The Drop Zone
Avg: 2 from 1 vote
|Type:||Trad, 120 ft, 2 pitches|
|FA:||Greg Lowe (late 60s)|
|Page Views:||66 total, 1/month|
|Shared By:||Colby Wayment on Dec 16, 2010|
|Admins:||Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq|
DescriptionShrouded in aura of mystery, few Ogden climbers have probably even heard of this route, but for those that have, this was a burly Greg Lowe route with a hard and dangerous reputation. From what I have gathered, from the Lowes themselfves and Pat Ament's "History of Free Climbing North America," this seemed to be Greg's second biggest route contribution to the Ogden area (second only to the Macabre Roof, of course). Aments book describes Greg's own "intimation with mortality." Jeff mentions starting up and backing off. Greg, himself, told me this thing should probably be bolted...
Given the reputation behind it, and its indiscernable nature (nobody really knew where it went), the story goes this thing had not seen a second ascent.
Well, this fall I climbed something, staying as true as I could to Jeff's description (pointing at a photo), and I'm still not certain if the Drop Zone really exists. Maybe the Drop Zone is better left as a historical mystique than a real thing... Regardless, I'll describe what I climbed.
This route was supposed to be 5.11+ R/X. More fortunately for me, this is what I encountered...
Pitch 1: The business. Drop Zone is supposed to start in the right, of the two, right-arching corners directly above the route "Utahnics." This corner goes up twenty feet to a steep undercling right. I took a second variation up a steep crack that meets up near the end of the undercling (5.10+). From here follow a path up the face to the base of the dihedral, which is a little south of the start, that leads the steep roof crack up high. Loose rock abounds and the placement are spread out. This is where I thought the unprotected 11+ climbing was, but luckily it was more like 5.10b or c (tops) rated R - because that was scary enough. Build a belay on a nice perch at the bottom of the dihedral.
Pitch 2: Climb up the easy (5.7) dihedral and stuff some gear in the bottom of the roof (#1,2,3 camalots) and crank. At 5.11-, this was the crux for us. The moves are cool, but some of the hand jams are painful. After surmounting the roof, continue up 15 feet on easy ground, on what is probably the coolest Schoolroom top-out. Build a belay.
- I stayed pretty true to Jeff's picture. The roof was the crux for us. Jeff stated, long before I did it, the roof isn't supposed to be the hardest part of the climb. Which, if the roof is 11-, it would make sense that maybe Greg took a burly, unprotected 11+ route up the face. But I don't know why you would, since there is a fairly direct, 5.10 R option.
-Also, Greg supposedly did this in one pitch. However, I would think rope drag would suck and pulling the roof that far out from your belayer would be scary. Besides, the belay perch at the base of the corner is pretty cool.
- If you go for it, you better be pretty damn solid on quartzite trad up to 5.11.
Descent: Walk 100 yards to the north - careful not to knock rocks down on any other people - and rap Shiny Demon or something else with a 60 meter.