Saturday, December 3, 2011
Rock and Snow
We were driving North out of Salt Lake City an hour before the sun broke. The plan was formed the night before over a late cup of coffee and consisted of driving three hours to City of Rocks, Idaho, climb "Theater of Shadows" and drive back.
My buddy Rose and I hiked the approach to Jackson's Thumb Spire under overcast skies and falling temperatures and began racking up for the route under falling snow. The 5.7 slab which would normally cruise to the first belay ledge collected pellets of snow and ice on every feature. I belayed Rose up to join me at the first anchor where the wind cranked higher and the spindrift poured down on us. With us we carried one rope and because of the nature of the route and the long pitches our options for retreat were limited. The weather worsened. From our current position on the first ledge we could rappel off the side of Jackson's Thumb Spire or continue up where our next opportunity for retreat would be off the top of the spire. If we continued the only way down would be up.
We had come far. We continued to climb.