This summer has not found me burdened with photographic duties–at least not for my own edification. As my time in Zion winds down and I look ahead to what the upcoming months of play/travel will hold I am realizing that there are some photographic loose ends that need some attention.

This is Nick and I climbing Ashtar Command–his first multi-pitch outing ever, and a pretty memorable one considering the fact that half way up the first pitch we were verbally accosted by a hefty construction foreman on the road below. Bear in mind that we knowingly chose this route even though it is adjacent to ongoing construction, but the area remains open throughout daylight hours (8am-8pm) and we had just enough time to squeeze in a run on this little tower, as we started shortly before 6pm.

” Hey…YOU…get down here before we tow your car and impound it”

What this corpulent ruffian did not realize was that it was not even my car in question, for I had asked Nick to drive–and his car, unlike mine, would be worse for the wear if it were treated so harshly. I called down for Nick to “take” or anchor the rope so that I could build a quick anchor from which to lower back down to the ground.

Once on the ground we descended back down to the road, expecting to find a swarm of construction machinery poised to pave or plow or SOMEHOW alter the area of the shoulder where we had parked. Instead, we found our new friend–lets call him Moe or some other monosyllabic epithet–who irritably explained that we had to be out of there by 8 pm so that when the night construction began, it could go on unhindered.

Nick patiently assured him that two pitches of climbing would not likely entail and overnight spent on the wall, and that had he simply left us the hell alone, we would have had a much greater margin of error against inconveniencing the construction crews.

After this battle of wits, which we eventually conceded, the car was moved further away and a half hour of precious time was squandered before we huffed back up to our climb and gave it another go.

It was a fun two pitches but by the time I was belaying Nick to the top it looked as though we were not going to make it down before 8. I was loathe to inform him of the time as he climbed up to the anchors and I simply began the process of lowering him to the first of three rappel stations. I have never moved so quickly on a climb before; I did have to sacrifice one locking carabiner, but all told we were back down and in the car by 7:59.

I tumbled a bit of the way down the descent trail but otherwise it was a hard-fought victory.

(Nick and I at P1 Anchors)

I have gotten out to climb with Nick a few other times since then and each time there has been some sort of “adventure” involved. Here are a few gems from a Snow Canyon trip we shared:

(me trying to smile with a mouth full of pro-bar)

(nick managing the belay at the top of P1)

(eric, nicks housemate joins the party and hilarious times ensue)

(sent this one in to ProBar and they hooked us up with a box of free bars!)

(going up, generally speaking…)

(unfortunately I forgot to tell nick to tilt the camera so it would look steeper…)

(top of pitch two, and yes, that’s what SHE said)

(oy vey…shmear)

(creative camera work makes this 5.6 look 5.12 steep)

Nick and I and Danielle (my housemate for most of this summer) Also got to enjoy a bit of crack thrashing in the park itself- this one is called squeeze play and it was my first 5.10 on trad gear, so it was a pretty special moment for me. That said, I displayed all of the grace of a rhino giving birth. Anyone who says crack climbing is fun is a liar. Or a masochist. Possibly both.

(crack is whack!)

(only the first quarter of the route is strict crack; the rest is varied and fun and protects well)

(nick laying it back)

(danielle battling the wide section)

(the view from the top)

Last up are a few shots I took of the moon and Mars on the night when they were unusually close in the heavens.

(moon over the watchman, Mars to the right of the cloud formation)

(a clearer view)

(after that the clouds started rolling in, so I shot a few of that and called it a night)

More to come!!! (eventually)