First time going to Indian Creek, any advice?


Original Post
Owen Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

My girlfriend and I are headed to Indian Creek in a few weeks for the first time, as long as the weather permits us.
Since it's our first time I'm just looking for some friendly advice from others who have experience at the creek. We have about 15 finger-hand size cams, lots of tape, shoes (TC Pros/mythos), but minimal experience climbing splitters.

Just a few questions I have off the top of my head are..

What are some good routes for beginners at IC?
How do the grades at IC stack up to grades elsewhere? (I'm from Southern AZ)
I am 6'4 with size 13 feet, my gf is 5'7 with size 8 feet. Will we struggle finding a route that we can both climb comfortably?

Any tips or advice would be appreciated, even if it has nothing to do with any of my questions!

Thanks,
Owen

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 5

yer gonna die

justino · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 93

Bring tape and extra laces. Seam grip your shoes. Have fun!

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

If you're still a 5.7 leader, you're going to have to bring plenty of (non-shitty) beer or organic blueberry muffins to offer other people to lead climbs for you. Nearly all climbs are 10/11

AZ's grades are all over the place (Rouge is 4 grades soft for example). IC's grades are hand size dependent. It's slick and there are zero foot holds so it'll either be easy if you're a crack climber or very hard if you're not.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5

If you only have a lot of finger sized cams, you're going to be really limited to what you can climb. Also, if you're limited to finger sized cracks, I hope you climb hard. The only time I was able to make it out there, I could climb very, very little because of limited gear and had to stick to the Wall Street area. Fun, but not nearly as good as it could have been.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

Yer gunna die.

But seriously, be careful. I lost my finger crack climbing at the creek. Splitters aint sport climbing. Much more serious feel to it. As for grades...its a different game. If you understand jamming (hands and feet), then hand cracks feel easy. But if you dont have a lot of experience it will feel like you are wrestling a 300 pound man. And there is something about the creek...the routes just arent straight forward. Supercrack for example, has a fairly scary start if that is your limit.

I recommend hanging out around Donnely Canyon and seeing if you can jump in on a top rope for some of the climbs. Having a variety of cams is pretty useless in the creek. You need doubles/triples at a minimum.

In the meantime, try Binou's crack. Short and sweet. Then give chocolate corner a try.

Also, bring lots of water - your from AZ so you understand. Also bring money to pay for a campsite if you stay there. And use the toilets for number 2! Leave no trace

Mark van Eijk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 554

Some general tips for the creek:
-bring more layers than you think you need, the range of temperatures from day to night is huge

-Since you have a pretty limited rack, be prepared to make friends and borrow gear at camp/crag. People seem to be pretty good at the creek, especially if you have beer to offer.

-Grades at the creek are just different. At first everything may seem hard for the grade as you acclimatize to the style, and then it all starts to feel a bit easier. Since the grades are highly hand-size dependent, you may have a little bit of trouble finding routes that are comfy for both of you, but you'l find things that work.

-Some suggestions for first routes that are relatively short (not much gear) and moderate.
Binou's Crack (Donnelly Canyon) - Not as much pure jamming, and good variety of sizes
Chocolate corner (Donnelly Canyon)
Twin Cracks (supercrack Buttress)
Unnamed 5.8 (Power Wall)
Batteries Not included (Power wall) - Requires some redundancy in #3 and #4
Unnamed 5.9+ #6 (Blue Gramma)
Blue Sun and Rochambeau (Way Rambo)

-I'd recommend starting out at the donnelly canyon / supercrack buttress areas, since they have many moderates and tend to be somewhat crowded, so you're more likely to be able to join a more experienced/better equipped group.

Have Fun!

Owen Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Politically Correct Ball wrote:If you're still a 5.7 leader, you're going to have to bring plenty of (non-shitty) beer or organic blueberry muffins to offer other people to lead climbs for you. Nearly all climbs are 10/11 AZ's grades are all over the place (Rouge is 4 grades soft for example). IC's grades are hand size dependent. It's slick and there are zero foot holds so it'll either be easy if you're a crack climber or very hard if you're not.
I've led 5.7 in Joshua Tree but I'm comfortable leading up to 11 sport so i'm hoping to get on a 5.9/5.10- or so in Indian Creek on gear.
Owen Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Fat Dad wrote:If you only have a lot of finger sized cams, you're going to be really limited to what you can climb. Also, if you're limited to finger sized cracks, I hope you climb hard. The only time I was able to make it out there, I could climb very, very little because of limited gear and had to stick to the Wall Street area. Fun, but not nearly as good as it could have been.
I have mostly hand sized cams, (5) #2, (3) #3, (1) #4, and the rest .3-1 from what I'm read my rack would work on short hand routes like Blue Sun. I will keep Wall Street in mind!
Owen Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:Yer gunna die. But seriously, be careful. I lost my finger crack climbing at the creek. Splitters aint sport climbing. Much more serious feel to it. As for grades...its a different game. If you understand jamming (hands and feet), then hand cracks feel easy. But if you dont have a lot of experience it will feel like you are wrestling a 300 pound man. And there is something about the creek...the routes just arent straight forward. Supercrack for example, has a fairly scary start if that is your limit. I recommend hanging out around Donnely Canyon and seeing if you can jump in on a top rope for some of the climbs. Having a variety of cams is pretty useless in the creek. You need doubles/triples at a minimum. In the meantime, try Binou's crack. Short and sweet. Then give chocolate corner a try. Also, bring lots of water - your from AZ so you understand. Also bring money to pay for a campsite if you stay there. And use the toilets for number 2! Leave no trace
Ouch! if you don't mind me asking, what happened? (I'd like to make sure I don't make the same mistake)

Binou's crack looks like a great one to start on! Thanks for the advice!
Downtownt Kay · · Everett, WA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 55

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/accident-report---indian-creek/112133717#a_112134094

here's the accident report: just dont put your finger in the light socket...

Owen Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Downtownt Kay wrote: mountainproject.com/v/accid... here's the accident report: just dont put your finger in the light socket...
Ouch! Glad the .3 stuck.
jmapping · · Carbondale, co · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 763
grog m aka Greg McKee wrote:Yer gunna die. But seriously, be careful. I lost my finger crack climbing at the creek. Splitters aint sport climbing.
... Wait, what! Curious to hear that story.
grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/accident-report---indian-creek/112133717#a_112134094

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5
Owen Bertelsen wrote: I have mostly hand sized cams, (5) #2, (3) #3, (1) #4, and the rest .3-1 from what I'm read my rack would work on short hand routes like Blue Sun. I will keep Wall Street in mind!
Just about any place else, 5 would be alot. However, on climbs like Pente and Excuse Station, you need about 8 or more of that size. I think you will have to scour the guide for something that will work with your rack; either that or make friends. Remember the maxim about placing gear about a body length apart. I think you're probably over estimating what you'll be climbing given the trad limit right now. Strength from sport climbing helps, but technique is far more important. However, I think you'll have fund, and you've picked a great place to work on that skill set.
JMo · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 785

Haven't lost any digits to a crack so what do I know, but I don't have a good head and yet the creek is rarely "serious" unless you 1- run out of cams and 2- keep going instead of lowering and getting more. Splitters are the opposite of serious. You put in gear wherever you want. SoAZ sport climbing makes the creek look like a warm bath. I guess you can find R routes if you look for them, like anywhere....there are stacks of **** .10 cracks all over the place. Half the fun of the creek is the nightly campfire arguments about which of the 25 amazing buttresses you will climb at the next day.

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,575

Sixshooter has a decent 5.7? if I remember right..not a great climb but a really cool summit..you don't need much gear.

Pretty tough to set Tr's in the Creek,,check out some other places for that. San Rafel Swell has lots of climbs slab-towers and isn't too far away might be cold)

Down Bluff -way there are some nice one pitch cracks

There are also some cool arches/towers between Moab an IC...not many snakes now !

JK- · · SLC · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 13
justino wrote:Bring tape and extra laces. Seam grip your shoes. Have fun!
Another option is taping the top of your shoes. Or go all in and stealth paint the tops....
Lin Robinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 30

advil

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 511

Pay more attention to gear size and crack size vs grade. A 10 with lots of 2's and 3's might feel like and 8 to someone with big hands, but might feel like 11 for someone with small hands. Likewise, an 11 that has requires lots of 1's may feel like an 8 for small hands, but hard 11 for someone with big hands.

Watch your rope length. 60 meters is too short for many, many routes. I hate to hear that awful thud that a body makes when it hits the ground, again.

And forget about towers. That was an awful suggestion for your first trip. South Six Shooter may be the exception.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 234

Not really towers, but Looking Glass and Wilsons Arches might be reasonable goals.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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