April 11, 2010

Connor Columns

I first visited the columnar basalt zone on Connor Creek Summit in 1994. We only did two routes, but since that single visit to this small crag, i have always joked that the best crack climbing at the City of Rocks was at Connor Columns! Not that i think there isn't good crack climbing at the City of Rocks, but in all of my years climbing there, i have never discovered a single formation offering a dozen lines, splitter in nature and varied from tips to off-width climbing that require more jamming than the easily climbed face features gracing many of the City's classic crack lines.
Some people may ask the question, "Why would you want to waste your time at Connor Columns when you have world class climbing at the City of Rocks only 20 minutes away?"
The answer to that is a simple one... i like climbing. Although not the world class stone and adventure offered at the City of Rocks, Connor Columns does offer a dozen worthwhile splitter lines stacked right next to each other overlooking Connor Creek Summit and the valley below.
If you fancy yourself a lover of jamming style crack routes, Connor Columns is a worthy half day experience if you're at the City of Rocks.
Over the years, I've asked friends and various locals if they've ever checked out the climbing at Connor Columns. The answer has always been the same... "I've looked at it on my way to the City but have never stopped." Heather, Chad Sr, Nathan Smith and I decided to visit the crag yesterday. I wanted to revisit this over shadowed zone to see if in fact i was right about the climbing it offered. We spent the day jamming classic cracks stacked next to each other as if we were at a developed sport crag, minus the signs of any recent human traffic of course! We walked back to the car after sunset completely exhilarated by the climbing we had enjoyed all day!
Connor Columns from Connor Creek Summit

Heather Lords in front of the Pull Photography lens.

Heather cruising up a classic columnar corner.

That's me jamming a superb strait in splitter!

Sport climbing with cams!

Heather soaking up the sunshine while jammin' the goods! Nathan's static line and his foot are in the top right corner of this image. Oops, my bad!

I gave a good effort at on-sighting the Connor Column test piece. I was flashing until i fell off high on the route! No traffic and the presence of lichen made the feet a real challenge! It was fun climbing with sustained movements protected by #0 and #00 Metolius TCU's! And it even felt better climbing sustained moves when i could plug in #1's!