I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loaded up the truck for a weekend trip with excess gear in hopes that we’d get to use it. You know, toss the climbing gear in, just in case we have time to send a route or two. Or the cumbersome addition of the bike on the rack, only to run out out of time and not get to use it. Well this past weekend wasn’t one of those times. Just like so many of those other trips, I loaded up the truck with all the gear to have an epic weekend, and this time we used it all! It was an adventurer’s dream come true! Let me share.
With a little bit of good timing, and Courtney’s work taking the whole company camping trip, we planned to make the most out of the long Easter weekend with Friday off. Bike, hike, climb, float, you name it! We packed for it and were ready for to do anything that the weekend brought. Mind you, the temps were going to be in the 80s, so we just wanted to maximize the warm weather.
The plan was to head down Thursday night, swinging through SLC to pickup Courtney’s co-worker’s husband (plus their dog), and make camp on some BLM land in Moab. This was going to be a little risky, since it was the ever popular, over crowded, Jeep Week. But we were able to head to my go-to spot and find a prime spot that we kept for the whole weekend.
Friday morning, Adam and I planned to go Mountain Biking in the cool morning air. More-so worried about the dogs lasting in the afternoon heat, we were at the empty 7-Up trailhead by 8am. After looking at the trail map, we decided on making a series of short loops back to the truck in case the dogs needed a break or couldn’t go any further, but as it turned out, they were perfectly fine the whole time! We dropped into Bull Run first, getting used to our bikes again since it was both of our first times back on a mountain bike since the fall. Yet, once we hit the first downhill section, we opened them up full throttle! The trail was rock, technical, and an absolute blast. It was over 600ft of descending right from the truck. The dogs were having a blast too, running out in front on the climbs, and trying to catch us on the downhills. We ended up linking up with Getaway right at my favorite climb on the trail. And after lapping back to the truck a few times, and heading out onto 7-Up, we were toast. We ended up riding around 10 miles and 1K vert. Not a bad way to start a morning, weekend, or even the mountain bike season!
From there we met up with Adam’s wife at Wall Street. The go-to climbing area closest to Moab. While the pups slept under the shade of the only tree nearby, Adam belayed me up a sporty 5.9 called Brown Banana. Having not climbed much sandstone, this proved to be less comfortable than I thought on lead. Not to mention, I got stumped at the crux for about 4min before figuring out how to undercling the hole in the wall and smear my way passed it!
The day was finally capped off when I met up with Courtney after she finished her canyoneering adventure. On our way out of town, back to camp, we stopped by the put-in to the Colorado River by Lions Park. In an attempt to cool off from the desert sun, we pumped up the SUP board and got into the water. Turns out, it was frigid! Gregor didn’t seem to mind though and kept jumping into the river to fetch the sticks we threw. Over and over again, we played fetch until he was shaking so much from the cold. Even then, he still wanted to keep playing. But it was time to head back to camp and get that fire going. Another night spent under the stars in the desert.
The next morning, Court and I started the morning off the best way we know how. Hot breakfast over a campfire. On the menu was the usual eggs, hash browns, and sausage scrambled all together in a dutch oven. The skies looked much different than the day before. Rather than bluebird skies the entire day, there was a thick layer of clouds hovering over the plateau. Normally disappointed, we couldn’t have been more stoked. Finally reprieve from the intense desert sun. And with the cooler temps (70F), we headed back to Wall Street to send some routes.
Court, having never lead anything before, not even in a gym, picked up the sharp end and lead her first pitch on a 5.5 called Practical Religion. It was awesome, and I couldn’t have been more stoked for her. I followed her up and rapped off from the bolts, as it is bad practice to lower off bolts in climbing areas with sand. The rope tends to wear through the rings 10x faster than normal. After I got down, Court was ready to lead the next route to our left called Yogini (5.7 80ft). To say this was easy would be a bold lie. Like I mentioned before, if you haven’t climbed much on sandstone, you won’t realize how hard it is to get used to smearing your feet onto blank portions of rock. The rubber will hold you, but as soon as you hesitate or relax a foot, you will slide down the rock like cheese on a grater. Yet, she just hopped right onto the route and climbed it like no-one’s business.
Our last climb of the day was on a really fun-looking route called Neopolitan (5.7 90ft). The highlight of the climb is a roof-like chunk of rock in the middle that you need to undercling traverse across before climbing over it. Mixing all the route styles we had done so far in Moab, this climb had it all. Smooth rock faces where you just had to trust your shoes, techy crack climbing, and “fantastic” crimps at the top before reaching the bolts. Gregor, of course, did not get to climb or have any fun during this, but he was a great sport hanging out at the crag. All the other climbers didn’t seem to mind him either.
Starting to get hungry, we headed along the Colorado to find a spot near the water to eat lunch. We eventually found an outflow drain that lead to the brown, murky waters where we had our go-to meats and cheese lunch while Gregor wandered around. The best part about our lunch wasn’t the food though. It was what we noticed as we were leaving. We had parked by a few cars, but there was no one nearby to be found. Then we realized, just as we were leaving, a few people we high-lining over the canyon! High-lining is like slack lining except you’re a hundred feet, or more, off the ground. It’s a wild sport that looks insane to me, but still awesome to witness from the ground.
Instead of hitting up the river again, we decided on heading into town to get some delicious gelato from Moab Brewery. Needless to say, the frozen treat was far better than any river could hope to be. I got the cookies and cream flavor and it exceeded every expectation. From there, we headed back to camp on the BLM land for the evening. We hung out, hiked around, drank some beer, and just enjoyed the relaxing feeling that hanging out in the desert brings. Not to mention it felt great to not have to work on the condo for a few days.
3 nights and 4 days in Moab were spent climbing, hiking, biking, and relaxing. I’d call that an epic weekend. And that doesn’t count the canyoneering Courtney did with her work! Gregor was so tired on the drive home on Sunday, I’m not sure he ever woke up during the drive home. I still think he gets bummed out when we come home because he loves the desert more than we do!
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.