Behind the Canvas : Euphoria (02/16/2024)

Behind the Canvas : Euphoria (02/16/2024)

** Certain locations have been left intentionally vague but can be found with a little bit of research. Please practice responsible recreation ethics, leave no trace, stay on developed trails, and generally respect the land. **

In October of 2022, my long distance climbing partner, Miriam, joined me in Salt Lake to begin a trip spanning from Southern Utah to Yosemite National Park. A week shy of my 21st birthday, we decided to celebrate by climbing at the legendary Namaste Wall in Zion National Park (Kolob). 

After warming up with an afternoon in Cedar Canyon, we made our way to my favorite stretch of BLM land to hunker down for the evening.

The morning sun awoke us, casting the first bits of light onto the nearby Mesa. We made our coffee, checked our gear, and stretched, before hopping in the car to head to our destination.

I had spent a large portion of time in Zion over the years, particularly in the backcountry. I found myself returning to this area where pine and sandstone merged, red cliffs towered overhead, and the crowds of Zion were kept at bay. Namaste Wall had been on my bucket list for years, the sandstone pockets and slight overhang were well looked forward to. 

With an warm October sun now beating down on us, we parked my 2003 Honda Element and packed our bags with an assortment of layers -should the weather turn-, many snacks, and all our gear. We turned to the trailhead, greeted with the warm embrace of sun radiating from the red cliffs. Pines, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush dotting the landscape ahead. 

— “Euphoria” studies this return to the desert, the anticipation and excitement for the day ahead, the oddities and beauty of the Kolob area, and the feeling of a golden sun embracing those who bask in it. —

Namaste wall was far less crowded than anticipated considering its status as a world class climbing area. We claimed our spot in line for 1/2 Route, a 5.10+ with an 11+ extension. Intending for this to be our morning warmup, Miriam utilized me as her rope gun and I slowly made my way up the wall, enjoying the juggy, pumpy, and extraterrestrial features of the climb. After clipping the anchors and lowering, Miriam hopped on lead next and began her ascent. A few short moves from clipping anchors, a loud pop rang through the canyon… Miriam had partially dislocated her shoulder. 

After lowering her, we made our way back to the car to call her sister (a doctor) and to get her advice on the situation- hoping that Miriam would be “okay” to climb (at least easy stuff.) As one would expect, she was advised to refrain from climbing. Miriam and I vowed that we’d be back to Namaste wall, to finish 1/2 Route, and to climb the remaining routes that had been cut short by her injury… giving us an excuse to return (not that we needed one) 

For now, we’d make our way out to Yosemite. 




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