Joes Valley, UT – One of the things I love about living in Utah is the rock climbing. Any direction you go, there is good climbing. Joes Valley, down near Orangeville, is one of those places. I first started going there about 10 years ago with one of the rowdiest groups of climbers I’ve ever met. Loud, obnoxious, immature, idiotic: All are adjectives I could use to describe us, however we all had fun, and that’s what is most important. A couple years ago, we started hiking up random drainages to find new boulder problems. We had seen a particularly tall one from the road and had even walked up and looked at it, but it looked impossible, so we went on in search of other climbs.
Last year, Griffin Whiteside and I, along with some others, went back to it, and started cleaning it, brushing all the gunk off, making sure certain holds wouldn’t break off. It was a necessary evil. A couple weeks after we had cleaned it, A group of us headed back up to it carrying large crashpads so that Griffin could try it. Nobody else had any desire to try it. It’s tall and scary, thus the name #Tall. The moment I captured on Griffin’s first ascent, is one of the critical moments on the climb. Your right foot swings out, something climbers call a barn door, and the weight of your body starts to shift. If you’re not strong enough, your body will continue to swing to the side, your hands will pop off and you will land on your head and die.
The shouts of “come on” and “stick it” went quiet as Griffin’s right leg started swinging back. He looked down in fear, eyeballing the landing. Chad, moved some pads around, while scott feebly held his hands up, getting ready to make sure he didn’t land on his head. A breath escaped Griffin as he put his right foot back on. The screams from below started back up again as he finished the last couple moves to top out. Easily one of the tensest moments I’ve ever witnessed while climbing with some of the best friends i’ve ever had, except Scott.