All packed and excited about the 9 day long climbing trip in Utah and Vegas, I left to Lyle’s place at around 4:00pm, where the guys had already gathered and having fun. It’s a tradition of KU’s Rock Climbing Club that during the mid-semester break in spring they climb in Utah and Vegas for 7 straight days. And until I reached Lyle’s place I never knew that it was also part of the tradition to also have crazy haircuts before we left for the long road trip. Loaded with tents, crash pads, sleeping bags, ropes, quick draws, carabiners and other camping gears we all left Lawrence for our initial destinations. In total we had 5 groups, a vehicle for each, of which 2 of them that I was part of, drove to Joe’s Valley in Utah for Bouldering (15 hours drive). The two sport climbing groups to St. George, along Utah-Arizona border and one trad & multi pitch climbing group to Moah, eastern Utah.
And guess what, the fun had already started as we cheered for the Jayhawks (KU Basket ball team), watching the Big 12 Conference basketball match between us and West Virginia in the Van, on the move. All thanks to Luke who used his data package to share the hots-spot and connect with his laptop. It was lots of fun watching the match on the road, laughing loud, rooting for KU, immediately after the start of a long exciting trip. We beat them 81-71.
Next day Morning, Luke stopped the vehicle between nowhere in the desert to watch the sun rise. Before this trip, I had read many blog posts about places in Utah with snaps that were nothing different from the view in front me now. As we stood at the peak of a mountain to watch the sunrise, it was all about inner peace, bliss and beauty!
Joe’s Valley is a large concentration of sandstone boulders East of the Joe’s Valley Reservoir near Orangeville, Utah and is believed to be one of the premier bouldering destinations in USA with world class problems to work on. The sandstone boulders that line the hillsides are seemingly made for climbing with rocks that are textured, skin-friendly, featured yet strong, and with fantastic landings. Before we reached the place, we picked up groceries for next 3 days of camping in Orangeville, and started working on problems immediately after reaching the Valley. The weather was super hot, (the place is a desert after all) but watching people sweat and pushing themselves hard on some crazy problems, we couldn’t relax. We climbed for almost 4 hours trying to solve problems at different levels and took breaks watching some of the experts send V4 and above ones, before retiring to our campsite for the day.
The night got really cold and my sleeping bag was not good enough to keep me warm. The temperature outside was around -6 degree Celsius. After struggling for almost 3 hours in my tent, I couldn’t take it anymore. So with all my will power I managed to get out of my tent at around 4:00 am and walk to the van. But then I wasn’t alone, for Luke and Spencer had already felt the cold and had slipped into the van in the middle of the night. Luke turned on the heater in the van every half an hour or so and made sure it was warm inside the van. The breeze early morning was so strong that it felt like as if the van was being pushed off the ground from one side regularly. And I knew it then, but didn’t bother myself to go check…my tent was blown off! And I had to go look around for it at around 9 AM. CRAP!