Drifting Away...

Glancing through Red Rock’s newest guidebook, one notices first ascent information from the 1970s, but few similar details for the park’s newest classics. Officially “anonymous” first ascents are now the norm. And we were keen to learn if these secrecy-inspired shenanigans were worth the trouble. A towering fin of white stone separates the Pine Creek and Juniper Creek drainages. Jason Killgore, Scott Bennett, Garrett Grove and I walked the crest single-file, comparing echoes down either side, and staring ahead at the Jet Stream Wall. Lacking the requisite skill, ambition, and four #00 TCUs for the sandbagged crux of Jet Stream (600’ 5.12c, AKA .13- "abstract stemming"), we set sights on Drifting (500’ 5.11c), a plumb line of patina edges, discontinuous seams, and illegally-drilled bolts.

Intricate face climbing and thin cracks typify the climb, and the easiest pitch of the route is an .11a which surmounts the wall's unmistakable arching roof. But it's not all "clipping bolts on the beach." Bring your gear skills for this one, especially on pitch #2, where an off-the-bat .11c crux leads to 120 feet of continuously intricate cracks, thin seams, and heady traverses. Unlike Levitation 29, Time’s Up, and older nearby routes, topping out on Drifting wont leave the bittersweet taste of bolted cracks in your mouth.

Pics Copyright Garrett Grove

No comments:

Post a Comment