(twice), december, feb., april, march and Octber. Only once did I get shut down by the weather, and stormed a few days before we got there(leaving more snow than they'd seen in 10 years).

Go in late octber/early november. The days are shorter but the weather is *usually* awesome.

josh


Partner holdplease2


Jul 4, 2004, 4:14 PM
Post #5 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 1733

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

This winter (Jan/Feb) there were many stretches of 8+ days of perfectly clear weather.

However, if you are new to aid, the shorter days may impact your schedule by as much as a day...and nightfall can be a bit more unnerving with winds picking up and temperatures dropping into the 20s or below...nightcrew takes on a whole new feel when your belayer/water/whatever start to freeze.

As a new-to-walls person, however, you might appreciate the significantly smaller crowds...you are far less likely to have someone climbing up your a** in January/February, but also far less likely to have another party come along in case you need help.

Prodigal may be easier than space shot (I have not climbed space shot) but the free at the beginning means that space shot will take less time, which may compensate for there being so much fixed pro on Prodigal.

Also, climbing Prodigal requires crossing the river (no more than knee high, even if you cross in the wrong place) but gives you a nice walk-off via the Angel's Landing trail. Space Shot does not require a river-crossing, but if you top out at night (likely) it may require a forced bivy at the top (burrr) because the raps are hard to find without prior experience or great beta.

All said, I would climb Moonlight instead. The placements were easier than Prodigal, there is less fixed gear, so it is more "real" climbing, the topout/walkdown is via angels landing trail, and in my opinion it is a far more "classic" route.

If you want to avoid bivy...and chose the fix and fire method (probably good for a newbie, avoid hauling/bivy complications and freezing at night) you certainly want to fix through 4 on all 3 climbs or you will likely suffer on day 2...you will move more slowly and have lines to jug on that day...don't plan on your progress picking up...

Fix and fire on Space Shot will likely result in a bivy up top...I hear that getting to the belays in the dark...especially when it is icy...is very sketch. Without bivy gear, this would, um, suck. And carrying bivy gear would suck even more than that.

-Kate.


Partner holdplease2


Jul 4, 2004, 4:17 PM
Post #6 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 1733

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Oh yeah and...

The "groove grovel" at the top of prodigal...slabby, nasty, some chimney, and gully thrash with little pro...would be all the more exciting when coated in Ice. Moonlight avoids this little problem with a clean top-out, other than the 30 feet of 5.7 slab...hmm.

-Kate.


vegastradguy


Jul 4, 2004, 10:46 PM
Post #7 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 5919

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I would highly recommend saving the last 30' of Moonlight until 1 or 2 in the morning. this will make your topout very exciting. especially in January. heh. :lol:


ryanpfleger


Jul 4, 2004, 11:36 PM
Post #8 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2003
Posts: 243

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Thanks tons for all the feedback everyone.

Okay, I remember where I heard the thing about 3-4 storm free days being rare. It was from 'rockprodigy' on another thread here!

http://www.rockclimbing.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=40434

In reply to:
You need at least 3 days after a storm for the rock to dry out in the winter, you will be hard pressed to find such a window.

So I guess I will have to give Moonlight Buttress some serious consideration as well then. From the topo seems like most of the aid is more straight forward, which would be nice. I think it would be better to suck it up and do some slightly harder free climbing than to have to figure out tricky placements.

When I talked to my partner last week we were mainly thinking about Prodigal, fixing the first 3 pitches and sleeping on the ground. Good to know that we should try to get the first 4 fixed. So from all accounts I have heard Moonlight is a bit longer, does this mean we would be topping out a lot later if we fix (the first 4) and fire?

Less crowds actually sounds nice to me, my partner actually tried Prodigal earlier this year, but bailed after the first pitch because of crowds (or so he says ;-) )

Is Moonlight Butress as easy to retreat from as Prodigal? If not that could be both a plus and a minus. I imagine once my gut starts talking to my head it might be good if it wasn't TOO easy to bail. For example that 5.7 slab (runout I assume) at the top sounds pretty benign from the comfort of home (I made an unplanned solo of a 5.9 slab on a mountain route once, but there was only maybe 100' of exposure), although I imagine I will be thinking differently at the end of a long rapidly darkening day with 1000 feet of exposure beneath me.


tradmanclimbs


Jul 5, 2004, 6:38 AM
Post #9 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 24, 2003
Posts: 2599

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

How about Touchstone?? I have never done a wall in Zion and was wondering about this one as a first??


vegastradguy


Jul 5, 2004, 8:27 AM
Post #10 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 5919

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

You can retreat easily from Moonlight until the top of the Grand Dihedral. After that, its possible, but things get tricky because of the chimney. I've heard that it would be hard not to leave gear somewhere near that chimney to rap. From the rocker block, theres bolted stations straight down to the ground (not down the route, straight down). Two ropes off the rocker block get you to the deck, a third will get you to the top of the dihedral for fixing. When kate and I did it, I dropped the 1st rope after I got onto the second line on the jug the next morning...we retrieved it the next day.

That said, the mandatory free on Moonlight isnt too rough. Its probably 5.8+ on the 1st pitch, then its aid climbing until the last 30'. The 1st pitch has a bit of routefinding and tons of people go the wrong way, making the 1st pitch harder. Check the topo carefully and remember to step right out of the corner before it goes vertical.

Touchstone was a possibility, but theres some mandatory 5.9OW climbing on it. I believe that theres only 3 aid pitches and the rest you free climb to the top.

Do remember that the cold will slow you down in the winter some, and as soon as the sun goes down, all bets are off. Read holdplease2's and my trip reports (one from each of us) on Moonlight for some insight...we climbed it in Jan of this year.


addiroids


Jul 6, 2004, 9:35 PM
Post #11 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 10, 2001
Posts: 1046

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Good recommendations. Good to see you are still alive Kate. Haven't heard from you in a while. Things going well?


Regarding fix and fire:

My first attempt on Moonlight (rained out on day 2) we fixed to the rocker block, I think b/c we got a late start. Man that jug up was more hell than just getting up early and FIRING! I honestly don't think fixing is necessary on anything under C3 or A3 because it is more work to jug the ropes than it is to just get your butt out of bed 2 hours earlier. Think about it, you have to climb, rap, descend, re-ascend (if you don't bring bivy gear to the base) and jug your lines. Seriously a pain in the butt under A/C3 in my opinion and not as helpful.

Moonlight is very fast if you have done some practice aids before. You could easily do it in under 10 hours if you have your sh!t together. Treat it like a long trad climb, not a wall. Rack on your harness, don't bring everything on lead (tag at 1/2 way), and teach your cleaner how to jug on a grigri (you don't have to short fix for your first wall).

Spaceshot had a very very tricky placement (I used a 1 and 1/2 cams in alien) that I think would be a pain on your first wall.

Moonlight it is. Much more beautiful and faster than PS. The pitches on spaceshot after the tricky nut placement just FLY though. No need to bivy if you get started early enough. You are top stepping and hand jamming to keep your balance then just throwing your aiders up the crack. There is only that ONE tricky placement then the rest of it just flys!! We found the raps in the dark (thank goodness my partner remembered HIS headlamp) because we didn't get started until 10am (overslept) and they weren't that bad to find or to rap the rest of them.

TRADitionally yours,

Cali Dirtbag


Partner holdplease2


Jul 6, 2004, 10:11 PM
Post #12 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Dec 17, 2002
Posts: 1733

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I think moonlight would go faster than prodigal, because there is no "wondering" where to go and less futzing with scary gear when you don't want to fall...even though there are some fast bolt ladders on Prodigal. Also, you can really screw yourself on Prodigal with false belays and whatnot, making it a pitch longer...and changeovers take time.

The 5.7 at the top of moonlight can be protected if you really want pro. I almost aided it with 5 peices of gear. ;) Nighttime and frozen hands/feet brought out the chicken in me.

The 5.8+ at the bottom of moonlight can be a challenge to protect...but there is the alternate 10a pitch which can be aided...I saw two people aid it just fine and heard from a third who was benighted on it...so its all a matter of perspective.

Having climbed both routes, I believe that Moonight is more straightforward and a more classic line. Just my opinion. Also, climbing a more natural line/less manufactured line may have some appeal for you. Both climbs are excellent, though.

I have not climbed touchstone, so I can't comment on it...but combining aid/free in equal parts on your aid climb will make it go faster...and touchstone is all free at the top, I guess. I hear the aid at the bottom is for real, though...

Prodigal and Moonight are both great first walls, I think.

-Kate.


flamer


Jul 6, 2004, 11:41 PM
Post #13 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 22, 2002
Posts: 2955

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
I have not climbed touchstone, so I can't comment on it...but combining aid/free in equal parts on your aid climb will make it go faster...and touchstone is all free at the top, I guess. I hear the aid at the bottom is for real, though...

Touchstone is an excellent first wall. If you combine a couple of pitch's there is really only 2and a half pitch's of aid. The aid is super straight forward, and it is not hard. After the aid it's only 5.9 the rest of the way...with big ledges at the belay's.

josh


crotch


Jul 12, 2004, 5:07 PM
Post #14 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jan 15, 2003
Posts: 1277

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Touchstone gets full sun pretty much all day long, so it's a good choice for winter. The "mandatory" 5.9 OW is short and can be aided through with a #3.5 & #4 camalot.


braon


Jul 12, 2004, 5:37 PM
Post #15 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Sep 4, 2003
Posts: 154

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
Spaceshot had a very very tricky placement (I used a 1 and 1/2 cams in alien) that I think would be a pain on your first wall.
I don't remember and very tricky placements on Spaceshot, although that might just be due to the splitter 2-cams I had with me. The climb's cruiser, easily going in a day if you're somewhat proficient at aid climbing. The raps were easy enough to find as well. It would probably be scetchy getting there if there were ice and snow on top though. Just be sure to take triples in hand sizes for the last pitch to Earth Orbit Ledge, or don't plan on leaving a lot of gear for pro. In my opinion, Spaceshot would be a great first wall. Just be sure to clean the last pitch. That swing off the ledge really makes the route. Good luck on whatever you decide to climb.


texplorer


Jul 14, 2004, 12:07 PM
Post #16 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 24, 2002
Posts: 199

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

another vote for spaceshot.
-lower pitches are easy fifth class climbing
-route is straightforward
-aiding is fun but not just bolt ladders
-classic position
-if you climb .10 the 8th pitch is spectacular to free


dangle


Jul 16, 2004, 12:45 AM
Post #17 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 1, 2004
Posts: 814

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

OK, I'm sure nobody wants to hear this but why do wall neophytes never want to take the time to learn their aid skills well on shorter routes before trying the finest treasures of Zion?
I was just up on Touchstone again only to find that placements that could once be easily nutted are now flared from cam use (the deeper cams lock and the shallower ones grind) requiring further camming. But up high the route is relatively pristine. So many people fail so low that they are wearing out the start. Lets not be overambitious with our most valuable resources.
If you are still a bit slow don't even choose a crowded route, and take a look at the wear marks on the wall before you decide to add to them with YOUR haulbag.
Sorry to be a party pooper. I like to party just don't like cleaning the poop.
And how many times do I have to say its Prodigal SUN (NE exposure).
Piton Ron Olevsky


ryanpfleger


Jul 16, 2004, 8:36 AM
Post #18 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2003
Posts: 243

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
OK, I'm sure nobody wants to hear this but why do wall neophytes never want to take the time to learn their aid skills well on shorter routes before trying the finest treasures of Zion?

I'm trying. The best I've been able to do so far is aid a bunch of free routes here. The aid routes here (Boise) are all either non-existent or at the best undocumented. I've even asked the local hardman, but with no luck.

In reply to:
I was just up on Touchstone again only to find that placements that could once be easily nutted are now flared from cam use (the deeper cams lock and the shallower ones grind) requiring further camming. But up high the route is relatively pristine.

Then I take it, nutting is preferable to camming in general to protect the rock from damage? Thats good to know, I hadn't ever heard that anywhere before. So if the shallow cams are slipping, doesn't that mean the placement was flared to begin with?

In reply to:
And how many times do I have to say its Prodigal SUN (NE exposure).
Piton Ron Olevsky
,

I don't know for sure, because now I can't find it, but I think in the topo printed by R&I they called in Prodigal Son (around issue 120ish). I thought it was Sun too, as it seems a bit cleverer.

Anyway, do you have any suggestions for gaining some aid skill, and getting faster before hopping on a wall? Should I try to climb sandstone so I am familiar with it? By the way, thank you Ron, for all the routes you've put up. I haven't been on one yet, but I am looking forward to it!

Peon Ryan Pfleger


atg200


Jul 16, 2004, 8:45 AM
Post #19 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 27, 2001
Posts: 4317

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
don't know for sure, because now I can't find it, but I think in the topo printed by R&I they called in Prodigal Son (around issue 120ish). I thought it was Sun too, as it seems a bit cleverer.

dude, you are arguing about the name of the route with the guy who put the route up. hahahaha

nutting isn't always more damaging than camming, and often moreso depending on how your cleaning technique and how hard you bounce test. i think ron's point is that lots of folks are going up those easy zion walls who don't have the judgement to know the difference, and that this knowledge comes from doing lots of climbing.


dangle


Jul 16, 2004, 1:12 PM
Post #20 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 1, 2004
Posts: 814

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Always a pleasure to spend a little time with climbers who appreciate my efforts.
I do think that a little practice on soft rock is a good idea before going for something big. Organasm on the north end of the Organ is great for clean aid, 4 leads and lots of air, and summer shade. There are also shorter shaded routes up by the tunnel, and the N side of the pulpet is good (the crack, not the Bjornstad obscenity).
Unfortunately there is no truly clean anchor for soft rock. Once nuts get weighted and have to be knocked loose they cause placement erosion and as mentioned cams tend to flare placements when used for aid (look at the mechanical advantage).
Once the video I just made with Jeff Lowe is out you can see what I mean. I now have to cam former nut placements.
I guess the bottom line is be aware of what you're doing. Maybe it would be better to learn aid on hard rock before going onto the more delicate stuff.
Piton Ron


cdb1386


Sep 10, 2004, 9:47 AM
Post #21 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 1, 2001
Posts: 391

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

What video are you referring to?


cdb1386


Sep 10, 2004, 10:14 AM
Post #22 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 1, 2001
Posts: 391

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

What issue of R&I had the Zion topos in it?


bsmoot


Sep 14, 2004, 6:39 PM
Post #23 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 29, 2002
Posts: 113

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Make sure you leave the cam hooks home. They're more damaging than pins in my opinion. Please practice ALOT before you try a wall.

Rock & Ice #66 has lots of Zion topos in it by John Middendorf...Oops I shouldn't have said that, I might get sued!


ryanpfleger


Sep 14, 2004, 9:33 PM
Post #24 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2003
Posts: 243

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
don't know for sure, because now I can't find it, but I think in the topo printed by R&I they called in Prodigal Son (around issue 120ish). I thought it was Sun too, as it seems a bit cleverer.

dude, you are arguing about the name of the route with the guy who put the route up. hahahaha

Dude, I know he put the route up, thats why I wasn't arguing with him, I was explaining where some of the misinformation might be coming from. Page 39 of R&I #121 has a topo of the route titled "Prodigal Son". So if you're going to "hahahaha" someone, make it Chris McNamara and/or his editor.

CDB1386 that same Rock and Ice (#121, January '03) has topos of Moonlight Buttress, Touchstone, Prodigal Sun, Spaceshot, and Desert Shield.


Ryan


cdb1386


Sep 15, 2004, 7:05 AM
Post #25 of 26 (8046 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 1, 2001
Posts: 391

Re: Best Zion big wall for newbie [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

In reply to:

CDB1386 that same Rock and Ice (#121, January '03) has topos of Moonlight Buttress, Touchstone, Prodigal Sun, Spaceshot, and Desert Shield.

Ryan

Thanks,
my wife decided to clean out the magazine rack and threw that one out. I think I will just order a copy from R&I.

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Big Wall and Aid Climbing

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook