Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Along the road trip there are places that are a “must see”. One of the best parts of traveling, whether it be on the road in your home country or completely on the other side of the world is the fact that you see so many things that aren’t necessarily on the map or qualify as “road trip worthy”.

Route 66 PC- JDStylos
The Grand Canyon is not one of those unexpected sights. We awoke and took our time driving to Arizona towards the Grand Canyon.  Along the way, on another interstate filled with large trucks and cars much faster than ours. Joe quickly pointed out a sign on the right side of the road with an arrow pointing to the “Old Historic Route 66”. We pulled off the next exit and hit the road that so many before us drove.  We later found out that the stretch that we decided to drive just so happens to be the longest intact stretch of the original road.

PC JDStylos
Eventually Route 66 joined back to highway 40 and we drove the rest of the way to the Grand Canyon. I had never been to the canyon, but Joe has. He had warned me of not the immense beauty I was about to see but the immense crowds we were about to encounter. By this time we had been to five national parks but none would compare to the crowds we saw when we drove into the park. Thousands of people. Parking was the most stressful part of the day. We lucked out with a spot near the visitor’s center and fought the crowds to the edge of the canyon. There are some things that you can’t help looking at and saying “WOW” and one of those sights for me was The Grand Canyon. Joe just so happened to get a picture of the look on my face when I looked over the edge for the first time.

PC JDStylos
After taking in the view for a little bit we hurried over to a “Geology Talk” that one of the park rangers was giving. We joined a whole group of eager people to learn a smidge about of what we were actually looking at. Joe and I had talked about how we wished we had a geologist who could tell us some about the rocks we were climbing on and this talk gave us a bit of insight into just that. Though one of the coolest parts of the talk wasn’t the talk itself but as we were all listening a full
grown male Big Horn Sheep ran right through the presentation and hundreds of people.

We camped just outside the park in the national forest and woke up the next morning to a big thunder storm and big fluffy snowflakes starting to cover the ground. We tried to go back to the park to watch the informational video in the visitor’s center only to be disappointed by an “out of service” sign. So we hit the road and drove through a snowy pass before getting to Flagstaff and doing some climbing research in the library.  We packed our stuff up and kept on heading south towards Phoenix. We camped just outside of town and once we woke up in the morning we headed into a town called Tempe to grab a small guidebook then headed to Queens Creek Canyon.

Joe! PC JDStylos
Queens Creek is full of rock called “volcanic tuff”, which we had yet to climb on. We arrived in the afternoon and spent most of the first day just getting our bearings of the area but we did get a chance to climb a little bit. The first climb we did was a bit of a chimney that then climbed left up an arĂȘte. Neither of us were a fan of the route, difficult for a 5.7. We moseyed down to arguably the most popular 5.7 and 5.8 routes of the whole area. Joe led them first and quickly came to the conclusion either the rock was graded quite hard or we are just becoming worse climbers. Similar to Joshua Tree the 5.7 was much more like a 5.9. We finished on a “5.8” with a very hard start. Once you pulled yourself up and over the bulge most of your energy was gone but you still had 50ft to go but luckily with only one trickier spot with not much for holds it ended up being probably our favorite of the three routes we did.

PC JDStylos
Queens Creek has free camping at a place called “Oak Flats” that is literally 3 minutes down the canyon. Free with tables and a bathroom it was most definitely one of our favorite camp spots. Plus when we woke up in the morning it was a quick drive to the climbs. We hiked up to the spot we had picked out the day before and started climbing. Unsurprisingly the climbs seemed to be 2 grades harder than the book suggested but we climbed anyways. Joe set up his camera on the tri-pod to get some photos of us climbing which we haven’t been able to get a ton of us since you can’t really do if you’re climbing/belaying. The routes were all fairly difficult and had really hard starts which untimely tired us out much quicker than we were expecting. I finished the day after four climbs on a cool arĂȘte and Joe finished on a short, very difficult 5.9. By the time I had finished climbing my fingers were bright red (which we like to call “toasty tips”) and the top layers of my skin weren’t there anymore.

Thanksgiving morning arrived and we said goodbye to Queens Creek and we drove down to Tucson and got our nicest hotel to date. A little more expensive than we have paid in the past but well worth it.
PC JDStylos
Our original plan was to try to find a pizza and enjoy it in the hotel. After looking and looking, everything was closed except for grocery stores. So we ended up getting a frozen lasagna, tikka masala and ice cream for our thanksgiving meal. Wasn’t too bad compared to our single pineapple we had gotten the year before in Nicaragua! After eating, swimming, enjoying a movie on the TV we both fell asleep. I quickly woke up in the middle of the night with my stomach protesting what I assume was the ice cream. Since the only dairy I’ve had in the last month and a half has been cheese. Not a bad place to be for a sick and sleepless night.

PC JDStylos
We got up in the morning and I was feeling a bit better so we enjoyed our free hotel breakfast and decided to go get the oil changed on the car since we’ve hit over 5000 miles. While we were there we decided to get a new tire to replace the one on the back of the car that had finally popped. Killing two birds with one stone and feeling like we spent a lot of money we spent the rest of the day at Saguaro National Park and attempted to get some sunset photos before driving up to Mt. Lemmon where we hoped to get some climbing in.

The road to the camping was twisty, long and seemed to go up forever. Starting the drive at 2000+ feet we finally found a place to camp at over 8,600+feet. It was cold but nice to be somewhere other than the desert. We awoke in the morning with full intentions of going climbing but with an overcast sky and a slight breeze we opted to take full advantage of perfect hiking weather and go hike!

PC JDStylos
It had felt like we hadn’t hiked in forever. We trekked along on the Butterfly Peak Trail and unlike most trails this one quickly went down. For miles we hiked gradually downhill before we got to a fork in the road and we had read in the trail description online that if you take the opposite trail you might be able to find the remnants of an old plane crash. So we went on the trail less traveled and soon arrived to just that. Not much was left of the old F-86 Sabre but the engine and some random metal pieces remained. You can read the story of the wreck  HERE. Most of the hikes we do lead to summits and good views so it was a fun hike to something neither of us had seen before. We ate some lunch and started hiking back up all the gradual hills we had come down. By the time we got back to the car it had been a little over 9 miles but with such gradual grade it was extremely pleasant.

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We went back to our camp and spent the next day doing something we had yet to do, which was not drive the car. We made a fire and played with the trad gear on some boulders and spent the day vegging next to the heat. We had planned again to go climbing, but with the weather being too cold and us feeling lazy it made for a perfect place to rest.

Throughout the night we listened to the sound of snowflakes hit the metal of the car and awoke in the morning to about 5 inches of fresh snow surrounding the us. We were the first car to leave the camping area (there was only one other). Breaking ground, it took us a couple of attempts to get the car through the dip into our camp sight but eventually after turning around we got out and drove the slippery road back into the desert.

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Back in Phoenix, it was still just above freezing and we happened to be the only car in town with snow all over it. We made our way to the PIMA Air and Space Museum where we arrived just after opening to get our tickets for the “Boneyard tour   We spent the morning listening to a walking tour of the first hanger. 11:30 rolled around and we all hopped on a bus that took us into the boneyard. The tour showed us over 35 billion dollars’ worth of aircraft being stored, salvaged and torn apart. We arrived back to the museum and spent the rest of our day walking around the other hangers and listening to our third tour of the day. I have been to plenty of air museums coming from a military family but have yet to be at one from opening to closing.

PC JDStylos

That evening we were treated to a steak dinner from my parents even though we are 1,100 miles away. Only our second time eating out on the whole trip and with it being awhile since either of us had a steak we drooled over a warm meal cooked to perfection. Steak, potatoes and dessert filled our bellies and we started to drive towards New Mexico.

Looking at the weather it’s much colder than either of us were hoping. With the high in Southern New Mexico to be 51 degrees for the next few days, makes for cold climbing. Cold fingers on rock just don’t mix. Hopefully this unusual weather will disappear and we will hit the crag sooner rather than later before we start heading east. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Southern California

I am not totally sure what I was expecting Death Valley, California to be like before arriving. My only real knowledge of Death Valley is the fact that it can be unbearably hot, to the point where death is a real factor. So when we drove into the park I was quickly taken aback by the amount of people that were there and the fact that it really didn’t look like the desert I had in mind.

PC: JDStylos
When we first got into the park we initially spent some time in the visitor center and had scoped out some photography spots for the coming days since there is not much climbing in the valley.

Our first photography mission was a sunrise photo at Zabriskie's Point. We woke up bright and early at 5:15AM and hopped out of the car to look up at the sky and notice all of the clouds. Not the type of clouds that block a sunrise from happening, but the exact opposite. So we quickly put the car into drive mode and drove to the lookout. Rather than go to the common point we hiked up to a great little peak right next to the parking lot and soon enough the clouds lit up with the best sunrise I have ever seen. The sky was like fire for what seemed like forever. Everywhere you looked was a magnificent orange.

PC: JDStylos
We spent the rest of the day hiking around through the canyons and washes keeping our fingers crossed the clouds would stick around for a sunset photo. Luckily they did and by the time evening showed up we had hiked out to Badwater Basin. A massive salt flat and the lowest place on the continent at -282ft. We passed all of the tourists, hiked out over the crusty salt surface to where all the other photographers were at.  We waited for the sun to settle behind the mountains and once again the sky lit up with a brilliant sunset.

PC JDStylos
The next day we had full intentions to do some more photography but we both woke up, dragging our feet and decided to just keep on driving down to our next climbing destination and get a hotel along the way.  Barstow, California wasn’t much but it did give us a chance to find a little town called Victorville which just so happened to be along Old Route 66.  We left our hotel in Barstow and made a quick stop at the Route 66 Museum. Right when we walked in the door we were quickly greeted by smiling faces and given a wonderful tour by a man named Tom, who knew endless amounts about Route 66. Joe nor I really knew much about it but now have much more appreciation for the history and culture that the highway brought to the west. We are hoping to drive along some of the original highway as we get closer to heading east.

PC: JDStylos
Joshua Tree National Park was our next destination in California. Just so happened that the night we arrived in the park was scheduled to be a full moon with the largest moon in 60+ years! With clear skies we quickly drove in and went on a hunt for some good horizon shots. Joe had a vague idea of which direction the moon would rise and after finding some other photographers pointing their
massive cameras all in the same general direction we started hiking all over the place for a good shot. But sure enough the moment the sun tipped over the horizon we went running somewhere else to get a better angle. The moon was so bright it gave every object a nighttime shadow. I’ve never actually stood waiting for the moon to rise and was glad I was able to watch the super moon rise among the Joshua Trees.

PC JDStylos
After a few days of doing things that didn’t involve climbing, we were both itching to get back on the rock. We spent some time in the library looking up areas for our level and after doing this at every place we’ve been at so far we were both pretty tired of it and broke down and got the app called “rakkup”. A very convenient way to rent guidebooks and have an offline map for quite a few climbing locations. We put it to use the very next day at a wall called “The Little Hunk”. Joe had read that the grading in Joshua Tree was pretty difficult. Which was quickly made apparent the moment we tried to get off the ground on a 5.7+. “Incandescent” is really a 5.9+ disguised as a 5.7+. All the climbs we did that day were on slab with minuscule, sandy holds which half the time seemed to be nonexistent. Joe did end up leading a 5.10a on the slick slab but with the grade being harder it made us both happier to be climbing something that’s at the limit of my climbing ability and now seems to be easily in Joe’s range of comfort.

Defeated by the boulders.
PC JDStylos
Since we have this new app we were able to plan a whole slew of climbing for the next day. We woke up bright and early and had planned to hike out to a secluded rock called “East Siberia”.  2 ½ miles later we arrived at something that kinda-sorta represented the photo we saw in the guidebook. What we mostly saw was a bunch of massive boulders. So off we went and started scrambling all over the place looking for something that might look climbable. Before we knew it we had been hopping over and climbing on top of boulders for over an hour before actually finding the wall with a bunch of tall 5.9s on it. Knowing that the grading is significantly difficult around those parts we wanted to try to hop on the easier climbs which was around, you guessed it… more boulders. After scrambling for about another 40 minutes we never really found our way to the climb. At this point the wind was howling and we decided to call it a day. Defeated, we hiked all the way back to the car.

PC JDStylos
Initially we thought the day was going to be a total bust but after driving around Joshua Tree it seemed like there just might be a sunset to cap off the day. We parked the car and found a place among the boulders and trees and waited for the sky to do its thing. Not only did the horizon light up but the entire sky was streaked with color. Even though we may have not gotten to climb, Joe got some great photos.

With our climbing spirits kind of broken from the day before we were most definitely hoping for better luck. Another early morning led to a day with some of the best climbs we have gotten to do so far into the trip. Starting the day on some more slab had us not really sure how it was going to go. The moment we saw “The Inhaler”, a 5.8 with a cool crack climb start, we knew we were in business. This route and the last ones we finished on were just like being back in the climbing gym. Big bold moves that actually made our upper bodies sore. Which has yet to actually happen on the trip.

PC: JDStylos
One thing that we both had noticed the last few days of being in Joshua Tree was as we were driving around town there was quite the shimmy developing in the front end of the car. Ever since getting the wheels rotated before starting the trip there had always been a bit of a wobble but nothing to worry about. Within the last few days the small shimmy had turned into a teeth rattling shake. So we thought that either the wheels needed to get rotated or balanced. We drove into Big O Tires and were expecting a 3 hour wait for a free alignment check. After calling around we opted for another store: Discount Tires. After an hour wait and a free alignment check we were told the alignment was off and after they had fixed it we shouldn’t have any more issues.

Part of the Rice Shoe Tree
PC: JDStylos
The shaking continued. We were both ready to move on so we decided to just keep on driving and have it looked at in the next town on our way towards the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Driving along we zoomed passed a sign that read “next services 100 miles”. The shimmy was not getting better and after finding a place to stop for the night we decided to switch the front passenger tire with the spare in the morning. The passenger tire was showing the most ware and was the tire that was off with the alignment so we thought it made the most sense.

Before changing the tire we drove into the town of Rice, California. No signs, buildings, people or really anything except shoes. Among the rubble of a gas station and the fence surrounding some foundation was basically a free shoe shop. Give a pair- take a pair. The Rice Shoe Tree is a roadside phenomenon that sits in the left over ghost town of Rice California. The sight was a pretty funny one, but we were even more excited to use the old gas station as a flat place off the freeway to change our tires.
Fix it yourself shop- Rice, California
PC: JDStylos

With high hopes of a smooth ride, we crossed our fingers and hopped in the car and sat quietly. Our quiet sitting was rudely interrupted by not just the now familiar shimmy but MORE shaking. Both of us had the thought that it could be something more than just a tire balance. So we finally pulled into Parker California and drove into the Walmart parking lot. Along the way we realized that we hadn’t really checked the front driver side tire. The moment we did we saw the problem. The tire easily had a ½ inch bulge on one side and the tread was ripping. How it didn’t blow out on the highway in the last 100 miles, I’m not quite sure! We switched the tire with the spare and took the Suzuki for a quick spin and both smiled. Smooth would be an understatement.

Finally getting the shimmy figured out and finding a place to do some computer research we’ve stopped in Havasu Lake, Arizona. Since we are one tire down I will have to cough up some money for a new spare. Of all the things that could’ve happened with the car we are feeling pretty lucky to have only had to swap the tires around a little bit!

The Grand Canyon is next on the list of to-dos and then head south to some more climbing areas here in Arizona. Hoping to find some delicious taco trucks along the way and less shaking! 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Red Rocks

When you look at the map of where we started and where we are now it really doesn’t look like we have gone very far. I mean we’re only 2 states over from Idaho but when you look at the odometer we could be all the way in Maine if you were going off that alone. We have officially broke over 3,000 miles on the Suzuki thus far going from climbing area to climbing area.

PC JDStylos
Luckily the goal of the trip isn’t to hit every state, but more like climb as much as possible. Luckily we have got to do just that in our week in Red Rocks, Nevada.

Our first day of climbing in Red Rocks was on a Saturday. Which we quickly realized wasn’t ideal. Even though Red Rocks is only a conservation area it was probably just as busy if not busier than the National Parks we have visited so far. Packed with a whole slew of different people. From climbers, cyclists and hikers to your traditional tourists, kids running around on the slick rock to drivers with the most expensive cars I have ever seen driving around the scenic loop.

Even though Red Rocks was packed with people we made our way into the park and headed down to our first climbing wall. We looked up to “Hamlet Wall” to see top ropes galore. But below Hamlet Wall there is a more difficult wall called the “J Wall”. Neither of us really wanted to wait to hop on and climb so Joe climbed the lowest grade we could find, a 10b. Not necessarily the most ideal grade to climb first with cold muscles but hey, if it’s there- climb it! Joe being much bolder than I climbed it with some difficulty but got it done, I on the other hand had opted out.

PC JDStylos
Once we had finished with the big climb of the day we just so happened to see that our objective wall was thinning out so we hiked up to the Hamlet Wall. At first the wall looked mighty tall especially compared to some other climbs we have been doing. We were assured by other climbers that our 60m rope would be plenty long and we climbed away. First climb of the day for me and second for Joe was a 5.7 called “Sweets to the Sweet”. Probably the best 5.7 I have climbed so far into the trip and a great warm up climb. By the time we had finished climbing this route we had the entire wall to ourselves. We then hopped on two 5.8s called “To Grunt and Sweat” and “Perchance to Dream”. Both were really good climbing and the second was quite technical to begin with but mellowed out in the end which was nice being that is was significantly longer than a lot of the other routes. The worst part though was the fact that as I was clipping into the anchor I thought I had my PAS in hand but really my belay device and dropped it and listened to it clink all the way down the rock to where Joe was belaying. Who then promptly yelled “that’s not good!”

George! PC JDStylos
No it wasn’t. With that being said we put it aside and opted not to use it until we could get some opinions on whether to retire it or not and finished our day with my first Onsight lead climb, a 5.9 called “Sea of Troubles”. Super route and it really helped my confidence leading something just above my comfort zone.

One of the best parts of Red Rocks though was the fact that my good friend from Boise was going to fly out for a day to come climb with us. I met George while at the climbing gym back home and he
has so kindly introduced me into the outdoor world of climbing and even better- ice climbing. So the least I could do would be to share a bit of the road trip with him. He flew in Monday night and we all caught up over some Pizza.

 One of the things that both Joe and I don’t know how to do is trad climb. So George brought a whole heap of gear with him and the next day we headed out to a 5.8 multi pitch trad route called “The Great Red Book”. After quite the hike to the base we geared up and George led away. He placed gear and then clipped into the anchor. He quickly hollered at Joe and me to climb together up after him and he would belay us from the anchor. I had cleaned gear before but Joe had not so he was behind me and cleaned the route. Not only did we get to get a glimpse of trad climbing but also the chance to do some crack climbing. Which neither of us have gotten to do! We got to the anchor and opted to just call it a one pitch climb rather than making it into a multi-pitch and rappelled from the first anchor.
George leading "The Great Red Book"
PC JDStylos

We ate lunch and mozied down to the Black Corridor- one of the most famous climbing areas in Red Rocks. Vertical, shaded walls makes for ideal climbing and gives you a very similar feeling of climbing in a rock gym.

Though busy, we were able to hop on a great 10a called “Vegabonds”. George led the way and I was able to top rope it after him. I was pretty excited not only that it was my first 10a outside but also the fact that I felt that I had climbed it really well and had the confidence doing so. Joe climbed it after me and we both agreed that it was probably one of our favorite routes on the trip so far.

We left the Black Corridor and went looking for some more trad routes only to call it a day after not much luck. Finishing off the day with a trip down the strip so George could see Vegas. The next morning we woke up bright and early to say goodbye to George and spent the rest of the day outside the library watching Netflix and enjoying a rest day.
The Black Corridor
PC JDStylos

Of course the sun comes up and a new day brings more climbing to be done. So we headed straight back to Red Rocks to another well-known wall called the “Panty Wall”.  We were the first to arrive and after figuring out which route was which we were quickly joined by another party and both started climbing about the same time. Joe started the day out on a 5.8 called “Brief Encounter” which he quite liked. I was looking forward to hopping on it as well. I quickly agreed but as I rappelled back down to the base, everyone’s eyes were on the first pullout where the Suzuki and the other groups’ car were parked. The only two cars that joined ours were construction vehicles that were walking around our cars and had blocked off the rest of the parking area. After much deliberation we figured that it would be better to hike back than to get a ticket. So we packed up our gear and quickly hurried back to the car. The workers were incredibly nice and figured that the specs of dots they could see up on the rock were us climbing but even so asked us to move our car up to the second pullout. So we hopped in and moved our car ¼ of a mile up the road.

Knowing that no one would be allowed to park at the first pullout made the thought of climbing in that area even more appealing. So we packed up our garb and hiked all the way back to the Panty Wall to have it to ourselves for the rest of the day- which seems to be unheard of. So we climbed away, three more 5.8s to the list of climbs. We weren’t a huge fan of the Panty Wall, especially
PC JDStylos
comparing it to the climbs on the Hamlet Wall. So with that being said we hiked back to the Hamlet Wall and finished the day on the one 5.9 on the wall we hadn’t done yet, called “The Die is Cast”.

Our initial plan for our last day in Red Rocks was to finish on our second multi-pitch of our trip on a climb called “The Big Bad Wolf”.  A 4 pitch 5.9 with a wonderful combination of vertical juggy climbing and small tricky slab. I had read all about it the night before and we woke up feeling pretty excited to get on the wall.

Joe climbing "Vegabonds"
The moment we arrived, Joe was the first to notice the other climbers. We pulled out his camera and counted. Two on the wall, one starting to climb, seven at the base and four sitting at the car next to us in the parking lot waiting to do the same climb. Bummer. Needless to say we would have been waiting around for quite a while. So with that we decided to put this multi-pitch in our list of “To Do Climbs” and packed up the car a headed out.

The next destination is Death Valley National Park, California. Though we don’t plan to do any climbing here we do plan to catch up on some hiking and most importantly, some photography. Will probably only be here for a couple of days before heading to our next climbing destination in Joshua Tree National Park! Fingers crossed for some good shots and good hikes until then!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

From One Climb to the Next

               One of the great things I am slowly learning about living out of the car is the option to stay or go. We find a place that we like, so we stay but if not we just hop in the car and go, such a nice luxury. 

These last few days we have traveled from Moab all the way to just west of Las Vegas, Nevada and have had the chance to stay or go wherever we please. Along the way we have mostly stayed off of any large interstates and have done our best to stay on scenic routes that leads us to our next destination. 

Owachomo Bridge
PC JDStylos
We hopped onto highway 191 and headed our way to Natural Bridges National Monument. A very small park that honestly looks minuscule on a map and would be easily passed. Neither of us had ever been there so we decided to make a quick stop and we were both pretty glad that we did. After going to the visitors’ center we drove along the one way road that has a scenic view point to every bridge. There weren’t a ton of people and the bridges were great. Personally I think the monument is quite underrated and would love to spend a little more time in there next time we make our way through Utah. 

All of the parks throughout southern Utah are all a little bit of the same. Very similar colors and landscapes but there is something about each one that makes it quite unique. We spent the next day or two making our way to Cedar City, Utah which was supposed to have a plethora of sport climbing but we stopped at some more parks along the way. Making a quick stop in Capital Reef National Park and eventually going down to Bryce Canyon and spending a little bit of time there. 

PC JDStylos
Before we had actually gotten all the way to Cedar City we camped outside of Henrieville, Utah and woke up the next morning and headed into Kodachrome State Park. Our first park fee we actually had to pay thus far into the trip! Kodachrome is a super small little state park in the southern part of Utah and there is some good smaller hikes located in it. So after doing the classic hike along some slick rock we said our goodbyes and headed on a small dirt road into the southern part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Which we had briefly driven through the northern half of the monument on our way to Henrieville. 

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There is one arch located in the park called Grosvenor Arch. Towering 150ft above the ground we knew that we had to make a quick stop since we were so close. So we headed down the dirt road to quickly be surprised by some ranchers working a cattle drive with about 30 head of cattle down the dirt road. I am from Idaho and I have seen many a cattle in my life but there is not many things in the world that can take you into such appreciation for all the hard work that farmers and ranchers do for the world than seeing ranchers work cattle. Long hours in the hot sun and dirt moving the herd from one pasture to the other. Once the ranchers saw us they whipped and hollered and the herd parted and we made our way through with a smile and a thank you and went our way.

PC JDStylos
Once we got to the arch we were both pretty taken aback by its size. The double arch towers over most of the arches in Arches National Park and the fact that it’s so hidden into the desert makes it a much less viewed arch compared to the arches that get vast flocks of visitors every day. We stayed and ate lunch with a couple from Virginia and then headed back into town only to come head on with the cattle drive once again. 

By this time we had had a few days off from climbing and were ready to make our way into Cedar Canyon. Once we arrived it was... cold. It reminded us of Logan Canyon, where we got one route in and decided it was too cold to keep on climbing and headed south. So after one night in the canyon and some research at the local library in Cedar City we made the same decision, head south! So we drove an hour into St George, Utah where we got some groceries, water, and beta for some climbing just outside of the city at an area called Woodbury Road Crags.

Woodbury Road
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We headed out into the desert and found the climbing area and immediately headed to one of the climbing walls. Along this one dirt road there is 3 massive cliff faces all filled with sport routes that range from 5.6 to 5.14. We definitely got our climbing fix in as we climbed for the next 3 days. But once we arrived we went to the wall that had the least amount of climbs that are at our level. The wall is called "Black and Tan". We made our way up and found two 5.7s to hop on before the sun went down. Before we started climbing we put our hands on the wall and were immediately put off by the feel of the rock. It was super sharp, these walls are all rock called "Kaibab Limestone". The sharpest rock we had yet to climb on and very different feeling than the sandstone we had been climbing on in Moab. We looked at the routes we wanted to climb and knew that if we fell we would cheese grade down the face of the slab and be pretty beaten up. So with that in mind we started climbing! We both lead two routes called "Glutton for Punishment" and "Redolence". Both were a good introduction into what the next few days of climbing would bring us. 
PC JDStylos 

Our second day of climbing on Woodbury Road was on a wall called "Solstice". A bit of a hike up to the actual climbing spot gives you a great warmup and once we arrived we were both felt ready to climb. I started out the day on a slabby 5.7 called "Breakfast for the Damned". I lead it first then Joe and I both came to the conclusion that it had a weird finish and were glad to move on. That was my only lead for the day as I ended up top roping all the other routes. Joe led 2 more 5.9s called "April Fools" and "Curmudgeons". I climbed both of those routes after him and ended the day on another 5.9 that went to the same anchor called "Torsades de Pointes" and Joe finished by top roping a 5.10 just to the left of the last two 5.9s we did. 

We didn’t know how our muscles would feel the next day but woke up feeling good enough for another full day of climbing. We drove down the road about 3 minutes to the next wall called "Kelly's Wall". Unlike Solstice, this wall is in a small canyon and completely in the shade. Yesterday we were sweating and climbing hard in the desert sun and this day we were belaying in our down jackets. This wall also differed from Solstice as it was completely vertical with some overhang thrown in and made for some getting used to. So after warming up on an unknown 5.8, which we both lead and feeling quite good Joe quickly hopped on our favorite 5.9 of the whole trip called "Topless Vegetables". It was a great combination of the climbing we have done the past few weeks with nice big holds on vertical walls to little tiny holds and back to some slab to finish it off. We both climbed a couple more 5.9s which Joe is now solidly leading. I am still top roping them trying to work on my nerves. Joe also led a great 5.10 which wasn’t super long but had some big bold moves on an overhang wall. He crushed it and we both finished on a super run out 5.8 called "Wet my Whistle". 

On our last day of climbing just so happened to be Joe's birthday! We woke up and though we were feeling a little more tired we decided to celebrate with getting the most out of Woodbury road and hitting up Solstice Wall one more time to hop on some routes we hadn’t
Annual Birthday Photo!
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climbed a couple of days before. Though we were both fatigued from the past days excursions we both climbed quite well. Joe finished the day by leading two 5.10s and climbing them both really well. After 3 climbs we decided to head to the car and call it a day. We drove across the Arizona border and then into Mesquite, Nevada. The night before we were on the edge of deciding whether or not we wanted to get a hotel for the night or not but once we had drove into town the decision was quickly made when we got a super nice room at a casino for $35. After a shower, laundry, and cake we were probably some of the happiest people on earth. 

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Leaving the hotel was not an easy thing to do but once we hopped back into the car the feeling was like coming home. We hit the road towards Las Vegas. I had never been and we wanted to stop at a couple of gear stores in town. We arrived and immediately disliked the traffic and smog but enjoyed the gear stores and that evening we parked at an IHOP on the strip and walked all the way down to the Bellagio to enjoy the fountains and lights. Was quite the shock after waking up in the middle of nowhere for so long but was a nice change of scenery for a couple of hours. The city was nice but we were glad to find a camp spot near Red Rocks out in the middle of nowhere for the night. 

We are currently in Blue Diamond, Nevada enjoying some Wi-Fi at the local library and a couple of rest days before my friend from Boise flies down to join us for a few days of climbing in Red Rocks. Tons of climbing and George knows how to trad climb and since Red Rocks is mostly just that we are hoping to learn some knew skills plus enjoy some company!
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