Monday, May 2nd, 2005

Splitter Camp, April 30 – May 2, 2005

It's been a couple of weeks since the camp. This trip report is overdue. For the past few days, I have been feeling like someone in debt. Not that I owe anyone this TR, but the memories of the camp are so fond that I feel guilty if I do not put it down and share with others — those who feel happy when they see me happy and those who might just accidentally stumble upon my website one day (I hope they think it is a good stumble).

I knew that I had just gone to the Lynn Hill Camp only recently. Both financially speaking and vacationally speaking, I really should not go to this camp. However, having never had been to Indian Creek, and not seeing myself going otherwise in the near future, I knew that the camp was the only opportunity for me to do any climbing at Indian Creek this season, so I grabbed it. Indian Creek, in many climbing photos, is a serenely beautiful place. My heart reached there before my arrival.

First day, I joined Micha and Brittany at Battle of the Bulge Buttress, and top roped 9 climbs that featured finger and tight hand cracks. The big guys eyed my thin hands enviously (I think). By the end of the day, there might have been bubbles hanging above my head saying "Ok, I've done thin cracks. How about taking me up some wide and offwidth?" Or otherwise, Jim somehow read my mind and recruited me into his posse for some wide crack climbing next day. Noddy was sent by Montrail from England to experience climbing at Indian Creek. Before he knew it, he was recruited as well. And then, of couse the tough guy, Malcolm, joined the force too. (He has an incredible and inspiring survival story that you can find here.) Therefore, on the 2nd day, we set out for the left side of Battle of the Bulge Buttress. On our approach, I felt like a soldier on a special mission thinking "yes, I must conquer those wide cracks." It rained on and off, but we still sneaked in 5 to 6 climbs. I did two laps on Think Pink. (If you've seen Return2Sender/Parallelojams, you'll know what that is.). But the most memorable was the Hole in the Wall (I'm not 100% sure about the route name as I don't have the guidebook), which is a brutal route featuring long sections of flaring chimney. If Noddy had hated me in his battle up this climb (he probably did), I would not have been surprised nor offended — I, while clawing my way up, almost hated myself for wanting to do such kind of climbs . But of course, after I successfully top roped it, I loved the climb and myself.

The 3rd day would have had found Micha, Noddy and me on the top of some beautiful tower if the weather had not gone south; instead, seeing the clouds blanketing the sky in the morning, we teamed up with Brittany and others and had a short, but quality, day of climbing on Cat Wall. It turned out to be a smart idea as a thunder storm swept by at noon before the sky became blue again.

The trip ended with Jessy and Kirra giving me a ride from Moab to Grand Junction, a 4 hour drive round trip. I'm forever indebted to them for their generous help and fun company.

I could end my trip report right here, but the camp was not just about the scenery and the climbs, which were beyond my words anyway. What made the memories of it so fond consisted many other things, some big and some little. First, the people — we were brought together by the same passion, which immediately bonded us into a close community. Ahhh… the meals, taken care of by Lisa and her friend Mel, were almost better than what I cook at home (that is, if I cook. And I'm not a bad cook, if I may say so). Getting goodies was always fun, and we had such fun every day at the camp. Malcolm also brought the new Trango Max Cams for us to try out. But I was too focused on climbing, and I now am kicking myself for not having spent more time playing with every piece of them. And still there were more I'd like to tell you about, but midnight is approaching, so here is THE END.

Note: All the climbs I did were on top rope as we could not lead due to liability reasons (like in any other climbing camp).

Meet the camp

It was a big camp with 20 clients, and the days went by so fast that we didn't even get a chance to take a group photo. Fortunately, I managed to take a photo of everyone who worked hard at the camp to make it successful:


Jim Donini: known as the the 'ageless hardman', one who will climb as long as his hands can still touch his knees.

Malcolm Daly: many people's inspiration (want to know why? A google search will give you the answer.)

Jay Smith: he is known for many of his bold ascents

Angela Hawse: can you detect the tough woman who summited Everest behind the comforting smile?

Brittany Griffith: life must be easy for her because she is always laughing, and her laughters are contagious.

Micha Dash: he is young and he is strong. Look for him in Return2Sender.

Emma and Dave Madara: hey, need a guide in the Moab area? No need to look else where.

Lisa and Mel: miraculously they managed to feed 30 mouths in the harsh environment and made everyone's stomach happy too.

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