Day 3 was a very different experience from the first two ones.
Because of the heat, we decided to search for a more sheltered spot – we settled on getting into the Loop Road and visiting a place called Icebox Canyon – it did not disappoint. It was all in the shade all day, and with a wind, it felt like being in Kerry’s Gap of Dunloe in April or May.
The place is located around 15 mins drive from the entrance, and parking is very easy to find. Just off the road. Then just follow the trail for Icebox Canyon. The place itself has a number of sectors, we decided to go to one called Necromancer Wall – it’s the very first obvious wall on the left.
Walk off from the main trail isn’t obvious, and we missed it, but you can kind of whack your way in just trying to eyeball it. In reality, the first place that looks like the walk-off (down to the valley bed) is probably the one you should take.
The Wall offers 4 super climbs, all trad with additional options short walk nearby.
Paul and I landed under Hop Route – a 100m 2 pitch 5.7. The first one, a gnarly-looking offwidth, wasn’t actually too bad. Paul lead it and enjoyed it immensely. There is an option to belay after 25m, but it’s best to run to the top of the first pillar – it took 45m. Some big cams were useful, but the climbing didn’t feel harder than VS 4c. Build your own belay on top of the pillar.
I quickly followed (but had to warm myself up – I wish i brought more layers!), and was up with him in no time.
I took the rest of the gear and set off for P2. This meant traversing the pillar to the left edge and following the obvious crack to the top. This was easier than P1, and ran around HS4b. The crack ends after around 45m as well at the top of the pillar. I think in reality you meant to jump 1 more boulder to the very top, and then scramble down around to the back for bolted belay, but I’d be very hard with the rop drag.
I built the belay, brought Paul up, and then we did a short 10m traverse to the back pitch directly to the back belay off. From there 2 abseils had us to the ground (the 2nd set of bolts is somewhat hidden, its possible to get down in 1 go (that’s what C&C did, as their route shared the descent), but there is a risk of ropes being tangled).
It was still early so we decided to do another route – Sensuous Mortician – an obvious classic – a crack turn into fantastic face climbing with an exciting roof finish at the end. It goes for 37m at 5.9, which was around HVS/VS 4c. It generally has very good gear where needed but runs out in places. Still highly recommended! The roof has good jugs and is protected ok.
Paul led that, and belayed from the top, as our 50m ropes would be too short for up&down setup.
By the time we were down, Calvin and Clare were back too, after doing Fold out. A multi-pitch on the right side of the crag. They said it was very good too, with challenging route finding (as the 2nd pitch wanders to the left a lot).
Again, since the 5pm exit is heavily enforced, we finished the day at around 3.30 and headed to the cars.
We went home quite quickly, I cleaned up and Paul dropped me off back at South Point casino so I could participate in the 6pm 100USD tournament.
That was a lot of fun, and i finished 26th out of 104 participants, going out on a bad beat when my all-in A6 lost vs opponents limped A4 and A4xxx runout. Very sad about that, as this double-up almost certainly meant I’d make the money (top 16 were getting paid).
The game is incredibly soft and enjoyable and I’ll be sure to be back there again!