Valley High

By:  Lee Payne and Brian Solano - October 2002

Valley High Boiling in the blazing rays of summer, six climbers from the southeast escaped their sweltering habitat for the dry and deserted crotch of Utah.  Countless amazing boulder problems are nestled in the desert around Price, two hours south of Salt Lake City, Utah. The black and orange sandstone makes for world-class climbing in a beautiful canyon landscape.  Directly off the road, inspiring formations and intriguing climbing combine to form the power that is Joe?s Valley Bouldering.  This was the gang?s apprehensive delusion. 

Looking for a respite from the southern heat, the crew found it only in their sun soaked hallucinations.  If the Siberian winter had an evil twin, it could very well be Joe?s Valley in the summertime.  Prime bouldering conditions were far from present, but that was nothing motivation and lots of chalk couldn?t fix.  In the beginning, the group was focused solely on climbing hard, but deep down these six southern boys just wanted to have fun.  However, sometime during the two-week vacation they planned to make at least a semi-serious attempt at project sending.

The first few days didn?t go so well.  Typically they would start by waking up in the direct sun, and subsequently, the rest of the day was spent exhausted, walking from boulder to boulder in direct sun, climbing in direct sun, and even resting in direct sun.  However uneducated the Alabama sextet may have been, they learned quickly; soon enough, they were making morning trips into town to fill up on water, spending their days near the river and under the overhanging boulders, and resting only in the coolest of caves.  It seemed nothing could keep them down?

But soon, the guys realized that there was little more to do in the valley than climb.  Orangeville isn?t exactly a hub for entertainment.  One experiment, turned obsession, was rock throwing.  The goal would change with their location, but the objective was always just as meaningless.  In one occurrence, they were sitting fifteen feet from an open water bottle for as long as an hour looking for victory and bragging rights.  In the end, a steady hand and years of experience proved successful.  Adam Henry triumphed with his hardest problem of the trip (I think he kept the winning stone). 

Another problem that reared its regionally ugly head was the lack of women.  Southern Pimp, Adam Henry, was unable to control himself without the presence of the feminine touch.  Cooper Roberts, in the other hand, thought to use the testosterone, and would propose an impromptu wrestling match whenever he felt he had a chance.  Baked in the sun, Jeff Wales and Andrew Gross would provide their witty commentary as Lee Payne tried to stay psyched and Hunter Jones tried to spot. The increasingly barbaric male group made for a feisty bunch of climbers with tons of untapped energy.  Time to suck it up and climb!

The impeccable friction that Joe?s is known for was definitely lacking on this trip.  The sweltering summer heat made classic problems like Maxi Pad, Scrawny and Brawny, and Nerve Extension feel ten times harder.  But that was no deterrence; perseverance became the motto for the trip.  Returning to a boulder problem early in morning was hard, but looking for a shady time to get one last attempt proved successful on many occasions.  Waiting for the temperature to drop just one degree could easily spell the difference between a glorified top out and dusty ground fall. 

In the end, it was a road trip with more falling than sending, more smack talking than climbing, more men than women, and of course more fun than not.  The members of the crew are surely psyched for a return visit, an attempt to console their egos by sending their summertime nemesis, the infamous Joe?s Valley.  And these days, temps are starting to drop at Joe?s; soon it might even snow.  So everyone is getting motivated to take advantage of the good weather.  To finalize the truth that was in everyone?s head at the end of the trip, I?ll end with a quote, ?hopefully next time we will crush?!?

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