Utah Rock Climbing
Jackie Hueftle — Vitalyte Brand Ambassador
I recently celebrated my 32nd birthday. This birthday was special for me in a few ways, perhaps mostly because now I have been climbing for half my life. As noted in my previous post I began climbing around my 16th birthday. Since then climbing has become the center around which my life revolves.
In the end of March I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with my boyfriend Chris and attend the Red Rocks Rendezvous. In this annual event pro climbers teach clinics on all aspects ofclimbing, and Chris was scheduled to teach several bouldering clinics. Even though I live in dry Colorado, the Vegas desert is even drier and more demanding and I was grateful I’d packed some Vitalyte to keep me hydrated when we went bouldering and taught clinics in Calico Basin.
From Vegas we headed to Zion National Park in Utah. Zion is a dramatic and beautiful canyon full of stunning red sandstone walls that seem to reach to the sky. I’d never been to Zion and I wanted to see something new for my birthday so we drove out there and explored the canyon before spending a the night in the very full campground with some friendly Coloradans who offered to share their site with us.
The next day was cold and windy with a prediction of rain or snow so we bid adieu to our new friends and drove out the other end of Zion toward Bryce Canyon National Park.
I grew up reading Edward Abbey novels and though I’ve spent time around Moab, Lake Powell, and Indian Creek, I’d never actually seen the rest of Southern Utah that I’ve read so much about. Bryce Canyon’s first overlook is the stunning Bryce Amphitheater (PIC), and were it a bit warmer we would have liked to explore it. As it was we decided to continue on and took the scenic Highway 12 north and east toward Capital Reef National Park.
There’s a lot of beautiful land in Utah and the rock formations in and out of the parks were extraordinary. We saw petroglyphs, pictographs, ancient and still-operating ranches, rivers, and lots and lots of crazy rock formations. As climbers, there was potential everywhere. As travelers, we were glad to have Vitalyte to drink because it’s easy to get dehydrated on long car rides and Vitalyte is a quick and tasty way to get yourself back on the right side of hydration.
Finally we ended up in the mountains where we had a somewhat scary drive through a snowstorm on a muddy ranch road and found some great camping and climbing high above the valley floor. We enjoyed a few days of complete isolation in which we saw nobody and didn’t even have cell service as we explored the boulders. The weather was mixed, with several snowstorms blowing through and blue skies in between. The wind was taxing on the middle day, and in the afternoon we were forced to retreat to the car where we ate soup and drank Vitalyte as an afternoon snack to help us recover from the harsh conditions. The last day in the mountains was the worst weather-wise, and instead of staying the night and risking getting suck on the muddy road again we packed up during a dry spell and bailed to the nearest burger stand. From there we drove to a camp spot we know, low and dry, and then the next morning home to Boulder. All in all it was a great birthday week. I saw lots of new things, did some climbing, and had a nice vacation from work and from my cell phone. Now I’m back home and back at work, but I can’t wait for my next adventure!