Corona-cation - by Mad Rock Athlete Nate Draughn
When I’m not planning my next climbing trip or looking for new rock around my hometown of Boone, NC, I am a flooring installer for Futurist Climbing and climbing wall builder for Wallsmithclimbing. You could call me a gym developer. Haha
This gig work-related lifestyle allows me to have big chunks of time to go climb, without having to ask off work. It’s a lot of time in a hotel or airplane, but it's worth it!
This trip was one to remember! Between epic lines, snowstorms, COVID-19 making its way into the United States, and an earthquake the last day of the trip, I honestly don't know where to begin. What started as a Joes Valley trip, turned into a Utah tour with friend and teammate, Taylor Mcneill. Bruce, aka Threepeakfilms was amped to come along and document the trip!
I had planned this trip around a work gig in Salt Lake City. After work, I'd have a week or so to climb in Joe's Valley before heading home. Rolling into Joes, the first place we went to was Right Fork. I had to see Taylor's mega project! Spanner compression, thuggy climbing out a perfect swooping arete, right by a creek! It looked amazing! I was barely able to span the moves, but barely means you can do it! I knew this one would take up all of my time if I let myself get sucked in though. So, after grabbing grips and making sure I could span it, while Taylor sprayed me down, we jetted over to a classic Jason Kehl line called Counter Clockwork(V11). This one was wild! It reminded me of how arbitrary grades are. Sometimes a climbs fits you and sometimes they don't. That's what makes bouldering so fun! We all get to enjoy the same fight, whether its V2 or V15. Being a little taller, Taylor ran laps on Counter Clockwork, while I struggled to span everything. After Taylor did a longer version that follows the arete to a spicy ending, and I started regressing on the tensiony toe hook section, we moved down the road to another one called Simple Twist of Fate(V10). One of my favorites from the trip! It climbed out a perfect bulge on some of the coolest grips I've ever grabbed. Truly, a compression climbers dream!
Simple Twist of Fate(V10) - Photo by Threepeaks
Another highlight of my time in Joes was trying Trents Mom(V10). I'd seen a video of this climb on an old media website from the early 2000s called norope.com. I'd always wanted to try it! Bullet, black sandstone, up a 18-foot face, made up of jump moves on crimps and a hard drive by off one of the weirdest pockets I've ever had to use. It was just as sick as the video from my childhood. To see Taylor smash it, go to Madrock's youtube channel!
After a rest day and some sleep, we got word of snowstorms in Joes Valley, and decided to check out the Ogden/27th street boulders, just outside Salt Lake City. It was both of our first times to the boulder. Taylor and I both did the classic cave line Pins and Feathers(V11) pretty quickly and decided to try Spiritwalker(V14). We managed to piece together most of the moves and made some ok links, but it was kind of warm and we started getting tired. To finish the day, we did a cool line on the right side of the cave called Blood and Fire(V10) and decided it was time for pizza!
Last move of Pins and Feathers(V11) - Photo by Threepeaks
Setting up for last move of Blood and Fire(V10) - Photo by Threepeaks
We were planning on camping out in Joes Valley the next night, but with the rising severity of COVID-19 we decided it'd be smarter to hang around the house in Salt Lake and take it easy. I had a lot of things I wanted to do on this trip. I wanted to get back to Trents Mom(V10) and Counter Clockwork(V11). I also wanted to see The Last Great One(V13). It's a bummer the trip was cut short but public safety is more important than my own selfish wants. Regardless, I was psyched to sample some of the best stone in Utah. Can't wait to get back!