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Zion in the rain
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melonhead


May 9, 2002, 8:32 AM
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Zion in the rain
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Hey all,
Not sure if I'm in the right forum but I need some beta. In Zion, due to the nature of the softer sandstone, if it rains while I'm bivied out on my ledge should I bail or wait out the rain with an additional day for the rock to dry?? Thanks

Melon

O ya, I plan on doing some classic trade routes. So something to keep in mind is that the belays will be bolted. So I guess my real question is: Will the belays be safe to stay on while waiting for the rain to stop and for the rock to dry up??


[ This Message was edited by: melonhead on 2002-05-09 08:34 ]


dsafanda


May 9, 2002, 9:14 AM
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Actually, the belays on the trade routes in Zion may or may not be bolted. A more likely set up that you will find at the belays are drilled angle pitons. Sounds scary but it's done because they're more secure than bolts in sandstone.

Anyway, the answer to your question depends on the size of the storm but you're probably better waiting it out and then continuing on. Just don't pull on any fragile flakes.


dsafanda


May 9, 2002, 9:19 AM
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If you're on a trade route there will probably be other groups on the route below you. Retreating could be a giant cluster *@#%.


wigglestick


May 9, 2002, 9:29 AM
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You should be ok to wait out a storm on the drilled angles but remember that the sandstone takes a good 24 hours to dry. SO if you decide to wait it out you will be sitting there for quite awhile. Since this is Zion we are talking about and most of the trade routes are at the most 9-10 pitches I would suggest that you take into account where you are on the route when making the decision to bail. If you are on the 3rd pitch bail and leave a few ropes fixed so you can get back to your high point when the wall dries out. If you are on the 8th pitch wait it out and try to summit. It also depends on what kind of gear you have. Do you have a ledge with a good fly? Bivy sacks? Enough food and water?

My partner and I bailed from the 5th pitch of Spaceshot when it started to rain because we didn't have a ledge and my partner didn't have a bivy sack. If he had a bivy sack we probably would rapped to the ledge at the top of the third pitch and tried to wait it out.
What route(s) are you thinking about doing?


rickoldskool


May 9, 2002, 5:13 PM
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melonhead, It's been a while since I did it, but I remember the belays being mostly bolted on Moonlight Buttress. I bailed from that route the first time due to rain n' snow on new years eve, we had fixed two so we just pulled our ropes. wigglestick's right on, a good 24hrs to dry is typically sufficient. It is a trip hanging from drilled angles with five bodies, one guy being 250, and haulbag. We had a slow party ahead of us the second time.


sexton


May 9, 2002, 5:32 PM
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I've done a fair amount of climbing in Zion and surrounding desert sandstone. The rumor that soft Navajo and Windgate get fragile when saturated is no joke. Stuff will break after a good soaking. A light sprinkle that wets the surface is no problem, but a good soak can be trouble.

I sure wouldn't worry about the belays, though. I'd worry about the fixed angles holding anything more than body weight. And I'd worry about anything that seemed shaky. After a good rain, it probably is.

But the trade routes are pretty solid rock. Theres not a whole lot of bad stuff on Lunar X, Touchstone, Moonlight, or Spaceshot. I wouldn't have a big problem doing any of those routes after a rain. A day off in the sun would be good, and those are fairly easy to bail from.

Get off into the other routes, and I wouldn't go near them after a good rain.


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