Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bridge Vista - March 9 - Queen of Diamonds

So, this second weekend in March, I was apparently not satisfied to hike to Eva's Tower and celebrate my birthday.  I obviously needed to do another, even harder hike.  For Sunday, Bridge Vista for the Queen of Diamonds was on the menu.

The Bridge Vista hike is approximately 8 miles (roundtrip) with 3150 feet elevation gain and starts from the Pine Creek Trailhead.

The first 30-60 minutes of the hike we were hiking and scrambling over boulders to the back of the canyon.  We even had to maneuver around some rather large puddles.
The fun of boulder hoping through the wash was soon over and it was time to get to work climbing out of the canyon.  We started ascending the sandstone on steep sandstone slab.  And before long, we arrived at "the black wall."  It's a really great little free climb (no ropes or harnesses of course).  It's maybe 15-20 feet tall and if I were to rate it, I'd probably say it is in the realm of 5.2-5.3.  It's definitely in the realm of class 5 for sure.
Now, you can totally take a slightly different route to work around the wall and it's just as fast.  But, where's the fun in that?  That being said, I definitely availed myself of this work around on the way down.  There's no way that I was going to down-climb this wall.
After the wall and some additional light scrambling, we came to what seemed like a never ending slab of sandstone.  Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I would guess you gain 1000 feet trudging up sandstone and, oh yeah, the slab is fully exposed to the sun.  Sounds fun, right?  There aren't many more pictures because I started getting a bit grumpy.
Anyway....  once you get to the top of the never ending slab, you reach a saddle.  If you turn to the right, you'll head out to Bridge Point (more on that another day).  To get to Bridge Vista, you have to descend the other side of the saddle/ridge and head to the right.  You have to hike through some loose rock (not my favorite), but eventually you arrive at this lovely rope to climb:
At the top of that rope is the peak!  Yes!!  Another one in the bag.
Several of my friends list this hike in the "not doing again" category.  It's definitely not one that I would recommend on an even remotely warm day.  And that slab requires some serious work.  But, I definitely wouldn't put it on my not-doing-again list.  More importantly, it couldn't go on my not-doing-again list because I still needed to do Bridge Point, which follows the same route until the saddle at the top of the slab.

Plus, I can never complain when I spend a day hiking with some of the best friends I've ever met.

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