WCN Vantage, April 16-17 2011

2011 April 22

I took off from the WAC class Spire field trip on Saturday afternoon to join an already in progress WCN trip to Vantage (most of them were there Friday through Sunday). Since I was joining a 3 day trip on the last day I figured it would be more of a camping and social trip than a climbing trip for me. Saturday night was definitely full value car camping — 30 mph winds were blowing tumbleweeds, paper bags, stoves, and tent groundsheets all over the place so Heather invited all 7 of us into the back of her truck for cooking and dinner. I threw in a package of chorizo and a spork and ended up eating chorizo spaghetti with my nut tool accompanied by a nice Malbec. Miraculous! For some reason I really like camping in wind and building rock wall nests. The Vantage “campground” does not offer many amenities but it does contain lots of shattered basalt for building things. So, awesome camping with awesome people (and one awesome puppy), check!

Dakota vs. the Pink Flamingo

Dakota vs. the Pink Flamingo

Sunday came up with pretty much perfect weather, clear sky, warm sun, no more wind. Some of the group started the morning at the Feathers. I am kind of on an anti-Feathers kick (especially when there are more people up there than routes), so Julia, Ingrid, and I waited at the campsite and played with Dakota the dog. I repeated my mantra for the weekend, “this is a social trip, not a climbing trip”, threw some desiccated tennis balls and a chewed up foam frisbee for Dakota and ran between the campsite and the Feathers a few times (I am not bugging you to go climbing, I am playing with the dog!). Eventually things organized themselves enough for a leisurely noon start to a leisurely climbing day, and Julia, Ingrid, and I set off over the mesa with Michelle and Clare joining us later. The plan was to walk along the Sunshine Wall until there was something open that we wanted to do. As Julia predicted there was nobody on Steel Grill. Not sure why, maybe there is too much crack climbing for the sport climbers and too many jugs for the crack purists. Sometimes I like things as complicated as possible and this is about as complicated as it gets for 5.9 single pitch cragging. Anyway, this section of Sunshine Wall has a good selection of routes that I like.

Dakota at the Sunshine Wall

Dakota at the Sunshine Wall

It was a fun, relaxed trip. I know it’s the beginning of the season for most people but I have been climbing since January (even though apparently it’s been the coldest spring ever), so I am feeling a little antsy for a less relaxed trip…

  • Sunshine Wall, Steel Grill, 5.9 trad (lead) one of my favorites. Maybe my favorite 5.9 anywhere.
  • Sunshine Wall, Bob’s Your Uncle, 5.11a trad (lead, TR) I’ve TR’d this several times, I don’t think I’ve led this before. Kind of feels like cheating, it’s a one move wonder and the one move isn’t that hard with small fingers. I still almost messed it up with my typical stalling and placing too much gear.
  • Sunshine Wall, Hakuna Matata, 5.10b sport (lead) I have been doing lots of trad over the winter season, need to remember how to sport climb. Expected to fall once or twice because I am not that good at the bolted aretes, but not this time.
3 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 April 25
    Julie permalink

    I like your TR! I’ve never tried eating with a nut tool :-) I just got back from Vantage myself (it was a bit less windy than it was for you). I’ve never done any trad there, only sport. Any suggestions for easy trad routes there?
    Julie

  2. 2011 April 29
    Sailor permalink

    Glad to hear that you had a fun filled yet adventures day. The first picture cracked me up and reminded me of our dog.

  3. 2011 May 5
    Laurel permalink

    Thanks! Julie, what exactly do you mean by “easy”? When people say “easy” they mean anything from 5.3 to 5.10 :) . The easiest trad routes are Stroken the Chicken (5.6), Shady Chimney (5.7) and Seven Virgins and a Mule (5.7). For Seven Virgins you need to build your own anchor and belay your second up, which might make it less “easy”. I don’t remember the anchor situation for Stroken the Chicken and Shady, but I think you also have to build your own. Also all three of these are chimneys (protectable with gear in smaller cracks).

    There is something 5.6/7-ish at the Tilted Pillars also, starting practically in the Gully #2, and going to chain anchors near a large boulder. I was not so impressed with this route, seemed like loose less-than-vertical wandering (but if you’re into that sort of thing).

    If you consider 5.8 “easy”, both Crossing the Threshold and Party in Your Pants are good (and end at chain anchors). I think they are much better than the chimneys I mentioned above. If you’re up for 5.9, my favorites (and everyone else’s favorites, this is Vantage…) are Steel Grill, George and Martha, Tangled Up in Blue, Air Guitar, Pony Keg (some of those are listed as 10a in the book, but I can’t tell much of a difference).

    I think Tieton is actually better than Vantage for easy trad, there’s a higher concentration of 5.8-and-under at the Royal Columns…

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