Indian Creek – Photo TR

| March 20, 2009

Continuing an almost full week of trip reports, I went down to Indian Creek on Wednesday with my long time skiing and climbing buddy, Brad Barlage.  Brad is a sales rep for Black Diamond, which means he has the full-on pimp daddy ride (Ford Van), tons of gear, plenty of dogs and knows The Creek inside and out.  If he ever disappears from society, this would be the first place I’d think of to start looking for him.

Even though they have almost nothing physically in common, once you get the hang of hand/finger jamming, the sensation of climbing a perfect splitter crack is akin to center-punching a virgin field of thigh-deep powder.  Neither one is truly effortless, or always safe, but the purity of the line and movement over beautiful terrain brings the same type of smile to your face.

A dog, a crack and some gear on your back. B-Rad doing the brutal ten-minute approach to one of many walls.

Spring Loaded Camming Devices (SLCD's) made climbing parallel sided cracks like this one much safer, and thus more popular.

FEEL THE POWER! The more cams you own, the more cracks you can climb. Arnie (the Golden Retriever) is actually a fierce guard dog.

Starting up Double Trouble. The clock is ticking...

About halfway up Double Trouble. B-Rad doing a fine job leading.

Pumped to the gills - just what we came for.

With literally 1,000's of cracks to choose from, it is easy to get confused. Fortunately, some of them have "tiles" like this at their base.

Super Crack, aka Super Crack in the Desert, aka Luxury Liner. The first ascent of this crack opened peoples eyes to the possibility of safely climbing smooth, parallel sided cracks and marked the beginning of the sandstone crack climbing boom which continues to this day.

The Incredible Hand Crack. The bulk of this climb is "perfect hands" which is why it is so popular. The white marks on either side of the crack are from climbing traffic.

Help support and fear no crack with a Black Diamond Camalot from Click on the photo below…



Category: Trip Reports

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (13)

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  1. KatieC says:

    My favorite Straightchuter TR yet! (No bias, certainly.)

    I’ve often thought that if Brad ever “goes dark,” he’ll never be heard from again, save for occasional fireside tales of the ghostly van of the desert, and the half-man, half-dingo at its helm.

  2. Andrew says:

    Ohh! The fabled ghost rider van in the sky campfire story! “Sometimes, when the lightning strikes across South Six Shooter, you can catch a glimpse of the white van floating in the sky and hear the cries of “Yer on!”

  3. Ralph S. says:

    Nice TR and pics. I did see a bastard #2 Metolius TCU in company of Brad’s Camalots.

    You’ve probably seen this trailer for the video of the FA of Luxury Liner. But, if not it’s pretty cool.

  4. Mike Traslin says:

    Good TR!
    I really like this one!

  5. Rob says:

    Ah…The death of winter. But that means that New England back country skiing is just getting good! Tux next weekend, and I think we’re hitting the backside of Cannon the next. And lots of good gear is going up on Tramdock. Ah…the joys of spring!

  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Ralph – I hadn’t seen or heard of that film, but it was excellent. Thanks for the link. I loved when he (Earl?) mentioned the idea of “it takes you somewhere beautiful” as a reason for climbing it. Sinking into that crack goes way beyond climbing 150′ vertical feet anything else.

    I’m not sure what to make of the idea that something that was so unique and cool at the time is now done as a ten minute warm up, but life goes on.

  7. Ralph S. says:

    Earl was projected by his friend as believing the climb was “worth dying for”. I didn’t know how to take that statement.

    We have a climbing shop here that will let you check out their VHS climbing movies from the 70’s and 80’s. I have been on a kick to attempt to watch them all. I watched a collection of Pat Ament’s that was off the artistic chart! Tom Frost and a 16 year old Christian Beckwith were in it as well. One of Pat’s films compared climbing to Antony and Cleopatra (love and war). It had climbing, cut to caressing a woman, cut to a dude throwing out a Karate kick. It was a trip.

  8. Rob says:

    To borrow from Todd Skinner, “climbing isn’t worth dying for, but it’s work *risking* dying for.” I think he’s dead on. (Which is fortunate, because even top roping in a gym is still “risking dying,” since I know several people who have for one reason or another broken wrists and ankles top roping in a gym, falling to a nice padded mat…)
    – R

  9. d3 says:

    superfly pics! b-rad is the new everett reuss?

  10. Lou Dawson says:

    Are not those dogs supposed to be on a leash in a National Park? Time to chain up a couple of quick draws?

  11. Andrew says:

    No, it is BLM land (redneck heaven, just close the gate behind you).

  12. Mrs Cracklover says:

    I seriously hope you’re joking about the “brutal” 10min approach.

  13. Andrew says:

    Maybe… maybe not. ;)
    (no, I was kidding – the approaches there are about as easy as they get)

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