posted by ARR
For the last few years we’ve been coordinating a yearly climbing trip to Hueco Tanks with our dear friends Brian and Jen from Pittsburgh and their two kids Seb & Oren. This year, we all decided to mix it up a bit and do something different (read: April decided she was waaaay to pregnant and miserable this spring to enjoy climbing and toasts of tequila at Hueco). We decided on route climbing in Maple Canyon, Utah instead…after Ivan’s birth. Jen & Brian had never been to Maple so we were excited to introduce them to it. And it had been a while since the last time Paul and I were there. For a humorous refresher on our last trip, read here: The Playpen Goes to Maple.
All in all, this trip was a success. While we don’t really have any big tick list to report, we did get plenty of climbing in even with the logistics of keeping a 5-week-old warm, clean (relatively speaking) and happy. And we got to catch up with good friends and introduce little Ivan to them all. In addition to Brian, Jen, Seb & Oren, our dear friend Linda also met up with us as did our german buddies Grit & Manu (whom we hadn’t seen since Swizzy when I was pregnant with Silas). And wait there’s more: we also got to see my sis Holly and boyfriend Joe as well as THE one and only Courtney who all live in SLC.
It felt good to stretch our muscles doing what we love best after such a big chunk of time off. The forearm pump, the feel of a rock hold in my hands, the apprehension of a hard move, the joy of making it to the top without falling – love it. It felt good to work my lungs and legs lugging heavy packs and kids up a long and steep trail to the rocks. It felt good to yell the coined climber cheers “C’mon. Nice.” to my husband and friends as they fought their way to the top of the climbs. It felt good to collapse down in a camp chair, exhausted after a hard day’s play with a cold beer or sip of whisky, wishing that a dinner genie would magically appear and make dinner for us. It felt good to sit by the fire late into the night, surrounded by great company, discussing the routes of the day and the crux moves that made us fall. It felt good to get all dirty and greasy over the course of multiple days and the ultimate satisfaction of a shower at last! And most importantly it felt good to be out….all 4 of us now (plus brown dog Morgan!)….climbing, camping, hiking, playing. Having fun.
Perhaps contrary to popular belief given the lack of posts over the last 9 months and then the huge dump of new baby photos, this website has not fully turned to all-baby all-the-time. There will be climbing. Lots of climbing. Lots and lots of climbing. This trip was a hearty “smack of the reset button” as Paul so perfectly put it on the drive home. :-)
4.5 week old Ivan all cozy in the van on his first roadtrip
First stop: Flagstaff Arizona, our campsite for the night
Ivan digs the site
Silas checking out the Glen Canyon Dam
Our second campsite somewhere in southern Utah on the way to Maple Canyon (yes, it took us 2 days to get there. Hey, we were being leisurely!)
There were horses at this campsite. Silas’ reaction: “Soooo cooool. Soooo aaaaawesome.” Where could he possibly be getting these words from?!
We’re here Ivan! Maple Canyon! Open your eyes!
Linda on Zen Fen, 5.9 at the Zen Garden
Silas with diggers
Dad with Ivan
Grit with Manu
Ivan with gear
Seb (9 years old) on Zen Fen, 5.9
Silas watching mt. biking videos with Joe at his and Holly’s place near Park City
Aunt Holly hanging out with Ivan for the first time
Ivan chillin’ at the crag
Motors running in The Pipedream cave (I wish I had a sound recorder for this!)
Brian sending Deliverance, 5.12c despite the loud motor derby below
Oren (6.5 years old) on Bob’s Bolts, 5.4 at The Schoolroom
Silas and dad roping up
Silas scoping Bob’s Bolts, 5.4
Silas working the bottom 7 feet of Bob’s Bolts, 5.4
Sorry dad, diggers still rule over climbing
Jen and Oren
Linda looking all hot-climber-chick
The crew goofing off at The Bridge Buttress
Jen on an unnamed 5.10d at The Bridge Buttress
Dad and Ivan hanging out at The Pipedream again
Paul redpointing Orgasmo, 5.12c at The Pipedream
Jen on a redpoint burn of Deliverance, 5.12c at The Pipedream (which she later sent, yeah grrrl)
The drive home. Another stop in Flagstaff and a hike up on Mt. Humpreys
Mama and Silas on the Weatherford Trail on Mt. Humphreys
Dad and Ivan on the Weatherford Trail on Mt. Humphreys
Livin’ it up during the last few hours of the vacation: a Sammy Smith’s Brown Ale toast to the new family and our first adventure together
posted by arr
After 7 total weeks of having the grandparents here in one combination or another (first my mom, then my mom & dad, then Paul’s mom, then Paul’s mom & dad), it is now just the 4 of us. It’s quiet and a bit lonely…but only for a minute or two until either Silas or Ivan perks up with a cry, a shriek, a giggle or a long-winded story about screwdrivers, diggers or helicopters. The extra help was absolutely wonderful. Paul and I even got some date-afternoon’s out of it! :-) A big humungous thank-you hug to Grandma, Papa, Pittsburgh Grandma, & Pap Pap!!!! Thank you!
Now we’re busy packing for our next adventure: a climbing/camping trip to Maple Canyon, Utah. Woohoo!
Grandma & Silas reading Curious George
Pap Pap & Silas cuddling
Ivan giving Pap Pap a big squeezy hug goodbye
posted by arr
…as do the diapers, wipes, bottles, toys, changing pad, baby Patagucci fleece hoodie, burp cloth, extra outfit in case of a diaper blow-out, plastic garbage bag to hold diaper blow-out, books, binky, sunhat (~5lbs), baby backpack and baby (22lbs).
Add to that the standard sport climbing gear: 70m rope (11.24lbs), 21 quickdraws (5lbs), harnesses, chalkbags, shoes, food (~2lbs), water (~2lbs),
Add to that 1 extra gal. of water for the dog because we didn’t think to bring her doggie backpack (~8.35lbs).
Grand total = 90.09lbs
Split that between April and I = 45.05lbs/person
Then carry that for about a 1 hour hike (from the lowest Maple Canyon campsite because all the others were booked), uphill to the Pipe Dream Cave in 80 degree 100% humidity heat at 7AM to beat the crowds.
Then try to send.
Throughout my 14 years of climbing I’ve often been faced with undesirable circumstances when wanting to climb. I’ve sat 4 hrs in a car with a dog drooling on my back (without the recommended raincoat) on the way to the NRG, walked around all day in dress shoes and shorts at Hueco in the winter because I forgot my approach shoes and pants, sat for 24 hrs continuously in seats that didn’t recline on a flight to South Africa, climbed with chills and a fever in France because there were only 4 days left in the climbing trip (cuz if it ain’t rainin’ in Font you better be climbin’), shared a shot of whiskey with a good old West Virginia local sporting a fishing rod and a pistol just to make sure I was on his good side in order to feel at home at the crag…just to name a few.
So as my cotton underwear sagged from sweat and the thin straps of the playpen bag started to rub my shoulders raw, I noticed a slight smile creep onto my face, the smile of insanity. And then I looked back at April to check her upward progress. When our eyes met we couldn’t hold in the chuckle of a madman. “What the hell are we doing?” No sooner did we notice our extreme situation when two people hiked up and asked us if we were backpacking. “Nope, climbing” we both replied without hesitation, in unison. And that sums it up. We’re simply climbing. Climbing in crappy circumstances is better than not climbing at all, as April would say. As soon as my feet leave the ground it no longer matters how far I drove, how long I hiked, or how much weight I carried to get here. We love it, all three of us!
Rest stop on the 15 hr drive to Maple Canyon, Utah
Silas stretching his chubby legs
Two days in campsite #9 before we got booted to the bottom of the canyon
The 34.5lb playpen
Silas doesn’t seem to mind its weight
Chillin’ at the Zen Garden
Chillin’ at the Pipe Dream Cave
The Pipe Dream
Morgan without doggie backpack. Lucky dog
Resting after a day of insanity
Pancakes for fuel after day of insanity
Silas loving the Pipe Dream
The campsite at the bottom of the canyon
April’s sister Holly in the Schoolroom. She and Joe joined us for two days from SLC
Me onsighting Sweet Peas, 5.12a
April on Sweet Peas, 5.12a
Aunt Holly and baby Silas checking out the cobbles
Joe on Sweet Peas
Me onsighting the soft 50, 5.13a
Joe leading a 5.9 at the Oxygen Wall
Silas is #1
An interesting stop on the way home
The Colorado River below the Navajo Bridge
Posted by pjv
April and I think the pictures we all took throughout the 10 day Maple Canyon trip, best summarize, the loads of fun we had. We’ve included descriptions of each photo so spend time, relax and enjoy the slideshow. Click on any of the photos shown below to access the photo collection.
Sport route highlights and summary:
“Unknown” = 5.11a:
In the area called the “Pipeline” Vince and Tammy pointed out a super cool .11a that they had both done on a previous trip to Maple. Both April and Marcus managed to quickly send the line that was short, steep and classic. Hopefully, when a new guide comes out for the area we’ll be able to figure out what it’s called.
“Unknown” = 5.12a:
Congratulations Tammy for completing the line several climbs over from the .11a in the Pipeline. Tammy had previously worked the line but had to leave it as unfinished business on a past trip. She quickly remembered her sequence and sent the line with style. April will do the same when we return to Maple, considering she quickly lead up to the crux before getting stumped.
“The Lost Letter” = 5.11b
Marcus and Tammy get a lot of credit for both sending this line. It is a beautiful .11b in an area called the Maple Corridor. In working the line Tammy took a nice whip and tore her pants. We got a great picture of her right butt cheek too. But, after a few tries Tammy and Marcus both climbed the line and got the send.
“Zoaster Toaster” = 5.12a
“49” = 5.12b
“Lunchables” = 5.12b
“Ground Work” = 5.12b
“The Put Down” = 5.12c
My screwed up middle finger was definately feeling better on the trip so I climbed harder routes than I originally planned on climbing. But…I didn’t plan on having any endurance. Somehow I pulled off the 5 climbs listed above, all on onsight. I guess I was psyched to see the Minimum wall and use my bouldering juice still left from Hueco.
“Captain Bullet” = 5.13a/b
Vince and I worked on this one for a couple days. Since we were both lacking the endurance to do it quickly we had to work out the precise footwork and technique in order to save energy and complete the bouldery crux. Unfortunately I can’t say that we sent as a team. I got the redpoint after figuring out some critical beta and Vince came soooooooooo close. He definately gets credit for trying really really really hard. ha ha. Wait until we post the video of his attempts. They are crazy! He’ll send next try.
“Min Meditation” = 5.10c
April and Marcus casually onsighted this climb near the end of our trip. In fact, they did this one last. The climb is very technical and has a tree close by which you think if you fall you’ll hit. That’s not the case but it messes with your mind. With this climb April proved that she is gaining the confidence in leading and is ready to really crank it up in the next few weekends and go for her goal of 5.12. For Marcus, this was his hardest onsight to date. Definately another stellar climb.
“49” = 5.12b
Every year on some guy’s birthday he bolts a new line. 49 is one of his lines which is a beautiful climb on the Minimum wall that basically stays at the same overhanging angle for almost 90 feet. Vince can now say that he sent the line with perfect style after just a few tries. Nice job man! And, he sent after working Captian Bullet with me for days, tired from all the effort and in front of an intimidating crowd of super strong girl climbers. Everyone was impressed!
“Lunchables” = 5.12b
Right next to 49 was a climb called Lunchables which Tammy picked, worked and sent. Nice! I didn’t think she was going to do it at first. I thought she got sucked in because it looked so stellar. I climbed the line myself and thought it was tricky and exposed. I never thought I’d hear the sending scream come from Tammy’s mouth. But I did. And I heard it from a crag far far away. This was a new level for Tammy and a great trip highlight to talk about.
“Zoaster Toaster” = 5.12a
Even though April and Marcus didn’t send this one they both lead it and made it to the anchors. If you see this route you’d know why it was a trip highlight to just get to the top. It is an ultimate classic, steep climb which goes about 80 feet up the Minimum wall. As you climb and place your feet you get quick glimpses of the insane amount of air below. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. Way to keep the lead head together guys!
I could probably keep writing until my fingers tweak out but I’m not. I can’t possibly convey how much fun we had over the 10 day trip. Enjoy our photos and go to Maple Canyon. It is AWESOME!!!! I know we’ll be going back.
posted by pjv
We spent like 16 hrs. traveling today. It was totally worth it! The climbing at Maple Canyon was…uh…STELLARRRRRRRR!!! I really feel like we just went on a true vacation because I can’t remember when we started out. It seems soooo long ago. Over the next few days we’ll have pictures, video and the full trip report with highlights up. For now, April and I are going to sleep and recover and try to get back into the routine of…work. :-(
posted by pjv
Everyday we (April, I, Vince, Tammy, Marcus, Morgan, and Senga) rush. We are always in a hurry and have a million things to do. Now, it’s time to put things in slow motion because we are on vacation! On Thursday night we left Tucson, well after loading up on coffee and driving back across town to get our iPod, which we forgot. Eventually we were off, heading through Phoenix, loading up on more coffee and reaching our first nights destination of Priest’s Draw (near Flagstaff). We set up camp around 1:30AM. I was way too wired on coffee so I stayed up trying to take some pictures of the star filled sky. It was incredible. I think I captured some good pictures for just having our little digital with us. We’ll post them all when we return.
Friday was spent driving all day. We stopped at the Sunset Crater National Monument outside of Flagstaff and walked through a pretty unique lava flow. After about an hour we got back on the road. We made stops all along the Arizona, Utah border. The scenery along the entire drive (89) was beautiful. The sky was mostly hazy due to fires in AZ and Utah but made for interesting photos. Our estimate of getting to Maple by about 5PM was way off. Our actual arrival time was like 11PM. All the sites were filled so we set up in a clearing knowing that we’d probably get yelled at in the morning. “Who cares, it’s 4th of July weekend,” we justified.
On Saturday when we woke a couple of park hosts yelled at us and mentioned we couldn’t camp where we were camping. No big deal because we found a free camping site up the road and let them know our plan. ha ha. The whole ordeal only cost us about 6 bucks. Oh well, we didn’t care. After a few hours we were off to the climbs…
We’ll have to compose a huge summary of the climbing but in short Maple Canyon is super fun and very different than any other place in the country. We spent two days so far getting used to the climbing but we are already on fire, sending and ticking off tons of climbs. My finger is feeling good (knock on wood) after ticking 22 routes in two days. Ha ha. I can’t resist. Everyone else has huge numbers of climbs beneath their belts too. Of the 5 of us (humans) we have a nice rotation between who belays and who climbs.
Notable sends to date are Marcus ticking off his second 5.11 at the Pipeline and Paul’s send of this 5.12c also at the Pipeline (sorry, no names on these yet…I guess they’ve been recently bolted). Notable whips to date is Tammy’s air on the Lost Letter (5.11b) at the Maple Corridor….during which she ripped a gaping hole in the ass of her pants….ha!
Today is a rest day. We’re in Salt Lake right now – getting our coffee fix at Starbucks. We’re planning on heading up to see the ski slopes and checking out some of the surrounding canyons. Then tomorrow – back to business. Awwwe yeah.
posted by pjv
This year’s 4th of July adventure takes us to Maple Canyon, Utah. We leave tonight…actually, in about 5 minutes. We’re waiting for our friend Marcus to finish his thesis and hand it in so we can drive by the University of Arizona with our hatchback open and he can jump in. We plan on driving to Flagstaff tonight and finding a place to camp. Then tomorrow is “tourist day” before the climbing madness begins. We’re hoping to swing by Zion without melting like popsicles for a quick peek. I’ve never been to Utah. Neither has Morgie. Wooo!
Myself, Paul, Marcus, Tammy, Vince and the two pups: We’re psyched!
See you at Maple…..
posted by arr