|Steve likes Selfies. Top of King of Pain|
Steve came down to Moab before Halloween to indulge me in my desire to climb Vision Quest on the King of Pain in the Bridger Jacks. He was itching to do Jah Man, but since I've already done that one, and as he put it, "you refuse to repeat things", he unselfishly agreed on my chosen outing.
Vision Quest is 4 pitches and goes at 5.10+ with climbers using words like "physical" and "burly". Usually this means that there is quite a bit of OW or chimney's involved. We set off on on beautiful Friday morning to find out.
Pitch one started out in a beautiful fingers corner, which sucked up all my .4's and .5's. A small roof followed by a short section where the #4 camalot came in handy led to a fun traverse and final handcrack to a small ledge. Fun pitch.
|Starting up Pitch 1|
|Steve traversing near the top of Pitch 1|
Steve led pitch 2, which was considered the psychological crux of the route, i.e it may be runout. A fun easy chimney led to a gorgeous big hands corner with good ledges, to the most feared portion of the route, a large slot that doesn't take good gear until you can slide inside it, a solid 10 feet. Steve clipped the slung block at the base, and began to lurch upwards, right side in, in true OW gruntfest style. He balked the first time, sliding back down to safety, but succeeded the second attempt after spending a few minutes obviously stressed out. I know the feeling. A fun handcrack brought him to the anchor. I found liebacking, like always, is a much easier and preferred technique for these sorts of difficulties.
|Steve in the chimney off pitch 2 belay|
|Spectacular corner to the evil slot|
Pitch 3 was short, an awkward start off the belay to a strenuous roof on perfect hands, albeit in a flare making it require more effort than a standard handcrack. Very fun with good gear, minus the start.
|Weird start of pitch 3|
|Steve pulling the crux roof of pitch 3|
Pitch 4 was the glory pitch. Steve struggled up the initial 20 foot flared #3 camalot corner before escaping out and up in between the towers and squeezing through to the other side. Extremely fun, well protected stemming between the towers on big ledges with one final heads up section led to the summit. Super good! Steve said it wasn't too heady, though the topout was likely the crux.
|Flared corner on pitch 4|
|Cool! Squeeze threw and stem up|
|Selfie Steve on Pitch 4. Great shot looking down between the towers|
|Topout after the last hard move. South summit of KOP behind|
The view was spectacular, and desert towers never disappoint. The first rap down into the notch between KOP and Bridger Jack Butte was a full 35m, which required Steve to do a short "jump downclimb" to obtain the next ledge. I elected to untie our safety knots in the rope, which gave me a bit extra rope to work with, negating the jumping schenanegans. The next two raps weren't so scary.
|Does the rope reach?|
Plenty more towers in the desert, and the Bridger Jacks specifically, but nice to have this one checked off.
Brought the family along for another two short 1 pitch towers, Happy Turk and Devils Golf Ball, both fun with some desert trickery.
|Happy Turk with the family|
|Devils Golf Ball with the family|