Matt and Joanne’s Page

April 7, 2008

Indian Creek (part 1)

Filed under: Climbing, Roadtrip — Matt Stamplis @ 11:32 am

So we’ve finished our first few days of climbing in Indian Creek and we’ve discovered why it’s such a popular destination for climbers. Besides the free camping and relaxed atmosphere, the climbs are spectacular with cracks of all sizes to test yourself on. On most of the popular routes, the gear tends to be idiot-proof – just plug your cams in and climb. It definitely feels a bit like sport climbing and is a great place to really push yourself on lead.

The only real drawbacks are the crowds at Supercrack Buttress: on busy days it’s a circus show with dogs running everywhere and groups of 5 or 6 people toproping all the popular lines. But if that’s not your thing, just go to any other wall (and there’s a lot of them) and you’ll probably get on everything you want to climb. Oh, and there’s not a whole lot of sub 5.10 routes. There’s a few good ones, but plan on suffering a bit if you come to Indian Creek without being solid at 10s.

You also hear a lot how some of the routes require an absurd amount of cams to climb and while that’s partially true, you can climb quite a few routes with a lighter rack (light being relative = 3 sets of cams). Just look for the routes that change size. Or just hang around Supercrack Buttress and try to borrow some or get on a toprope. (I borrowed 5 #3 camelots in order to do Supercrack – it would have been terrifying with only 2!)

Here’s some of our favorite routes here (although almost any route here would be a classic at any other crag): Generic Crack 5.10-, Incredible Handcrack 5.10, Supercrack 5.10, The Wave 5.10+, The Cave Route 5.10+, Black Uhuru 5.10+, Our Piece of the Real Estate 5.11-, Scarface 5.11-, Pente 5.11-. Phew, and that’s after just 4 days of climbing.

Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock, 100 feet off the road on the drive into Indian Creek. This is one of the most impressive rock art panels we’ve seen on our trip so far!

That’s a Supercrack! Here’s Matt starting to get into the “business” of this classic. From this point on it’s mostly blue camelots (cupped hands for Matt, some arm-swallowing size for Joanne) for 70 feet or so. My feet were pretty sore after jamming them in the crack for so long.

The Cave Route (10+). This is one of the most unique routes we’ve ever climbed. It climbs inside this cave with a sandy floor that makes for a great place to hang out when it gets hot. You don’t realize how long it is until you’re starting to get tired halfway. Bring lots of #1 camelots!

Joanne powering up through the crux on Railroad Tracks (5.10-). This is a good short route for those who might be “gear-challenged” or “cam-deficient”.

Pente (11-). This route just keeps going and going…160 feet of fun! It’s eats up 1-2 camelots (bring 4 of each or more!) but make sure to bring some 0.75/0.5s for the top and maybe 1 or 2 bigger pieces (a #4 works well in one of the “pods”).

And in case you forgot what route you were climbing…a few of the classic routes have these plaques at their base – an Indian Creek tradition.

Here’s our camping spot – pretty scenic, eh? This is the only outhouse in the whole canyon so we found it convenient to park right next to it.

Sunrise on the Bridger Jack Mesa, one of the more distinct formations in the area.

Click here for part 2 of Indian Creek

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