Written By : Dalton Johnson
Communicating through a message board with handwritten notes, free camping, a water scarcity, and a bunch of weird people who enjoy cramming their hands, toes, fingers, shoulders, you name it, into a crack is what makes climbing in Indian Creek special. In whole, the climbing community is a group of misfits, but there is something more eclectic about the Creek Freaks.
Coming back to camp ready to share stories from your day, what you climbed, and how large of a whip you took, got me excited for the coming day. Around the campfire or eating dinner, the hot topic was almost always, "Where do we head tomorrow?" A small, yet critical detail! Digging through the guide book takes time, and it always helped to have some suggestions from those who had been on the routes. With that being said, if you are on the hunt for some recommendations, below are a few goodies that I enjoyed!
Area: 4x4 Wall - Grade: 5.10
Why: Take a look at your mits, are they big, small, or normal? If you thought to yourself, “big” then be ready for a fun challenge as you chug up this #1 splitter. It is a little offset, which makes it fun. For those of you with #1 sized hands, this route is going to be FUN! Why? Well, it is a full package climb. The beginning is funky, the top has fun foot movement, and the middle is splitter!
Unnamed 5.10 Right of Knobby Tires
Why: Talk about a route that has everything! From what I noticed, almost nobody climbs this thing, but I don’t know why. If you want to get better at your crack skills, this route starts with hands, has a short fingers section, then back to hands, eventually widening out to a chicken wing, and ending with fists. Like I said before, this route has it all… okay well not an inverted OW section, but, still, it’s awesome!
Why: This thing is among the top in terms of classics. A slightly wandering splitter that gradually widens from a wide #1 to a tight #3s. If you are ever thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is getting hard,” look for a foot on the wall, it’s there. The best part of this route is the top, clipping the anchors. Jam that foot, cup your hand, smear, and clip those chains!
Why: If you are looking for a pump fest, what better way to build some endurance than slightly overhanging hands to an airy step crack transfer. You would think you are done after this awesome move, but don’t be fooled, you are only halfway. From the transfer, take a breather atop the lip and be ready for the true test of endurance. I am pretty sure my belayer heard a few audible grunts as I wrestled the top with my glasses halfway on my face.
Why: My hand is a wide #2 and this pitch calls for five of those! Start off the ground with a 4th class scramble, bring a black Metolius and a .75 for the bottom. When you get to the first bulge, you realize just how splitter this route is! If you don’t have five #2s, that is okay there is a sneaky #3 you can place, and, if you bump, you can make do with two #2s (but really try to find a third!). The beauty of this route is the ending… I won’t spoil that for you!
Why: While this route is quite close to the Beef Basin toilet, the approach to this climb is considered long for the area. For me, that is a plus because fewer people are around, aka no line! This is a classic for the wall and I believe the guidebook states something like, “there is no better moderate on the wall, a must.” Now, I wouldn’t go that far, but I would say this has been one of the most enjoyable, long routes in the 5.10’s. The bottom offers perfect hands to challenging tight hands just before a ledge. Now, if you are looking up thinking to yourself, “dang the guidebook sandbagged me again in terms of gear,” you are kinda right! However, if you look around there is a variety of cracks that takes a wide range of gear, so keep the eyes peeled! The final moves make this climb a delight, they kinda remind me of Commitment (5.9) in Yosemite Valley.
Hookers ’n Blow
Why: This name will definitely deter some people, but the reviews and star ratings make a line at the bottom. While on the same wall, Unnamed 5.10 right of Knobby Tires (above) is the perfect warm-up for this climb. This pump fest has splitter hands, a bomber rest ledge in the middle, and a short off-width section you pull out of to clip the anchor. Personally, I loved this climb because the hands were just a little tight for me, which made me get a little creative. I mean heck, I am creative, so why not find climbs that let you be you… right?