Our time in St. George was full of many firsts for me: learning to drive a manual, going mountain biking, and playing pickleball, but I’d have to say rock climbing was definitely the most epic ‘first’. Brad’s sister Julie and brother-in-law Riley are outdoor lovers, and avid mountain bikers and climbers. We’d been dropping hints that we’d love to go climbing with them sometime and during this visit to St. George we finally got our chance. While Brad had been climbing before it was over a decade ago so we were stoked to have such experienced people taking us!
St. George is known internationally as a climbing destination and it actually has more climbing routes per capita than any other US city. Not only are there several different types of stone in the area to climb – limestone, sandstone, and granite – with St. George’s mild winters you can climb yearround (but be aware that summers temperatures often hit 100°F). Riley chose Prophesy Wall as our crag for the day. Our first route was Ship of Fools: an 80’ climb with a 5.8 difficulty rating. Riley was up first lead climbing.
Brad was up next and his job was to unclip the rope from the caribiners as he went, but of course leaving the rope in place at the top. Brad said his forearms were probably the most tired muscle after he was done. Even though it’s best to try and keep the brunt of the weight on your legs, it’s so easy to get stuck in spot where you’re relying on your arms more as you look for your next move.
Julie was third and she collected the caribiners. She had done a fair amount of climbing before meeting Riley and their first date was actually to go climbing at Prophesy Wall! It was a joy to climb with those two and they were so helpful and patient with us.
I was the last to go and thankfully didn’t have to think about anything other than finding my way up the wall. It’s funny, I found that when I had a really good handhold and solid footing, there’s this desire to stay and enjoy the comfort of the spot, especially when you’re next move is unclear. Riley’s great advice: look for the chalk marks to find your next hold.
Ship of Fools was a really great route with big handholds and footing. I think it was the perfect introduction to climbing. We followed the same order and duties for our second climb: Whatever happens…Happens. This one had a difficulty rating of 5.9 and was a bit more challening. It was 100’ of climbing and once I got to the crux (the most difficult section of the climb) I just couldn’t find a good route. My muscles were getting really tired and I actually called it quits and repelled back down. Everyone else made it to the top of that one. Then Julie and Riley took turn climbing both routes again to clean up any remaining gear. Some clouds had rolled in before we started the second route and the temperature was continuing to drop as we neared sundown, so I think we were all pretty ready to get back to the warm car once we had everything all packed up. All in all it was a really great experience and we look forward to doing it again – maybe we’ll even get our own gear someday!
Check out our video of climbing at Prophesy Wall: