Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Zion with a pregnant wife

View from atop Lady Mtn

With Annie 5 months pregnant I tried to create the optimum Presidents Day weekend in Zion that didn't require multipitch climbing or a significant running requirement, which is difficult since that's all I'm capable of concocting. Annie is pretty easy to please as anything warmer than 20 degrees and less than 10 ft of snow tends to make her happy.

Saturday we hiked the previously elusive-to-us Lady Mountain. Without some internet beta you are likely not going to know about let alone find this one. Lady Mountain is the discontinued version of Angels Landing. You can read the history on the link above if you wish, but basically the park strung up a bunch of cables and manufactured the rock to allow summit access to the average hiker, but disbanded it due to upkeep issues and the pain of rescuing scared hikers. Its overall a really straightforward hike on a bomber trail with some marked scrambling and a couple 5th class sections(maybe some trivial 5.6 like Tom suggests). Anyone with novice climbing skills should be able to do this sans gear easily. A great off the radar hike to beat the crowds.

A look up at Lady Mountain
The start. Look for the lonely boulder behind Annie

Amazing how nature created these perfect footholds! 

The first 5th class section. Does it look trivial? It is. 

Brush assist up the snow filled slot. Does it look trivial? It wasn't. 

2nd 5th class section. Does it look trivial? In an awkward way yes

The top

A very artistic view of the summit compass. Don't be jealous Kimber Hansen

Better approach beta than Tom: From lower emerald pools parking, cross the bridge and head left. Recent rain washed out the upper section of this trail so technically bypassing the closed sign is in order. Switchback up and right through the dirt avy debris and hike for 1/2 mile on the intact trail. Rather than going to the distinct corner as Tom suggests, look for an obvious cairned trail, 100 feet past the Rockfall interpretive sign, heading uphill that will take you right to the first scrambling section.

With plenty of time left in the day, we hiked up Hidden Canyon which I had never explored. Lots of snow up there. Would be fun to go from the top.

Get your splits on pregnant woman! 

2 slots in the last month that I've ventured into containing snow

Finally, I decided to give Angels an honest time trial with Strava. I waited till 5:30 pm when most of the traffic seemed to have slowed. I pounded it up to Scout lookout in just over 20 min, and hit the top in 29:30, beating the previous strava record by 6 seconds. Wahoo! I'm legit! As I fell my way down the cables in a one winged shot-down bird kind of way, my finger got caught in the chains on a 90 degree turn and it got torqued in a non-anatomical fashion. I yelped in pain and tried to avoid losing my balance and becoming the 7th person to die falling off the cables, ignored it and ran back down for a CTC time of 50:37 though Strava says :55 which is total BS. My finger later ballooned up quite large and hurt to touch it. My cragging plans for Monday disappeared. Hopefully its nothing bad. Getting xrays would be the smart thing to do.

I think I'll be back with whoever willing dressed up as angels to time trial this thing and get a good laugh from the tourons.
Monday I did a fast lap on the Zen trail in :50 minutes in the morning and then during our non-climbing brainstorm session Annie suggested we run out to Kolob Arch, which is 14 miles RT. Its pretty flat so she thought she could run a little. She did great despite the constant baby bouncing and we did the trip in 4 hours or so. This got my really psyched to give the full Zion traverse another go as this section was as gorgeous as the Zion section is. The actual Kolob arch is not really that cool, its an arch, they all look like arches, but we had a great time exploring new terrain.
Fantastic colors. Reminicent of Bryce

Does this arch look unimpressive? It was

Cool stream/clay running with great vistas

A welcome sign. We'll be back for more. 

Always more Zion to explore....