Space Shot!

<That's the route, starting up that tiny pillar in the lower left-center of the photo, then up the obvious crack just left of the big arch, then walking right on Earth Orbit Ledge and topping out straight above the arch.

Zion National Park is full of 1,000'+ climbs. This one is around 1,500' and is found directly across from the equally popular Moonlight Butress and straight up-canyon from Prodigal Son which ascends the right side of Angel's Landing.

Angel's Landing - downcanyon view> This view of Angel's Landing grew very familiar over the two days we spent on the route, like our own backyard.

How that Virgin River called to us when the heat set in!

ssmorning.jpg (36233 bytes) < Shaun asleep in his portaledge and Ben bivying on the narrow ledge at the top of the third full pitch which the guidebook refers to as one pitch. This is the beginning of the bolt ladder.

> Here's what awaits you immediately after the bolt ladder: a #3 tricam placement that barely fits the shallow, flared crack. I doubt any other piece of gear in the world (no nailing! Do it clean!) would fit nearly as well, though I've read of other solutions. Immediately above, a #9 stopper fits flush with the outside of the crack. The #10 Jeremy first tried there blew as he was reaching to sink a cam four feet above, the tricam ripped too, and the top piton of the bolt ladder caught him a dozen feet below. Yee haw! Jer got right back on, equalized the tricam and nut (as seen in photo), then set an anchor 70' out as night settled in.

Tricam.jpg (44426 bytes)
sstraffic.jpg (43051 bytes) < Next morning, Shaun jugged up to the anchor and finished the C2 pitch to where the route goes into a beautiful, deep, luscious, wonderful, inspiring, exciting, perfect C1 or C0 crack. In all, we placed 54 pieces in 50 meters of rope.

Many placements, including #1 & 2 micronuts, seemed marginal but held great. Every time you sink a cam into a slight hollow from many previous placements, you hear the crunching as the cams eat the rock, sending a small stream of sand trickling down. Don't worry, you get used to it!

> The sun reached Shaun just as he reached the anchors and fifi hooked in about 700' off the deck.. The yellow dot on the picture at the top of the page shows where this is. The bulge 20' below the belay looks like a possible ledge from below. Don't get your hopes up! It's not even slopey enough to stand out without aid.

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So there we were, right up to the really great climbing. Only one more brief section of C2 somewhere above, but we had moved too slowly in the lower pitches, water was almost low, temperatures in late June were rising quickly, and we all decided we'd be okay with retreating. As the crack slants over the arch after this pitch, retreat becomes extremely difficult if not impossible, since a simple rappel would leave you hanging in space, trapped in orbit under the arch. We shall return some cooler day and bag the route. All in all, we had a great first experience on a Big Wall, and after finishing the last rappel, we immediately made the most of our one consolation:

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The Virgin River. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

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