North Sixshooter

North Sixshooter is up on such a huge talus cone, that the rock looks small until you arrive at the base to discover that it's actually something major. North SixShooter

Driving up a faint dirt track off the main Indian Creek Road, we exit the truck and it's already 90 degrees F., and that sun has only just popped over the horizon. We load our packs with gallons of water and a giant rack of friends, and start up the monstrous talus cone, telling ourselves that if it's too hot to climb, we'll just re-con today.

We arrive at the base seeing purple spots and tracers, our heads are swimming, and the now 100 degrees F.+ temperature is melting our motivation and strength at an exponential rate.

After drinking over one gallon of liquids each, plus hiding in the shade like lizards for hours, we decide to at least try the first pitch.

The climbing is excellent, the protection perfect, the rock impeccable, and the line stunning; it's like a dream. Also there are no trashy bolt ladders or webbing-choked fixed anchors, piton scars, or even whit gymnastic chalk (this was an early ascent; hopefully things haven't changed too drastically). Nobody around for miles; just two climbers, the ancient rock, and the beating sun.

I got the lightning bolt cracks pitch. My strategy is to sprint up the bulging section in a hyper-blitz, thus avoiding pump burn-out. On rattling jams, I blaze on and make it just as the muscles in my arms are ready to cash in their chips.

After the lightning bolt cracks pitch, I'm beaming with happiness, because that was my last hard pitch, and it's Brian's turn for the sharp end now. The belay is under this roof, and Brian gets good hands above the roof, cuts his feet loose, pulls over, and is soon gone and out of sight. I pay the rope out and Brian climbs fluidly up the vertical crack above. Without warning, without a whimper, without yelling "Geronmino!" or anything, Brian takes a fall you couldn't pay a stuntman to take. Seems that the climbing was so solid, and Brian felt so good, he didn't bother to stop and place much protection. Then when a loose hold pulled (probably the only loose hold on the whole climb), Brian logs some big air-time. Because I was hidden under the big roof, I saw only the rope very rapidly coming down in masses of slack, like a limp snake falling to earth.

When Brian finally stops, he is dangling limply in space, hanging over the roof, only a few feet away from me. "Are you OK????!?", I croak, both of us with adrenaline screaming through our veins at the speed of light.

"I guess so," is his shaky reply. After taking such an incredibly long screamer, I still can't believe he is OK, so I ask him about 20 more times if he's sure he is OK. When we finally realize that everything is, in fact, alright, I start into this uncontrollable peal of laughter that leaves us both hysterical for a good 20 minutes. One minute you are scared as a turkey on Thanksgiving, and the next minute you can't breathe or barely even hold the belay rope from laughter. We continue the climb with our faces wet from perspiration from the raging sun and wet tears of laughter. Climbing is a strange game, and you always seem to get your money's worth climbing desert spires. Once again, we are lucky.

We arrive on the summit in still very hot temperatures, but scattered cloud coverage saves us from turning into human french fries, and we linger on the summit only long enough to take photos of each other doing childish head-stands on the summit.

Upon arrival back at the car, we head to Lake Powell for a few days of water skiing, beer drinking, and skinny dipping.