16 July 2009

Climbing in Maple Canyon, Big Cottonwood and a Bat Attack in City of Rocks

Starting w/ a camp east of the San Rafael Swell (map), in Utah, this was a great trip. We climbed a few days at Maple Canyon, just west of Freedom (map). The camping has no views except trees - which makes it marginal (in my opinion) but the climbing makes up for it. Amazingly steep climbing on cobbles. My arms were worthless by the 3rd day.

Next up was Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City. This was new terrain for us. A family we met at Maple recommended a 3 pitch 5.6 route on Dead Snag Crag. It was an excellent pick - see first picture. Even better, Julia made a friend at camp. We had a nice camp in the Aspens and the kids ran around with a compass and whistle so they wouldn't get lost. The noisy road thru the canyon was the only detraction. Many people must live near the ski areas above.

We drove over the pass to Park City the next day. Pretty area. Ski areas everywhere! We stocked up at the farmer's market and and checked out the 2002 Olympic ski jumps. The Australian team was training. They practice jumping into an aerated pool. When they came off the big jump, this was pretty exciting. There's a great ski museum too.

Onto City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho. This is a special place. It's way rural and very beautiful. One very unusual thing happened here - bat attack!

I had climbed up about a 100 ft up to the belay. A bat lands on the rock in front of me, shows it's fangs and starts squeaking at me. It doesn't stop. I start yelling at it. Mia yells up that she's climbing and she doesn't get the appropriate response because I'm busy w/ the bat. (I'm not making this up! ) I look down to make sure she's not climbing and then see that the bat is gone .. but it's not over. The bat had jumped onto my shirt. With one hand, I pull my shirt away from my body. With the other hand I start pummelling it w/ my climbing gear. The bat is still there so I grab it by the tail and toss it. It plummets to the ground without opening it's wings. I figure it's dead. I belay Mia up as weather moves in. We rappel off to avoid the rain and I search for the bat. I find it and it's dead. Mia, and my daughter Julia, wander over and the bat starts moving. That's all the sign we need. We get out of there.

We had a couple of thunderstorms accompanied by series of rainbows. Oh yeah, the climbing was good too. Look at the last picture and you'll see Julia about half way up.

The album of pics is here!

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