Desert Dreams: Why You Should Not Boulder In Indian Creek


Let's start with the fact that there is sand everywhere. Pure, orange sand. The kind of sand you can cup in your hands and smell. The kind that falls back to the earth carrying all that bullshit you brought with you. It makes hiking difficult. It makes the boulders you find at the end of the hike mind-blowing. I like my mind how it is. Ugh.

Nate Hobrath squeezes a project. This one requires something between bear power and eagle grace.

Don't forget – Indian Creek is barely developed as a bouldering area. If you can find the lines that Chris Schulte has already established, that's great. Some of them are right off the road, in plain sight. Others are tucked away; you'll never find them. Not without trudging through the sand. So what do you do? Where's the bouldering guidebook? It's nowhere. It's in the mind and travels by word of mouth only. All the pretty photos are surrounding you, waiting to be snapped into existence. There's no map to the boulders. All the canyons and all the canyon cliffs look the same. It's disorienting.

You may have to establish your own boulder problems. And sadly, that takes a lot of work. You have to find them first. Then you have to clean them (sometimes this requires a rappel, and fifteen uncomfortable minutes in a harness). Then, since the line you found is undoubtedly tall and imposing and beautiful, you have to commit to climbing it. It is a choice. You have to objectify your fear, observe it like a little poisonous frog. See how it would stack up next to your climbing confidence – a healthy adult chimpanzee, let's say. Which one wins? It's up to you.

Nate hugs Air Wolf just before the send.

Indian Creek is harsh. There's no cell service. The rugged desert climate burns your skin by day and freezes your bones by night. Rattlesnakes and yucca spikes ache to cut you, poison you. Sandstone choss rains from every boulder in orange dust clouds, choking you and making you sneeze. Drive far enough down Beef Basin Road and you might just run out of gas. Camp in a wash on a stormy night and you might drown in a flash flood. Anything could happen; everything will.

Nathaniel Davison attempting Day Of The Dead. A random hike in a random wash on a random road.

Indian Creek is known as the crack climbing capital of the world. Endless splitters, corners, chimneys. Miles and miles and miles of untouched cliff bands. Thousands upon thousands of cracks. A crack climber might scoff at you for considering the boulders at the base of the cliffs. He might say you're ignorant for climbing those pebbles, that the real climbing is above them. There's history in these canyons. And he might be right.

A boulderer might say you're ignorant for walking past those pebbles without a second thought. It's all the same rock, and we're all just silly apes climbing it. History is being made in these canyons.

He might be right too.

Thanks to Nate Davison for the absolute banger of a video you see above. Follow him on Instagram for more FIRE and visit his website to HIRE HIS ASS.