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The Rappel Gully (5.4)

Camelback Mountain - Phoenix, Arizona

March 6, 2010

~All photos courtesy of the Kevin and Robyn Harper Collection~

Today I met my longtime friend from college, Kevin "Keeve" Harper and his wife, Robyn, and we spent the morning climbing at Camelback Mountain. It was a beautiful day as we hiked up from the parking lot to the Headwall area where I had climbed the day before. I scrambled up the easy fourth class gully then scrambled over to the bolts at the top of the rappel gully. I spent a few minutes setting up an equalized anchor, then rappeled down to Keeve and Robyn.

We started by going over some of the basics: harness safety, figure-eight follow through knot, and the basic commands. Robyn climbed first and did a great job working her way up the route. Keeve climbed next while Robyn snapped some pictures. He was soon at the top and took a few minutes to look around and enjoy the view before I lowered him back down.

We were the only climbers for about 30 minutes until a party of 4 rappelled the Headwall route to our right. They were outfitted with large packs, headlamps, and lot's of gear. They had obviously had an early start to climb their route, which I can't recall. Next Robyn tied in again and tried a different variation up the right side of the route. The rock was pretty crumbly so she traversed back to the left and up to the top. There was a section near the top that was the crux and she moved through it with no problem this time.

A party of three showed up and we were able to tell them what we knew of the various routes. Keeve climbed once more before we had to leave to get back to Sedona and Kim. Thanks Robyn and Keeve for a fun morning at the crags!