Back to climbing!
Olek leading pitch 1, North Face Right, Nuns
This climb ascends the sharp, calcite-crusted crack directly right of Holier Than Thou.
Olek at belay, P1, Flying Nun or Holier Than Thou
On the photo above, you can see the calcite, like dripping candle wax, on the face to both sides of the crack.
We chose the easier start because I didn’t feel up to 5.11c face climbing. Olek, a 25-year old 5.12 sport climber from Belgium, could as easily have waltzed up either pitch - but we had two more pitches to go and I already had my big scare of the day.
I hiked up early in the morning, while it’s cool, while Andrew, Olek, and Niko went to town for more food. As I walked along the base of the Priest and Nuns, looking for the start of our climb - Aaaack — there I found a big rattle snake.
This snake was sunning itself, bottom on the ground and upper part vertical — upright, against the warm cliff and sun.
I hastily retreated, away from the cliff, and back to the trail. that snake was much closer to Holier Than Thou - another reason to climb the easier route.
Pitch one, the crack, was quite enjoyable, with a bigger crack near the start followed by a short thin section. Edging on the calcite is possible - and none broke off.
Holier Than Thou , pitch 2
Pitch two continues up and left on good face climbing around the corner to a good ledge.
Belay, pitch 2
Note the calcite-covered face climbing below.
I found the final left-leaning hand crack on the last pitch surprisingly strenuous. It leans way left, and feels very steep especially since there aren’t any feet in the hard part. After this grunty section, the climb eases off to the summit.
We chose a climb in the shade since it was a warm day in May, which gave us perfect temperatures. Aside form the rattle snake, I really enjoyed this route.
Our friends Niko and Andrew climbed Honeymoon Chimney, so we each had pictures of the other group on their climb ( and on top). We also had great views (and photos) of Niko leading the crux on Honeymoon Chimney, which I’ll post next.
I’m heading to Moab end of the week and excited to return to the beautiful red desert!