This temple taps into an energy field only associated with the most memorable moments in life.
new territory... heading further on the UFR we dropped down into Phantom. Box Elders typically flourish in the most unique areas Arizona has to offer. Their presence here is fitting with Crimson Monkey Flower on occasion.
Our first task, up to Shiva Saddle was possible due to Steve's generous description.
Pitch 1 is fun. Don't read into that too much. It scared the crap out of me at first. Coming back down you will notice it has several (maybe 3) terraces. Which gives you a chance to collect your thoughts and rest your limbs. At the bottom stay on the light colored rock to the left. I was able to downclimb this on my own without issue.
Pitch 2 is more fun. Albeit shorter in length the sheer verticalness at the top really messed with my mind. I had zero intentions of going back down on the return trip. jj took the time and helped me step by step spotting my blind footholds from a short distance away.... beyond appreciated!
I have a new respect for Steve in doing this with a huge pack, alone and with less specific information. Looking up from Phantom Creek or down from above this route looks impossible. Forget that, it doesn't even look like it exists, even after you have done it. You conquer 900ft in a quarter mile.
With an 11am start on the South Rim it took us 8 hours to reach Isis and night was falling. A simple lollygag pace to get us to camp. My pack was a ridiculous 6 pounds over my standard. Stuffed to 18.5 pounds, my camp set up (a sheet of tyvek) barely fit in.
Research and planning is done on a need to know basis. I thought I was stepping it up Bruce style. I checked for temps and more importantly rain. All looked good and I assured jj we could camp light. An hour after bedding down I hollered over to camp jj that I made a mistake.
Howling repetitive wind gusts at 40 degrees left us swearing we were gonna die. I slept(joke, that never happened) face down into the ground to keep my heater(heart) from blowing a valve. A lot goes through the mind in nine hours of torture. The most reassuring thing I could think of was the movie Titanic. Those that fell in the water died within an hour. Whereas the few that stayed afloat survived much longer. I figured we weren't soaking wet in an ocean and it wasn't freezing.
When I stood up in the morning I couldn't feel anything below my knees. It was like walking on stilts. After a half hour I was good to go.
We said hello to Isis. Then left with 1,200 feet of unfinished business.
There are times in life when you see opportunity. It gets wicked cool when it starts chasing you faster. Walking out of the canyon we were literally invited back...