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Zion Route Advice and/or Partners 7/23-7/26
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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 17, 2013
Me

My girlfriend and I will be in Zion area in the middle of a two-month road trip on 7/23-7/26- our first trip to the area (yes, I know it'll be hot, but this is the only time we can make it so we're hoping to just chase the shade and make the best of it). We'll be camping nearby if we can find shade, or else staying in a cheap hotel.

If you're interested in climbing with us, please let me know!

If not, I would love to hear your advice on your favorite can't-miss routes/areas. I've reviewed the SuperTopo guidebook, but it's a bit limited and I'm having a hard time figuring our the best spots for concentrations of high-quality moderates and also shade.

So far I've bookmarked Cowboy Ridge, The Great Beyond, The Gypsy's Curse, The Headache, The Man Eater, Ashtar Command, Cave Crack, Cave Dweller, Mortal Combat, and Mythical Kings & Iguanas, but that's purely based on the guidebook, so I'd love to hear any (positive, constructive) opinions from you locals!

For reference:
- I lead ~5.9/10a trad and follow 10c/d
- I lead 5.10d/11a sport and follow 11b/c
- My girlfriend is just learning to lead over the last year but she's a great climber and fast learner (5.8+ trad/5.10a+ sport)

Cheers and thanks for reading,
-Jason from San Francisco

(forgive me if you see a similar post in other regional sections or a refresh of this post in a few weeks - I am trying to ping locals in each area along our trip!)


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 18, 2013
Andrew Gram

Way too hot. It'll be like climbing on the sun. Go in the spring or fall.


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By Greg G
From SLC, UT
May 18, 2013
The route in it's entirety.

Check out Kolob instead.


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By Chris Horton
From Tucson AZ
May 18, 2013
Awesomeness!

Yer gonna fry!

Look into the Kolob area, it'll be much cooler up there.


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By Sisyphus
From here and there
May 18, 2013
willie

Its gonna be hot but completely doable if you're set on it. Definitely look at Kolob, start early, and hunt shade. The tunnel area is good for shade and pine creek is great for a swim to cool down in the middle of the day.
Have fun.


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By Dow Williams
From Saint George, UT
May 18, 2013
Dow Williams, 2011

Jason, we climb Kung Fu Theater and some routes on Tunnel Wall all year round. Gypsy's Curse, Feast of Snakes , Picking on the Fat Kid, Cornback Rattler, etc are all day shade. Most all of Kung Fu Theater is all day shade. The only issue is that our grades are pretty damn stiff in Zion. My favorite moderates, Kung Fu Fighter , Gypsy's Curse, etc will prob be a bit stout for you two based on the info you provided and we don't have much below those.

I see you posted for City of Rocks, Red Rock and Zion . I recommend that you guys go camp at Elephant Rock and do several routes there...combine that trip with the City which will be damn hot as well that time of year. Above are my City of Rocks, Red Rock and Zion index pages. I have climbed most all routes within your grade range at all three locations. I tell you on the index pages the grade, number of pitches and whether I recommend the route. To evaluate shade vs sun, you do have to click through and scroll down to essential gear on each route. If you know your canyons in Red Rock for example, that will not be necessary.

It is doable, but I would spend as much time further north as possible.

Good Luck and enjoy your trip.


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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 18, 2013
Me

Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far!

Again we would obviously prefer a different time of year, but I've been itching to do Zion for several years and this is the only time of year that's seeming possible for our schedules. So with a choice of July or never, we are trying to make July work.

How would folks characterize the climbing at Kolob relative to Zion? I've never heard of the former...

Dow: thanks for your thoughts - I am checking out your pages now. We are already familiar with City of Rocks in the summer from last year so I think we'll be fine due to plenty of shade aspects.

Keep the great comments coming everyone!


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By Calvino
From Madison, WI
May 19, 2013
getting ready for the final roof series

That's prime canyon season. Grab your old climbing or static rope and do a trip through pine creek or the subway. The way to have fun in the heat is to spend time in the water.

When you climb, drink LOTS if water. If you are going to be in the sun wear long layers, wear sunblock and cover your head. There are resources about what to climb, and when, here on mp.

With your plan to go to all these places and climb it all, just don't forget to take your time. It would be a shame to miss having an intimate experience with Zion because of a schedule. I think it is great to daydream and plan big, but there are also days when you (or your lady) will feel like shit and climbing is not going to help.

Some suggestions I have't seen yet: hang out by the virgin river all day, go hike to the base of the watchman early in the morning, check out hidden canyon. There is something special about being in the canyon but it takes time. Try spending a day or two getting your aid climbing figured out in the shade at cragmont. Then fire touchstone or one of the other classic walls. The multi-pitch climbing in red rock can teach you things that will help you in zion. The crack climbing skills from zion will help you on index granite. etc. Don't hurry through each place and miss the opportunity to learn something.


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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 19, 2013
Me

Thanks Calvin! I hadn't considered the canyons as we don't have any canyoneering experience, but looks pretty cool!

I hear you on the water - we are always very diligent about that.

I was indeed hoping that our several previous trips to Red Rocks would translate somewhat to the sandstone in Zion, so that's good to hear.

Also hear you on the "take your time" mantra. While on one hand I can see the benefits of staying in one place for a few weeks, on the other hand for us these summer trips have been equally about the journey (including the traveling and the camping) as the climbing destinations themselves. Prior to our trip last year, I thought we might burn out doing only 4-5 days in each place, but in reality we ended up loving it and were good at finding a rest day when we needed it. Plus I loved getting familiarized with the layouts of many different places and a taste for so many different styles of climbing.

In any case, all points well taken and we're definitely going to continue our research!


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By Dow Williams
From Saint George, UT
May 19, 2013
Dow Williams, 2011

Jason, climbing Red Rock does not translate to climbing in Zion. Not sure who told you that. But Red Rock sandstone is butted up against limestone and is heavily varnished. Thus there are many face climbs at Red Rock. Zion sandstone, not unlike Moab, is mostly crack related. Via the free climbing, we don't rely on many face holds. You will also find the grading to be completely different. Zion routes are much more sustained and difficult for the same grade. Only decent multi-pitch I have ever done in Kolob is Sunrise Buttress, Charlie Fowler's contribution to “Fifty Favorite Climbs in North America”. A stout 5.11. You can climb a couple of well shaded single pitchs back in Kolob, the better known of which is Namaste, a unique juggy but overhanging 5.12.


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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 19, 2013
Me

Got it, I think I misinterpreted Calvin's earlier comment on Red Rocks vs. Zion.

Don't think we can manage any 5.11/5.12, but thanks for the comments anyway!

Lots to think about here... I am now thinking perhaps we'll keep an eye on the weather with a strong eye towards Kolob as a Plan B (especially we're unable to make a go after a first day of the Tunnel Wall routes).


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By Shiho
May 20, 2013

I am not trying to be a buzz killer, but I believe that some of the routes that you listed are closed for birds. Cowboy Ridge and the tunnel wall are closed for sure. Here is the complete list -->www.nps.gov/zion/parknews/2013-climbing-closures.htm

I think Iron Messiah is east facing and may be doable in July later in a day?? Led by sheep is a fun little climb, too, though it's not a typical Zion climb.

Take back the rainbow is west-facing and may be ok to do early in the morning, too. I didn't think it was good climbing, but the summit was pretty cool.


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By Jason Albino
From San Francisco, CA
May 20, 2013
Me

Thanks Shiho! Definitely not a buzzkill to know about bird closures. We certainly respect those and it's great to know about them sooner than later.

I'll check out the others you recommended that were not already mentioned in the thread.


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By Dow Williams
From Saint George, UT
May 20, 2013
Dow Williams, 2011

Most all fledglings, except in rare cases, have taken off by late July and there typically are zero bird closures in St. George or Zion that late in the season. Should be a non factor.


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