Indian Creek Climbing

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This is LONG, as it covers three days, feel free to just skip to the pictures at the bottom, and on the following pages

Indian Creek here I come. I'd gotten all excited reading the guide in Durango, and here I was finally. Camped out near the Bridger Jacks, driving out over the slickrock and sand, and got up bright and early to try and meet climbers at the base. Wasn't having much luck, but as I sat and scoped out the Super Crack Buttress, two cars pulled in. Three charming young ladies invited me to climb with them, (after I'd invited myself) and we proceeded off to have a merry day of climbing. Caroline, Claire and Cesin (sp?), two dogs, and me. We started at Supercrack buttress, on a 5.9 that's not in the book, for a warmup. Not many 5.9s at Indian Creek. Proper crack technique required, much smoother than the cracks anywhere else. I managed to fall off near the top, just didn't have the endurance to stick it out. A good warmup though, glad I wasn't leading.

It seemed Caroline was our fearless leader for the day, as Cesin had never been to the creek before, and Claire was basically being lazy. We hopped on Incredible Hand Crack next, which, in a word, was INCREDIBLE. Absolutely perfect jams the whole way for me. And lots of rests between them. One blue camalot, and six or seven yellow ones. Caroline got a bit mixed up and had to rest, which irritated her a little. The rest of us just had fun having a rope gun. Big wear marks on the rock, both scuff marks from shoes and bodies being dragged, and also scratches from metal on people's right side being dragged up as well. An absolute must do climb. I managed to get it clean first go. I fell out, but onto a jam which held, so I didn't weight the rope. :)

Hiding from the sun, it's still early season in mid september, we head off to the reservoir wall. Claire and I both spot lines we'd like to do, but both still feel too chicken to do them. Cesin headed off to work, so we let Caroline lead for us again. Fists this time, blue camalots most of the way. Quite strenuous the first time, but I made it, then the second time, I felt much more secure, and almost to the point of leading it. "but not today, maybe tomorrow, or the day after" Always an excuse somewhere.

Then it was time for the girls to go back to work. "No gobies, or you wont work till they heal" was the word of the boss. I arranged to meet Claire and Caroline the next day for some more climbing.

Claire eventually showed up, better late than never, but she'd left her rope gun behind. Looks like we would have to lead something ourselves today. Binou's crack and Chocolate crack were on the agenda for us. Rock-paper-scisssors for the lead, and we both got the ones we wanted. I managed to onsight Binou's crack, much to my immense pleasure, at 5.9 (it even used to be 5.10 in the old guide!) Not everyone gets to onsight their first Creek lead. (Not everyone gets to have a rope gun the first day either) Fingers through to legjams and wider stuff at the top. Varied enough that we even managed to climb it on just Claire's and my racks. We'd brought Carolines along with us to have some extra cams.

Claire then led Chocolate Corner, in increasing heat, which I'm glad I didn't lead. I got it clean, but much more sustained, with no good rests at all. Rattly fingers and very tight hands most of the way for me. Lots of knee stems kept me in place. Claire wanted to go home early that day, she was having a bbq at her place that night, and there was also a big techno party going on at the campground/fourwheel drive park that she lived at, and she wanted to clean up. Claire gave me directions to the Lion's Back, where the party was, and took off. I went up to town and had a shower and got some internet access, then headed out to the party.

Or tried to. I found the front office of the Lion's Back, but couldn't find the road into it at first. Then I found that, but I couldn't find Claire's caravan. It was basically a desert maze of tracks, hummocks, slickrock and sand. I saw some flashing lights and headed over to it, but the party didn't look like it was ready yet and I didn't know them so I kept driving. Bad move. Crested a hill past some numbered campsites, and decided that the road ahead looked a bit like deep narrow sand. Tried to reverse back out, but couldn't. Ooops. Rock back and forth a bit, and really thrash a bit, but no go. Decide to walk back and see if the guys at the party would give me a push. They weren't the least bit interested, not surprisingly. I got sent back to try and "rock back and forth"

Thank god for my snow shovel. Took out a bunch of stuff to get the shovel out, and then started digging. And digging. And digging. And then a bit of reversing, and then more digging, and more reversing, and more digging. and eventually quite a bit of reversing, and then some loading of the car again. It was now well and truly past my dinner time, and I still had no idea where Claire's caravan was. One of the guys at the party had said it was on the other side of the hill, but I had no idea where that road was. Parked out the front, and resigned myself to walking around to find it. It was sure going to beat digging again.

And then, saviour, two guys also came back out, they were looking for the party, but had found claire's. (The disco lights were turned off by this time, so there was no guiding lights for them) We swapped information, and I headed out another road I'd not even seen before. More traipsing around, trying to follow the biggest tracks through the sand, and again, I got lost, but this time, within sight of Claire's Caravan. After scoping on foot, I managed to even drive all the way there. What a place to live, probably would have been better if I'd driven up in the daylight.

After a beer, and some dinner, the world was much nicer again. Met a bunch of local climber types bbqing at Claire's and had a good old time. Never even made it over to the party. The next day we all caravanned back to Indian Creek, with 6 of us. We'd added Larry, from a slackline equipment company, and a guy and a girl who's names escape me. I really need to write these up more frequently. One of them even drove all the way down there with me. And I still can't remember his name. Sorry!

Back to Supercrack Buttress, setting up ropes on 3AM, Gorilla, and Wild Works of Fire. Managed to flash Gorilla, but needed rests on both the others. Very excellent climbing. Hard! People had to go back to work then, so we all headed back up to Moab. I was going to go climbing with Larry at Maple Creek, a locals only ("I'll break the knees of anyone who ever makes a guide for maple creek") area, where we toprope an 11, called Fern something. An enormous change from Indian Creek. Crimps and balancy face climbing. Some of the hardest clibing I've ever gotten up. Climbed at two creeks in one day, then went for dinner with Larry.

I'd arranged to meet Claire and Caroline again on the Friday, I was going to lead Incredible Hand Crack, and was all psyched up for it, and we were going to go out to the 4x4 wall, but then they never showed. :( I know you girls just had to work, and that's cool, but it still sucked. Headed off south.

Side notes: there are ruins and petroglyphs along the base of some of the cliffs at Indian Creek, which is neat, just out in the middle of nowhere, no signs saying, "look here! indian ruins!" no fences, no rangers, just neat stuff. I even met an achaeologist working for the BLM at my campsite one morning, who was surveying the roadsides for artifacts. There are apparently plenty.

Welcome to Utah

Bridger Jacks and North Six Shooter

Caroline on the warmup 5.9

Caroline leading up Incredible Hand Crack

Caroline coming back down IHC, with Cesin and Claire helping

Caroline on Incredible Hand Crack

Claire and Cesin watching Caroline on IHC

Caroline about to start the crux of Incredible Hand Crack