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The Drop Zone 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R [details]
FA: Greg Lowe (late 60s)
Page Views: 64
Submitted By: Colby Wayment on Dec 16, 2010

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Summit photo. Me and The Boss.

Description 

Shrouded 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.

Notes:
- 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.

Location 

Located on the tier above Utahnics. Locate the most obvious roof crack at the top of schoolroom above the Utahnics wall. Supposedly, Greg was only trying to find a route to that. Start in the right facing dihedral/arch and follow a path up. Will try and post pictures within the next few days.

Protection 

single set from fingers to 1.5". doubles from there to #3 camalot. lots of slings. nuts.


Photos of The Drop Zone Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: As if we didn't have enough O-town adventure, we d...
As if we didn't have enough O-town adventure, we d...
Rock Climbing Photo: photo from the belay, looking down for the hell of...
photo from the belay, looking down for the hell of...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Zschiesche, above the roof, on the final move...
Eric Zschiesche, above the roof, on the final move...
Rock Climbing Photo: the belay stance. finally on good stone.
the belay stance. finally on good stone.
Rock Climbing Photo: sure there appears to be lots of holds and placeme...
sure there appears to be lots of holds and placeme...
Rock Climbing Photo: The start variation up the 10+ crack.  The origina...
The start variation up the 10+ crack. The origina...
Rock Climbing Photo: making the short rightward traverse to the dihedra...
making the short rightward traverse to the dihedra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Poor photo quality (from the phone).  Playing arou...
BETA PHOTO: Poor photo quality (from the phone). Playing arou...

Comments on The Drop Zone Add Comment
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By Colby Wayment
From: Ogden, UT
Dec 16, 2010

I should note that I only climbed the variation to the start of the first pitch because the wasps were heinous in the arching dihedral. Hopefully this spring I'll get back to doing that first 25 feet correctly.
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From: Morrison, CO
Dec 16, 2010

Awesome description Colby! Can you post "Jeff's picture" that you refer to in the description?
By Colby Wayment
From: Ogden, UT
Dec 16, 2010

Thanks. I don't have Jeff's photo. He had just shown it to me on his computer when I was at his house.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 19, 2010

Good bit of research and great description Colby! This really adds to the character of the area.
By tenesmus
Dec 20, 2010

Well if Jello can post on supertopo...
Very cool description. I'm glad you're using a better camera these days. We gotta go to Ibex, my friend.
By James Garrett
Dec 21, 2010

Cool on ya there Colby. Awesome that you are climbing such lines with Eric. I have never met him, but I would bet most people here in the Wasatch don't know anything of his legendary status...30 years ago I had the honor of climbing tons of local stuff with Tom McMillan and Bobby Rotert, both from North Carolina like EZ....every single time we would go climbing, it was "Eric Zschieche this" , "Eric Zschieche and I once did such and such", or "Eric Zschieche did...." or Eric Zschieche that..." "Eric Zschieche eats this before he climbs....". I mean it was as if he (EZ) was on every climb we ever did together. He was spoken of in revered tones by those guys and they could easily climb at least 3 number grades above my gumby shortcomings! I used to wonder if he was off climbing 5.15s somewhere!...maybe in a way, I do know him after all...at least through them! I had thought rumor had it that he had quite a few years back thrown in the towel and found other interests...apparently not!
Cheers!
By Colby Wayment
From: Ogden, UT
Dec 21, 2010

Eric is indeed the stuff of legend. I first heard about him through Yosemite acclaim. Come to find out, he left his mark in North Carolina and Devil's Lake. I was psyched when I found out he made Ogden his home. His easy going personality, humility, strength, and grace are characteristics that make him easy to be revered. I've never met anybody with his level of exuberance, either. It's almost impossible not to be smiling and in a good mood while climbing with him.

As for Jello, Clay, I've seen his posts on here before - specifically the Ross Route in LCC, saying that he first lead it sans bolt. That is hard for me to contemplate how bold that must have been to lead seeing as I took a couple falls on that bolt. Anyway, I'm sure he could chime in and clarify things.

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