Zion National park was once a place I spent a lot of time in. I worked as a canyoneering guide in Springdale Utah while living out of my old white pick-up truck. My whole life in Zion is a blur of big walls, slot canyons, river beers and mega ice climbs with the late great Scott Adamson. We rode our bikes around that town like we owned it, grabbing coffees over at Deep Creek while pouring over maps of all the big ranges. Scott was always planning and scheming for the next adventure. He was my partner in crime for nearly 4 years, when he and Kyle Dempster vanished while climbing the Ogre II in the Karakoram mountains of Pakistan.
After Scott passed, I couldn’t bring myself to go back to Zion, although it was the very place that had brought me some of the most magical days of my life. Those days where you remember the feeling in your chest, the shapes of the clouds, the smell of the air. It felt like the story had gone all wrong. That he should have been there. And without him, it just wouldn’t be the same.
I always had a longing to go back. I always wanted to rediscover the walls, and all the ice lines we had established together. But I doubted my strength; I doubted my mental fortitude. If I went back, would there be beauty for me? Or would it just be a painful reminder of the void that is left without Scott by my side? For whatever reason, that fall felt like the first time I could mentally go there. With the changing of seasons, I felt hope and excitement. I wondered if the ice would be in, and what the canyon would feel like after all these years. My heart was set on going back to Zion.
Talking with the girls around the desert campfire it was agreed upon: we all wanted to go to Zion. Savannah wanted to be there to document my homecoming, and Bronwyn was more than excited to see the desert walls covered in ice and give the climbing her all. The girls were in.