We tried to leave the snow behind but it insisted on following close behind. We fled further south to a little known area called the Parowan Gap where an incredible array of rock art can be found but more on that later.
En route we were forced to bivy for the night at horrific truck stop in Beaver, UT. I know my restroom diatribes resemble the beating of a deceased horse, but I couldnt make this stuff up if I tried. And I can assure you, having written four blogs plus photos in two days, I have little desire to ‘try’.
So we parked in the back, out of sight of the filthy clientele of this establishment and both of us being in need of some “freshening up” before crashing out for the evening, we headed in to the truck stop to seek out their bathrooms, which were located behind tasteful display racks of “I love Beaver” memorabilia.
After several minutes we emerged and as we returned to the car it seemed that we had each had very different experiences. Stefanie reported that the ladies rooms were immaculate and very nice. I contrasted that with the squalor I found in the men’s room– filth that surpassed the normal disarray of a poorly managed bathroom,replete with shit-house poetry. It seemed like someone had dissembled much of the bathroom “fixtures” and accompanying accessories. Additionally, I found myself one stall away from a constipated trucker who kept muttering to himself. I hoped that maybe if I cleared my throat a little he would tone it down. Not a chance. And you thought that kinda thing is just in the movies…
Ugh…I rubbed hand sanitizer over every inch of exposed skin once we got back to the car. Sleeping sitting up is about as relaxing as you would expect, and as soon as the sun was up we were out of Beaver. We headed for the Parowan Gap, another site that combined great climbing with historical artifacts.
A few sights seen along the way…
We stopped to eat breakfast at a rest area off of 15 South and found some interesting frost. Even southern Utah was cold due to the elevation.
Just outside of Parowan, by weaving through irrigated fields, heading roughly west, a ridge of red rock began to grow on the horizon, looming above the road until an obvious gash of sky rends it in two.
The “Gap”, called “God’s own house” by the Paiute held deep significance which we will likely never understand beyond the most vague interpretations of the prolific petroglyphs and rock art which abound just a few feet from the roadside.
Not all the rock art was ancient, per se.
But the vast majority was…
These are on the south side of the gap, about 20 feet off the ground- perhaps proof that climbing is not simply a modern convention. Look closely.
It strikes me that so many of the places that were so extensively frequented by the ancients as to merit artistic decoration are now so obscure that few people even know they are there. It was a huge privilege to stand there and think such grandiose thoughts.
We had to backtrack about a mile or so to get to Shinobe, where the climbing was located.
Upon closer inspection it seemed unbelievable that there were only about 10 routes established, all bolted, on the right side of this formation.
Shinobe is very interesting from a geological perspective since the top half of it where the climbing is mostly cobble, but the lower half is striated sandstone bands which provide a slightly different take on rock art!
I was tempted to lug the trad rack up to give the obvious crack on the left side of the formation a whack. On the other hand…not knowing the real deal with this rock I decided to wait, especially since I will be close enough to follow up when we move out here.
The climbing was interesting- I onsighted a 10a which was a first for me and redpointed this “gem” which I think was about a 10d. Lots of fun routes though and very unique.
This is a 5.8 that we warmed up on. All the routes here are bolted SUPER tight. Nothing wrong with that I guess- I figured that this might be due to rock quality issues? Please advise…
The climbing wasn’t the only interesting thing here- this fellow was ambling down the path at the same time we were. Stefanie shat herself and wouldnt leave the car for several hours. I was pretty surprised to see it myself! He was about the size of my palm; not something I would want to meet in my sleeping bag at night!
After the climbing was about done, I took a little hike to get a few more pictures, knowing that we would be leaving the following morning.
Interesting rock textures
Embedded pieces of wood in the sandstone
This is probably one of the most significant things I stumbled across in my lifetime. I was just hiking up the left side, I looked down and there it was. Staring up at me. Obviously, this picture is posed…
We headed out the next morning and went into the Dixie National Forest, past some more climbing at the Prophecy wall but it wasn’t looking too inviting so we kept on moving towards Snow Canyon State Park.
This area has several different types of stone- light colored sandstone, red sandstone and black volcanic rock. We didnt go in and climb since we opted to head to San Diego and focus our attentions on California since we plan on moving to Utah.
So from there we headed down to St George and into Arid-zona on 15. With roadside scenery like this it is hard to believe that there are not more accidents.
I was too tired to take more pictures, so thats about it. Driving past Vegas was a pretty dreadful experience. I have heard so many good things about climbing at Red Rocks and someday I may go in search of it- but that may take a while. Trash everywhere along the road and no shade as far as the eye can see. Ugh.
Anyhow I am now caught up since I am writing this entry from the comfort of my sister in law’s kitchen table, where I have been feverishly churning out this drivel for the masses…or quality work for three people who read it. In any case I will be heading out next week into the bay area and then Tahoe, and anywhere else I can find some friends to climb with. I am pretty excited to have made a few already!
Stefanie may accompany me or she may wait and hang out with Christie in San Diego where we will explore Mission Gorge, Santee Boulders and New Jack City and anything else in close-ish proximity.