The Tower.

Ski season overlaps with the climbing season in Moab and this is what sparked the idea to do a climb ski trip. Colter Hinchliffe has been rock climbing for a long time and he asked me to join him on this trip.  I knew the climbing would be challenging, this would be my second trip to Moab to climb and lets just say the first one was a learning experience.  That first trip I promised I would come back and learn from my mistakes and this seemed the perfect opportunity. Fall and Spring are the best times to climb in Southern Utah, not to hot nor to cold, it was perfect timing to get to mix up the busy ski season with another fun outdoor activity.

This was going to be hands down the most challenging climb to date and on top of that, my first multi-pitch climb.  A lot of people have done this climb before and it was a 5 star climb according to Colter.  If you want to see this climb done by a professional and without ropes just click here.  Yeah, when I saw this video after climbing it I was dumbfounded.  I can’t even  begin to imagine being on that rock face without ropes.  Anyways there were scary moments and there were moments of pure joy.  Watching Colter take a whipper on the 3rd pitch really woke me up, not that I was asleep but fatigue was building as we climbed higher and higher.  It took a few hours to climb so going from climbing to belaying and back to climbing multiple times took its toll mentally as well as physically.  The breeze was stronger than expected but should have been based on the location of the tower.  The wind was consistent at times, and also made communication tricky when we were lowering ropes during transfer times when all I could see was a rope and Colters head poking over a ledge 80 feet above me.

It was good to have Colter along who had done the climb before, and he was giving me tips and along the way.  He was patient, which was helpful given even as the sun was dropping from the spring sky rather quickly.  I used every skill I have ever learned in my short climbing career on this ascent.  Chimney climbing, hand crack climbing, finger crack climbing, sporty moves to get on top of the rounded summit that was barely big enough to park a car.  It all came into play on this climb and it was a true challenge for me.  The euphoria of being at the top of the tower in perfect light watching the sunset was capped off with our friend making a safe fly by of us on his way back to Colorado. It was a fun climb and I would do it again, well maybe try a different one so I have something to compare it to!

Colter Hinchcliffe and Tim Durtschi in Moab for Colter and tgr's goal to explore the LaSal range
You can see Jahman in the center of this photo standing Tall with the infamous Castelton Tower far left, here we approach it from the north end of the Lasal range. Photo: Nic Alegre

rockclimbsagablogdurtschi2Keys to a successful climb? Smile and Hydrate, and wear a lucky t-shirt.

rockclimbsagablogdurtschi3Preperations, making sure we have enough gear and the right gear to make it up the 4 pitches.

Climb in Moab DurtschiColter leads and I belay from halfway up the wall.

durtschirockclimbmoabAnother perspective…

13109083_1137731022954902_807860130_n-1and another perspective!

13166691_1611801855804892_762416921_n-1Standing tall.

img_0953Getting buzzed #N300AE

rockclimbsagablogdurtschiThe summer of climbing did not stop in Moab, here is a shot from a climb in Leavenworth WA, nice to climb with some trees around.

     Indian Creek may be the crack climbing capital of the world, but it’s not the only place in the world where you can find crack climbs.  Smith Rocks in Oregon is home to its version of crack climbing, basalt columns.  This type of volcanic rock offers a similar experience to the Moab sandstone with its own set of challenges.  It is also in close proximity to Mt. Bachelor and I actually went skiing a few days after this climb. Crooked River carves its way around the rock formations of smith rock and cuts deep into the Lava rock layers.  A few miles past this climbing zone the canyon walls shoot up to 300 feet.  I was lucky enough to Bungee jump with Central Oregon Bungee Adventures from the Crooked River High Bridge and you can watch that here.  I had never jumped before and was not sure what to expect, but jumping 250 feet was thrilling and you really see that river below you come up fast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Basalt Columns stand tall with nice cracks inbewteen for your hands and feet.




                                                                                2 Chains!