(LIST OF CLIMBS + 1 "TRIP REPORT")
 
2018
 
Category: Utah
Rock Type: Wingate Sandstone
Elev: ~5800 ft

INDIAN CREEK Climbing


Indian Creek arguably has the largest concentration of splitter crack climbing in the world. Cracks of all sizes split the towering red sandstone walls everywhere you look. A crack-climber's paradise.

"They said to bring 6 #1's, so I brought 1 #6...."

The first time I climbed in Indian Creek was in September 2018, on an impulsive detour on a drive from Montana to Washington, when I got a text from a friend looking for a partner for a weekend in the Creek. 17 extra hours of driving for 2 days of climbing? It was a no brainer.

I imagine I will return to the Creek several times over the years (especially if I move to Boulder as planned), so I just keep a list of the climbs I've done there (on this page). Below the list, I've also included my original trip report from first trip to the Creek.



ON THIS PAGE:

LINK
List of climbs I've done at Indian Creek
2018 trip report (1st trip to the Creek: A weekend at Indian Creek — 12 routes)
SEPT
14-16
2018




List of climbs I've done at Indian Creek

(Alphabetical order)
CLIMB DIFFICULTY AREA
Color coded:
   =Donnelly Canyon
   =Reservoir Wall
   =Supercrack Buttress
DATE CLIMBED
Color-coded: Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter
Bad-Rad Duality 5.10+, 110' Supercrack Buttress Sept 14, 2018
Binou's Crack 5.9, 50' Donnelly Canyon Sept 16, 2018
Chocolate Corner 5.9, 60' Donnelly Canyon Sept 16, 2018
Coyne Crack 5.11+, 70' Supercrack Buttress Sept 14, 2018
Elephant Man Pitch 1 5.10, 70' Donnelly Canyon Sept 16, 2018
Generic Crack 5.10-, 120' Donnelly Canyon Sept 16, 2018
Incredible Hand Crack, The 5.10, 100' Supercrack Buttress Sept 14, 2018
Overlook 5.10/5.11, 110/80', 2p Reservoir Wall Sept 15, 2018
Pente 5.11-, 160' Reservoir Wall Sept 15, 2018
Supercrack 5.10, 100' Supercrack Buttress Sept 14, 2018
Warm-up Handcrack 5.10, 105' Reservoir Wall Sept 15, 2018
Wave, The 5.10+, 100' Supercrack Buttress Sept 14, 2018



September 2018 Trip Report to Indian Creek
A weekend at Indian Creek — 12 routes

Date: Sept 14-16, 2018
Trip Report #: 321  
Partner: Alex Haeger

 
<-- Map of summer 2018
     climbing 
roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)

Intro

I was headed back to Washington from a 2-week climbing trip in Montana. Google maps said 12 hours drive from Bozeman to Bellingham. I was just about to start the drive when I got a text from my friend Alex from Boulder: "Headed to the Creek for the weekend, looking for a partner, any chance you are in the area?" I checked Google maps: 29 hours drive from Bozeman to Bellingham via Indian Creek. Hmm....17 additional hours of driving for 2 days of climbing in Indian Creek? It was a no brainer.

Alex and I climbed 12 routes over the course of 2.3 days (we climbed full days Friday and Saturday, and squeezed in a few hours on Sunday morning before Alex left to drive back to Boulder). All but one of the routes we climbed are listed in the "The Best Of" list at the end of the guidebook. Daily high temperatures reached the high 80's, but we woke up early and targeted shady routes, and it was actually quite pleasant. The following gives photos from the routes we climbed.

Climbs / Photos

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
 
 Supercrack Buttress
(5 routes — Sept 14)
 
Area photos
Random photos from the day...
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1. The empty parking lot below Supercrack Buttress. We had the entire Supercrack Buttress to ourselves this day! This place will be swarming in a few weeks.
2. Penny (Alex's dog) enjoying the view.
3. Looking north up 211.
4. Penny taking a nap on a sandstone pillow.

Climb 
1
Sept 14
The Incredible Hand Crack (5.10, 100'), Supercrack Buttress
Lead: Steph  (+toprope lap)          Size: hands
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1. Our first climb of the trip—looks pretty incredible!
2. Starting up the corner.
3. Looking down the corner.
4. Cam lobe scars etched into the soft sandstone. These scars occurred right before the crux roof section, so they are probably from falls jamming the cam lobes into the rock. There a couple of deep ones from some pretty big whippers (or very heavy climbers)!

Climb
2
Sept 14
The Wave (5.10+, 100'), Supercrack Buttress
Lead: Alex          Size: varied corner
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1. Sign at the base of the route. Not uncommon in the Creek.
2. Alex starting up the pitch.
3. You can see how the route got its name.
Climb
3
Sept 14
Coyne Crack (5.11+, 70'), Supercrack Buttress
Lead: Steph  (+toprope lap)          Size: thin hands
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1. Looking up Coyne Crack. Funny story: We thought this was Supercrack (5.10) (it looked like a pretty super crack after all). So I racked up with the recommended rack (for Supercrack)—heavy on wide hands pieces. A couple of moves into the route, it seemed kind of hard off-fingers, so I stepped back down to get an #0.5 cam ("must be a typo in the rack description"). I started back up. A couple of moves higher than I had gotten the first time, I clued in that there was a 20-foot section of super thin hands above me; I lowered back down to collect a handful of #0.75 cams ("hmmm, these Creek climbers must be hard core to climb that entire stretch with only one #0.75"). Once through the #0.75 terrain I was now looking at a long stretch of #1-sized terrain and no wide-hands in sight ("okay, now this is getting silly"); I stopped and lowered a bite of rope to get a handful of #1 cams. "Are we sure this is Supercrack?" I yelled down to Alex. "Seems kinda hard too." At that very moment, Alex spotted a rock lying at the based of the crack, etched into it the words  "oyne Crack" (the "C" had broken off). Coyne Crack is a 5.11+. Ha! (I bet we were not the first to make this mistake.) At this point I was committed and the climbing was excellent anyway, so I barreled on up, with more than a few shameless C1 moves along the way. Oh well, in the end It made for a funny story and we also seized the opportunity to do a couple of toprope laps on this 5.11+ classic, which we probably wouldn't hav attempted if we had known what route it was.
2. Looking down from the anchor. The crack becomes more featured (and easier and quite fun) near the top.
3. Sign at base of route. The "C" has broken off but this is clearly not Supercrack!
Climb
4
Sept 14
Supercrack (5.10, 100'), Supercrack Buttress
Lead: Alex  (+toprope lap)          Size: wide hands
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1. This is Supercrack.
2. The first half is an awesome hand-sized splitter.
3. The second half up the varnished face is a wide-hands spitter.
4. Shadow fun while lowering down the wide-hands splitter.


Climb
5
Sept 15
Bad-Rad Duality (5.10+, 110'), Supercrack Buttress
Lead: Steph  (+toprope lap)          Size: varied corner
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1. The Bad-Rad Duality corner. 
2. Looking down the corner. Reminded me of Sierra-style corner climbing with lots of stemming moves.
3. Another view down the corner. The sun hit the route as we were toproping it.
4. The anchor at the top.
 
 Reservoir Wall
(3 routes — Sept 15)
 
Area photos
Random photos from the day...
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1. Sunrise light on North and South Six Shooters. There are a couple of good 5.11 routes on North Six Shooter I'd love to climb someday.
2. Approaching Reservoir Wall. Photo by Alex.
3. Silhouette on the hike up to the base of Reservoir Wall.
4. Hiking around the base on the way to Warm-up Handcrack at the far end of the wall.
5. Some cool rocks along the way. (My go-to geologist consult Doug McKeever says: "This is a fine-grained sandstone with the little ridges being mudcracks from desiccation of surface standing water in the original environment of deposition. As the next layer of sediment was deposited it fills the cracks. But wait, these "filled cracks"are little ridges (positive features). Mudcracks are negative features! The " inversion" is because we are looking at the bottom of  the layer. The view in the picture is "upside down."  Oh yeah...the white stuff is most likely a thin layer of salt, probably halite, deposited by evaporation of surface water. Also, there are raindrop impressions! They are the small round spots particularly noticeable on the left-side area of the surface. They are frequently found with mudcracks. Those two along with salt imply an original hot arid environment with drought interrupted by periods of rain. You could have an hour's class on this one rock sample!")
6. Some cool rocks along the way. (Doug says: "This sure appears to be volcanic breccia, which seems odd in Indian Creek, but there are extinct volcanoes in the region. It undoubtedly originated in the igneous Abajo Mountains just to the south( and upstream).")
7. Morning light on the Indian Creek area below.
8. Afternoon light and shadow. The desert is the definition of "vast".
9. Just another version of the afternoon light and shadow sequence.
10. This offwidth splitter system looks unique and fun to climb (we didn't climb it, but I will have to climb it someday).
11. Penny entertained herself by building a cairn while we were climbing.
12. Hiking out after a good day of climin'!

13. A view back of Reservoir Wall.
Climb
6
Sept 15
Warm-Up Handcrack (5.10, 105'), Reservoir Wall
Lead: Alex  (+toprope lap)          Size: hands
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1. This climb is compared to The Incredible Hand Crack. Indeed, it is pretty good and worth the long hike.
2. Hand jams the whole way up.
3. Anchor at the top.


Climb
7
Sept 15
Overlook (5.10/5.11, 110/80', 2p), Reservoir Wall
Lead Pitch 1: Steph   Lead Pitch 2: Alex          Size: offwidth + thin hands
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1. Looking up from the base. Pitch 1 squirrels through some offwidth to the base of the obvious vertical splitter you can see on the upper wall in the photo. Pitch 2 climbs this splitter.
2. Pitch 1 reminds me of some of the tower climbing I've done in the Moab area: giant features that require a mix of offwidth, chimney, and stemming, and are unprotected or protected by big cams. (For big cams, we had 2 #3's, 1 #4, 2 #5's, and 1 #6; I used all of them on Pitch 1 and felt pretty comfortable. Save the #6 and a #3 for the final offwidth.)
3. The offwidth at the top of the pitch. It actually widens to a #6 size just above where I have placed the #5, so bring a #6.
4. Alex following the offwidth. The cam with the green carabiner midway up the offwidth is a #6.
5. The Pitch 2 splitter. "They said to bring 6 #1's, so I brought 1 #6."
6. Alex starting up Pitch 2. Yes, it is that steep!
7. Alex starting up Pitch 2.
8. Looking down the Pitch 2 splitter. As we were climbing, several chips of rock came off the edges of the crack. The route is obviously not climbed as much as the rounded trade-route splitters. But that doesn't mean it's not great climbing! (But it will tear apart your shoes.)

9. The somewhat manky anchor at the top of Pitch 2.
Climb
8
Sept 15
Pente (5.11-, 160'), Reservoir Wall
Lead: Steph  (+toprope lap)          Size: tight hands
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1. Sign at the base of the route. Not uncommon in the Creek.
2. Looking up at Pente. When we arrived, there was a party just starting up Pente, but we decided it was worth the wait. And it was!
3. #1-sized splitter. My favorite size.
4. I think I brought 8 #1's and used them all.
5. The upper corner is #0.75-sized. Harder if you have bigger hands....
6. Alex, 150 feet up, 10 feet to go! It's an enduro pitch.
7. Rope scars etched into the soft sandstone.
 
 Donnelly Canyon
(4 routes — Sept 16)
 
Area photos
Random photos from the day...
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1-2. The sun is coming....it's about to get pretty warm...
Climb
9
Sept 16
Generic Crack (5.10-, 120'), Donnelly Canyon
Lead: Alex  (+toprope lap)          Size: hands
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1. Generic Crack climbs the obvious worn crack splitting the face.
2. The rack: 10 #2's.
3. A #2-sized handcrack the whole way up.
4. Belay shadow in the morning sun (the sun hit as Alex got halfway up leading the route).


Climb
10
Sept 16
Binou's Crack (5.9, 50'), Donnelly Canyon
Lead: Steph          Size: varied
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1. A short but fun route up the corner.
2. Climb the wide crack on the left or the fingercrack on the right, or a mix of both.

Climb
11
Sept 16
Chocolate Corner (5.9, 60'), Donnelly Canyon
Lead: Steph          Size: thin hands
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1. A short but fun corner with thin hand jams the whole way up.
Climb
12
Sept 16
Elephant Man Pitch1 (5.10, 70'), Donnelly Canyon
Lead: Steph          Size: varied
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1. Funky but fun crack climbing.
 
 Camping and Newspaper Rock photos
 
Camping photos
Bridger Jack Campground, off Utah State Route 211 in middle of Indian Creek climbing area
Free climber camping
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1. Driving along 211, passing giant buttresses of splitter cracks....
2. Most climbers camp at the Bridger Jack Campground, which is free camping off 211. The road to the campground is a bit rough, but 2wd.
3. Our campsite. We were the only ones there on Thursday and Friday nights, and there were a few other climbers there on Saturday night. This place fills up every night in the fall and spring, so it was a rare treat to be able to have the camping area to ourselves.
4. My "office". 
5. Evening view from the campground.
6. Some toy cars I found at our campsite.
7. My rack (lots of these cams—specifically the 0.75, 1, and 2) have been booty cams over the years!). Combined with Alex's rack, we had a full "Indian Creek rack" (~6-10 of the thin hands, hands, and wide hand sizes....).


Newspaper Rock photos
Newspaper Rock, on Utah State Route 211 on way to Indian Creek climbing area
Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is a Utah state monument featuring a rock panel carved with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs. From the sign at the monument: "Newspaper Rock is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records approximately 2,000 years of early human activity. Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont, and Pueblo cultures, etched on the rock from B.C. time to A.D. 1300. In historic times, Ute and Navajo people, as well as European Americans, made their contributions. In interpreting the figures on the rock, scholars are undecided as to their meaning or have yet to decipher them. In Navajo, the rock is called "Tse' Hane'" (Rock that tells a story). Unfortunately, we do not know if the figures represent storytelling, doodling, hunting magic, clan symbols, ancient graffiti, or something else. Without a true understanding of the petroglyphs, much is left for individual interpretation. Newspaper Rock is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Please continue to preserve it."
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1-4. Photos of the petroglyphs.