Tag Archives: North Guardian Angel

Mediocre Mountaineering

Inspired by some of the moderately technical summits in Zion’s more remote corners, my Zion “to do” list has been expanding lately to include a number of minor,non-technical summits. A couple of weeks ago, I scrambled to the top of the North Guardian Angel with Nick for a quick afternoon adventure; this weekend, the memory of adjacent Pine Valley Peak pulled me to return for another fun summit adventure. There is something freeing about standing on a summit and seeing the canyons and mesas stretching out across the horizon. It is a special sensation. To be unbound by canyon walls, to sense the vastness of the area, and to feel a lightness that technical climbing rarely allows. I climb in approach shoes with sticky rubber, packing a rope, water, food, a harness, some carabiners, belay device, and webbing. There is evidence of past climbers on these routes, yet the slickrock encourages me strike out and find my own path up the meandering cracks and ledges. The Purcell guidebook has route and equipment information on Zion summits helpful in planning and executing a successful climb, but the descriptions are rough enough to maintain a good sense of adventure. Back in Washington’s … Continue reading

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Tie Knots In Your Rappel Ropes to Avoid Disaster

Whilst descending the North Guardian Angel Saturday evening, Calvin and I found our 100′ rope just a bit short to reach the most comfortable landings along the way. It wasn’t much of a problem, but highlighted the importance of tying knots in the ends of our rappel lines. Even when the terrain is not vertical, sliding off the end of your rappel ropes can be extremely dangerous, often fatal. In many places on the North Guardian, an unprotected slip could lead to 50 to 500-foot tumble… not good for your health. On the last of three rappels, we staged this shot as a grand coupling of beautiful landscape and tragic technical foolishness. Can you imagine seeing this scene in real life? Watching someone rapidly descending a 50-degree slope with only 18 inches of line left? I would probably crap my pants. So while we took the picture in jest, I wanted to share it to highlight the serious message underlying it. ALWAYS tie knots in the ends of your rappel lines, or at the very least, make a very conscience and aware decision not to.

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