Last weekend we packed up my car with pads, cookware, and a crew of 3 hooligans with the destination set to Orangeville, Utah. The car ride was torturous as we spent most of the time gazing at the guidebook and discussing which climbs we wanted to attempt. After what seemed like forever, we pulled in to the "famous" Food Rance to pick up a few odds and ends.
An Old Favorite Becomes a New Gem - Kegan Minock
Joe's has been my favorite destination since I first ventured out there 2 years ago. Since then, I have returned to the amazing black and orange sandstone every 3 months. Spending so much time out there, I had the opportunity of seeing and trying a good majority of all the problems that Isaac Caldiero's guidebook lists. Before this past weekend, my last trip was during June. Anyone who is familiar with the area knows that that was my first mistake. During that trip, temperatures were in the 80s everyday and quite frankly, it was miserable. I felt as though I had sent everything that was in my ability and those climbs that I deem as beyond my ability, were WAY beyond me. I felt like there was nothing for me to work on. It was during that trip that i decided that i wouldn't return to Joe's for a few years so i could get stronger. And then I met Griffin Whiteside. Griff has been part of the development crew that has been cleaning and documenting some of the most amazing climbs at Joe's. after researching all of his work out there, I was once again drawn to the beautiful rock Joe's has to offer.
With a rather ambitious to-do list, I was excited to try all the new rigs That I had read about on Griff's blog. We woke up pretty early to get a head start due to the sun setting earlier in the day. Our first day was spent in the right fork. Warming up on some of the classics, I could feel that it was going to be a good day. Now it was time to search for the infamous Smile Boulder that I had seen countless videos on. After a good amount of hiking around ( something that you don't often do at Joe's) we were at the boulder. The climbs that reside on this boulder are all harder lines but some of the best rock I have experienced there. The far right line, Boots With The Fur (v10), starts with a hard blind throw over a bulge to a decent crimper. From there, a good left hand pinch and what better way to shoot to the top of the boulder than with a pogo? I was excited to have completed this line (pictured). The center route called BMOS (v10), was a little more challenging. I worked on this line for a little while and decided that it wasn't int he cards for the day. (Also pictured). The left line on the boulder dubbed Apple Bottom Jeans(v11), was really good. A hard line that leads to the crux of topping out, I felt good on this one. My flash attempt was as good as every other attempt that I would have put into it that day. I got to the top of the climb and for the life of me, I could not top it out. I'm really excited to return to send that thing!
The second day was equally rewarding. Again, after warming up on some classics, I decided to try a line that had completely shut me down on my first trip to the valley. Fingerhut (v10) was Joe's first 10 and was established by Boone Speed. During my first trip out there, I tried Fingerhut and was unable to even pull off of the ground. This time was much different. Not only was I able to get off of the ground, but I was able to put the line together in almost no time at all. It was a good feeling to be able to conquer something that had gotten the best of me a few years ago. Later that day, we found Steven Jeffery's Cobra Khan (v4). I say found because it is a very difficult boulder to see from the road and there seemed to be carins on the faint trip that lead you all over the place. CK climbs up an amazing water tufa with incut edges in a roof for roughly 15 feet. It is a boulder that I think will be a true classic for the area. It climbs so well and it such an aesthetic line that I think anyone who can climb the grade MUST do it.
The last day was a short one. we woke up, packed up the camp site, and headed out the New Joe's for a few hours before we had to leave. I managed to flash Chips (v7), send Big Boy (v7), and for the first time, not intimidated to try the famous Black Lung (v13). Black Lung is HARD, as you can imagine a 13 would be. I was not able to do the first move but I could touch the hold. That's good enough for me right now.
The drive home took forever too! It was a weekend that should have lasted longer. Perfect weather, amazing rock, and some of the best friends I could ask for was difficult to leave behind. Overall, the trip did its job, it reminded all of us why we love to climb and refueled our psych to return in a few months to finish up some projects. Jose's better watch out, spring break is right around the corner.