Utah is a rock climber’s dream land. The state has so much high quality climbing to offer, spanning almost every discipline. We were immediately drawn into the incredible limestone sport climbing in the south west corner of Utah around St George.

We met up with Yannick and Kirsten to spend the following four weeks climbing with them. Our good friend Cory was also down for a few weeks visiting family and was able to squeeze in a week of climbing with us, and we had the pleasure of seeing Yannick’s dad, Robert! We spent our first few days at The Grail in Lime Kiln Canyon, technically part of the Arizona strip. The Grail offered a slap-in-the-face intro with its dead vertical, long (sometimes as long as 55m) routes. It was great to feel a pump again. The middle of the main wall offers the best rock quality: blue/grey stone consisting of phenomenal edges and features with often slabby feet. The area is a technical climbers’ heaven.
Graham on his flash of “Vesper” (5.12b)
A rare shot of us climbing together…… thanks to Kirsten Hundza!
Kim on her onsight of “Greyhound” (5.12a). Photo credit: Kirsten Hundza
In addition to The Grail, we spent most of our time at two other crags about 45 minutes out of St George: Wailing Wall in the Welcome Springs area, and Black and Tan at the Woodbury Crags. The styles at these two walls complement each other beautifully – Wailing Wall offers mostly vertical or slightly overhanging routes 5.11+ and up, and the style ranges from sustained powerful routes, to lines with hard technical cruxes. Black and Tan on the other hand has mostly shorter routes, often with heinously difficult, steep boulder problems. A delightful combo! Some of our highlights from the month included Graham ticking the three 13c classics at Wailing Wall, “Treebeard”, “The Cross”, and “Pucker”, Kirsten sending her first 5.12a, “Jumanji” at Black and Tan, Kim finishing off her project “Resurrection” (5.13b) and climbing her 10th 5.13, and Yannick sending “The Cross” (5.13c). Throughout March, we reunited with several other friends and met a lot of wonderful new people that we were lucky to spend our time with as well!
Kim warming up at Black and Tan. Photo credit: Bonar McCallum
Graham on his send of “Talking Smack” (5.13b) at Black and Tan. Photo credit: Bonar McCallum
Kim on “Minus Five” (5.13a) at Black and Tan, which she sent second go! Photo credit: Kirsten Hundza
Bonar cranking out the steep roof moves on “Smoking Drum” (5.13b) at Black and Tan
Kirsten sends “Jumanji”, her first 5.12a!!!!!!!!
Yannick on his send of “The Cross” (5.13c) at Wailing Wall
Graham mid-crux on “Treebeard” (5.13c) at Wailing Wall
Graham on his send of “Pucker” (5.13c) at Wailing Wall
Our new friend Melissa, making use of her full reach on “Pucker” (5.13c)
Lea cranking out her send of “Dull Boy” (5.12a) at Black and Tan
Enjoying a campfire on our last night in St George
We wrapped up around St George in early April and headed north. We stopped for a day in Zion National Park, where we made use of our endurance on the long overhanging bolted routes at the Namaste Wall in Kolob Canyon. Wow! The juggy huecos on this wall were incredibly fun and pumpy to climb.
Kirsten staring down the Namaste Wall in Kolob Canyon
Graham on his send of “Namaste” (5.12a)
Kim working the crux on “Huecos Rancheros” (5.12c)

On the next day we arrived in Orangeville, home to Joe’s Valley. Knowing we would have only about a week, we got right to it, immediately climbing three days on. Heavy rain kept us inside on our rest day, and then we punched out another four days in a row before leaving. Bouldering that many days on is tough on the body, but it was worth it! Graham finished off “Worm Turns” (V10/11) and “Resident Evil” (V9/10), Yannick made quick work of the classic “Worst Case Scenario” (V9) among other goodies, Kim finished off some projects from last year like “Kill By Numbers” (V5) and “Double Delicious” (V6) and Kirsten sent her first two V5s, “Gatorade” and “Mono E Mono”! We had the pleasure of staying and visiting with our friend Nikki and her pup Stella while we were in Joes, which was super great as well. What a switch to have the comforts of a house to return to after a day on the rock.

Yannick warming up in Left Fork
Graham finishing up “Big Joe” (V7)
Kim working her project “Planet of the Apes” (V7)
Graham on his send of “Resident Evil” (V9/10)
Kirsten setting up for the throw on “Stand Up Comedian” (V5)
Yannick on his send of the super tough “Scary Monsters” (V6)
Kim on her send of the techy problem “Gatorade” (V5)
Graham warming up in the Boysize area
Kim eyeing up the final tough move on “Double Delicious” (V6)
Having spotters adds peace of mind on “Worst Case Scenario” (V9)
Graham working moves on “Battletoads” (V10)
Stella and Nikki! Stella a bit nervous in the FalcVan….
Typical weather in Joe’s….. sunny and stormy simultaneously!

We had a good run in Utah, but even after six weeks we barely scratched the surface. Hopefully we’ll make it back next year to sample even more of what this state has to offer. For now though… off to Smith Rock, Oregon!

Black-throated Sparrow one morning at Black and Tan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s