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Week 2: Moab, Simple Desert Livin’

Video: The Peaks For Peace crew makes a stop in the desert to warm there bones and climb Ancient Art, Wall Street, and Ice Cream Parlor.

Turns out Yankee Boy Basin is a frigid place, therefore we had to get to the desert for a warm up immediately – one day we were in sub-zero temperatures and the next we were headed for sun-baked sandstone in Moab. Problem solved.

We left you with our last update at one of the most beautiful sunsets ever witnessed by mortal men in a Nissan Exterra. They went on to arrive in Moab just after midnight and were lucky enough to find two fellow Summit County-ites willing to share a campsite near the Wall Street climbing area as it was the busiest spring weekend for the thriving desert hamlet of Moab.  A big thank you to Beau and Steph for sharing campsite 6, it was an awesome 3 days to share with you both. You never know who you are going to meet on the road – thank you for your hospitality and good times.

Moab was just the change we needed from where we had been – it offered us a chance to get on some challenging rock, hone our skills, and slow life down desert style. The heat and opportunity to walk barefoot everywhere were welcome reliefs for us who had just spent 100-plus days in ski boots for the winter.

Climbing at Wall Street was the first order of business. It is a rather difficult approach to the climbing area … a walk of 3 feet from your car to your belay station. Most of the stress from the day didn’t come from clinging on rocks high above the ground or placing flimsy looking fall protection that theoretically will catch you, it came from the drivers whizzing by right behind your belayers standing just beside the road below. Though interesting rock and a great place to warm up along the banks of the Colorado River, we quickly decided that the next day we would find somewhere a little more off the beaten path.

After battling through the thriving hamlet of Moab the next day, which had been overrun by classic cars and hot rods, we climbed at the Ice Cream Parlor. This is an area up a remote canyon above an arroyo where we found some fun cracks and names for routes that were deceptive to the name of the area. For example, routes named Good Day to Die, The Possessed, and Knee Grinder didn’t seem too fitting for a place called the Ice Cream Parlor.

Our third day in Moab started at 4:30 to drive out to take on our first multi-pitch climb on Ancient Art. This is one of the top 50 classic American climbs, and it was incredible. We arrived just after sun-up to be the first ones to get on the route – glad we did because not 20 minutes after we finished the approach a group of 8 climbers and guides showed up and had to wait. It’s a popular route and it was a weekend day, belay stations got pretty crowded by the time we were all down. We were stoked to meet our friends Seth and Alicia in the parking lot for the climb, it was fun to start the day with waking Seth up out of his lawn chair bed, really roughing it.

The first two pitches were pretty straightforward 5.7 and 5.8 while the last two pitches are short 5.8’s but have 400 ft. drop offs on all sides. The last pitch up the Stolen Chimney tower was particularly nerve-racking as any fall would result in a fairly large swing out over what might as well have been the great abyss. It was an opportunity to practice experiencing and getting comfortable with “The Fear,” taking a deep breath, and moving forward. Everyone made it up and down safe and sound at the end of the day – great success.

Some wait anxiously for their first multi pitch climb.

Our buddy Seth giving Alicia a solid belay and some good beta.

Burk conquering his shaky legs as he walked the sidewalk and crushed the final moves to the top. Yew!

The desert was an awesome place to be in April. The heat and the change of pace were more than welcome, and we had some fun nights under a full moon in a beautiful setting. Matt was able to snag some spectacular full-moon photographs of the cliffs around our campsite. Moab is definitely a place to go back to again and again and always find something new. We look forward to many happy returns.

We pushed out of Moab with a solid layer of perma-dirt encrusted onto our hands and feet and ready for a big push west to California. We drove across Utah and Nevada until we couldn’t go any further and slept in a random parking lot in random-town Nevada. Andrew woke us up frantically around 5:45am convinced that we were about to be arrested resulting in a mad rush, 2-minute drill to get into the cars and back on the road. We cooked breakfast and brewed coffee in another random parking lot, looked north, turned real subtle-like to the left and pressed onward to the Alabama Hills and Mt. Whitney.

Camping at Wall Street.

A look down the road to where we would be climbing the next morning.

Beautiful full moon out there in the desert equals rad night shots.

Sunshine, Burk, Andrew, Paul, Izzie, Andrea

Photo and Video: Sunshine | Writing: Burk

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