|Elephant Rock from our camp|
Last weekend was Family Weekend at Utah State University. Rather than attend the lame events scheduled by the University, we met Dylan at the City of Rocks (COR) for a couple of days of rock climbing.
Even though it was October 25th, the predicted weather for Saturday had temps in the upper 60s and light winds. Sunday was predicted to be colder with a chance of rain. Not bad for late October.
Dylan told me that this area would blow my mind, and he was right. When we woke up Saturday morning Elephant Rock was staring us in the face. Dang! That is a big rock! After a leisurely breakfast, we headed to Parking Lot Rock for a climb of Norma’s Book. The COR guidebook we were using had this rated as a 5.5, so it would serve as a warm up.
Dylan led this trad route without too much difficulty. After he set up a belay on top, I followed and trailed a rope for Tamara to follow me. As I achieved the top of the pitch I gave Dylan a high five and said, “5.5 my ass!” Compared to the ratings on our local climbing area, this was much harder than advertised.
|Dylan is up there somewhere|
|Dylan making a move|
|Now it's my turn|
Tamara cruised up this route easily and all three of us sat in the sunshine admiring the views.
After the opener, we went to Elephant Rock to climb a classic COR moderate route - Wheat Thin (5.7). Though there was only one space available in the small parking area, we decided to give it a go. Luckily, the other climbing parties were just finishing up and we had the rock to ourselves.
We followed the same pattern as Norma’s Book, Dylan leading and me following trailing a rope for Tamara. This climb was a blast with some steep crack climbing.
|Dylan almost to the top of Wheat Thin|
I figured Tamara would have some difficulty with this route, but Dylan kept bringing in rope on the belay and before I knew it, there she was topping out. Dang! That girl can climb! After a tour of the top of Elephant’s Rock, Dylan lowered his mother before he and I rappelled off.
|Tamara coming up Wheat Thin|
|Summit Splattski on Elephant Rock|
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Dylan giving his mother some belaying and rappelling training on Practice Rock. Dylan set up a top rope, and then we had Tamara belay the both of us as we climbed the short Original Left (5.7) route.
The view out the trailer window Sunday morning was considerably darker than Saturday morning. Storm clouds were brewing out west, and the prospects didn’t look too good for a climb. I thought we might call it, but we jumped in the truck and drove to the Breadloaves area to climb Twist and Crawl (5.8).
It was 39 degrees and the wind was blowing as we made the short hike to the base of the rock.
|Dang it's cold!|
We quickly geared up and Dylan started up the route. The first 20-30 feet was unprotected and even though the moves weren’t too difficult, everyone let out a sigh of relief when Dylan clipped the first bolt. This route is a mixture of sport and trad climbing and Dylan steadily worked his way up the slabby face moves before gaining the upper crack. As he progressed upward the wind picked up, and the snow started swirling around.
|Dylan leading Twist and Crawl|
By this time Tamara decided she’d be better off waiting for us in the truck. I continued to belay Dylan until he let out a whoop of joy as he topped out.
After lowering Dylan, he asked if I was up for giving it a try. Since he had a top rope set up, and it didn’t look like the weather could get any worse, I decided to give it a go.
This climb was the best of the weekend for me. Not sure if it was the miserable conditions or the fact that it was a tougher climb, but I definitely enjoyed this climb. There were several places where I had to stop and search for the small finger holds, but for the most part I progressed steadily. The final moves required some hand jamming up a crack before going over a short roof to the anchors.
|Tamara's view of me from the truck|
On our trot back to the truck, in the wind and snow, we both were smiling like crazy. All in all, the three of us had an excellent time in the City of Rocks, and hopefully we can get back there this spring.