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Chris McNamara and Ammon McNeeley shivered through three productive early-winter days in Zion National Park, setting speed records on three Grade V aid routes. First up was Desert Shield (5.11 C3, 9 pitches), which they climbed in 2 hours 57 minutes. Next day, they climbed Swoop Gimp (Or Be Dust) (5.10 C3, 10 pitches) in 3 hours 40 minutes. (They were climbing fast not just to set records, McNamara says, but also because the canyon was only marginally warm enough to climb about five hours a day.) On the third day, they climbed in the sun on Cosmic Trauma (5.10 A3, 10 pitches), finishing in 2 hours 54 minutes.
That’s three big sandstone routes climbed in less than a full day’s worth of regular-season climbing. As McNamara put it in the lively trip reports (with photos) that he posted on www.supertopo.com, “There are benefits to there only being about five comfortable climbing hours a day. You put 3-4 hours on the rock, then spend about 20 hours eating, drinking, chilling, sleeping and, of course, spraying on the Internet.” Comment on this story
Ammon McNeely starting the second pitch of Swoop Gimp (Or Be Dust).Photo by Chris McNamara from www.supertopo.com, reprinted with permission.