Indian Creek part 2. It's long, be warned!
So having had an amazing time in Indian Creek, the thought of going home was not high on my agenda. From chatting to various International visitors around the fire in the evenings etc it was pretty clear that there were going to be fair few staying on for more USA action. So on the journey back to Golden in the minibus, I decided to change my flight home and extended my trip by 10 days. At this point I didn’t know what the plan was but I knew something would present itself.
Now knowing that I wasn’t imminently heading home, I could enjoy the last few days of the meet in a wet and cold Golden. The AAC yet again pulled out all the stops and had organised another event- The Cragging Classic- to coincide with our meet, where another 200 or so American climbers turned up for 3 days to climb in the surrounding areas of Golden and Boulder. It seemed a lot for them to have taken on board but they managed. There were slideshows, award ceremonies, bands, trade stands and most importantly free food and booze. It was disappointing not to be able to climb due to the weather, I had really got my heart set on climbing in Eldorado Canyon but it wasn’t to be this time.
So for a couple of days we mooched around the area. Going for walks, checking out the famous climbing stores and even went climbing in the indoor gym in Boulder. It wasn’t quite what we had come for but it was fun all the same. And actually I think we were kind of glad of the rest. The evenings were always fun though, with the alcohol flowing and the music playing the only thing to do was dance. It was getting quite cold in the evenings and with this event being mainly outside, dancing was a fun way to keep warm.
Over these few days, various trip itineraries were being planned. It got quite confusing at times, there was one point where there were 7 of us all wanting to travel on together and it started to become a bit of a headache to organise. But as these things do, it sorted itself out and on the last day of the ICM in Golden the AAC let us use their office to book all the things we needed for the next part of the journey. They also let us store some unneeded gear in their storage area, which was really helpful. As there were 5 of us sharing a car, we needed to try and downsize a bit!
So the new group was; Thomas from Denmark, Chris from Poland, Gabin from France and Mary Maloney from Ireland. A right mixed bunch! It was great, all part of the experience. For me one of the highpoints of the whole experience was meeting all the International climbers. It wasn’t JUST about the climbing.
Lots of different potential venues had been suggested, with Red Rocks being near the top of the list. But with limited time it seemed a long way to go, so Indian Creek became the No. 1 destination again. I have to admit I wasn’t that psyched to go back, as we’d just had five full on days and I was keen to see other climbing areas. But the majority won. So we piled all our gear into our Cherokee Jeep (it just fitted) and headed back to Moab.
We bought supplies in Grand Junction, Colorado (including some wine and beers- alcohol is rare and expensive in Utah as it’s a Mormon state) and had a leisurely drive back to the Creek. Various people in our group had friends that were potentially meeting them there and the preferred camping area seemed to be Bridger Jacks, so that’s where we headed. It was a Monday but seemed pretty busy, there weren’t many designated sites free but we found a nice spacious one with a ready-made fireplace, home sweet home.
Amazingly, most of the camping is free in the Creek although there aren’t any facilities so it’s kind of understandable. Although, there are a few composting toilets dotted around the valley, that always had gigantic queues outside them in the mornings. I always opted for one of the infamous ‘wagbags’ or Restop 2, as they are officially known. For a small donation, I could go to the loo behind a secluded rock in my own time.
All supplies and water had to be brought into the desert and taken back out again and surprisingly there was no litter anywhere, it was very heart warming to see that people really cared about this special place and really looked after it.
Our first night was very cold and we were preparing ourselves for many more like this but luckily it turned out to be the only really baltic evening and the rest were just a bit chilly. So that was a relief.
With so many venues to choose from, deciding on our daily destination could’ve been long drawn out topic with five of us in the mix but the weather tended to lead our decisions. Whether to climb in the sun or the shade? Most of the time, shade was required. Our venues turned out to be; Battle of the bulge- too hot in the afternoon but a very good venue. Reservoir Walls- nice and shady with some great routes. Optimator Wall- again enough shade and the short, steep striking line of Ananuki 5.12-. And our last day was up at the Scarface wall, I had heard about this famous route and really wanted to do it before I left. Again this wall was too hot in the afternoon.
It was actually great to be back, quite a different vibe with our small group and shock horror, we had to cook our own food- goddam- we weren’t used to this.
But we soon settled into an easy routine of breakfast, climbing, dinner, fire, and bed. We had more opportunity to chill out this time and we made sure we had a rest day on our third day, which made quite a difference to our ability to climb!
At Battle of the Bulge one of the routes I did was called Ruins Crack 5.11 and it said in the guide that this was a good warm up for Ruby’s caf