It all started at 1:00am on Friday morning under a cloudless sky and a nearly full moon.
We were pulling into Indian Creek, and Shay wanted to climb an ultra classic route, Generic Crack, in the moonlight by headlamp. Why should I deny anybody else’s joy and life experiences just because I’m a little tired?
I changed my clothes, and we were quickly making our approach to the 120ft. splitter crack.
This is my 4th time at Indian creek. I vowed to never come back here after the first time. I hated it. I couldn’t do any climbs. I flailed on everything (on top rope). My friends made me climb things I knew I’d never complete.
I don’t remember the 2nd time, but it wasn’t anymore enjoyable.
But I didn’t hate it that time.
Mostly because my roommate came with and she’s pretty chill like me. She didn’t put me on anything I didn’t want to do.
It was painful. I still didn’t do any climbs cleanly, but at least I finally found fun in the misery that is Indian creek.
Cleaning Generic Crack after Shay’s successful and clean lead was the fourth time I’ve ventured to The Creek. This time, mostly voluntarily.
It was an amazing experience.
They were brutal.
I hated every minute of them.
Until I got down. And then it was euphoric.
I have 4 gobies on my hands that will now be with me for the rest of my life.
I felt like puking more than once.
The knuckles on my toes and my ankles were bruised and bloodied so bad from repeatedly jamming them in 2″ cracks and torquing them sideways in order to stand up, that it caused me to limp after each day.
It was then that I finally found peace with how miserable this place is to climb.
The Flow of Indian Creek
Everything about it is physically exhausting. It’s muscular. It’s technique. It’s endurance. It’s breathing.
Walking barefoot in the desert, powder-like sand and not caring how dirty my
feet were getting made me feel like a kid again.
Having 5.11+ leaders tell me how proud they were of me, repeatedly, made me feel like I was actually a real climber. Finally.
That pride and exhilaration I felt after each lead I did was incomparable to anything else I’ve climbed. Alpine is still risky and scary, but I do very casual routes. This was something different.
This was a badge of honor.
Because anyone that climbs in The Creek knows exactly what it takes to lead. Anyone that is still flailing on top rope thinks they’ll never be strong enough to lead. But then one day you do.
And all that pain and misery that came before, is completely erased by the peace that comes with jamming your bloody hands into a crack only lit by the moonlight at 2:00 in the morning.