South Six-Shooter Peak

March 23, 2009

A short but exciting technical (5.6) desert tower climb in the Indian Creek area

South Six-Shooter Peak

South Six-Shooter before the storm

We first attempted the climb in late afternoon on March 22. High winds and eerie skies turned us around before too long and we decided to stick around to see what the next morning would bring. Worried that a rain storm may leave us stranded on the 4x4 road, we retreated back down Davis Gulch before setting up camp for the night.

South Six-Shooter Peak

Sand Storm

After setting up camp near the beginning of Davis Gulch we endured a major sand storm. Sand everywhere! We were very glad to have bailed on the climb. We went to bed hoping for better conditions in the morning.

Six-Shooter Peaks

The Six-Shooter Peaks in early morning

The following morning was cold but clear as a small amount of rain through the night had removed the sand from the air. This picture shows South-Six Shooter's shadow and North Six-Shooter from the base of the technical portion of the climb.

South Six-Shooter first pitch

Dominic leading the 1st pitch

The first pitch is easy 5.6 climbing but a 30 degree temperature made it slightly uncomfortable. My hands were plenty numb by the time I reached the belay station.  An interesting snake petroglyph can be seen on the dark sandstone wall on the left.

South Six-Shooter second pitch

Dominic leading the 2nd pitch

The second pitch is easy but awkward in places. It gets a 5.4 rating but we must have gotten a little off route because we ended up climbing a more difficult crack to reach the pair of bolts below the summit pitch.

South Six-Shooter summit pitch

Reaching the summit

The third and final pitch is by far the toughest. Here Kevin is just above the crux but still on tricky terrain.  This picture was taken from the small summit.

South Six-Shooter summit rappel

Rappelling from the summit

Dwight rappelling from the summit. The crux of the climb is the dihedral feature near the center of the photo. It requires an awkward mantle move and most people agree that it deserves a slightly tougher rating than the 5.6 it was originally given.

South Six-Shooter rappel

2nd rappel

Kevin on the 2nd rappel.  The anchor is a nice set of bolts under the summit pitch.  Our 60 meter rope would not reach the ground from here.

South Six-Shooter rappel

3rd rappel

Kevin on the 3rd rappel, the most fun of the three in my opinion. The smooth but rippled vertical sandstone wall was a joy to cruise down.  Unfortunately the anchor wasn't as nice as it had been for the first two; a large boulder on a ledge didn't inspire confidence although it was obviously heavily used.  We backed it up with a cam for all but the unlucky last person.

South Six-Shooter

Close-up of summit area

Looking back at the top, technical portion of South Six-Shooter. Our climb started in the center of the photo and ended on the true summit, one of the towers on the right.

North Six-Shooter

North Six-Shooter Peak

North Six-Shooter as seen from the plateau under South Six-Shooter's summit cone. North Six Shooter is much tougher to climb, far too tough for us!

South Six-Shooter plateau

Edge of summit plateau

Dominic standing at the edge of the summit plateau. Much of the famous Indian Creek climbing area can be seen behind him.  Notice the huge cairns; they mark the start of a convenient route back down through the cliff band to the desert floor below.  Our car can be seen directly below the overhanging boulder.

Six-Shooter Peaks

The Six-Shooters

North (right) and South (left) Six-Shooter Peaks as seen on the drive back down Davis Gulch. They make an odd couple rising out of the otherwise flat desert floor.

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