Sunday, November 30, 2014

Moab Weeks 10 - 14: Shifting Gears

Moab.  We made it.  Didn't get profiled.  One month here should be plenty for climbing the pure cracks of Indian Creek and exploring the mountain biking.  Only one problem - one month is not enough.  Not even close.  So much to do, so little time.

Moab is experiencing a mountain biking renaissance - 300 + miles of beautifully designed single track trails.  The trails are designed by an active volunteer group - Trail Mix.  They seem to have a good relationship with the BLM and other agencies.  One of the facilities, Dead Horse State Park, was about to close due to lack of visitors.  Trail Mix and state park employees built 30 or so miles of single track trails there and now you can barely find a place to park.  The trails are IMBA designed and goofy fun. 

Massive amounts of beautiful, sandstone and vast, silent, open space.  They call it slick rock here.  The rock is not actually slick - it's sandstone.  The traction is surprisingly good, which is critical since sections of the trails are steeeeep!   
The rock formations are unusual.  

As you can see, we're on hardtail bikes - no rear suspension.  As a result, I'm now three inches shorter.  Brenda got smarter (OK, she's always smarter), and bought a new bike.  New to her anyway.  Full carbon, full suspension.  His name is Gonzo.


We can't forget the crack climbing, although there were days when we wanted to.  Maybe as many as three thousand cracks to climb and us with weak crack skills.  But that's what we came for- to learn to climb pure cracks with no or few holds outside the crack.    We got schooled by Indian Creek.
We also got schooled by the crowds.  It's amazing how people like to group up in the vast open space of the desert.  Certain climbs were so popular you had to wait in line.  They were "trending".  Other areas, such as the one above, have, according to the guide book "fallen out of favor" and no one was there.  Ah, solitude.  So we endeavored to "anti-trend" and became connoisseurs of the obscure.  That worked pretty well towards the end of the month.  We'll be back.

Unlike at the New River Gorge, there are a few holds outside the cracks, but very few.  It's all in the technique and every different crack size, angle and adjacent rock requires a different technique.

 You have to stick your hands and feet in the cracks.  This can be a painful part of the schooling.

We called these "mangkles".
On some cracks, you only get the tip of your toes in it.  Pretty exacting and interesting.
Now we're off to Vegas for controlled risk taking - climbing at Red Rocks.

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