Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stepping Off the Ground

BJ and I connected over the past week to climb in his local crag, Zion.  We had originally planned to head up Moonlight Buttress but learned through the grapevine that five permits were given to climber's all planning to climb that route on our chosen day.

Plan B:  Touchstone Wall.

Though it lacks the aesthetic prow that MB takes, Touchstone has some pretty classic climbing.  A couple of initial aid pitches reminded me how much I prefer free climbing to aid climbing.  This point was driven home again as I tried to free climb 11- with etriers, jugs, daiseys, and static line hanging from my harness.

We ended finishing the climb in a casual day and rapped the descent route.  I would highly recommend the descent route vs. rappeling the route because it is very fast and straight-forward.  It took us 1h15min from the top of the 5.7 sport pitch (pitch 9?) to climb the ridge and descent the descent gully.  I'd expect it would take us almost twice as long to rappel the route proper.  Additionally, given that this route is all enjoyable free-climbing after the second pitch, doing this route as a fix-and-fire would probably make the free climbing more enjoyable without all the extra aid gadgetry.