Rest Phase Phun

Climbing has a tendency to become all-consuming. For me, when I’m in my performance Phase it seems like climbing is on my mind 24/7 and I have no mental or physical energy for anything else. This is how I like it, but after a couple months of this I’m usually exhausted. In some ways the climbing culture seems to foster this idea that in order to be a “core” climber you have to shun everything else and eat, drink and breathe ONLY climbing. That’s nonsense! Variety is the spice of life and there are many other ways to get your stoke on.

One aspect of periodic training that I’ve really come to love is the opportunity it provides to take a step back from “the grind” every few months. Before I became completely obsessed with climbing I enjoyed many other forms of outdoor recreation, but when I’m “in season” I have no time for these things. By the time my Rest Phase rolls around I’m really excited to enjoy some other types of fun.

This past weekend Mike and I took maximum advantage of our brief Rest Phase to crawl around in the muck and ubiquitous red sands of the Utah desert. I first came to the desert as a climber in the mid-90’s, but I quickly fell in love with canyoneering. Its exploratory and adventurous nature really appealed to me, plus it has a lot in common with desert trad climbing. Basically, if you love chimneying you’d love canyoneering. It’s another excuse to wander around in a spectacular landscape.

Mike arrived early and did a couple Canyons with our high school buddy Chris Graham, and a newer friend, CJ Powers. Here are some shots of Larry Canyon, in the Robber’s Roost region:

L to R: Chris, CJ and Mike in Larry Canyon

L to R: Chris, CJ and Mike in Larry Canyon

Deep in the slot it was so dark we needed a headlamp, but when we lit it up, we could see the walls were covered with spiders!

Deep in the slot it was so dark we needed a headlamp, but when we lit it up, we could see the walls were covered with spiders!

A pretty slot in Larry Canyon, in the "Robber's Roost" region.

A pretty slot in Larry Canyon, in the “Robber’s Roost” region.

The exit of Larry Canyon requires a steep climb up the canyon wall, but with a breathtaking view.

The exit of Larry Canyon requires a steep climb up the canyon wall, but with a breathtaking view.

The night sky at Robber's Roost.

The night sky at Robber’s Roost.

Larry Canyon

Larry Canyon

Sunrise

Sunrise

A rare sunrise rainbow!

A rare sunrise rainbow!

Over the course of the long weekend I did 6 canyons, but I only brought a camera on the last one, so here are some of my blurry images of “Leprechaun Canyon”, about 30 miles southeast of Hanksville on Highway 95….

Leprechaun Canyon from the top, the Henry Mountains behind.

Leprechaun Canyon from the top, the Henry Mountains behind.

CJ deep in the slot.

CJ deep in the slot.

Tight slots like this involve a lot of down chimneying which starts out fun but often becomes tedious.

Tight slots like this involve a lot of down chimneying which starts out fun but often becomes tedious.

Chris "Handlining" (aka Batman-ing) down a 15' drop.

Chris “Handlining” (aka Batman-ing) down a 15′ drop.

The slot ended with a pair of beautiful swims in a dark chamber.

The slot ended with a pair of beautiful swims in a dark chamber.

The second swim was a bit narrow.

The second swim was a bit narrow.

The nice stroll back to the highway.

The nice stroll back to the highway.

Hangboarding starts tomorrow!

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