Moab 2002
Fourth annual mountain-biking-and-rock-climbing trip to Moab, Utah.
FeedbackBy Preston Hunt, 03 May 2002

Links: Preston's pics (TBD). Zack's TR and pics.

Getting there

As with the previous three Moab trips I've been on, I debated driving versus flying, renting a bike versus taking my own, but ultimately ended up doing what I always do: flying and renting. Tim had organized the master schedule, which started with Tim's picking me, Aimee, and Montalto up Friday morning at 4:00 a.m. at the BOOM! Condo to catch the 6:00 a.m. Delta flight out of PDX.

Unfortunately, the day did not get off to an auspicious start, as Zack called to let us know that our flight had been completely cancelled. After some last minute scrambling, we rebooked ourselves on a United flight connecting through Denver (!), which put us into Salt Lake City about 5-6 hours behind schedule.

The riding

We rented from Poison Spider, who seemed to piss off just about everyone this year. These guys always are in complete disarray and take literally hours to get you set up with your bike. They seem grumpy a lot of the time too. In spite of the problems that others encountered, I actually didn't have any problems at all this year (for a change!).

Amasa Back. Our first ride of the trip. Most of the bikers decided to ride from town (Ben ran it, but started at the trailhead). The group quickly separated into the alpha, beta, and zeta dogs. I was actually doing pretty well, owing to weeks of aerobic conditioning on the trails of Forest Park, until an uneventful spill left my right ankle almost sprained. When picking up my bike, I had noticed that it already had SPD clipless pedals, and had opted to keep them on rather than swap them out with my own pedals. BIG MISTAKE! I was completely unaccustomed to the feel of the new pedals and wasn't able to unclip from them during my fall, hence my serious injury. Aimee also had a nasty spill and sprained her wrist, which puffed up noticeably and left her unable to ride down from the summit. It was thus that Ben found himself precariously perched for his first mountain bike ride, on one of the most technical trails around!

Porcupine Rim. The alpha dogs rode from town while the rest of us took the van shuttle to the trailhead. My confidence was shaken from my hurt ankle, and so I did not do as well on this trial as I have done in previous years, despite being in much better biking shape. (Earlier in the morning, I had also had a nasty spill in the PSB parking lot when my wheel got caught on the sidewalk and I fell head first onto the pavement. Thanks to the helmet, I escaped with only a nasty scrape on my shoulder and a bruised ego.) Porcupine still remains slightly beyond my ability, and I found myself walking many sections of it, especially near the bottom. Despite feeling like a tortoise, I can't have done all that bad, as I was only passed a few times during my entire descent. Nevertheless, I was overjoyed to see Aimee and Mark driving the van up to the trail to pick me up at the end of the ride, saving me from a 5-mile ride back to town against a strong headwind.

Gemini Bridges. Aimee's hand was feeling better, so I decided to join her and Montalto on the less technical Gemini Bridges. In all of my previous trips, I had never actually been to the top of this, so I was very much looking forward to it. All was going well until Aimee's rear derailleur snapped in half about 5 miles in! Upon closer inspection, we were shocked to find out that it was made out of plastic! Aimee ended up grabbing a ride back to the trailhead from some Hollywood guys (getting ready to film a Marlboro commercial involving hundreds of wild horses running through the canyons). Montalto and I continued on to the summit, and were well on our way back to the trailhead when Aimee showed up. Montalto was too knackered for another ride to the summit and he headed back to the van while I joined Aimee on her first trip to the summit. Although I had muss less energy, the ride was easier the second time as I was becoming more accustomed to the riding conditions and knew what was coming. Gemini is a great ride with a very unique feel to it and a nice reward at the top. Highly recommended.

Slickrock. The unique riding of Slickrock remains one of my favorites, but we saved it to last since it is a quick ride. As with Porcupine, the alpha dogs rode from town while the rest of us took the van shuttle. My confidence was slowly returning and I fared pretty well on the slickrock, riding one very steep hill that has thrown me every time in the past. We did the full loop in a little over 2.5 hours, hands down beating the time estimates of the sign at the trailhead, which admonishes "4 to 12 hours".

The climbing

The climbing was less of a focus on this year's trip, due mostly to a lack of strong leaders in the group. Tim and I set most of the routes, with Ben and Zack setting a few near the end. For various reasons (mostly extra trips to the bike store and injuries) we were always late getting started for biking, which translated into getting started late for climbing (usually after 3:00). As a result, we climbed at Wall Street all four days.

Nervous in Suburbia (5.10a sport) Despite proclamations about "not being in shape", I had no trouble leading this route, one of my favorites in Moab.

30 Seconds Over Potash (5.8 trad) I top roped this problem and marveled that it was my second trad lead ever on last year's Moab trip!

Easy Slab (5.8 sport) After a failed attempt by Montalto, I set this route, despite a scary first bolt and the unsure feeling of friction slab climbing.

Unknown (5.10a sport) Zack led this steep slab lacking in obvious handholds. Trust the feet and you will make it!

Unknown (5.11+ TR). I was able to flash this thing with a strenuous effort, making me doubt whether it is really a 5.11+.

Unknown (5.7 sport). Ben led this unique climb created after the rock was dynamited during construction of the highway. I didn't get to climb it this year, although many of the others were subject to its unsure moves!

The eating

Pasta Jay's. We did a group dinner here, despite having almost 20 people in our group. Service was fine, but I found the food way too spicy and couldn't finish. A tad on the expensive side ($20 a head) for what we got.

Fat City. Another group meal. Food service was terrible forgotten/mixed up orders, I had to send back my food because it arrived cold, and the food taste was only a step above bland. To top it off, it ended up being $20 a head. I plan to avoid Fat City on future trips. Also some tension at bill time over splitting the bill evenly (people who had eaten much less were understandably peeved about subsidizing the more gluttonous eaters at the table).

Moab Diner. This classic Moab destination didn't let us down. Good eats, quick service, and easy on the wallet. I could have eaten here a few more times this trip!

Zak's Pizza. We all got the all-you-can eat pizza/salad/soup buffet, despite reservations that buying a la carte could potentially end up cheaper if you were only moderately hungry. Pretty good food, especially for the hungry mountain biker, climber, or runner.

Taco Bell R.I.P. We were all shocked to learn that the Moab Taco Bell had closed it doors to business. Luckily, Arby's and Wendy's were standing by to take up the slack.

Bento shop near Arby's. I was drawn into this place with a yearning for teriyaki chicken, but the food ended up tasting terrible here. Avoid.

Sandwich shop near the Best Western (2 doors down). This is the place that has the Internet caf�. Had a most excellent vegetarian bagel sandwich.


The trip home was uneventful. All in all, another good Moab experience, although the novelty of the trip is beginning to wane and I found the bad parts of the trip starting to outweigh the good. I will probably take a break next year and maybe resume the following year.

The gear

Qty. Category Subcat Item Wt ea. (oz.) Wt ea. (lbs.) Ext. Wt.
1 Essentials Balaclava - REI polypro 1.6 0.1 1.6
1 Essentials REI polypro liner gloves 1.1 0.1 1.1
1 Essentials Emergency solar blanket & storage bag 2.1 0.1 2.1
1 Essentials LED keychain light 0.3 0.0 0.3
1 Essentials Locking serated blade 2.8 0.2 2.8
1 Essentials Paper, pen, & storage bag 2.2 0.1 2.2
1 Essentials Suunto Compass 1.3 0.1 1.3
1 Essentials Sunscreen (SPF 45) - Aloe Gator 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Whistle 0.2 0.0 0.2
1 Essentials Toilet paper 0.3 0.0 0.3
1 Essentials Waterproof matches, trick candles (+ bottle) 0.9 0.1 0.9
1 Essentials Iodine tablets (bottle) 0.0
1 Essentials No-Doze tablets (bottle) 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Zip ties (aka cable ties) 0.0 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Sunglasses 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Map of area 0.0 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Extra food (Powerbar) 2.7 0.2 2.7
1 Essentials Extra socks 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials First-aid kit 0.0 0.0
1 Essentials Large heavy-duty garbage bags 0.5 0.0 0.5
1 Overnight Toiletry Bath kit 0.0
1 Overnight Toiletry Toothbrush 0.0
1 Overnight Toiletry Toothpaste 0.0
1 Overnight Toiletry Contacts 0.0
1 Overnight Toiletry Ear plugs 0.0
1 Overnight Toiletry Eye drops 0.0
1 Food Containers Nalgene 1L bottle (lexan) 5.2 0.3 5.2
1 Food Containers Camelbak M.U.L.E. (100oz)
4 Food Food Cytomax or Gatorade (premixed packets) 0.0
8 Food Food Powerbars 2.7 0.2 21.6
8 Food Food Gu 1.2 0.1 9.6
1 Clothing Wicking Patagonia Light Capilene (white) 6.3 0.4 6.3
1 Clothing Wicking Old Nike White Dri-Fit
1 Clothing Wicking Nike Dri-Fit White w/ zipper
1 Clothing Insulating Marmot Windstopper fleece vest 10.9 0.7 10.9
1 Clothing Insulating Arc'Teryx Delta Roo Jersey
1 Clothing Insulating Nike running tights
1 Clothing Shell REI nylon shorts 0.0
1 Clothing Shell Jacket - Marmot Thunderlight 22.7 1.4 22.7
4 Clothing Footwear Insulating socks (pair) 0.0 0.0
1 Clothing Headwear Nike white baseball cap 2.5 0.2 2.5
1 Hiking Headlamp - Petzl Zoom (+ battery) 11.4 0.7 11.4
1 Climbing Essentials Harness - Petzl Mercury 13.9 0.9 13.9
1 Climbing Essential Harness Belay device - Reverso
1 Climbing Essential Harness Belay device - Grigri 7.9 0.5 7.9
1 Climbing Essential Harness Chalk bag - Arc'Teryx red/yellow 0.0
1 Climbing Essentials Wild Things safety sling 2.2 0.1 2.2
1 Climbing Essentials Pearabiner - Wild Country autolocking 0.0
1 Climbing Essentials Long prussik (orange w/ green) 2.8 0.2 2.8
1 Climbing Essentials Short prussik (green w/ orange) 1.9 0.1 1.9
1 Climbing Essentials Short prussik (pink/blue) 1.4 0.1 1.4
1 Climbing Essentials D - Petzyl Am'D ball-lock carabiner 2.7 0.2 2.7
1 Climbing Essentials Pearabiner - Petzl Attache 2.8 0.2 2.8
1 Climbing Essentials Helmet - Petzl Ecrin Roc 0.0
1 Climbing Shoes 5.10 Anasazi velcro climbing shoes (pair) 15.5 1.0 15.5
1 Climbing Shoes La Sportiva Kuakulator shoes (pair) 25.7 1.6 25.7
1 Climbing Shoes Boreal Matrix climbing shoes (pair) 0.0
1 Climbing Rope Mammut Flash 10.5x50 rope 131.5 8.2 131.5
1 Climbing Rope Metolius rope bag (Rope Ranger)
1 Climbing Rope Wicker roll-up mat
12 Climbing Sport Quickdraw - Kong 3.7 0.2 44.4
1 Climbing Trad Grivel nut tool 1.9 0.1 1.9
1 Climbing Trad Camp Tricam 0.5 0.9 0.1 0.9
1 Climbing Trad Camp Tricam 1.0 1.3 0.1 1.3
1 Climbing Trad BD Camalot - #3 8.6 0.5 8.6
1 Climbing Trad BD Camalot - #2 6.7 0.4 6.7
1 Climbing Trad BD Camalot - #1 5.7 0.4 5.7
1 Climbing Trad BD Camalot - #0.4 3.4 0.2 3.4
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #1 0.5 0.0 0.5
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #2 0.9 0.1 0.9
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #3 0.9 0.1 0.9
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #4 1.0 0.1 1.0
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #5 1.1 0.1 1.1
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #6 1.3 0.1 1.3
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #7 1.4 0.1 1.4
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #8 1.6 0.1 1.6
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #9 2.0 0.1 2.0
1 Climbing Trad WC Rocks - #10 2.4 0.2 2.4
1 Climbing Trad Metolius multi-loop gear sling 4.4 0.3 4.4
4 Climbing Sling/webbing Kong 2' spectraweb (purple) 1.3 0.1 5.2
2 Climbing Sling/webbing Kong 2'/4' adjustable spectraweb (black) 1.7 0.1 3.4
2 Climbing Sling/webbing Kong 4' spectraweb (red) 2.2 0.1 4.4
1 Climbing Sling/webbing 24' tubular webbing (purple) 6.7 0.4 6.7
1 Climbing Sling/webbing Cordelette - Spectra 20'
4 Climbing Carabiner D - Kong locking 2.5 0.2 10.0
4 Climbing Carabiner Oval - Kong locking 2.4 0.2 9.6
1 Electronics Suunto altimeter watch 2.0 0.1 2.0
1 Electronics Motorola Talk-About radio (+3AA batteries) 5.9 0.4 5.9
1 Electronics Cell phone (Nokia 8260) 3.5 0.2 3.5
1 Electronics Laptop + power supply + phone cable
1 Containers Packs Dana Design Bomb Pack (3200 ci) 79.4 5.0 79.4
2 Biking Regular bike gloves (fingerless)
1 Biking Sunglasses
1 Biking Camelbak M.U.L.E. (100oz)
1 Biking Wind breaker (Pearl Izumi, orange)
1 Biking Clipless pedals, Shimano (pair)
1 Biking Bike shoes (Nike, w/ Shimano cleats)
4 Biking Shortie biking socks
3 Biking Padded bike shorts
3 Biking Biking jersey, short sleeve
1 Biking Biking jersey, long sleeve

Camelbak sprung a leak. Used Hillary's duct tape to fix it. Need to pack duct tape on future trips for field repairs. I could have used some pedal grease and chain lube as well. Bring altimeter watch to record elevation gain (or use GPS).

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