Tricks of the Trade
We made it to Zion after some serious driving hours, Climbed Iron Messiah a classic 5.10 (19) that afternoon. Started climbing the 10 pitch route at 5.00 pm, back to the car at 9.30 pm at night! Not bad for an afternoon. We didn’t manage to get to bed till 12.00 am because it is virtually impossible to find a free place to camp in Zion in May! Got Up at 6.00 am for Tricks of the Trade, the longest route in Zion with a staggering 19 pitches, 5.11 (23), C2+. According to the guide the first pitch was meant to be a 5.10+ hand crack, turns out was more like a hard run out 5.11 with a gnarly offwidth section, the only protection I could placed was 3 cams and 2 bolts in 60 meters.
Next pitch I placed one cam in 70 meters. The description of the route was two 5.10+ pitches and two 5.11 pitches, one pendulum, one hard aid pitch and a lot of 5.9’s. Turns out the easy pitches were intense squeeze chimneys, crazy hard Bombay chimneys and hard offwidths or intense off hands size cracks.
The theme on this route was 5.9’s felt like 5.11, hard and run the F*#@k out. We left the car at 7.50am and didn’t get back to the car till 11.50 pm at night, super exhausted and dehydrated after 16 hours on the go with only two liters of water and a couple of protein bars. The high for the day was 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) we were frying on the rock like two pieces of crispy bacon.
At 7.40 pm we finally summated it took a further 2 hours and 20 mins to descend, by this stage Ed and I were slightly delirious and super parched. We had cut our 60 meter tag line cause it had a super gnarr core shot and the raps were only meant to be 30 m (quote from the guide book), in turn we had to pass a knot every rappel in the dark with only one head lamp.
The untracked decent back to the car should have taken twenty minutes, after thirty minutes of thrashing through dense desert scrub and cactus we were bluffed out above a 100 meter cliff. A further hour of getting bluffed out, swearing and cursing at the scrub that was ripping our shins to pieces and the copious amounts of thorns in our ankles and a pack of Cyote’s following us, we made it back to the car after 1.5 hours of pure hell later! Ed turned on his torch the next day and it ran for 30 seconds!
Being cocky and complacent = a near epic!