Occasional postings about Maz and Si's big adventures

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Moonlight Buttress, Zion

Courtesy of Rita Rosenblum

So here is a little video documentary of our ascent of Moonlight Buttress, a classic aid route in Zion National Park, Utah.  Although it was only 9 pitches high, there was a lot of aid climbing so it took 2 days.  On the first day, we climbed up 4 pitches (I led my first aid pitch), before fixing our ropes and abseiling back down to the ground.  Snow and cold weather were forecast for the next day so that evening we celebrated my birthday with dinner and a few drinks.  On November 11th, we headed back to Moonlight to jug up our fixed ropes and finish the job.

Here's the story (make sure your sound is on):

The Early Morning Walk-In
Up at 4.30am, we racked up at the van and made our way to the base of the route, ready to climb as the sun came up.  Because we climbed this route over 2 days we had to cross back and forth through the icy river in the valley.  This was our third crossing and it hadn't got any easier!

Si Jumars Up The Ropes
When we climbed the first 4 pitches, we fixed one end of the rope to an anchor, abseiled down that rope, then fixed our second rope at another anchor so that we could reach the ground.  When we returned to the route we were relieved to find our ropes still in place and intact.  Next was the strenuous task of jumaring (prusiking) up the ropes with all our gear.  I went second and collected the ropes so that we could re-use them for climbing.

Top of Pitch 4
This was the only pitch that I climbed in the sun.  After that, it moved round the corner and I was left to slowly freeze in the shade.  If you want to free this pitch it goes at 5.12d  or E6/7 in pounds sterling.  Last time we were here, two gnarly women were working the route.  We encountered them again practicing the final pitches.  I hope they managed to put it all together in a full free ascent, if so I think they'd be the second all female team to do this.  Go girls!!

Maz Cleaning Pitch 4

Admiring The View
When Simon reaches the top of an aid pitch he fixes the rope and I climb up it, collecting the rope and the gear as I go.  This means that Simon doesn't have to belay - he just gets to sit there, admiring the view and eating Clif Bars!

Simon Climbing Pitch 7

At The Top

I was a bit too cold to feel much satisfaction in reaching the top.  Luckily Si's enthusiasm was sufficient for both of us!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas Down Under

So we're a bit behind with the blogging.  Still got stuff to add - latest Gro a Fro pix (apparently it's all coming off tomorrow) and a little video documentary of our aid ascent of Moonlight Buttress, Zion.
The problem is - we're now  back in the real world with no time to blog - having arrived in NZ about 2 weeks ago.

So far we've bought a van, Simon has started work, I've started job hunting and we've arranged somewhere to live.  We're currently not living there - we have the unfortunate task of house-sitting a luxury pad (inc outdoor swimming pool and spa) in the country while the owners are away.  No internet though, so I've relocated from poolside to bring you this brief update.

Hawke's Bay is as green as N Wales, as hilly as Scotland (well, this bit's flat, but there's mountains behind us), as warm as Southern France, and packed with vineyards and fruitfarms.  The sea is blue and not too cold (wetsuit still required at this time of year) and about 5 miles from where we will be living.  Surf's good.

Mountain-biking close by is supposed to be excellent although our bikes are still somewhere on a cargo ship between here and UK.  Simon has bought himself an oh-so-cool single speed to get himself to work.  I did laugh when his custom-fitted white pedals turned bright pink in UV light (he's swapped them for glow-in the dark instead - the green goes with the wheel rims).

So, keep tuning in for more pictures and hopefully more adventures from Jones & Jones