We visited Indian Creek, Utah for a day back in 2002 – I’d wanted to climb the revered Incredible Hand Crack that I’d seen so many magazine photos of over the years – as well as wanting to sample the famous Wingate sandstone of this quiet desert valley. Problem was, it was late June – the season long gone, and despite being a Saturday morning with Supercrack Buttress in the shade there was not a soul to be seen. To climb Incredible Hand Crack you need at least 6 yellow Camalots, and with the valley deserted my plan to borrow the required gear was chopped quicker than a bolt at Stanage. We made do with a spartan (by Creek standards) double rack on a couple of 9s and 10s but I knew I had to return one day – with more gear, a posse and the right season.
Return we did, and we’ve just spent seven days climbing in this incredible area – with gear, a posse and great (albeit sometimes freezing) sending weather. It’s a steep and fast learning curve at Indian Creek and despite having quite a few Yosemite cracks under my belt it’s a whole different story when you hit sandstone splitters. You soon learn which crack sizes suit your hands and which you suck at; you learn the nuances of ringlocks and cupping; you learn when to place low, and you become intimate with camming devices on a whole new level. The sandstone’s texture is smooth and friendly – so unless you get to thrashing on something you get great milage from your skin; it seems to be biceps that blow out first.
Finally I got to sink my mitts into the Incredible Hand Crack and my arms into the even more famous – and somewhat wider – Supercrack. Those were just two of dozens of routes I did – each one classic and now indelibly etched into my memory. It’s a place I’ll definitely be returning to.
Here’s a few photos to check out! [click ‘notes’ to get captions].