THE CREEKS (a spray report of sorts)

Seriously, my tent has a leak, but I seek to peak at the creek, with both cheeks, surrounded by desert freaks who wreak, and a guy named Zeek who seems meek, but eats meat, speaks of chic shoes and sings the blues, what else is new?

So here I am now, in blue grass Kentucky.  I’ve never had blue grass in Kentucky before, I’ve had real good grass, blueberry bud, purple haze, snow white, mauwie wauwie, early mist, but whatever, I’m here drinking an Ale 81, or “a late one” depending on what time it is, and waiting for my Za.  Miguel’s pizza is legendary, I was here last year, and the year before that too, in fact I’ve been coming here since the spring of 1996, 13 goddamn years ago.  What the hell happened?  Why is it that when we look back at such a “great” length of time, we feel like bums, completely unproductive bums, and then suddenly I’m trying to find an old photograph for someone and it takes me hours to dig through the images I have from over the years and suddenly I feel as though I’ve lived 6 life times.  The mind is a fucked up thing.  I feel guilty one moment for being such a slacker, and the next innocent of all charges.

This place is amazing, as you know, but I’ll talk about it later (next week), but for now I’ll post some pictures, because really, that’s all I got.  To explain, I just spent a week in Indian Creek, Utah, south of the desert wonderland of Moab, climbing splitter cracks and laybacking as much as my denim jeans would allow me.  It was my rehab back to some form of climbing shape (still recovering from my appendectomy last month).  I was there during the incredible International Climbers Meet, brought to us by the American Alpine Club, and I was honored to go representing The Alpine Club of Canada. As I promised my adorable lady, I climbed only 5.11’s and 5.12’s for the first three days.  However on day four I could no longer contain myself, I wanted to try the popular and rather challenging “Air Sweden” solid at 5.13 R.   I was lucky enough to climbing with the POLISH bad asses, Adam and Yaghtzic(?) and they had arranged a TR for us.  After two sessions on it and getting worked, we pulled the rope, racked up and Adam (27) went for the lead.  He did super well, looking really solid but his foot slipped before he could get into the crux.  Watching him fall on that small TCU game me some confidence.  I climbed up to the crux for my third go of the day, placed the gear and rested on the tight but comfortable finger locks.  The wind suddenly picked up, the sun ducked behind thick clouds – I reached left and embarked on the famous journey captured by Sender Films of Eric Decaria leading on the sharp end (which by the way is still one of my favorite video clips of ALL TIME, Eric is a samurai), I thrutched my way to the jug, legs trembling and looking at a minimum fall of 45 feet I placed a sinker cam.  The rest was nice, I climbed slowly after that,  surely,  not to fuck up the 5.11 at the top.  It was special for me because it was my last day in the creek and I’ve wanted to do that climb for three years, I wasn’t sure I could do it in a day, especially after my hiatus, but I got very lucky.

Balancing Rock.  This photo would be better if there were a climber on it I think…

Micheal from Denmark, no matter how hard we tried, there was no wiping the smile off this guys face, he was in heaven at the creek.  And led a pretty sick 5.11 ring locking crack.  Congrats buuuuudy.

Vincent from Holland, showing off his gobi’s from Momentum.

This, unfortunately is my ankle.  If you’ve ever climbed Big Guy, you’ll understand.  Tape is my new best friend, as is polysporin and gauze.

Pretty epic sky country.  Wouldn’t you say?

The desert never fails to remind us what a marvel it is.  The buttresses look like huge sand Castles, I often feel like we should be riding around on silver horses.

Jim Donini himself, holding down the fort.  This guy is my hero, he loves climbing all the way through and his enthusiasm for it is really infectious.  Also, I’m pretty jealous of his radical van.   Thanks Jim.


THE SUPER FUNNY AND TALENTED POLISH climbers.  Did you know that if you get pulled over drunk on your bicycle in Poland, they take away your drivers liscence.  No tolerance.

The next day I went to Mill Creek, about 45 minutes north of Indian Creek and I managed a second 5.13 gear route.  Aesthetics.  Possibly one of the most beautiful sport climbs in the world.  Technical and balancy as all shit.  It’s soooooo gooooood.  Thanks to Noah Bigwood for establishing such a gem.  I figured I had a 50/50 shot of sticking the crux on lead.  But again, I got a little lucky and wobbled my way to the chains.  I feel blessed that I was able to sneak away from Utah having ticked those mega classic routes.  Blessed.  Perhaps my projects in Squamish and beyond are not that far off.

For those who read this blog know I don’t always talk about my climbing, but I’m kinda psyched about these latest accomplishments and I tried really hard on them, I like trying hard, no matter what it is.   The best part about surprising yourself on a challenging climb (especially after an injury or something) is that you can begin the fun process of building on it – using that momentum to take you to a higher place.  It’s the momentum that’s important I rekon.  That’s what all the best climbers in the world have going for them in my opinion (and feel free to argue if you’d like) but they seem to have the strongest fingers, the lightest bodies (in ratio) and the most amount of confidence in their ability.  So cool.  I think if you want to be a better climber, (and I know I do) you/me have to work on these three things, we should make training decisions based on these factors eh?  Fun, finger strength, body weight ratio, and confidence.   God speed.

  • Steve Traversari

    Well done, Sonnie. And here I was thing about when you would do a training post. I suppose it’s not as complicated as I keep thinking it is. Finger strength, body weight, confidence and just get out there.

  • Mike Sampson

    “that’s what all of the best climbers in the world have going for them…”

    I think it would be wise to point out that the physical attributes of the “best” (like it matters) climbers depends on whether their focus is: ice, aid, alpine, mixed, trad, sport, boulderer, tree, high angle worker, rescuer, guide, gym, mountaineer etc.

    It’s a big world out there, and not everybody gives a rat’s ass about 5.13 or whatever the fuck.

  • Sonnie

    busting out the ‘R’ word eh?


  • Mike Sampson

    The sport, in my opinion, needs to be shaken up a bit. I can not believe that when people I work with ask me about what I do in my spare time, and then they say: “oh, you mean like in a gym?”

    I think the sport needs people to approach it like in Europe; there is a small mountain 4 blocks from me with a busload of 4th class, and short 5th crying to be climbed–do you think I have ever seen another soul up there?

    When someone doesn’t live in an epicenter like Squamish, it is crazy how regular society looks at you/me for hiking in somewhere with a rope, or a pad for that matter.

    As far as the ‘R’ word, who would be a better host, I’m obviously checking out your blog for a reason.

  • KG Eaves

    I live in Greenville, South Carolina (a climbing super mega center explosion…insert tongue in cheek), and no one cares that I climb. And that’s what I love about it. Climbing is way too much fun to care about what people think…whether you’re climbing 5.3 or 5.15. The grade/type of climb doesn’t matter. I don’t like to boulder or aid at all, but I could care less whether other people do it. Climbing is what you make it, and it’s lame to get worked up about nothing or what anyone thinks about your climbing. Sonnie, you’re just sick.

  • Sonnie

    “climbing is what you make it” heavy, i like it, sick is right, but don’t forget twisted and rude too.

  • Alex

    I think that the Creek is incredible!

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  • bennett

    Nice work on those two routes, theyre real hard.

    BUT I thought aesthetics was a sport route?
    Did you place gear on that thing?

  • Just Me

    Gosh! That guy that you can’t wipe the smile off is so God Damn gorgeous!! Is he taken? I’m in Australia though and too shy to give my name.

    He’s so howt! Just had to say it…

  • Sonnie

    The Creek IS incredible, I agree.

    Micheal is not single, I’m sorry to report.

    Aesthetics, yes, a classic sport route, as it should be, but it’s also a classic trad route, thanks to Noah.

  • mark

    I’ve always wondered why as a society we seem to hold rodent and feline backsides in such high regard. “No one gives a rat’s ass!” As if its something we should care deeply about. Or ” This cliff is the cat’s ass!” As in culo de gato at the Potrero. One of the highest complements of quality. I am the owner of 2 cats and have dealt with numerous rats i my life, have i been missing some hidden qualities in these animals derrieres??

  • Mike

    ok climbing is getting way too serious. time to bring back the 80s lycra! “the best climber is the one having the most fun” alex lowe. Indian Creek – so good, so much rock!

  • Sonnie

    Mark, you are BY FAR, the finniest man alive.

  • michael

    Dam Sonnie, you’re ruining my chance of scoring an Aussie… chick I hope:-)

    -I had a great time in the creek, thanks to you and the rest of the guys…
    Cheers man…