Astonishingly 18 years ago, I found myself, my brother and our friend Brett up on the top of Arm and Hammer's infamous Zion Curtain. It met every hope back then, and I still vividly remember it. I was climbing a lot more back then, was younger and my oldest kid was only 1 year old. "Back then," there was no "mountain project," or other blogs that provided beta on routes. Luckily inspiring climbers like Brian Smoot and the Ruckman brothers had wonderfully documented routes in their respective Wasatch Guidebooks.
A lot has changed over those nearly 20 years in the world of climbing and the proliferation of information, however yesterday, Jason Dorais and I found that the Arm and Hammer luckily hadn't.
We linked the first two 5.7 pitches of the Ellsworth Mc route into one. Then indulged in the 5.10 A0 tension traverse pitch. Jason climbed up the Zion Curtain with nothing but smiles. Pitch four, 5.9, following the ZC pitch was one of our favorites with the varied mix of crack climbing diversity. Pitch five, 5.easy took us to the top of the route. We did 4 rappels I believe. We racked up doubles to #3 and one #4 which came in handy at the top of pitch 4 on the left side of the roof. At the base of the climb, before we roped up, we discovered we had forgotten our wired nuts. I was freaked! As an old school guy, (who still frequently uses stoppers) before we started I just stared at Jason. He looked at me and said "today we are going to make you a modern day climber old man."
The route delivered on every hope.
|JD looking for stoppers|
|Me starting the Tension Traverse Pitch|
|JD coming up the bolt line on the spectacular first Tension Traverse Pitch|
|Moving over to the ever sacred Zion Curtain|
|As good as it gets|
|Me start of pitch 4|
|Brilliant day. Top of last pitch|
|One of several rappels|