Author Topic: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall  (Read 3728 times)

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Offline scottydo

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Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« on: March 11, 2010, 02:50:29 am »
Seeing as how I?ve been lurking around this website for a while now, it?s finally time for me to contribute a trip report of my own. And as this was officially my first wall (albeit a smaller one), I was pretty stoked to get out there and climb. And I?m still stoked to write about it.

So I wrangled up a couple days off around the first weekend in March and made plans to go to Zion and get my first big wall under my belt. I had been trying to get a climbing partner to head out there with me but hadn?t received any definite yes?s from my buddies so I?d been practicing my roped soloing with my SP. A few days before I left I had a partner all lined up, but at the last second he got a job he?d been interviewing for and had to bail.
So it was off to Zion all by my lonesome and super excited to get climbing.

Within only 8 hours from San Diego, I was in beautiful Zion National Park. Here's a lovely view of my campsite at Watchman Campground the next morning:


Had to get my day started, so I drove over to the pull-out across the road from the Cerberus Gendarme area. Here?s the wall from the pull-out:

Touchstone ascends the wall just to the left of the obvious crack/corner that goes most the way up.

With a nice short approach I was looking up at the bolt ladder first pitch in no time:


The first 5 or 6 bolts are definitely REACHY. I?m 5?8? with a reach a little longer than my height and I had to top step like a mo-fo. But I got them all and made my way to the second pitch with the short roof.
Here?s the view after I rapped the 1st pitch and getting ready to clean. You can see the 2nd pitch?s roof section (triangular shadow I think) above my lead line on the upper left:


I was surprised at how straight forward the roof section was. Purple link cam was magic in that slot just over the roof edge. Nice and short and more fun than I expected.  The 3rd pitch was pretty straight forward and went smoothly. Here?s the view looking down from the top of the 3rd (or maybe 2nd) pitch. Either way...fun shot:

I called it for the day, fixed my two lines, and headed back into camp.  

Got up the next day to get going up my fixed lines.  Didn?t realize how tiring jugging up about 300ft can be. Once I got back up to the top of the 3rd I snapped a couple pics of Angels Landing behind me:

Closer shot of Angel?s Landing. Prodigal Sun goes up to the right of the light, square notch and Angel?s Hair follows the crack system to the left of it:


Well the 4th pitch went fairly quickly and it was off to the 5th. Now I think I got off route on my way up the 5th pitch because I ended up doing some very sparsely protected face climbing way to the left of the next anchors. Needless to say I had a few choice swear words at one point but got through ok (even though I had to run it out some). I don?t think it would have been as bad if I wasn?t solo, but climbing solo always adds that extra factor in that spices up the climb. Being off route doesn?t help any either.

At the top of the 5th I took 10 minutes to refuel and actually look around and had my WOW moment when I got this view that I don?t think too many people get:


Now that I was refocused it was on to pitches with more free climbing than aid. Here?s a shot looking up at the 6th pitch:


The 7th pitch was another interesting one with the long crack that took #4 C4s, but as I only had two I had to leap frog them all the way up (at least 20-30 feet) to the short chimney squeeze.  I stopped there as there was a bunch of slings/ropes around a huge fixed chock stone and I was running out of light and just ran out of water. I know the top of the 7th ends at the tree but I made the call to start rappelling from where I was.
Thanks to all the fixed anchors, rappelling the route was very straight forward even by headlamp. I did have a stuck rope scare at one point on my way down, but was able to get it unstuck with an almost full body weight yank. Finally down to the car, exhausted, I threw my gear down and made my way back to camp once again:


Next day I drove around and just enjoyed the park. Had a good trip all in all. An absolutely amazing place to be. Here?s one last B&W picture I took:
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 02:57:58 am by scottydo »

Offline Mike.

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 07:45:59 am »
Yea, way to go, scotty! Congrats on the send...here's to more TRs ; }
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 10:31:23 am »
first big wall, was your first solo big wall?


how do you get them balls to stay in the wheelbarrow you carry them around in?  huge, mon!


great shots

skully

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2010, 03:38:45 pm »
Yeah, Touchstone!

That's a cool little route, huh?
Thanks for the TR & the great pics, mon.

Offline kristoffer

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 08:59:09 pm »
good TR and Great Zion Send!
there is always something so special about your first Zion solo.
Zephyr
"I am plagued by a mindless nonchalance and petrified zen"

Offline Mike.

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2010, 12:00:55 am »
Zephyr, brother..."W." on all the Peckers I send these days. None but the best!


Back on topic...another hurrah to scotty for getting on it. Yes!
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline Caz

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2010, 08:36:59 pm »
Scotty,

Great send man!

Thanks for the TR!

Zac
I do this for fun...

Offline scottydo

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 07:39:14 am »
Thanks everybody! :)

Offline Erik Sloan

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2010, 12:09:41 pm »
Nice one. Thanks!

Offline kristoffer

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2010, 03:52:47 pm »
Zephyr, brother..."W." on all the Peckers I send these days. None but the best!


Back on topic...another hurrah to scotty for getting on it. Yes!

lol, yeah those things are key! i need to get some more for mods when i get back to the mainland. did you ever play with the expando beaks/peckers i sent your way?

Zephyr
"I am plagued by a mindless nonchalance and petrified zen"

Offline *Mucci*

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2010, 05:02:06 pm »
Nice going man!

Way to step out there, nothing like that Wall drive to get you motivated.

Thanks for the TR, now I gotta go get that fix!

Mucci

Offline BEMHO

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Re: Zion Climbing TR - Touchstone Wall
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2010, 10:08:34 am »
Right on Scotty!

You made the right choice as the last pitch in the dark is well not much fun and all free.  The pro is black pitons in black patina and finding them is tough and then finding the rap is not that easy. 

I did this wall long ago and my partner and I thought we would just fire it and rap in a day.  Well thats easy unless its January and the days are super short.

We got to the last pitch in the dark with one headlamp and it was failing.  So we had a sweet freeze on the last pitch ledge.  We could not find the pitons in the black patina and the risk was just not worth the reward that night.  We built a fire on that ledge at 4 am to make it till morning. Dam that was one cold night. 

This is another super classic Piton Ron Route. 

Huge Kudos to you for a first solo first big wall.  You got the mindset for good things to come.