Sport climbing and projecting hard routes is my passion. Yet after 2 and a bit months on the road, I was feeling a little burnt out. The difficult, strenuous climbing in Rifle was taking it's toll, and my motivation began to take a dip. I wasn't psyched on projecting, and I felt exhausted after doing only a few pitches a day. My partner, Tom, and I decided a quick side trip and a change of pace was necessary. With some incredible desert towers standing only a few hours away from Rifle, we hopped in the car and headed to Castle Valley, UT.
Jah Man, a 5 pitch 5.10c route sits on the West face of Sister Superior. I remember reading about it in Rock & Ice quite a while ago thinking to myself: (A) What a sick name for a route; and (B) That is the most beautiful looking rock I have ever seen.
Arriving in Utah, Tom and I instantly felt the oppressive desert heat. Desert tower climbing in June is definitely not in season! However, we had foreseen this, and chose Jah Man because it was bad ass and because it was west facing. If we woke up early, we would be off the route before the sun hit it and turned us into a poof of smoke.
At 4:30am the next morning, we woke up, and after fueling ourselves on coffee and oatmeal, we arrived at the trail head for 5:30am. The hike to Sister Superior is gorgeous and grueling. We did it in about 1h40min, and despite it being dawn, the air was warm and I was sweating! After regrouping at the base, we were on the rock by 7:30am. The temps were perfect! I sent Tom up the chimney pitch, as chimney's are my kryptonite. They hate me and I hate them. However, following Tom up the chimney, I found it was probably the most enjoyable chimney you could get. Sweet!
Each pitch was unique, fun, and safe. Nothing felt too hard, and the rock was perfect. There was even a little boulder problem to guard to top of the route. Very fun!
We stopped on the top for a while, enjoying the sun, the scenery, and the silence. What a beautiful and therapeutic route it was.
We ended up back at the car at 12pm. After a perfect morning of climbing, a siesta, and an evening of relaxation up in the La Sal Mountains ensued.
We arrived back in Rifle a few days later, relaxed, rested and ready to crush! Check out my blog here for a full update: http://vikkiweldon.com/climbing/mastering-the-rifle-trifecta/