Thursday, October 27, 2016

Discover Moab, Again and Again.

There is this sign when you are driving out of Moab that says "Discover Moab, again and again. The adventure never ends". Which sounds extra cheesy starting out this blog post, but its super fitting for our time here in Moab.

Though this is my first time here, this is Joe's second, third, possibly fourth or who knows how many times he's been here. He said to me last night how this trip has been completely different for him from past trips as we've spent zero to barely anytime in town. Basically only to fill up, use the library and the park. Which means these last few days we've really been enjoying our slick rock, sandstone surroundings.

Pine Tree Arch
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The night after our Ice Cream Parlor climb we headed out to Arches National Park where we went and took some night photos. I should clarify, as Joe took the photos and I just waved around my headlamp and the flash. We headed to Devils Garden where we went to the Pine Tree arch which
neither of us had seen many photos of in general not to mention any night photos. Plus Joe had never taken night photos there so that was even more incentive to head that way. After a few hours of long exposures and killer night skies we wrapped it up and headed back to camp on BLM road 385- basically the only free place to camp in Moab that's anywhere near the vicinity of town.

 Photo of Joe doing what he does so well
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We spent a day vegging and catching up on phone calls but eventually made our way to Hidden Valley for a great hike super close to downtown Moab. The hike started out with quite a steep grade but once you hit the top the truth to the name is revealed as you walk into a valley below steep red sandstone walls right above Moab that you would have no idea it was there unless you were engulfed in the sight of it. We enjoyed a couple hour walk through the valley to some pictographs. After the hike we made our way back into Arches for some more possible sunset photography as there was some clouds that had rolled in while we were hiking and we were very hopeful for some beautiful shots. We made the hike out to Delicate Arch (which I had yet to see on this trip) and its
supposedly always a zoo but it turned out to be a do-able amount of people and we grabbed some places to sit and waited for the sun to go down. The closer the sunset came the more people started to leave as to many clouds had started to roll into the horizon and by the time 6:30 rolled around there was no light to be seen and darkness came to quickly for any possibly nice photos to be taken.

Probably the most famous climbing area in Moab is called Wall Street. I wouldn't be surprised if its
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on all climbers "Places to Climb" list. Right now both Joe and I are fairly limited on what we can climb as we're both lower level sport climbers. Which makes it tricky to find routes to climb. But we did our research and headed to Wall Street where we found some routes in our range to climb. We arrived to some other climbers climbing and meandered our way to a 5.7R slab route called "Slab Route". Needless to say this was not our favorite climb. The beginning was ridiculously hard and sketchy before the first bolt, then the rest was basically a walk up. We both led it and left it in the dust. Next Joe led a 5.9 just to the right called "She-la the Peeler" before we both headed a little ways down to the next 5.9+ called "Potstash". Once again Joe led it first as a 5.9 is still a bit out of my range. This was our first non slab route of our Moab experience and we were both super impressed with this route. Was wicked fun and technical but still very do-able. I climbed it on top rope a couple of times before calling it a day and heading back to camp.

On our rest day we found ourselves filling our waters in a natural spring very close to the road. We turned the ignition over to head to the park for some vegging and... nothing. We had been having
Colorado River
 PC JDStylos
issues getting the car started when we had driven on dirt roads because it would jiggle the connectors on the battery loose. In the past we would just hit it a couple of times with an ice scraper and it would start no problem. But this time it got jiggled a little to hard and we got somebody to try to help us jump the Suzuki with no luck at first. After some patience and a half hour off hitting, cleaning the connectors and jiggling everything that has to do with the battery we finally got the car to start and headed to Napa and bought some $5 wrenches and tightened everything possible around the battery... Needless to say we have yet to have the car not start, even after driving on the dirt roads... ***KNOCK ON WOOD***

First 5.9 Lead for me!
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The day after our car starting adventure we made it back to Wall Street for some more climbing. We had done a little more research on our rest day and found a couple more routes we wanted to try so we headed there first. We started on a nice 5.7 slab with an overhang crux called "Neapolitan". We both led it for a nice warm up before heading over to a 5.9 called "Brown Banana" that Joe wanted to
lead. A technical climb with tricky moves but has nice rest spots. Joe sent it first climb and set up a top rope for me so I could climb it. After we both got to climb that route we meandered our way back to Potstash the 5.9+ route from the other day that Joe had led and I had top roped a couple of times. But the days goal for me was to lead it and send it first try. I would be lying if I said it was a piece of cake, as my nerves are my biggest enemy while climbing. I sent it and was pretty stoked as its my hardest outdoor lead climb I've done. We made our way back down the other way towards town to another 5.9 on Wall Street that Joe wanted to try. Another slab called "Stego" and even though it was a slab it was pretty vertical. Getting off the ground is no easy feat as he managed to lead and send the whole thing where I tried it afterwards and couldn't even get both feet off the ground and eventually gave up after some very frustrating attempts. The last climb of the day was a 5.8 slab called "Snakes Slab". I saw where the first bolt was and immediately knew I didn't want to climb it as the first bolt looked like it was a mile away from the ground and I had no intention of decking. But Joe, being much braver than I tied in and led away. Funny how its called a "popular climb" in the guide books because it wasn't easy and the first bolt being so high makes for some nerve racking climbing but Joe climbed it and with that we called it a day.

Eye of the Whale Arch
 PC JDStylos
After a nice last lunch and siesta in the park we hopped in the car and headed back into Arches for our last night photography session here in Moab. We looked on the map to find "Eye of the Whale Arch" which neither of us had heard of or even seen pictures of. After some quick research we headed that way and found ourselves on some pretty sketchy back roads that are meant for off road vehicles not small SUV's filled to the brim with gear. So after .3 mi of that we parked the car at the base of a hill that said "No 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara will ever make it past this point unless you
want to possibly rip the under carriage from your vehicle" (or so it seemed). We hiked the rest of the 1 1/2 miles to the arch only to be beyond pleasantly surprised by not only the view but not one other person and endless slick rock to be explored. We arrived just as the sun was setting but we both noted how we would happily come back to explore the area. Another evening was spent under a massive arch framed by endless stars, waving around the flash and headlight in hopes of some good photos of a less famous arch.
Pine Tree Arch
 PC JDStylos

With that we've found ourselves doing some hiking, climbing, southern Utah and next destination research here in the library before we say our goodbyes to the wonderful Moab. With hopefully one more quick climb in Ice Cream Parlor and a quick run by the grocery store we will soon be heading to Canyon Lands National Park for an overnight hike before we leave to venture onto new climbing excursions.

Adios, Moab!


  1. Blown away by the photos!! Joe you are SO talented! Now I'm going to go back and read about your adventures :)

  2. love reading about your adventures!! Joe- you are killing it with the night photos! Love you guys xoxo