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TR: Canadian's first time in Indian Creek
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Apr 19, 2012
So, I've been wanting to go to Indian Creek since I started climbing and saw some pictures in the gym. It just looked like Heaven. Turns out it is!

Three years later I managed to convince some people to make the trek from Vancouver to Moab with me. Along the way we managed to get another climber from LA and a climber from New York to agree to meet us down there.

Day 0 (Wednesday):

Packing day. We suck at packing. Especially when you have about a million cams...

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - My neck hurts for some reason
© Matt Hoffmann - My neck hurts for some reason

Packed and ate. Looked at our bags, looked at my car, looked at us... This is gonna be interesting.

Day 1 (Thursday):

Evening, after work. Drive to G's after work. Proceed to fill up the car with 4 giant bags and 4 fairly big bags and 2 people. Hmm... I wonder where Kyle and Mick are going to sit.

Pick up Mick and Kyle at Kyle's place. You guys have more bags?!?! Well.... Let's figure this out. My poor Mazda is going to handle a bit differently for this drive.

Head for the border. Wait... Laugh at the signs at the border:

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Funny border sign
© Matt Hoffmann - Funny border sign

Get to the border crossing. Canadian passport, Canadian passport, Canadian passport, Italian passpo.... What the hell is this? You guys go inside. *Sigh*

Wait for another 20 minutes while we all have to pee. Giulio pays his $6 entrance fee for the US. Back in the car. Fill up on gas and relieve or bladders. Let's rock and roll!

Cruise on down to Seatac. Park at our hotel for the night. Pizza and beer and 4 hours of the last sleep we'll have in beds for a while..

Day 2 (Friday):

G gets up at 4AM, goes to the bathroom... Nobody else moves.

G leaves the bathroom at 4:30.. Everyone tries to not move. Fine... Time to get up. Hoist our bags down to the lobby to catch the shuttle to the airport. The dude looks at our bags, looks at us with those "holy S***" kind of looks that were a theme for this trip.

Got to the airport safely. Food time. How long have those eggs been sitting there? Meh, Kyle and I load up on the standards western breakfast of plastic hashbrowns and rubber eggs. Mick was wise and ate something good. G slept

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Breakfast!
© Mick Wu - Breakfast!

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - G in an airport
© Mick Wu - G in an airport

Uneventful flight. I slept, no details forthwith. G looks weird when he eats peanuts.

Land. Get the bags, heavier than our bugaboos bags. Thank goodness we have a car. Walk up to the car rental counter:

Matt: "Hi, we're here to pick up our full size sedan"*Person looks at us and our bags skeptically*
Aurelia (rental person): Where are you headed?
Matt: "Uh.. Down to Moab area to climb"
Aurelia: Well, I'm gonna suggest you rent something with a little more.... more"
Matt: "How much cost are we looking at"
Aurelia: "Only $500 more for an Escalade!"
Matt: *deadpan look* "We might be interested in something a bit less... less"
Aurelia: "Well, you'll definitely need 4 wheel drive how about a small SUV for $180 more"

And so began Kyle and My love affair with Sasha... The Ford Escape. (And Miranda, the GPS)

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - We love you Sasha!
© Mick Wu - We love you Sasha!

At first sight we were impressed by Sasha's lovely curves. We did not know her name but, the immediate attraction was there. I got first ride. Let's go to Target.

Load up on snacks and water for the drive at Targét.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Cheese Balls!
© Matt Hoffmann - Cheese Balls!

Cruise on down. Eat at a decent Mexican restaurant in Price. Kyle makes a pit stop:

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Kyle pees
© Matt Hoffmann - Kyle pees

Arrive in Moab psyched! And hungry. City Market to meet Jeremy and Michael. Stock up on supplies. I'm sure we won't forget anything.... Drive down to the Creek. It's about to get good.

It's dark.. The road is bumpy. Where the hell are we going? Were we supposed to turn there? Where the F is this campsite? Finally (2 hours later) we arrive at the Bridger Jack Campsite #6. Our home for the next week and a half. The full moon has risen given us enough light. The setup goes well.. Mick and Matt together, G and Kyle together, Michael and Jeremy together. I promptly pass out and start snoring. Mick follows suit 30 seconds later. I don't know what everyone else did.

Day 3 (Saturday):

Psyched we wake up... Let's eat something and get climbing. Let's make some oatmeal... Where's the stove at? Ah, here it is... Where's the fuel at?................ Damn! Well, I guess we're driving back into town sooner than expected. We'll manage on bread and stuff today and head in tonight. Bread with peanut butter and banana's for breakfast.

G and Mick poop in a bags to much fanfare

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Poop in a bag!
© Matt Hoffmann - Poop in a bag!

Load up the bags, let's go climbing. Drive to Supercrack parking lot and hike up to Donnely Canyon. Kyle and I are psyched on Chocolate corner but, it is taken. Jeremy takes first lead on Binou's crack (5.9). While he was doing that, Kyle and I walked over the chocolate corner and waited to hop on it.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Binou's Crack
© Matt Hoffmann - Binou's Crack

Matt barely pulls out a flash for my first route of the trip (way harder than expected). Woooo! Kyle has a go and ends up hanging a little. The route was much harder than expected. I walk back over and hop on Binou's crack, a nice easy climb with lots of rests.

Walk over to Generic Crack. This is what we are really here for. Splitter. Huge flaring crack. Perfect hands. Matt is up first. Rack up with 9 yellow camalots and a couple reds and blues. Start up slowly. Accelerating as the confidence grows.. This climb should be rated! I felt like this climb flew by. Hand jam, foot jam, hand jam, foot jam, place a yellow. Rinse and repeat. Super fun climb with 2 good rests and locker hands the whole way. This is why we came to Indian Creek!

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Matt on Generic Crack
© Mick Wu - Matt on Generic Crack

Mick hops on generic crack after me. Cruises it M Wu style. Smiling like a fool at the anchors he lowers down. People are getting psyched! Jeremy gets on it, ready to rock. Starts to pull a little bulge and.... comes off, hard. Takes a nasty hit on his heel. Yikes! Lower lower lower. Kyle (our medic) starts to examine him as follows:

Kyle: Where is the pain
Jeremy: Mostly in the heel, the ankle doesn't really hurt.
Kyle: Does it hurt if I turn it this way?
Jeremy: No
Kyle: how about this
Jeremy: AAAAAAA Ow!
Kyle: hmmm... Which way was that again *turns the same way*
Jeremy: OW!!!@#@!#!@#$%@#!%!

We were pretty worried at the time but, that was kind of funny.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Moab Hospital
© Matt Hoffmann - Moab Hospital

Kyle has no idea what's wrong but, doesn't think it's too serious. Kyle, Mick and Jer start walking back to the car. Michael, G and I stay to grab the packs and gear. I run up Generic crack, pulling on gear like crazy to get the anchors fast. Down to the car. Well, we had to go back to Moab to get fuel anyway... Head to Moab hospital. Turns out it's just a nasty bruise. No breakage and no sprains. Phew! Load up on supplies, and, since we're in town, eat at the diner. Drive back in the dark again. Where the *@#$@# was that turn? Manage to find our campsite and crash happily in our sleeping bags.

Day 4 (Sunday):

Wake up. Hey! We can make food with this fuel we have :). Apparently G doesn't like oatmeal, though. Bread for him. Head back towards Donnely. Kyle and G really wanted to get on Generic crack since they didn't have the chance on Saturday. Hike up. Mick stops for 30 minutes to take pictures of plants and lizards. He really isn't interested in the climbing at all :).

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu
© Mick Wu

Kyle hops on Generic crack, no warm up. Styles it really well with only 2 takes (it's a long long route). Mick and I walk over to a 2 pitch 5.8, 5.10 the naked and the dead) that I get on first. Take for a second on the 5.8 since I was confused. Managed to flash the 5.10 hand crack into a chimney. Sandy, painful, fun! Mick cruises it after me making me look bad :P. We set up a TR on the 5.10 while G is working generic crack and Michael TRs generic crack. We also set up a TR on a short 5.11 layback. Brutal!

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Kyle on Generic Crack
© Mick Wu - Kyle on Generic Crack

It's amazing how exhausted you get after just a couple of routes in the creek. Everyone does some Top rope laps and chills in the sun (actually trying to get out of the sun)

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Matt Chills
© Mick Wu - Matt Chills

Michael, G and Jer headed back to camp but, Mick and I were keen to have a go on one more route.. Incredible hand crack!!! We hiked to the other side of the canyon found what we thought was incredible hand crack. It sure looked like an incredible hand crack. Turns out it was 3AM crack which is pretty freaking amazing in it's own right. 30 meters of gently overhanging hands to wide hands (almost fist). Mick fired up it and had a bit of a flub because he thought he didn't have enough gear but, climbed it beautifully. Mick stayed up to take pictures and I went up. This is the most pumped I have ever been a climb, I could barely place gear and barely place the rope. Unfortunately I didn't protect myself well enough because of this but, it turned out ok as I pulled hard and sent it all the way to to top.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Matt on 3AM crack
© Matt Hoffmann - Matt on 3AM crack

We finish for the day and head back to camp where we have an amazing meal of couscous and vegetables. Delicious! (thanks Mick). We also happily work on our beer, scotch, bourbon and whiskey. Slept well that evening.

Day 5 (Monday):

Rest day. Wake up slowly. Have a nice breakfast. Drive into town to fuel up and pick up all the other things we forgot to buy. Chill out in town.

Drive out to Canyonlands Island in the sky. What a cool place. We hiked around a little. We took lots of pictures and generally just enjoyed the beauty of the desert.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Canyonlands
© Mick Wu - Canyonlands

Head back into town.... SHOWER!!! Sooooo good. Mike, Kyle and Mick were smart and brought bathing suits and went for a swim at the aquatic center. While they swam, we did pull ups at the gym. We realized we probably wouldn't be strong enough to send anything else :D. Then we fuelled up at the Moab brewery. Yum Yum!

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Pull ups at the aquatic center
© Matt Hoffmann - Pull ups at the aquatic center

Back to camp to get ready for a couple more days of climbing. Time to step it up.

Day 6 (Tuesday):

Wake up super relaxed from our showers and rest day. Time to rock it. We're heading to Way Rambo.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Offwidth at Way Rambo
© Mick Wu - Offwidth at Way Rambo

Load up the cars, start driving based on the iffy directions we have. Park near some other cars. Thank goodness we ran into some other climbers and they told us we were way off base and had to keep driving several kilometers. Phew, saved.

Drive, slowly, figure out where the hell we are going. Finally found it. Hell of an approach, though!

Hike up and we have the crag pretty much to ourselves and 2 other climbers. Score! I hop on Blue Sun and send it. Super fun locker hands with a good rest near the top. G makes a solid effort on an offwidth but, when it expands to #6 size he can't protect it any further. Did awesome! Lowered off and another climber was nice enough to put up a top rope for us on it. Everyone did some laps on that. Kyle, G, Mick and myself all did Blue Sun on lead.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Mick on Blue Sun
© Matt Hoffmann - Mick on Blue Sun

I walked around the corner and did a brutal unnamed 5.10. The description was hands to wide hands but, neglected to mention the several meter fist section and the several meter offwidth, almost chimney section. Got pretty spicy at the end with my single #4! Mick did this climb later and brought a #5. We both sent it in good thrutching style. :)

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Mick on an unnamed 5.10
© Matt Hoffmann - Mick on an unnamed 5.10

Packed up and Kyle wanted to tick Reau Cham Beau (mostly because of the name) so he hopped on that. Michael followed and cleaned (his first anchor cleaning! Great Mike!).

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Kyle on Reau Cham Beau
© Mick Wu - Kyle on Reau Cham Beau

We hiked down and Mick wanted to get artsy...

Mick: "Grab the barbed wire"
Matt: *skeptical look*
Mick: "It'll look cool!"
Matt: "Ok...."
Mick: "Awesome. Now don't move and look serious"

Anyway, the pictures turned out pretty cool (see album once I post it)

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Artsy!
© Mick Wu - Artsy!

Headed back to camp and chilled for the evening. Great day and we were all pretty worked. Eat an amazing meal of grilled mushroom and veggies, sausages and burgers. Amazing! We also packed for the slightly epic multi pitch this evening... I apologize to everyone for being difficult while we were packing guys, not my finest moment.

Day 7 (Wednesday):

Ancient Art Day... Michael's first multi pitch experience, G's first mini epic, mud climbing, rapping in the dark, getting totally lost, crazy wind. This was a fun day.

Wake up and head out early (we don't want to wait in line!). Beautiful drive through Moab along the Colorado River to arrive at the Fisher towers. Really cool hike in

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Sunset
© Matt Hoffmann - Sunset

Arrive at the base to see a huge line up on the whole route. Groups of 4, 4, 3 and 2... Yikes! Well, we have all day, let's chill at the base and not add to the line up. We're hanging out. It's pretty nice out except for the wind. Someone gets to the top and we have a pretty good view point... Wow, his hair is really blowing in the wind. Alright...

We watch some people rapping, wow... Lots of wind. Those ropes are almost horizontal... Maybe this isn't the best idea today? Nah, we'll be fine.

After a good couple hours of waiting (note this is only a 4 pitch climb) we start up the first pitch, 2 groups of 3 (Matt, Jer and G) (Mick, Kyle and Mike). Matt and Mick lead up to the ledge below the third pitch pretty quickly. Unfortunately this is the ledge you rap from as well. 10+ people on the ledge, some rapping, some climbing, most waiting. This is turning into a cluster^#$@ pretty quickly...

It's all ok, it's a little cold, the sun is kind of setting but, everyone else is off the climb. Matt leads up the short 3rd pitch to the sidwalk... This is where it get interesting...

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Jer killing it!
© Matt Hoffmann - Jer killing it!

Exposed as all heck, G, Jer and I are clutching to this piece of hard mud getting berated by the wind. Jer says "I can do it". I put him on belay and he somehow manages his way through the howling wind to the summit. Seriously proud, dude.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Jer on the summit
© Matt Hoffmann - Jer on the summit

I TR it to the top of the corkscrew. G said screw it and I rapped off. Rap down to the ledge where Mike, Mick and Kyle are shivering like crazy. Mick heads up the short 3rd pitch and brings up the other 2. G, Jer and I are now freezing on the ledge as we watch the sunlight dwindle... We'll be rapping in the dark.

At this point, it's just too windy. Kyle and Mick talk about going for it but, in the end make the (wise) decision to come back down. The route is crazy exposed and with the wind it's just not worth it.

The rap was pretty intense. A full 60m to the ground through a chimney out onto a face. Fireman's belay for everyone. At this point we're tired, it's dark, it kind of sucks.... Where is the damn trail? Needless to say we expected to be heading out in the daylight (15 - 20 minute hike). It ended up taking an hour and half to find the car. Big group hug at the end.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Matt on the summit
© Matt Hoffmann - Matt on the summit

Arrive back at the campsite well after midnight to discover... The wind has ravaged our campsite. One tent blew away and our neighbors saved it for us. Sand is everywhere. In our bags, on our stuff, in our tents. We dealt with it and crashed for the night.

Day 8 (Thursday):

It was a long night the day before... The storm is still here, it's getting cold. Our worst fear for the entire trip has arrived... Rain. At first, it wasn't too much we thought. If it clears up we'll be ok to climb. We drove out to supercrack thinking it would best. Packed to the brim with people. Sigh. Maybe we should go to Optimator. It's clearing up? Drive out to Optimator Wall and the skies open up. Kyle does his best to banish the cloud:

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Away storm clouds!
© Mick Wu - Away storm clouds!

Ah well... There is one route. We drive back to Battle of the Bulge and find the cave route (it is sheltered by a massive pillar). Red camalots for 25 meters in a corner. Good fun cramming. I hop on it and fall 3 times but, make it to the top. Mick is the only one of us to be able to flash this one.

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Kyle on the cave route
© Mick Wu - Kyle on the cave route

We pack up for the day as we are nervous to climb anything after rain (it weakens the sandstone). We all nervously watch the sky hoping we'll be able to climb tomorrow.

We start to make our pasta and figure out our plans for the next day when a truck rolls into our campsite (note the campsite is huge) and middle aged tiny woman hops out. We all lok curiously as she walks up to our fire and opens:

Woman: "Hi guys, I just arrived and this is my favorite campsite. I'm just wondering how much longer you are staying, I can set up in another site for now and move my stuff here when you are gone. I'll be staying for 6 weeks"
Us: "No problem, we're heading out tomorrow. You can set up your tent tonight if you like. We have pasta if you'd like something to eat, too"
Woman: "Great!"

Now, to preface this, we were feeling pretty badass after our little mini epic, our climbing in the creek, generally just being awesome... This was about to change.

Turns out the woman's name is Peggy Oki (check her out). She is eating with us and we're all chatting... It turns out she is just about the coolest person in the entire world. Over the course of the evening she talked about how she is kind of a famous skateboarder, an awesome surfer, a pretty hardcore climber, an activist for ocean life, knows about entymology (enough to impress Mick) and is super super super nice. Peggy seriously lifted our spirits after a rough 2 days. She rocks.

Eventually we went to bed saying goodnight to Peggy.

Day 9 (Friday):

We had decided the night before to pack up this morning so, on waking up we looked at the weather. Clear enough to climb! No Rain! Yes!!!! We collapsed our tents, packed out bags took care of everything in the campsite and drove out to supercrack buttress (leave no trace!). We encountered many a cow on the road to supercrack

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Mooooooo
© Mick Wu - Mooooooo

We head up and Mick is super keen to get on supercrack. He styles it with no difficulty. Blue C4s the whole way, wide hands and fun bruises on your arms. Beautiful Mick!

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Matt on Supercrack!
© Matt Hoffmann - Matt on Supercrack!

I'm keen to get on Incredible hand crack and run over there with my rack of yellow c4s. Such a fun route. Should be rated!

I happily have a chance to get on supercrack before the weather starts to looks more and more threatening. Crazy fun wide hands all the way to the sky!

We called it an early day and headed to Moab to check out Arches national park. We were pretty wiped so I think it was less fun than it could have been but, still very cool

Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Double O Arch
© Mick Wu - Double O Arch

We headed to the blue pig (blues and bbq restaurant) to celebrate Mike's birthday on Monday and happily got a motel room for the evening (showers!). Pretty happy with our trip we were mostly quiet and reflected on a seriously cool place.

Day 10 (Saturday):

Home time. Mike and Jer took their vehicle to catch flights out of Grand Junction and Kyle drove us up to Salt Lake City where we checked out the Mormon temple and downtown SLC (pretty quiet).

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Mormon temple
© Matt Hoffmann - Mormon temple

It's a bit... sterile. We got a drink to kill some time and headed to the airport. Sadly we had to part with Sasha after 1700 kilometers and some good times. Miranda was less missed as she did not grow on Kyle (don't worry Miranda, you have a place in my heart).

Rock Climbing Photo: © Matt Hoffmann - Yum
© Matt Hoffmann - Yum

The flight home was uneventful and the drive home from Seattle was dark but, we all (except G) managed to stay awake until the 2AM arrival home. Just enough time to catch some sleep before the sun run :D.

It was an amazing trip. Seriously amazing and we were incredibly lucky in almost every aspect. Thanks G, Jer, K Wu, Mickey and Mike for making it so great.


Rock Climbing Photo: © Mick Wu - Don't ask...
© Mick Wu - Don't ask...

Matt's Tick List:

Binou's Crack (5.9) - Flash
Chocolate Corner (5.9) - Flash
Generic Crack (5.10-) - Flash
The Naked and the Dead (2 pitches, done as 1) (5.8, 5.10) - One take on the 5.8 pitch. Flashed the 5.10 pitch
Unnamed at Donnely (5.11) - Top rope hangfest
3AM Crack (5.10) - Flash* (didn't protect this one well enough and barely made it but still sent! Hence the *)
Blue Sun (5.10-) - Flash
Unnamed at Way Rambo (5.10) - Flash
Ancient Art (4 pitch 5.8) - Led first 3 pitches, TR'd the last one
Cave Route (5.10+) - 3 falls
Incredible Hand Crack (5.10) - Flash
Supercrack (5.10) - Flash
Matt Hoffmann
From Squamish
Joined Apr 19, 2012
20 points
Apr 19, 2012
Nice! Dom
From New Brunswick Canada
Joined Dec 8, 2007
1,075 points
Apr 20, 2012
Great TR! It got me totally stoked for my trip there in May! NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Joined Dec 6, 2009
15 points
Apr 20, 2012
Excellent TR! Great way to spend my first half hour at work today :) Jon H
From Boulder
Joined Nov 24, 2009
13 points
Jul 25, 2012
I'm a bit behind the times - I see this is dated from the spring but...

Great TR! You guys sound like you had a good time - thanks for sharing!

From New Haven, CT
Joined May 13, 2006
286 points
Oct 5, 2012
Drive out to Canyonlands Island in the sky. What a cool place. We hiked around a little. We took lots of pictures and generally just enjoyed the beauty of the desert.
Joined Oct 3, 2012
0 points
Oct 6, 2012
Man It looks like you had a great trip. Mike-R
From springfield, Mo
Joined Dec 3, 2011
35 points
Dec 1, 2012
Awesome trip, guys. Thanks for sharing the photos and the stories! Cody M
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Oct 3, 2010
65 points

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