Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Indian Creek, Utah - Crack climbers delight

Adventure Report: This comes from Backcountry.com customer and Horde Team member Sarah Geneser who recently became addicted to crack...climbing that is.

Crack climbers are a different breed. They shove and twist various body parts into spaces between rock, and hang their weight off the bones mashed into these gaps. To most people, this does not sound like a fantastic pastime in the slightest.

Being primarily a sport climber and boulderer, my first experience in Indian Creek, Utah was beyond frustrating. I tried to layback EVERYTHING. Even when presented with a splitter fingers crack, I desperately tried to ratchet myself upward lay backing. Believe me, it was embarrassing. But I just couldn't figure out this mystical magical "jamming" thing. Sure, I experimented with jambs and stacks and finger locks and whatever anyone on the ground would yell upward at me about, but none of it felt secure at all.

This past weekend, I revisited IC, somewhat begrudgingly. I fully expected two swear-word filled days, but eventually gave in to peer pressure and joined my friends in the five hour drive down to "The Creek". After a somewhat sporty and easy warm up, I resolved to make peace with jamming, and actually give it a try. Not the half hearted "This is totally impossible, but okay... whatever" go I had made of it before, but to really take the time and *think* about what I was doing. I decided that, being a beginner, I shouldn't expect so much, nor get so frustrated. I concentrated on my feet, being sure to have solid jambs to support me before trying to pull my way upward with my arms. To my amazement, I actually began to make upward progress on climbs that would have been absolutely impossible during my previous trip.

I found myself enjoying the challenge. I learned to balance in completely different ways than I was accustomed to. And yes, I experienced a significantly greater amount of discomfort than I did while bouldering, jug-hauling, or even crimping but my sense of accomplishment was also greater. Not only is the climbing there excellent (which is apparent even to a crack noobie like me), but the surroundings are just gorgeous. Sandstone buttresses rise from the stark and isolated desert floor, snaking along into the distance. If you've turned down chances to go to Indian Creek for fear of the pain involved, you are truly missing out. Indeed, despite a pair of oozing nasty scabs that haven't yet healed, I am antsy to return.



Blogger Angel Images said...

I would like to do a story on this place and crack climbers. Is anyone going back anytime in the future?

7/14/2006 1:44 PM

Blogger backcountry freak said...

The woman who wrote this piece may be going back there when the temps cool down a bit. E-mail me and I can give you her contacts or those of an employee of ours who climbs in Indian Creek somewhat often

kcard AT backcountry DOT com

7/14/2006 2:27 PM


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