Forum Index > Trip Reports > Zion Summits: Courting Angels Beyond the Gates May 1-5, 2016
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John Morrow
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PostSun May 08, 2016 4:27 pm 
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Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace Region

North Guardian Angel 7395'   Class 4 Northeast Ridge
West Northgate Peak 7267'   Class 3 North Ridge
South Guardian Angel 7140'  Class 4 Northeast Ridge
East Northgate Peak 7159'  Class 2 North Slope

Zion Canyon

Angel's Landing 5790'  Class 3 Chains
Refrigerator Peak 6011'  Class 1 South Slope

May 1:  Drive from Escalante, get permit, goof off in Springdale, hike in the chill 2 mile Northgate Peak Trail to set up a camp on the rim of Russell Gulch.  Literally "chill" with rain and wind and 40 degree F. cold temps!

Northgate Trail end viewpoint
Northgate Trail end viewpoint
Evening rainbow
Evening rainbow

May 2: Allowing the rock to dry with a leisurely start, Kimberly, Robert, and I set off to summit the North Guardian.  It is fairly challenging scrambling with consistent Class 4 to start above the NE shoulder (Class 3 to there) and several exposed Class 4 steps here and there to the summit.  In general, after the first sustained pitch, go slightly left (south) of the NE Ridge crest.  We opted to go faster by avoiding to rope up.  On the descent we did 2 rappels, however.  Spectacular Climb in an amazing location!

North Guardian Angel
North Guardian Angel
flower
flower
NE Ridge North Guardian Angel
NE Ridge North Guardian Angel
Starting up
Starting up
Summit pitches
Summit pitches
Zion National Park. UT
Zion National Park. UT
Class 4 pitch
Class 4 pitch
Class 4 first pitch
Class 4 first pitch
moving up
moving up
exposure
exposure
Robert around Cl.4 bulge step
Robert around Cl.4 bulge step
S. Guardian Angel; Zion National Park. UT
S. Guardian Angel; Zion National Park. UT
Grand view SE
Grand view SE
Zion National Park, UT
Zion National Park, UT
1st rappel
1st rappel
2nd rappel
2nd rappel
Happy climbers
Happy climbers

Trying to beat incoming T-storms, I quickly went up W. Northgate Peak on its' pleasant and solid Class 3 North Ridge.

N. Ridge W. Northgate
N. Ridge W. Northgate
Zion Wilderness, UT.  Storm on the horizon...
Zion Wilderness, UT.  Storm on the horizon...
Zion National Park, UT
Zion National Park, UT

May 3:  6:30 AM start, knowing this would be a potentially long day to South Guardian Angel.  It sits in a magnificent and remote location deep in Zion Wilderness.  Though the Peak itself is solid and pleasant Class 3, getting to it is another story.  There is but one way, that is to descend to the famous Subway of the Left Fork North Creek.  It goes like this:
Walk around the west edge of the unnamed point east of N. Guardian Angel.
Descend the prominent South Ridge of this point until it gets too steep.
Cross left through a shallow drainage to a second south trending rib.
Take it until it steepens beyond reasonable progress.
Look down and right into a gritty dirt gully...Take it.
Take the gully to a brushy flat, 200 vertical feet above the Subway.
Traverse the flat 100 yards left to a second gully...Take it to the bottom!
The key Jughandle Arch is right across from you.
Climb 15 feet of Class 3 gully left of the arch to 10 feet of Class 4 mini face.
Ascend the rest of the gully out to a tread on the left switchbacking up.
Find your way to Guardian Angel Pass and locate the Red Sandstone Amphitheater...scramble it to the NE Ridge of South Guardian Angel.
Enjoy the NE Ridge to the top!
Retrace.

Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
N. Guardian Angel looms
N. Guardian Angel looms
Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
descending to subway
descending to subway
Dirty, brushy gully descent
Dirty, brushy gully descent
Robert at Subway
Robert at Subway
Kimberly found Jughandle arch!
Kimberly found Jughandle arch!
Climbing out
Climbing out
First view!
First view!
The "sandstone amphitheater"
The "sandstone amphitheater"
NE view
NE view
amphitheater step
amphitheater step
Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
Zion National Park, Kolob Terrace region
Zion Wilderness, UT
Zion Wilderness, UT
Class 3 fun
Class 3 fun
Last Cl 4 friction step
Last Cl 4 friction step
Robert follows
Robert follows

Summit views are awesome!!!!  Then head back...

Zion Wilderness, UT
Zion Wilderness, UT
Deep in the Zion Wilderness, UT.  Zion National Park
Deep in the Zion Wilderness, UT.  Zion National Park
Descending
Descending
Back up that???
Back up that???
Gully ascent
Gully ascent
Gully steps
Gully steps
Almost out
Almost out

Once back at the Northgate Peaks, I scrambled the easy N Ridge of East Northgate.  A tread gets you up, but fun Class 2 rock is more enjoyable.

Zion Wilderness, Zion National Park, UT
Zion Wilderness, Zion National Park, UT
N. Ridge E. Northgate scramble
N. Ridge E. Northgate scramble
Happy Camp!
Happy Camp!

May 4:  Then it was time to eat and celebrate in Springdale!  A quick hike out and a set up in the South Campground by the Park Visitor Center.

May 5 :  Drats, my last day.  I opted for Angel's Landing and some Courtney Purcell bump called Refrigerator Peak.  I was first out of camp and thought I'd meet everyone on top. But somehow we never crossed paths????  Then it was time to begin the long drive.

My final desert sunrise
My final desert sunrise
Angel's Landing crowd gathers
Angel's Landing crowd gathers
Zion National Park, Angel's Landing
Zion National Park, Angel's Landing
Over there next
Over there next
Famous chains on Angel's Landing
Famous chains on Angel's Landing
Angel's Landing
Angel's Landing
Mtn of Mystery across
Mtn of Mystery across
Mount Majestic
Mount Majestic
View from Refrigerator Peak
View from Refrigerator Peak
flower
flower
more flower
more flower
Willie's Wiggles
Willie's Wiggles

May 6:  Breaking up the drive with a leg stretcher, I stopped by Bruneau Dunes State Park near Mountain Home, ID.  I am really beginning to love sand dunes!

Bruneau Dunes Lake
Bruneau Dunes Lake
texture
texture
Traversin' Bruneau Dunes
Traversin' Bruneau Dunes
dunes over lake
dunes over lake
Over to highpoint
Over to highpoint
The "dune crater"
The "dune crater"
a sleepy state park in Idaho
a sleepy state park in Idaho
texture; Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID
texture; Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

And then it was done....my Utah trip that is.  Thanks so much to all the partners that made it special!

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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meck
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PostSun May 08, 2016 4:40 pm 
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That looks like an awesome experience, and that terrain is wild!  I really dig that photo of Angel's Landing.  Thank you for sharing your pics (I'm hoping to go visit at least some of those parks someday)

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ragman and rodman
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PostSun May 08, 2016 4:45 pm 
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Thanks to you, Abert, Opus, myself and quite a few others, the southwest has been getting quite a bit of publicity on nwhikers... smile.gif

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"Teanaway 70" Peaks List... a guide to hiking and scrambling in the Teanaway Area.
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Gimpilator
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PostSun May 08, 2016 4:45 pm 
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Awesome!   up.gif   I hope to follow in your footsteps on the guardian angels someday.

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Abert
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PostMon May 09, 2016 11:31 am 
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Collecting sand dune highpoints?  There must be a list somewhere.

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Photos
Peakbagger Page
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John Morrow
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PostMon May 09, 2016 3:41 pm 
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Abert wrote:
Collecting sand dune highpoints?  There must be a list somewhere.

easy pickens!  Allthough, the knife edge rib traverse was exhausting!  Mojave area dunes much more user friendly.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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slabbyd
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PostTue May 10, 2016 8:52 am 
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South Guardian is one of the all time classic peaks in North America (IMO).  Nice way to end an excellent vacation.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Zion Summits: Courting Angels Beyond the Gates May 1-5, 2016
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