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SpaceShot? Yer Gunna Die

Original Post
skeeered · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Space Shot,( Zion).

Any Advice, Suggestions or Tips for 2 n00bs
(other than: yer ….gunna …die)?

The plan:
We are planning to do our first big wall and we have narrowed it down to Space Shot in Zion. We know most parties can do the climb in a day (after fixing to p3), but we want to do this climb as an overnighter & haul up the ledge and a pig to get the full experience on the wall. We’ll be shooting for a midweek send so we piss off the least amount of other climbers as possible. We are aiming for Spring (April) of next year (2017) before it gets too hot.
About us:
Both of us have just started leading 5.7s(RedRock) on gear :/ but are solid on 5.9- easy .10’s sport. We both have some limited aid experience (some single pitch aid leads, bolt ladders, a lil bit of hooking, etc.) and have a pretty good understanding of the systems involved. As of right now we are planning on aiding up the route as much as possible. While we are still dialing in all of our systems this fall/winter, we have been mostly focused on getting faster at jugging, being more efficient at a 2:1 & body hauling, belay swap times and obviously trying to get stronger at our free climbing.
While we are aware of the more common beginner mistakes during a first big wall such as…
Not bringing enough water
Bringing way too much unneeded shit(food, clothes, entertainment, etc.) basically a pig that weights +200lb.
Taking way too long at every belay changeover (even though this isn’t a very tall wall by other big wall standards)
not having good communication (we'll have walkies)
bad jugging skills, and so on…
…we were wondering what other common mistakes noobs make? That we can try to avoid with your help & insight.
Also a few other questions:
1.Is there a better beginner route than this(we thought about MB, but don’t wanna be “THOSE GUYS”)?
2. We understand bailing from spaceshot is somewhat hard esp. off the leaning crack pitch, but if we had to make a retreat, what are the best pitches to do so from?
3. We have about a 80# difference with me being 135# or so and my partner being 215# anything specific we need to keep in mind relating to a bigwall besides the usual mechanics of belaying with a difference in weight class? We’ve been led to believe that ALL the pitches are bolted on spaceshot, is this correct? Therefore, we shouldn’t have to worry about setting up an upward directional with gear while belaying a heavier leader.
4. What would be a good pitch to set up a portaledge on, on spaceshot other than EO ledge
5. We are both currently reading Chris Mac’s book, reading /watching Mark Hudon’s stuff and lurking on ST and MP trying to garner as much info as possible. Anything else we should be looking into?
6. Reading about raptor closures for the Leaning Wall and Moonlight Buttress, we ‘re having a hard time confirming if Spaceshot gets closed for Raptors? because if so, early April trip would have to be rescheduled. On that note, is April a good time to go for an attempt? Our worry is that anytime after April will be too hot, & before than too cold?!?

and last but not least...
7. Are we getting in over our heads?!?

Thanks for reading , and for any help/advice that is offered….good or bad ;)

Greg Gavin · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 758

You'll be fine as long as you practice on your local crag. April is a great time of year to climb in Zion, and Spaceshot has never closed in the years I've climbed there.

Have fun!

skeeered · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Thx Greg!
Another question re: it's difficulty...
The ST topo says its 5.9c2, but the description says 5.6c2
and MP says 5.7c2?!? Which is it?…

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

I can't speak to much of this, except you sound sensible and ready to go for it , and, the weight thing. I'm the light belayer, and 210 will have you (135) off your feet, even lowering a top roped climber, if they start bouncing around. You may need that one piece added, not as a directional, but just to keep you parked, belaying above or below.

Have fun!

Jeff G. · · Fort Collins · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 865

-bring offset stoppers and know how to use them.
-5.7 C2 sounds right. The C2 is tricky.
-The hauling is going to really, really suck for the first 3 pitches. Just be ready and don't think you guys suck, it's really just the hauling that sucks.
-Go for it in a push and spend the night up on earth orbit ledge with a puffy if you have to and skip the hauling all together!
-Maybe you're getting in over heads or maybe not. Just be smart, plan ahead, and hang with it even if you're feeling scared and worked. Walls are all about being scared and still going in an upward direction.
-Have fun!

Danger-Russ Gordon · · Orem UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 590

You guys sound like you have your head's on straight, so I think you stand as good a chance as any other first time wallers, and as far as the grades, there really is not one answer, but I would personally go with the MP of 5.7 C2.

As far as things to watch out for, one thing that helped me a lot is practicing on the ground until I had a solid idea of how much I really needed to bounce test something, or if I needed to test it at all. A lot of that comes with time, but the faster are more accurately you can gauge that, the faster you can shave time off your leads.

Rob T · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2006 · Points: 10
Jeff G. wrote:The hauling is going to really, really suck for the first 3 pitches.
And across earth orbit and on the majority of the descent.

Please consider practice hauling on something more durable and less likely to affect the viability of the route.
Daniel Winder · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 70

Hi, I rope solo'd Spaceshot a couple of years ago. My advice would be forget the huge haulbag or pick a different route. The first 3 pitches are wandering, lower angle terrain at about 5.7. Hauling those pitches could be difficult. Touchstone is a more straightforward route, in terms of the climbing and the hauling. Like Spaceshot, many parties do it in a day but if you really want to haul a wall I'd recommend Touchstone.

To answer your specific questions
1) Touchstone
2) Bailing is not going to be that tough if you don't mind leaving a few biners, Touchstone is even easier to bail from.
3) Only the anchors are bolted. Protect the belay
4) The best bivy on spaceshot is the ledge below pitch four. It's actually pretty spectacular, no ledge needed. Seriously, don't bring a ledge, it will seem silly. You could set it up on the headwall, but if you're gonna do that then you might as well go to the top.
5) Tricams, the cruxes are legit C2. Not hard, but not exactly cam jugging either. Be ready to backclean long sections of the upper pitches if you're not carrying a massive rack.
6) The route has full sun exposure. I did it in January and it was almost too hot. Bring plently of water.
7) No, you'll figure it out when you get there. The 'spaceshot' is pretty wild! Have fun!

Rich Brereton · · Pownal, ME · Joined May 2009 · Points: 140

Do Spaceshot, it's a great beginner wall. Leave Moonlight for the free climbers.

+1 to Jeff G., don't haul. Have the second jug with a bag with 2 puffies, extra water and food.

A curious that happens to some on their first wall is that they get a case of butterfingers. Keeper loops are an insurance policy. Bring a spare headlamp.

Walkie-talkies seem like a prime candidate to get dropped. Are they really necessary? Better to just climb to the anchor and bring your second up so you can talk face to face.

First time I tried Spaceshot we bailed after the crux pitch and it was a pain (but doable) to scooch left on that first rappel. After the crux pitch, bailing would be a total cluster.

Second time, we topped out in the dark and the descent was not easy to find. We got off route multiple times. Maybe talk to someone who has done it recently for descent beta.

Don't do a warmup climb when you first get to Zion, just hop right on Spaceshot at the first window of weather and other parties on the route.

Get yourself and your partner in the mentality that there's a giant rubber band pulling you to the top, and that all you have to do is get on the next pitch and let it pull you up.

Stevie Nacho · · Utah · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 590

This was my first wall when i was 18. Get your hands on hb offset brass nuts along with the larger hb offsets. Don't worry too much about the tiny ones, just get the yellow up. If you have time, do the organasm to work out the kinks. Be proficient in jugging diagonally. This route is beautiful. You will enjoy the exposure on the last pitch. Do Not attempt the descent in the dark, almost cost me my life.

Eddie F · · Edwards, CO · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 25

I did spaceshot as my first real aid route and it wasn't too bad, we fixed the first day and fired to the summit the second. Offset nuts and the knowledge of how to use them will help you drastically. Also, I can't say that I would recommend the big swing that you read about. I did it and my rope almost cut from sliding across a rock. I ended up jugging up past a core shot... pretty sketch.

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

Cool thread! Lots of info here. I've heard about doing organasm or touchstone as a first aid route in Zion... Might look into those?!? I'm currently building my rack and skills to do the same thing...

Brannen · · Flowery Branch, GA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0

I did my first wall in zion a few years ago. We did Organasm first to figure things out/ figure out how slow we were.

Organasm is a great route to figure things out on as there is a good variety of crack sizes and the roof is tricky if you haven't done much aiding through roofs.

You'll likely go slower than you think you will, so make sure to bring water to cover a little extra time on the wall. Don't go crazy with the water just bring a little extra.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I haven't done this route specifically, but I've been very happy in the past on other desert aid routes to have offset cams and totem cams, and tricams were a lifesaver on the Titan.

I'll echo what others have said. It will likely be hard and it will definitely be scary. C2 in sandstone always has some scary placements that just don't seem like they're going to hold, but you just have to get it in, bounce it, and move up.

Be safe and have fun. One of my favorite memories is waking up on a ledge on Moonlight buttress on a Spring morning in Zion.

keithconn · · LI, NY · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 35

Great thread. Lots of good discussion and positive reinforcement.

Andrew Gram · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 3,580

Hauling in Zion is really best to avoid - you can see worn haul bag streaks from hauling on the trade routes. The sandstone just doesn't take the abuse well - Yosemite is a much better place to learn to haul. I also agree that hauling through the first couple of jungle pitches would be horrible.

Touchstone would be tough for beginner 5.7 trad climbers. There is some fairly burly 5.8/5.9 up high. Its a great route and really straightforward aid, just be aware.

skeeered · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Agreed ^, although it sounds like you can bail from touchstone at halfway ledge or the pitch above and do zero free if you want.

Thx! Everyone for the tips and encouragement!!!

BTW Organasm looks really cool and I'm def going to try it ...

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I think hauling is Zion is OK and it's nice to get some practice on smaller walls before heading to the big stone in Yosemite. Helps to get systems dialed and get a taste of what it's all about.

geoff georges · · Seattle, Wa. · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 3,560

have you climbed any desert sandstone? this stuff is different then Red Rocks, get some practice first, get used to it. C2 can feel much more like C3 on granite, sandy sliding cams, angle pitons pounded in holes.
I think Touchstone would be easier, but as said above the upper pitches are burley- though you could aid through them, and people do the gully descent with haul bags- that would suck. A good practice run would be to just do the first 3 pitches of Touchstone and stay on a portaledge then bail. Hauling the first 3 pitches of Spaceshot would suck way worse. Some hook moves on Spaceshot, and like every one says the key is the DMM offset nuts. Also good are the smaller ballnuts, and offset cams. you will have to leapfrog/ back clean gear, it eats many blue, green, yellow alien sizes. I like to use a small hammer- I think it's made for tiny trim, to clean the nuts which get welded in. You will have to step in the top ladder of aider and tension off harness to reach some of the bolts, but that is more fun then using a cheater stick. Bring a belay seat for some of the hideous hanging belays.
If you haul on Spaceshot, don't follow climbing lineon 3rd pitch which is a lot of 5.6 ledgey chimney, rap down from 3rd pitch anchor to 2nd pitch anchor and set up to haul there. Same for from the ground to top of second pitch- haul the rap line, protect your ropes on the slabs.

Jon Hemlock · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 5
geoff georges wrote: A good practice run would be to just do the first 3 pitches of Touchstone and stay on a portaledge then bail.
Please don't.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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