City of Rocks – Jackson’s Thumb

Ann on Jackson's ThumbAfter yesterday’s multipitch we’re hungry for more, so we start off in the morning to Jackson’s Thumb to climb Theater of Shadows, a four pitch low angle cruiser with lots of bolts for protection. I bushwhack up a steep, rocky, sagebrushy hill to the base where we can clearly the see the nicely constructed trail, so Ann will have something to give me grief about for the rest of the day.

Ann gets right on lead on the first pitch, the crux in my opinion, making her way over several overlapping bulges. She then gets onto cruising territory, and even feels comfortable skipping bolts. The next pitch covers nearly 200 feet to just below a giant roof. Ann swings onto the lead again for the third pitch, an airy traverse around the roof. One more pitch brings us to the top.

Somehow I had the impression that the rappel off the back of the thumb could be done with a single rope. Most of the rappels in our book are measured in feet, but this one is 50 meters. Ann figures out something is wrong as I’m looking over the edge, seeing that the rope only makes it to a ledge halfway down.

I can’t tell if there is a way off the ledge, so we decide to be safe and rap the route. Now we are thankful for the plentitude of bolts, which makes it so we can comfortably clip into different bolts between belay anchors. At the pitch 2 anchor we chat with a friendly, sympathetic party, and make it to the ground on the next rappel. The price of the mistake was two bail biners – an easy out. We resolve to be more careful in the future, and not be so shy with our second rope.

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2 thoughts on “City of Rocks – Jackson’s Thumb”

  1. I accidently stumbled onto this site when I was looking up the name of a climb I did at The City. I was suprised to see a familiar face. I was part of a three person team that is refered to in the above article as “a friendly, sympathetic party”. Cool.

    Jason Freeman

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