Category Archives: Rock Climbing

Oh Henry’s

What I really like about National Parks (and ZAC, the company I work for, for that matter), is that they make the concept of “adventure” very accessible, regardless of what people’s level of adventure is. That to say, what really inspired our staff outing to the Henry Mountains was how very inaccessible those mountains are. Bordered on the West by Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold and on the East by Utah Highway 95, they’re far enough beyond the middle of nowhere that it really is no wonder that they were the last explored and geographically mapped mountain range in the lower 48. In fact, to get there, we first had to drive many hours from anywhere to the middle of nowhere, make a right, and drive far enough that where we had previously thought was nowhere began to really feel like it was… somewhere. And then we kept driving. Mostly up. Hang a right towards that ‘road’ down there, keep driving through the canyons and up and down the mesas until you get to those mountains in the distance. Then keep driving. …But not before a stop at Hell’s Backbone Grill for breakfast and coffee. If we were going to leave … Continue reading

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Gear Review: FiveTen Anasazi High-Top Climbing Shoe

When FiveTen and Dean Potter went to work making a shoe to crank twenty pitches a day in, they came up with the Anasazi Hi-Top. A stiffer, more plush climbing shoe meant to soothe your aching feet as you stuff them deep into whatever crack system you are scaling in Yosemite. Fortunately, climbing shoes designed for granite are awesome in sandstone as well. The Anasazi Hi-Top fits the bill for an all-around desert shoe. It’s stiff, sticky, comfortable, and sized correctly, based on a last Chris McNamara calls his “cheating shoe.” But most importantly, it covers your ankles. Anyone at Indian Creek, Zion, or Red Rocks will tell you ankles bones are only to make you suffer more as you stuff your feet as deeply as possible into whatever crack you are ascending. That only sightly protuberant part of your ankle is constantly grinding into the lip of the crack. It’s not fun, you get a bloody spot that eventually scabs over only be cracked and ground bloody again and again. Hi-tops are an obvious solution to this problem.Most people will tell you you need to rush out and buy a pair of TC Pros from La Sportiva, almost universally held up as … Continue reading

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Selected Zion Rock Climbing Closures Begin March 1st

The Park released their annual spring briefing on peregrine climbing closures last week. Here’s the official skinny: Zion National Park Announces Schedule of Climbing Closures Climbing routes on cliffs used by nesting Peregrine Falcons in Zion National Park will be temporarily closed beginning March 1, 2012, in order to protect the nesting success of this bird which is in recovery from “endangered species” status. The closing date is based on analysis of information collected from 2001-2011 regarding the peregrines’ arrival time to their nesting cliffs in the park. The following cliffs will be closed to climbing beginning March 1, 2012: Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne (beyond single- and double-pitched climbs), Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), The Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, The East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava, and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek. All other cliffs will remain open to climbing. Park biologists will monitor the nesting activity of Peregrine Falcons in the park throughout the 2012 breeding season. Cliffs that have been closed but are not being used by nesting peregrines this year, will be reopened when nest sites have been determined, typically by late April … Continue reading

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Gear Review: Petzl Ange Carabiner Nails Clean Nose Design

In the midst of a long climbing trip, climbers have a special event called Rest Day, a break from a week of leisure to pursue an entire day of deeper leisure. Writing this blog allows me to salvage some sense of accomplishment from this particular Rest Day. I can only sit by a pool, read a book, eat, and surf the internet for  so long. I have been climbing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico for the past five days and my fingertips are so raw it hurts to wash my hair, let alone grab onto sharp limestone edges and do anything resembling a pull up. I can, however, review the Petzl Ange carabiner. The Petzl Ange is commerically available in small (S) and large (L) versions, but we have been using only the Ange L. So, here goes… The idea of a”clean-nose” carabiner may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes snagging a ‘biner while clipping can make the difference between falling and sending. Since clean-nose solid-gate carabiners were released over a decade ago, carabiners have improved very little. Lightweight wire-gate ‘biners have replaced the solid-gate, but most wire-gates sacrificed functionality for weight, and reverted to the hooked gate. Several … Continue reading

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Mild Winter Conditions Make for Good Summit Scrambles

Sawtooth Sean posted a fun trip report on Summitpost, detailing his recent Zion peakbagging exploits. After an Angels Landing warm-up upon arrival, they scrambled the West Temple on a short January day, showing short winter days are plenty long enough for a small, efficient team to get up there and back in a reasonable day. When the team was denied an Aries Butte climb the following day (they couldn’t find the route, a common occurrence), they ventured out to Tabernacle Dome to gain some gorgeous views up in Cave Valley. Note on Kinesava/West Temple climbs: Those who wish to avoid terse notes (or worse) from the sheriff should consider parking at the Chinle Trail parking lot, as mentioned in this trip report by H.W. Stockman from April 2011.

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Gear Review: Totem Basic Cam Improves on CCH Aliens

When the Spanish climbing company Totem announced their intention to begin producing a cam based on the classic CCH Alien I was excited about everything but the name. Perhaps marketing is done differently in Spain, but here in the ‘ol US of A, companies go to great lengths to come up with cool names, flashy packaging, and sex appeal for their new products. Totem, however, went with “Basic Cam,” a name that would avoid drawing any special attention to their new product. It is like they are telling us, “Basically, this cam has some springs and cam lobes. It is nothing special, and it is used for crack climbing. Buy it if you feel like, it is the one called ‘basic cam’…” Well, I can believe they are so confident about their craftsmanship that the cam will sell itself. Without wasting time and money on marketing, maybe they can make this a profitable venture by sending them out to people like me, who are so excited about new equipment that we can do some marketing for them. Dang, maybe the Spanish know more about marketing than I give them credit for. So here it is, glamour shots, glowing review, and … Continue reading

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Mountain Top Reflections: Desert Oasis

My first draft of this blog post was a detailed description of my recent Red Rock climbing trip. The salient points were, a) I am good at climbing rocks, b) I know some good places for Asian cuisine in Las Vegas, and c) I am moderately witty. Realizing I spent far too much time coloring such a story, and valuing your time, dear reader, I will spare you my narrative of rock climbing heroism, and ask you to trust me on these points. What I would rather illustrate is the notion of finding one’s self through suffering. By “one’s self,” I mean some greater understanding of who I am, or what I’m capable of. Whilst climbing last week, on the side of an obscure rock, miles from anybody besides my climbing partner, I found myself fully panicked and hyperventilating. Tiptoeing and thrutching up the face of a mountain, I surprised myself by resisting gravity over and over again. The route (Time’s Up, 5.11d) had an exclamation mark next to it in the guide book; I interpreted this as a sign of exciting climbing, and it certainly delivered. The climbing itself was not unique or terribly difficult, but the protection was … Continue reading

Posted in Autumn, Rock Climbing, Spring, Trip Reports, Uncategorized, Winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

adidas Acquries Five Ten for $25 Million

It’s no secret Five Ten’s sticky rubber and awesome canyoneering shoes are a core component of Zion Adventure Company’s product offerings. So when I heard this morning Five Ten is being acquired by global behemoth adidas, I sat up to pay attention. Evidently, adidas is purchasing Five Ten for $25M. You might think adidas would then immediately send the Five Ten plant over to China, but apparently they intend to keep Five Ten operations in Redlands, CA (where the company was founded in 1985) and perhaps even expand operations there. Whatever they do, I hope they o continue supporting their small, but important (to canyoneers) canyoneering segment, which continues to outshine all the other shoes that try (but consistently fail) to eclipse the fantastic 5.10 Canyoneer. Five Ten was small enough that canyoneering shoes were a decent slice of their sales, but for a billion-dollar company like adidas, I can imagine cutting a shoe line is a pretty insignificant thing. Another question I read on the net regards Stealth rubber… Will it continue to be available for resoling our climbing shoes? Stealth has become readily available for both self-resole or professional resole, but if adidas decides to cut off the supply to boost … Continue reading

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CCH Alien Cams – Coming Soon

I had a bunch of equipment and personal items stolen from my car while I was out climbing in St. George yesterday. It was a fairly upsetting experience, and without going into it too much, I have yet another opportunity to grow and to let go. I am reminded of a question asked about another upsetting experience this year. A co-worker asked, “Is it a problem or an opportunity?” His words echo in my head today and have helped me step back and find a new perspective. So, I have the opportunity to buy a bunch of new climbing equipment. In the midst of researching climbing gear I stumbled upon some information regarding CCH Alien Cams. These have been indispensable parts of my climbing rack, especially for aid climbing. For the past two years I have babied my few Aliens, because they are no longer in production. Well, I discovered today that Aliens are BACK. This discovery is very exciting for a climbing nerd like me. For a minute I forgot that I was preparing to spend a thousand dollars on new climbing gear. Anyhow, Aliens are set to be released by two European companies, Fixe-Fader and Totem. Both are … Continue reading

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ZAC Hosts Annual Climbing Guides Meeting in November

On Saturday, November 5th, the Professional Climbing Guides Institute will hold their annual BBQ here in Springdale. There will be food, clinics, prizes, and a much anticipated “Unimog vs. Dynometer” challenge. We also expect to have a bunch of guides and climber-types sitting around sharing stories, debating the finer points of anchoring, rigging, teaching, and climbing, and generally dorking out in the climbing realm. We’re planning on having a lot of fun, and everyone is welcome to stop in for part or all of the festivities. The Essentials When: Saturday, November 5th, 1:00 PM Where: Springdale Town Park (next to the Springdale Community Center, 126 Lion Blvd, Springdale, UT) Schedule: 1:00 PM – Alternative anchoring & equalizing clinic with PCGI Mentor, Seth Zaharias 3:30 PM – “Where Climbers Loose Speed” clinic with PCGI Mentor, Alan Jolley 5:30 PM – Dynometer meets Unimog for a fun load testing & breaking climbing gear experience, PRIZES & BBQ!

Posted in Autumn, Local Events, Outdoor Leadership, Rock Climbing, Seasonal, Springdale, ZAC Events | Tagged , , , | Comments Off