May 192011

Motivation, obsession, fixation. I think I finally have the perspective through which I can understand our Spring Break trip to Indian Creek. I’ve finally moved on, no longer obsessing over a specific route.

In the months leading up to March, I spent time at the gym doing laps. In abs and core class I pushed my body to grow stronger. My mantra was simple: “Ruby’s Cafe”. I would whisper these two words to myself as I struggled through endless “bicycles”  and when my forearms wanted to explode. But once we were in the desert, having a singular goal became problematic. I had to deal with my expectations and inner doubt – could I climb Ruby’s Cafe? Was it was selfish to drag anyone to Battle of the Bulge so I could work on “my” project?

As a group we fought with cold and unpredictable weather. Climbing time was limited and we had to balance rushing and relaxation. The days all seemed to run together. Each morning began with a mix of wind and threatening clouds and left us wondering when the rain would come. I’m still amazed we were able to climb at all.

I had one go and it was spectacular. The first moves are thin and then it opens up to perfect fingers (.4 Camalot/ Yellow Alien) with many pods and little features. Working up the changing corners I passed the first crux and made it to the rest under the roof. I was over halfway there, but there was no gas left in the tank. Unable to undercling out the roof, I gave up. A kneebar, a few hangs and another roof later I had clipped the chains. The personal victory was anticlimactic. I had made a huge step by finishing the climb, but was still filled with questions and doubt.

For me, this past trip to Indian Creek was spent in the shadow of success. I flirted with the idea, climbed some routes, but never found the zone or killer instinct that is needed. My fitness was good, but my crack technique was lacking. I really struggled while finger stacking, especially on the steep Slice and Dice. Thin hands, however, seemed to be much easier and I really enjoyed following Lizzy up Sacred Cow. As always, going to the desert is a learning experience and next time I will remember to brush up my off-size technique.

Enjoy the photos. They capture many of the sweet climbs we were able to try this year!

– Luke


Luke onsights Extra Lean

Sonia on Extra Lean

Sarah Kate sends Top Sirloin

Keith sending Top Sirloin

Hiding from the snow at Death of a Cowboy

Keith and Sonia on our hike to the Delicate Arch

Sonia on 3am Crack

Fingers in a Light Socket

Keith on Coyne Crack

Sonia on Big Guy

Keith on Baby Blue at Wall Street

Keith on the Incredible Hand Crack

Jlo conquers the Six Shooters

Offwidth glory on Serrator

Luke struggles on Slice and Dice


Lizzy on Slice and Dice

Sunset and a Rainbow at camp

Photos taken by a variety of people (Jlo, Lizzy, Keith, Austin and Luke). Austin is notably missing from these photos since he was constantly taking pictures!

  7 Responses to “Forgotten Photos and a Story from Indian Creek”

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  1. Great pictures! I love Moab 🙂

  2. the offwidth glory photo is super awesome.

  3. Thanks for the much awaited trip report 🙂 Awesome pics, each of these climbs immediately went on my tick list.
    Sorry to hear you had to struggle with doubt and pressure on yourself from expectations. Still you onsighted Extra Lean, that’s sweet! I can see though how based on your last trip with its incredible send list you could have piled the pressure high.
    The fitness is there though also to be used on lots of other climbs in the summer. good luck with that!

  4. Great photos! Everytime I see photos of Indian Creek, I can almost FEEL the rock. It is on my list of great walls to climb.

    You left one big question unanswered, though. Did you ever figure out what the driving force was behind the motivation to get to Ruby’s Cafe?!? The climax was uneventful, so it must have been something else?
    Did you feel the psych after the trip, from meeting your goals (no matter if it was Ruby’s Creek)? What did you envision yourself feeling as you sent the climb?

    I am eager to hear an update!

  5. Having now returned to the creek I’m think I can answer this question. Ruby’s Cafe is a beautiful and well known route (thank you Parallel-o-jams). Finger cracks are my favorite and this is one of the harder ones at the creek. It was hard to commit to trying a route so above and beyond but I needed to give myself a chance to succeed. As much as I hate failure I try to embrace the idea that “It’s better to have tried and failed, then to never have tried at all.”

    This trip I got back on Ruby’s Cafe. I was nervous but I knew that I just had to keep pushing myself to the very end. I believed that I could get through the roof crux and to the knee-bar rest. With these thoughts in mind, and the encouraging should from my friends below, I managed to clip the anchors.

    In some ways it was anti-climactic having done the route second go, without a full on battle. But right now I couldn’t be happier. Perhaps it’s not 5.13 or even the hardest route that I’ve done but the effort I put forward was all that I had. Trying hard, especially in the face of doubt, is one of the best feelings. I think this is what I was seeking on the last trip. The feeling of overcoming physical and mental obstacles is priceless.

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