Photo by Luke Laeser
Two of Indian Creek’s hardest crack climbs got their second ascents in April. Canadian Sonnie Trotter dispatched Learning to Fly on his second try and From Switzerland with Love after “five or six tries.” Both routes in the Utah canyon were established by Swiss climber Didier Berthod and graded 5.13+.
“Learning to Fly was easier to do faster because it’s a pure crack, no sequence necessary,” Trotter said. “It just comes down to the pain and the pump. I think I sent it within half an hour of arriving at the cliff. I tried really hard on that route.”
Trotter added that “the grading seems appropriate” on the two climbs. “They have really hard moves on them, but after a month of sport climbing they can feel pretty doable.”
Trotter also made the second ascent of The Bleeding (5.14a) at Mill Creek, outside Moab, Utah. The climb was established nearly 10 years ago by Moab resident Noah Bigwood.
Meanwhile, Coloradan Ryan Nelson, better known as an ice and mixed climber, turned his attention to crack climbing when he relocated to Mancos, Colorado, a two-hour drive from Indian Creek. Nelson warmed up on a couple of 5.13a Creek classics, Ruby’s Café and Death of a Cowboy, and then climbed Nathan Martin’s Less than Zero (5.13), a powerful, heady route named for the 0 and 00 TCUs that protect much of the crux climbing.
Nelson then started working on From Switzerland with Love between stints at an oil rig in New Mexico, including one long day on which he woke at 12:30 a.m., drove 100 miles to his job, worked a full shift, then drove 100 miles back home and another two hours to Indian Creek for a session on the route. (“Not really that productive,” Nelson reported.) He finally sent the 5.13+ crack on April 29.Comment on this story