Early spring means it’s desert season. Well, it does now. Fifteen years ago it meant belaying my boyfriend on his three-year sport-climbing project in the Virgin River Gorge. Now, I spend March and April weekends climbing sandstone splitters in the beautiful desert of southeast Utah. Back in the 1990s, I would burn away those same spring days clipping bolts and chasing grades. Why? Well, honestly, I didn’t know any better. Living part-time near Smith Rock in Oregon and traveling with my sport-climbing boyfriends, bolts and projecting was all I ever knew. My first trip to the desert of Utah outside of Moab in 1999 changed all that—and I couldn’t be happier.
[Desert bloom in Indian Creek. Photo: Andrew Burr]
And now here it is again: desert season. I have dozens of special memories from my desert climbs, but one stands out more than the rest: a weekend in 1999 spent cragging at Indian Creek with my friend Sue Nott.