(*forgive me for backlogging a bit here- this was written a few weeks ago but am just getting around to uploading it now)
It’s that time of year in Salt Lake City where it is a bit awkward, it’s cold- and the snow is beginning to fly. Which is super exciting- however I’m past the point where I’m jonesing so hard to ski that I head up to the mountains after the first snowfall. But in reality, destroying your equipment and watching people get carted off the mountain with season-ending injuries from stumps and rocks… really isn’t that fun. (Sorry if I sound jaded… I’ve had a few bad preseason experiences) So anyway, it’s snowing but not enough snow to really ride, it’s too windy to jump, and the weathers just bad to do anything else outside. So this is when I pack up my car and head south. It’s totally Moab season!
Just a note about Moab, it’s my happy place. Always has been, even when I was really young. There is something magical and indescribable about the desert and the towering red rocks and dramatic landscape has always spoken to my soul. Now, it’s even better as it’s an absolute BASE jumping, climbing, biking, mecca. My kinda place! I went down there with the ultimate goal of climbing a tower and BASE jumping off, and was determined to stay as long as it was going to take.
I was getting antsy in Salt Lake so late Tuesday night I just threw everything in my Outback and hit the road. Slept in my car that night (the thermometer read 22 degrees… brr!) and at first light crawled out of my cozy nest to greet some bushy-tailed BASE jumper Moabites for a sunrise mission to a gorgeous cliff that’s a bit of a rarity because of the super long car shuttle. Thanks DP! (my new aussie friend who is temporarily gimpy so he drove the 28+ mile each way shuttle)
That day we climbed some awesome crack routes on Wallstreet, where I got to break in my new Siren climbing shoes! Then finished the day with a sunset jump off one of my favorite cliffs, Potash. I had impeccable timing too because that night we all gathered at fellow FiveTen’er Andy Lewis’ house for fresh tamales and green chili straight from New Mexico. Ahh, and the world is right again!
The next day rallied off three more jumps around town running into jumpers from near and far, making new friends and reconnecting with old friends. The weather was looking prime for the next day so getting on something in the Fisher Towers area was the first thing on my mind. This requires quite a bit of planning and coordination, just climbing multi-pitch routes like these takes lots of gear and logistics but we are also BASE jumping off so that’s a whole new addition. Luckily I have the coolest friends on the planet and we assembled a great team, including fellow five ten BASE jumper, Ellen Brennan, and 3 other jumpers. Another early morning the next day and we cruised out to the Fisher Towers area with the classic Ancient Art climb in our sights. We took our time, since we had two groups climbing- and we are all carrying huge stash bags with our parachutes and other gear on our backs (sooo awkward in chimneys) but the conditions were perfect and it was yet another beautiful chilly morning in Moab.
This was my first time climbing Ancient Art, but I’ve been enchanted by it for years. Even before I started BASE jumping. I have been wanting to climb and jump one of these towers for so long, so once we reached the summit, the feeling of excitement and accomplishment was indescribable. I will never forget those last few steps up to the very top of the corkscrew, the teetery pedestal with room enough only for your own feet, standing up straight and untying myself off the rope. It’s only me and my parachute and I felt on top of the world. What a view, and what vertigo!!! With shaky legs I put my arms in the sky and shouted, body pumping with adrenaline and attempting to grasp my surroundings, taking it all in. This, this is what I live for, moments like these are the reason I do what I do and why I’m a BASE jumper. 3, 2, 1, Cya! The visuals leaping off that little guy are sooo cool, awesome conditions and a nice soft landing right by the flag we put up in the landing area. It’s this moment when you are filled with such ecstasy, especially after a mission like that when you are so focused for so long- the adrenaline pumping through the whole approach, it’s mentally exhausting and the bliss you experience when your mind is no longer so gripped, when your feet hit the ground is better than anything else in the entire world, hands down. Everyone else had safe jumps and we all ended up laughing and yelling like the maniacs we are. I am so lucky to have the coolest friends in the world.
After that, I was totally satisfied. Could have driven back to Salt Lake at that moment and been psyched. But it was a full moon that night, and it was 11/11/11, so my friend Sean and I decided to do a midnight full moon jump. Too bad it was super cloudy so the full moon did absolutely nothing, but hey, it still worked. The cherry on top of a day I will never forget. The next morning it was super windy so we headed to Indian Creek for a fun day of crack climbing and chillaxing in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Today, I’m back in Salt Lake repacking and reorganizing for round two- next stop, California and Oregon for some coastal shenanagins, speedflying, sightseeing, and my friend wants to meet up and climb and BASE jump out of a redwood tree. BASE jumping out of a tree? Hey, my life is a cartoon anyway, so why not?
Until next time!