Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Shuneshank Redemption

Shunes buttress, arete on left

Injury has plagued me for the past 2 months. My last visit to Zion resulted in a fast time on Angels Landing but an inadvertent PIP finger sprain of my left pointer finger. Apparently these sprains aren't just a quick fix, as the ortho hand guys at work say it takes up to 6 months before its back to normal. This is just not acceptable. I haven't really been able to climb like I want since February.

Then two weeks ago I injured my achilles on the Wedge run with Steve, so running as been limited. Basically I have been unable to do my two favorite activities at the level I want for some time. Injuries suck. The smart thing to do would be to let these guys heal up, which I'm trying to do by biking, but likely not good enough. I had to cancel my 50 mile Zion Traverse plans with Steve due to the achilles, but I thought my sprained finger could hold up to some trad. Or I convinced myself it had to.

A year or so ago Annie and I went down to climb Shunes buttress for her birthday(my idea) in September, but it was unseasonably cold that day(high 60) so we bailed due to the north facing cold(easy excuse) and fear(always present). We had a fun time on some sunny 5.10's but I needed redemption. So Annie was nice enough to let Court and I have a go at it while she did some hiking around the park as 7 pitches of 5.10 OW and 5.11 finger crack wasn't in her capacity at the moment.

Late Friday night we found our standard free dirt camping spot has now succumbed to the same fate as Mosquito Cove and Coalpit Wash: closed. But we luckily found a new spot nearby that will hopefully stay open for years to come. We started up from the Grotto on a really nice approach trail(best one in Zion?) to the base with temps expected in the 80's. Perfect.
The shunes trail leads right past this sign. Weird. 

I almost pulled off an onsight of my designated 11+ corner pitch but the Zion funk near the top awoke my pump and fear and I took. Pansy.
Court in the short chimney of pitch 1

Enjoying the Zion funky cracks up at the top of Pitch 1

Court had fun on the 5.10 fingers of pitch 2 despite some thin gear, which put me below the OW chimney of pitch 3.
5.10 fingers of pitch 2

Court leading out pitch 2

Luckily the thrutching was pretty straight forward and I found myself in the long corner of #4 and #3 camalots till I got to a stance and belayed below the 5.9 chimney.
Out of the OW and into the wide hands

Court tackled the 5.9 chimney with ease, his easy pitch for the day.

I led the 5.11 one move wonder token sport traverse pitch of approximately 35 feet to the base of the 5.11+ finger splitter. Easy peasy.
Looking down from above the 5.11 sport pitch

Court downclimbed and around the arete out of view to the splitter. He overall did really well on it considering how hard it felt to me on TR. We both hung a few times but got up it. Court could have used about 5 red camalots after the crux roof but managed with 2. Spectacular pitch but pretty hard. You can see Mr Arturo Monkeyman place 15 pieces of gear in 20 feet here. I could not take any pics due to intense pump in my forearms.

Then I led the amazing 5.9 hand crack to the top with spectacular exposure and huge patina jugs for feet which would make Red Rocks jealous.
Possibly our favorite pitch of the day

Hundreds of people of top of Angels, and we're all alone over here

Rappelling went smooth and we found ourselves back at the Visitor Center with Annie waiting. Then explored the Many Pools hike(need to go when its just rained) and then headed home. Panda express provided the sustanance for the 4 hour return journey. Just a one dayer, but worth it to tick this classic.

Tons of frogs up on the Many Pools hike

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