Friday, October 9, 2009

So...what the hell is in Utah anyway?!

After our foray into the Winds, we packed up the car in deteriorating conditions and cold and wet we made the drive out into Pinedale. We had wanted to spend some time climbing in Idaho but the weather system that was poised to hammer Wyoming was still active to the west in Idaho. The only reliable option to beat the cold and snow was to head down into Utah.

As many of you know, Stefanie and I have been batting around the idea of moving to Utah. The first question from anyone who doesn't climb is invariably something along the lines of:'Why would you want to move there? What is there anyhow?'

Having been able to only answer this questions with vague responses up till this point, we decided to do a bit more research for ourselves. Sadly my car, which had been acting up of recently, worsened to the point that we had little choice but to get off the road for a couple of days and get it fixed. This we were able to do (relatively painlessly) thanks to Alex and Kenia whose kind efforts and contributions enabled us to stay for a few nights at a couple very nice hotels in Provo.

Once we came to terms with the fact that car repairs were inevitable we resigned ourselves to enjoy a short vacation from our vacation...while checking out the city of Provo during our down time.

Knowing the skepticism of most and the inability of rhetoric to explain the appeal of a location, I shot a bit of horrible quality cell phone video of the town square/library in Provo in hopes that it will show even a small fraction of what so favorably impressed us over the span of just two days. To be fair, the night we came into Provo, I had nothing good to say about anyone or anything because I was PISSED about the car breaking down on us. This city managed to brighten my outlook-- and that is saying something since I would rather gouge out my own eyeballs than spend time in most cities.

The mountains are so beautiful and immediate, just outside of town and the lush parks and forests belie the desert climate of southern Utah which is more widely known. Provo 2010. See ya there!

Moving right along, the car was fixed after a day and a half in the shop ( I would like to give a hearty shout out to The Car Doctors of Provo who worked tirelessly to help a couple of vagabonds, priced their labor VERY fairly and were just downright nice folks to boot. Thanks Lori, Nate, Mike and Nick. And the battery guys. ) and we were trying to get back into the climbing game.

There is more rock in Utah than you can shake a stick at and one of the biggest challenges is deciding where to go to climb. Fortunately, our decisions were simplified by the fact that I forgot my Utah climbing guidebook, so we were limited to very obvious locales and a few places I found online.

Price Canyon, a half hour or so outside of Spanish Fork- decent bouldering but not enough so to get out and hike to freezing temperatures. But the sunrise was pretty rewarding.

From Price we headed out into the central desert area near the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry- the largest working quarry which has produced the most Allosaur skeletons since its startup. This land forgotten by time is known as Triassic to climbers and is home to some pretty decent bouldering. Beyond the actual climbing is the appeal of the ambiance-- you can feel the age of the area as you step out of the car and walk around. It feels properly ancient, not simply old.

The way to Triassic winds through salt flats and sage; the benchmarks of desolation.

Alien cattle mutilations

The view from Triassic- an incoming storm

The sandstone formations are pretty wild


We found some petroglyphs on the rocks that are said to be from around 6000BC. Who the hell really knows. But it's still pretty hard to stand in front of that and not think hard about the transience of our existence.

Moon over Triassic

After a couple days at Triassic, we headed out to explore central Utah and then to go to Joe's Valley a mind-blowing bouldering venue. Lots of nice weather.

We went up into Huntington Canyon which had more potential for hunting and fishing than climbing, but it was still beautiful.

The higher elevation contributed to colder temperatures than would have been ideal- but we managed to send a couple V1s at Joes Valley. These next few pictures were taken as the wind whipped up snow squalls. I couldn't bear to get skunked at Joes so we took the express route (roadside bouldering). Joes is AWESOME if you like bouldering. MIND BLOWING...totally worth moving out to Utah for.

And finally we were forced out by the weather...

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