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St. George and Vegas Areas - Ben Spannuth

St. George and Vegas Areas - Ben Spannuth
St. George and Vegas Areas - Ben Spannuth
St. George and Vegas Areas - Ben Spannuth
February 11, 2012 -  Ben    

The last couple weeks I've been bouncing around some St. George and Vegas areas with numerous climbing partners.  I've never gone on a climbing trip alone before and usually have much more specific goals but I basically haven't had any idea where or with who I'd be climbing recently until the day before.  It's turned out amazing since there are tons of people psyched on getting out and everyday my skin could handle it I've been at the VRG, Cathedral, Moe's, Krafts, Mt. Potosi, or Black Velvet.

Part of the trip will be in a short Five Ten video by 3 Strings Media soon so I won't write about those events but a few other recent days that won't be in the video are several volume days at the Kraft's, a really fun day in Black Velvet with Paul Nadler, watching Alex Johnson hike Lethal Design (V12), and a surprise send of Golden Direct (14c).

Lethal Design
The majority of my climbing days recently have been spent in the Kraft wash.  With a fun crew, I've mostly been focused on doing as many moderates and classics as possible.  I'll save the spray but these days have been going very well in terms of trying to flash boulders and build some confidence on harder moves...and getting made fun of when I try to do them like a route climber and flail.

One day while wandering through the Kraft's I walked up to the Americana area to see Alex Johnson starting to climb out of a hole at the base of a huge boulder.  It looked like she was warming up but I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple photos as she walked a long crimpy line.  After a scary top out, I asked what she had just climbed and made look like V4...Lethal Design (V12).

Here's a short video of a flash attempt I gave after Alex gave me the rundown.


Golden Direct
Further North, after doing Golden (14b) I stuck around the Cathedral for an extra day to belay the local strong man Todd Perkins on a sick new route in the Cathedral that he's been getting ridiculously close on.  I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to get back on because I had sampled a new project (14c ish), the Incredible Huck (14a/b), Golden Direct (14d?), and Slaughter House 5 (14c).  After warming up, I went up the undone project again to try to figure out a way to go straight up near the end instead of exiting left but ended up taking the easier escape route at the last bolt...not so psyched.  The Incredible Huck has an amazing compression start but very manufactured finish and Slaughter House seemed like a one mover so next up was Golden Direct.

I got on the "direct" bottom section for the second time to make sure I knew the moves and my hands started to freeze so I just took in the bottom crux and locked in my sequence.  The direct adds a long horizontal move to a jug, after a 5.11 intro, that is followed by a few lock offs on crimps into where it enters Golden at a decent rest.  In short they have the same top half, which is the meat of the route, but the direct avoids a no hands rest and more sustained bottom section in exchange for a delayed but bouldery start.

After a long rest and good burn by Todd on his project I ran down the hill, did a bunch of jumping jacks, and tried to warm my hands on some jugs at the base of the wall.  I like climbing in the cold but it's freezing inside the North facing cave and my hands are almost certainly going to go numb on the sustained sections of the climb.  Deciding to give it a shot anyway, I stop throughout the intro to warm both hands on my neck.  After getting through the bottom crux I chill at the a decent rest that's part of the original Golden and hang out for a very long time trying to feel my hands.  Once they warm up I take off into the sustained (with some manufactured help) sidepull/ drop knee section of the route and feeling pretty confident skip every other bolt to save some energy.  Soon I'm at the large undercling rest before a fantastic section of rock that's the redpoint crux.

From this rest, I do something increasingly common in my successful redpoint attempts; completely put out of my mind that I'm coming from the ground and act like I just need to do the next small section of the route.  In this case starting at the rest and punching through the next five moves to a good ledge.  A sick upside down drop knee and a couple mini tufas later I'm resting on the final break and confidently move through the last couple long moves to the chains.

Stay tuned for some Golden footage.

After heading back to Vegas from St. George I went out to Mt. Potosi and climbed on Francois Legrand's unrepeated Bachelor's Party (9a) to find it's about 95% manufactured, or more...yay

I'm very excited for some big climbing and video plans the next 2-3 months so I'm heading back to Boulder to train for a couple weeks before taking off on two very sick trips.


Photo credit: Ben Spannuth

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