South Guardian Angel


By: Paul Lipsohn


Last year with 32 signed up for this trip, exactly half showed up, so we again signed up 30 and--you guessed it--30 showed up in sleepy Virgin, Utah for the three day assault on South Guardian Angel.

Under the watchful eye of the bemused residents (Virgins?) we headed north on the Kolob Plateau road to our jump-off point, where parking was just adequate for our group.

The route parallels the canyon for about 1/4 mile, then drops 600 feet down a loose chute to the Left Fork of North Creek. We followed the creek n.e. for about four miles to the obvious campsite, had a lengthy lunch stop, then about 1/3 of the group proceeded up canyon to place ropes and logs for the following day's climb. Scattered showers in the afternoon caused some apprehension in camp, but happily our Sunday skies were flawless.

The climb went smoothly, almost an anticlimax to the planning. With our strong group rejecting belays at all points, we hit the summit at 10:30 and absorbed the views for about an hour and a half.

All of the superlatives heaped upon this canyon and peak have been understatements! The unique beauty of the canyon was equaled, if not exceeded by the view from the summit.

All participants agreed with the speculation that South Guardian Angel surely deserves emblem status.

Reluctantly we returned to camp, and the early hour encouraged our rapid denouement to the cars, to the dismay of many. (Some returned to L.A. that night, some stayed over to attempt North Guardian Angel on Monday while 10 rendezvoused at Red Cliffs BLM Campground and returned leisurely on Monday. Some observations: Nothing seemed so forlorn as John Vitz, gasless, at the as yet unopened (virgin?) gas station in Virgin; The chagrined expressions on the group of four backpackers seeking solitude in "our" canyon on the same weekend (which turned to smiles upon using our fixed ropes to continue their climb); under some circumstances 30 seems a too large group, in this canyon the group seems much smaller; perhaps as more DPSers visit this area more support can be gained towards making this our eighth emblem peak.


Last year Paul was unable to attend the DPS scheduled trip to South Guardian Angel for what would have been his list completion. I think he must have set a record for the longest time of having just one peak to go to finish the list. In the spirit of procrastination, he was presented with a six month overdue past Chairman's bar on the summit of the peak. Finally in the bustle of leaving town an additional present from May Heishi was left behind.

This was presented to Paul at the November DPS meeting for all to see. It was a 3 foot by 8 foot banner with an amazingly lifelike caricature of Paul standing on a summit doing what he likes best (on summits anyway) lopping up a cold beer and eating peanut butter sandwiches.

Many thanks to May for a superb banner.

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