<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.
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!
||< 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.
||< 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.
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
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
The Virgin River. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.