Where Angels fear to land?
Trip Start Jul 26, 2010
27Trip End Aug 23, 2010
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I’ve just googled "Angel’s Landing" and discovered there have been several deaths on this climb. With hindsight, we are not surprised:
An early start again to avoid the main heat of the day. I could have grabbed the first waffle of the day, but declined the opportunity on two counts: 1. I don’t know how to use the contraption, and 2. I’m no fan of maple syrup, and since the locals drown the waffle in the stuff, I now know why a lot of Americans have a Michelin-man figure. We stuck to toast and cereals, and a carry-out of fruit for lunch!
The weather had changed overnight and though stickily sultry, the skies were thick with cloud and ominous. We hadn’t heard that there were storm warnings for the region and the prospects of flash floods were high. If the truth be known, Steph didn’t really want to do this walk/climb, and only her pride prevented her from finding an excuse not to do it. Having questioned the Park Rangers (no sign of Yogi or Booboo!) she was reassured that the major problem for the walk was lightning strikes. No worries there then!
Off we went, trolling along a gentle path up to the end of a canyon wall in a gentle temperature and heavy skies. The sun was beginning to creep out and light up the mountain tops as the sight of the first rock wall came into view. The path up the wall could only be made out by the occasional sighting of other walkers on the way up. The path started out as a sandy track, but soon became a concreted route, mainly because of its increasing steepness and the sheer volume of traffic over the course of the years. The first phase of the rock wall was relatively painless; the views back down the canyon, however, were amazing, especially as the sun was almost out. The second phase of the walk was fairly flat through what is called Refrigerator Canyon – pretty cool here out of the sun. But then we hit the 21 switchbacks that lead to the top of the first ridge
At this point you get your first glimpse of the final phase of the climb – across a narrow neck of rock to a pinnacle ascent. The neck of rock is around 1000 feet up and has sheer drops on both sides – no problems! After this stretch comes the final climb of scrambling up sandstone, assisted occasionally by fixed chains. The drops on either side are quite frightening if you dare to look; most of the time we were just concentrating on gripping the chain and wondering why on certain short stretches, there were no chains at all.
Yup, a hairy climb, but Steph was determined to do it (or maybe get it over and done with!) After a while, you do tend to forget about the sheer drops and focus on footholds. We made it to the top without too much fuss. The views from the top are spectacular and make the hazardous climb all the more worthwhile.
Obligatory photos all round, and then back down. We sensed the descent would be more difficult than the ascent, but this proved not to be the case. Our major problem going down was traffic – other tourists in a variety of footwear and some without brains too
That was it for the day really, except for another exciting trip to the launderette. No, we did not need to clean our underwear urgently!! Maybe if we'd known about the deaths on the climb .......
Tomorrow is a rest day in Kanab, before we do the long 14 mile trek down into the Grand Canyon. Easy!!