How to Epic: A Climbing Trip to Indian Creek
At the beginning of October, two Touchstone climbers, Shannon Moore- an aeronautical engineer, and her man-friend, John Vallejo
, packed their two dogs, Buster and Peanut, into their Ford Explorer and headed east for a two week climbing trip. They planned to attend a wedding in Colorado for a couple days and then climb the rest of the trip. The bay area climbers were psyched to escape their jobs for a bit and do some climbing outside.
Shannon's hands all taped up and ready to crush.
They lost acceleration before they even got to Boulder. A bad alternator in their Explorer began the start of their troubles and their car lost speed randomly in Colorado. Not to be discouraged, the pair coaxed their rig to the wedding, spent an extra day in Boulder replacing the alternator, and then headed towards Utah to finally start climbing. They arrived in Indian Creek, the crack mecca located outside of Moab, to rain, lightning, and thunder. The weather cast an ominous cloud over their already epic trip.
There wasn't much sunshine on the trip
“Rock! Rock! Rock!” John screamed across the sandstone cliffs. A large block threatened to cut his rope and crush Shannon and the dogs. On Wednesday, October 6, John had dislodged a block from the crack below his feet on an unknown 5.10 route on the right side of the Cat Wall. The 100 pound sandstone block ripped out of the wall, snagged on the rope for a second, and then crashed into the base of the route. The rock impacted a mere 3 feet from Peanut and then ricocheted towards where Shannon had run to avoid the rockfall. The shrapnel passed in the 4 feet between Shannon and Buster. The rock fall nearly killed her and the dogs but miraculously, no one was hurt. Shannon and John were both shaken. Peanut slept through the whole thing. John cleaned the route and the two quickly headed back to camp for beers. Climbing was not without its perils and the trip had definitely reached epic proportions.
Peanut napped through the excitement.
For a moment though, there was bliss. The next three days were amazing. The weather was splitter for the couple and the climbing in the creek was awesome. On the fourth day, Shannon racked a half dozen big pieces and started up the namesake route at the 4 x 4 Wall (5.11).
Shannon practicing her fisticuffs on 4x4
As she jammed rattly fists out a roof of the route, Shannon’s elbow popped. Then her elbow popped again. Then it crunched. By the next morning her sore elbow had swelled to grapefruit proportions, which meant no more climbing for Shannon for a few days. John’s disdain for cracks is well known. A V9 boulderer with a V20 ego, John employs a gastoning technique where he attempts to widen the crack to get inside of it. With no knowledge of jamming he said, “5.12+ cracks without footholds are not 5.12+.” When Shannon injured herself, John had a solid excuse to leave the scary parallel cracks and head towards the bouldering on the east side of the Sierra.
On their first bouldering day at the Druids in Bishop Ca, John hurt his wrist. He claims that he was “manhandling heinous slopers.” His more likely occurred because he had just spent 18 hours in the car and a few days before that being manhandled by the cracks. With John’s hurt wrist and Shannon’s tender elbow, the two spent the next couple of days resting and swimming in the hot springs. On Friday, the 15th, the pair were ready to try bouldering again. At 5am they woke to Buster gnawing at his back, crying, and shaking violently. They took him to the vet who drugged up his spazzing back and told them the little Beagle needed to rest for a couple of days. With things washing out, they headed back to the bay to let Buster and Shannon rest at home and salvage their last couple of days of vacation.
East bay climber Rob Mooring joined the pair, flying out for a few days of Creek crack climbing.
Over the two weeks they managed to climb 4 days, drive 3,000 miles, and epic half a dozen times. Shannon’s elbow healed just in time for her to head back to work on Monday morning. They’ll be heading out to again this weekend for more of the climbing lifestyle. They can’t resist the epics.
Vallejo has more pictures of his climbing at his website- JohnVallejo.com
Labels: Indian Creek, John Vallejo, Shannon Moore