Monday, October 19, 2009

More Zion action...Tatooween and Plan B

The fun just doesn't stop for Colin and I...we are keeping the 'dream itinerary' alive with our last two days of climbing.

First up was the relatively new route, and probably seldom repeated Tatoween V 5.11. It lies in the massive south facing amphitheater of Mt. Kinesava on the edge of Zion. WOW. There are so many great lines (and new ones to do) that I really shouldn't tell you about them. In fact stop reading here, and don't bother to come to Zion. It is sandy and loose, the climbing is way over rated. Ha. Back to Tatoween.

So new guidebooks, like the one from for Zion, really get you psyched on new spots in an old area, and that is what struck us about this line. By my calculations it is probably about 1700' tall, and almost every pitch is 5.10 or harder, and the way we did pitches, they were all about 160'. Add the 2+ hour approach and the same for the descent, and you have your self a full fledged grade V desert wall that is all free. What more could you ask for?

We woke early and starting walking at first light. After a cool and sandy approach we arrived at the base just as the sun was hitting us. Highs in the 60s were forecasted which was just barely cool enough for climbing in full desert sun. We didn't stop moving the entire day and climbed pitch after pitch of 5.10 and 5.11. A few broken foot holds were a testament to the rarely climbed nature of the route and the full adventure component it involved. We were a long way away from help if some thing went wrong, so both of us tightened up our climbing a bit, slowed it down, and practiced what I call '4x4' climbing, meaning distributing your weight on all 4 appendages as much as you can incase anything does break. As an example, at some point high on the route, I was linking together 2 5.10+ pitches for another monster 175' pitch, when I foothold snapped, but luckily, or unluckily my fingers were locked into a perfect finger lock, and I pretty much scalped my left index finger. The dreaded flapper pulsed blood and throbbed in pain until I could get to the belay and tape it up tight. Now I am struggling with putting this sucker into cracks, but oh well, it's only flesh and will regrow eventually!

We summited at about 5:30pm, and had 10 rappels, and a two hour walk out. With sunset at 7pm, we knew we had some time of walking in the dark, but oh well, that is the price you pay for gong big in the short fall days. Overall, I highly recommend the prepared for long and sometimes scary pitches of 5.10+, some friable holds and lots of walking. Put your adventure cap on tight.

Mt Kinesava...home to Tatoween and many more classics to come!

Pitch 1: 5.11 fingers

Way up there on the route

Still high on the route.


Summit shang ri many people have ever been here? Maybe a dozen.


Walking in the dark.

Ouch, the dreaded flapper!

The day after, we woke up slow, but didn't want to take a rest day, so at the crack of noon we went into the canyon to check out a 5 pitch route called Plan B, 5.12. Yet another 5 star stellar crack climbing classic of Zion. Pitch after pitch of real deal pulling pretty much exhausted what we had left after Tatoween the day before. With a pitch breakdown of 5.11+, 10+ OW, 12 (3o foot roof!), 12- and 11, we were pretty much in rest day mode at the top. Now being pleasantly worked, overfed, and over caffeinated, the plans start to take place for the next cycle of climbing...stay tuned!

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