Is my butt too big for this climb?

Pulling onto a climb at Priest Draw is a somewhat masochistic endeavour. Most climbs are near horizontal roofs filled with pockets – one digit nightmares to full hand jugs – that are at once smooth and filled with daggers. Add in the change in elevation Merissa and I are experiencing (Flagstaff sits at ~7000 ft.), and you have somewhat of a struggle-fest. Fun though.

A climb we are both set on finishing up before we leave, “Anorexic Nerve Dance”, seems to be a nod toward this style. The idea being that the majority of your body weight has to reside in mutant-like finger tendons to be successful. While eating a (veggie) burger from Diablo’s (an amazing place in Flagstaff) after rather than before attempting to climb at the Draw is probably best, the general consensus is that these climbs come down to endurance and core strength more than BMI. {Merissa here: When Kent told me we were going to hop on a v6 roof climb called “Anorexic..” my immediate reaction was, “my ass is too big for this climb” but found myself pleasantly surprised with my progress through the crux only to fail due to lack of endurance} Currently, we are both very close to sending. We’ll see. It has been fun working it, anyway.

One great thing about Priest Draw is that primitive camping can be found nearby, and so far no one has been troubled by us sleeping in the van overnight. Craig VanWagen win. Merissa and I both take pride in having a ‘clean’ campsite – we derive quite a bit of satisfaction from having a self-sufficient and contained travelling mobile! One thing to note is that there is no water or bathrooms here – both can be found in Flagstaff. We understand that the best practice, should you need to, is to poop on the rim of the draw, and not in the wash, buried of course. {A trowel’s length deep for maximum biodegradability!}

Taking a break from the above, we took a short drive south through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. After hearing about the area from a number of local/Phoenix climbers, we decided to check things out. We were equally surprised by the beauty and magnitude of the canyon, as well as by the tourist shit-show that is Sedona. The town itself is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, jeep tours, and a number of mystical-crystal-vortex-alien-fortune type outfits. If you need spiritual realignment, apparently it’s a great place. We can at least vouch for the views.

We ended up staying in Pine Flats campground, about 20kms north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon. One of our favourite things about the area around Flagstaff is the Ponderosa Pine trees that remind us of home and put us at ease after so much driving through plains and desert. Pine Flats did not disappoint, we enjoyed a relaxing evening, a good sleep, and some rest the next day dipping our feet in the Creek.

Tonight and tomorrow we are back at the Draw, getting in one more night of free ‘camping’ before travelling to Joshua Tree National Park. Flagstaff has been great, I think we may have mentioned this before, but Merissa and I think this would be a great place to live. Don’t worry; we’ll come back first.

-K and M


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