Sunday, March 20, 2011

Indian Creek: Part 1

My eyes surveyed the landscape surrounding around me. Amongst the cloudless blue skies the red rim of the Colorado National Monument loomed in the Southwest horizon as walked the ever warming pavement of Fruita Colorado.  On a park bench I sat lazily strumming my ukulele soaking up rays of the sun. Only hour before I had been dropped off at the local camp ground awaiting the next stage of my journey. I had a day and night to kill as my climbing friends who had only just left the cold of Minnesota where in route to pick me up. With my Ukulele strapped to my back, I had a quiet evening wandering the quaint streets of Fruita and mingling amongst the multitude of mountain bikers and locals that inhabit the Hot Tomato Pizzeria. I slept with a clear mind admiring the stars from my bivy.

In the morning my phone rang out with the voice of a friend on the line, warning of there impending arrival. I jumped the barbwire fence surrounding the campground, stashed my packs in a wooded ditch, and walked to the nearby diner to appease my complaining stomach. The phone rang again as I walked toward a group of smiling fellows... my companions had arrive. After stocking with food at the local grocery store we mounted the open road in the direction of Moab. There we ate our final civilized meal at the local pub before continuing toward the fabled majesty that is know as Indian Creek.

Just over an hour from all civilization, Indian Creek was developed in the climbing scene in the early 70's and whose popularity had ballooned in the last decade with the growth of sport of climbing. Indian Creek is hailed for it's smooth, varied, and difficult sandstone cracks that attract trad climbers from all over the country. We arrived in Indian Creek as the emblazoned sun was ready to depart the sky and its glow clung to Wingate Sandstone. With noses pressed to the windows of the vehicle our eyes greedily searching for cracks to climb. The vast amount of climbing opportunities quickly became apparent as miles of cliff lines filled with countless cracks graced our star stuck eyes.

  The desert beauty that is Indian Creek
After a long search for camping, we rallied down into a small sandstone laden gulch, set camp, and plotted our climbing plans over the pale light of headlamps. Putting ourselves to bed, ahead of us lay a week of adventures amongst the desert beauty

The we awoke to a cold and grey morning. We hastened to cook a quick breakfast and drove to what would become the morning routine: a  stop at the out houses... a simple luxury. Arrived at the desired trail head, we briskly made for the "Scarface" wall. My day would begin with the first trad lead I had done in almost 2 years as medical school had kept me from the rock. Despite my month of hard training in climbing gym, I found myself nervously racking up for a short 5.9 crack. While I consider myself fairly well versed in trad climbing, my hardest leads have been 5.9 in rating... the easiest routes in Indian creek just began at 5.9 and a majority of which were more challenging. This was going to be a trip to test my skills and build them. My companion Ben had come down after making halfway up the 5.9 and I led what remained of the route. It was by no means easy, as we all took to removing the rust the long stationary drive had bestowed upon our climbing.

Day one... Sevve tackles a 5.11

Yet by the end of the day smiles were abound and the sun warmed our skin. We walked down in fatigued and content and took to driving to our abode in the Gulch. Turning of the main road we were greeted by a crew of four smiling faces on the roadside. Sevve had invited several of his friends from Yosemite to join us at our camp.

The night was spent engulfing our sustenance beside the fireside warmth and sharing of stories of adventure with our now expanded crew of climbers. I awaited the morning ahead and fell asleep quickly and soundlessly in shelter of my bivy...

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