Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Family Climbing Outing at Indian Bluffs, Iowa

Monday afternoon Joy and I got out for a quick little climb in one of my favorite old stomping grounds. Just a few miles from the farm where I grew up is a beautiful little chunk of state land called Indian Bluffs. I used to hike and rally my dirt bike around this area as a kid. Later, after I became a climber, I frequented the limestone cliffs which compose some of the tallest rock in Iowa.
Hiking in
The notch in the middle is called the "Gunsight." We scrambled up to its base and climbed the right side of it to gain access to the top of the ridge which forms a mesa of sorts.
Joy, ready to belay with Selah's help.
Looking down at Joy and Selah after I led up the route. There used to be a number of old pitons on the route, relics of the surprisingly long history of climbing in Iowa. There's evidence of climbing dating back to as early as the 30s. Now, all the pitons are gone, but the 5.7ish route can be easily protected with stoppers. Joy climbed the 25-foot route with Selah on her back, tightly strapped in and with a tight belay.
Selah enjoyed playing in the grass and crawling around on top of the formation under the watchful eye of mom and dad.
My beautiful wife, what more can I say.
Here's a cool formation of seashells on top of the ridge.
The view from on top of the formation is amazing, with a number of tall limestone faces in view, bountiful trees, and the meandering Jordan Creek below. Indian Bluff gets its name from the long history of Native American presence there. Chief Black Hawk is a prominent Native Anmerican in Iowa history and Indian Bluff was one of his favorite hunting areas.

2 comments:

Hannah said...

I thought you were in "Indain Bluff's Home of the Famous Black Squirrel!" that I'd heard so much about in multipe long car trips with my Iowa relatives. But alas, that is 'Coucil Bluffs Home of the Famous Black Squirrel.' On the other side of the great state. There's a lot of bluffs in IA. You're lucky to enjoy their majesty. Love you, have a great time!

Mapp said...

Great to see you climbing again, even if it isn't a big wall. After all, compared to Selah's size it is a big cliff!