April 18, 2015
Four-Hundred Vertical Feet to the Rim
In spite of the marginal camping conditions last night, I managed to get some sleep. I ate some granola-type bars for breakfast and was ready to go by 7:00 AM. I lugged my pack up to the base of the cliff, then dropped it to scout a way up. Ben had climbed down a little ways and he told me to look for a ramp. I found one, but it looked pretty exposed. I decided to climb next to the ramp, where it was a little less exposed. It was definitely Class 4 climbing, where it was necessary to use hands not just for balance, but to actually pull myself up. The rock was rotten, and there were yucca and agave everywhere. Again I felt like I was at my limit, partly because I was still weak from yesterday's climb. I forced myself to climb up, even though it seemed pretty dangerous to me.
Once above the upper cliff band, the route was less steep, but still loose and difficult. Eventually I could see Ben near the rim. He would have liked to come down to help me, but he had strained a muscle yesterday that was a bit debilitating and painful. I eventually topped out, after about 90 minutes.
Ben had camped close to the rim, in the Piņon-Juniper forest. After Ben finished packing up a few last-minute items, we headed east to find the road. We came to the road in about a quarter mile. We knew our water cache was nearby, but we weren't sure which direction to go once we got to the road. Ben still had some juice left in his charger, so we charged my iPhone just enough so we could use the GPS. It turned out that we were only a hundred yards from our water.
After filling up with water, we dropped our packs and started down the road to our car. We were not sure how far away it was, but it turned out to be only about 3/4 miles away.
Once at the car, we changed into less dirty and smelly clothes, and began the long drive back to St. George. Ben had a late flight to catch in Las Vegas, so we knew we still had plenty of time. I think it was around 4:00 PM when I dropped him off at the Shuttle Office in St. George. I headed to Page, AZ, where I checked into a motel for the night.