North Guardian Angel, South Guardian Angel


By: Vi Grasso


In my quest to capture North Guardian, Doug graciously consented to lead N&SG Angels. Not only is the trip in itself a popular one, but the leaders is world-class renown - hence the promise of 30+ participants for these beautiful mountains. But as usual, given changes in plans and circumstances, the number dwindled to 22 climbers excluding leaders. Almost to the letter, Doug's planned itinerary as quoted below materialized quite faithfully. Participants were sent the following trip write-up:

"Saturday, Ugh. Having driven 150 miles E. of Vegas, we meet. To get there, take 115 via Las Vegas & St. George, Utah. About 10 miles N of St. George take Utah 15 east through Hurricane, on to Virgin. A road turns off Utah 15 to the left 15 to the left (north). Take this road toward Kolob Reservoir about 17 miles to a turnoff on the right just beyond a hairpin turn (there are a number of them), here, improbably we will meet at the ridiculous hour of [5:30] LA time. [Barely light], I know."

The [improbable] only deviated in that some of us camped for what was left of the night in a nice open area to the left of the road. In the morning [it was dark! we located each other and the ridiculous [5:30] meeting time graduated into an approx. 6:15 a.m. departure for NG. We continued according to plan: "But we have much to do: Climb NG Angel (6 mi. r.t. 1200' gain, maybe a bit of easy class 4), return to cars, drive back down the road 10 mi., then tromp up canyon to camp, another several miles, started off by a scramble down to the river. Then [some of us] will hopefully have time to tame some of the canyon's upcoming obstacles. Whew! Sounds tough but we did get this all done 10/83." And so it was. Tough, but it got done true to plan. We got to the cars at approx. 11:30 a.m. and drove on to the SGA trail head and had our lunch at the parking lot. We then packed our packs and were on our way by approx. 1:30 with an added participant, Ted Pinson, and down the first part (steep scramble) of the canyon. [Some of "them"] - the advance group who arrived at camp well ahead of the laggards, were ready to go on to tame the canyon's obstacles by around 4:00 p. A good couple of hours later the setup crew were back in camp satisfied that the obstacles had been conquered for a ready to hit-the--ground-running start up in the morning.

"Ah. Sunday it's up obstacles and SG extreme class 2 once we leave the canyon. PM lounge before a great campfire amid the red walls and yellow red trees." A rise & shine call at 6:00 a.m. & startup hike at 7:00 brought us to the first obstacle of the canyon wall which has anchored protection, so a few slings for foot-hold climbing and a strategically placed rope or two permitted all climbers to scramble up it. The next serious obstacle, after wading along the canyon - for some waist high, for others chest deep - and climbing out of the waterhole where years ago there used to be a helpful tree trunk, more sling-slippery climbing and crouching brought us to the final obstacle, the well-worn path were the tree supporting the rope for that last pitch looks as though future groups might have to look for an alternative climb on to the plateau. True to Doug's write-up, we were back in time to enjoy lounging amid the red walls, yellow/red trees and campfire after dinner - and the murmur of the cascading river down below our campsites. "Monday, up and out, [hopefully] by noon. Plan to get your feet wet in the canyon. If you have a smaller rope, bring it, we'll pool them before heading for SGA which obviously is a backpack."

Those of us who chose not to make a detour ala Randy Bernard, easily beat the noon hour back to our respective rented and otherwise assorted vehicles. We got more than our feet wet, but the water was almost tepid. There were at least 5 ropes available and all were pressed into service. While the writing of this article is the extent of my assistant lead, the group was fortunate enough to have had such wonderful volunteers not only to assist Doug with the safety setups for the entire group to overcome the obstacles, but the actual physical help most of us received in climbing those steep slippery walls was most appreciated. Many thanks for all their help, encouragement and assist go to Randy Danta, Mark Goebel, George Hubbard, Walt Kabler, Bill Woods. Those participants who furnished their rope are most heartily thanked. And thanks to everyone's cooperation both summits were successfully and safely climbed. I wasn't in the [10/83] trip, but sounds to me like this one is a carbon copy of that trip with the script down to a T for a great climb of both these wonderful peaks - the best of the DPS List. My deep appreciation to our star leader, Doug Mantle.

After all the goodbyes on Monday, the jet-setters stopped for lunch (Rockville) and that wonderful slice of bumbleberry pie. Before catching our flight in Vegas, George Hubbard, Mary McMannes and I touristed the Museum, drove around the Park and walked the trail to the Narrows. Not having had enough of wet feet, I waded in for about 20 mm. or so just to4see what's around the next bend - more imposing "garden covered" canyon walls - then on to Vegas for dinner. At whatever time those driving home arrived, it must have been a reasonable hour due to the timely completion of the trip. Without missing our flight (close though), George saw to it that Mary and I got home by around 9:30 p.

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