I’ve wanted to climb Tricks of the Trade in Zion NP for many years and several weeks ago my good friend Dr. Bryan Bornholdt called and asked if I wanted to do it. I hadn’t touched rock in 3 months, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. With less than 12 hrs between sunrise/sunset (March 14) we’d have to be very efficient to pull it off, especially with the chimeys, OWs, pendulum, and aid climbing. We started at the perfect time and were chalking up right when there was enough natural light to climb. The route is awesome and after a eye-opening OW pitch right off the deck you’re quickly into the “Mines of Mordor” which is an awesome chimney grovel-fest. Leave the gear behind as having it all strapped to you makes for a less than plesant experience. Bryan took the “Santa Claus” chimney which is stellar and then I busted up the “Calvinator” pitch which I really enjoyed. After the 3rd/4th-class pitches and then an easy 5.6 we were at the bottom of the beautiful headwall above. The 5.10 variation hand crack was so compelling that I had to climb it, only to then come back down after I topped out because I didn’t know how to link it into the rest of the climb. It was the best pitch I climbed all day! Pitch 10 was VERY wide and 11 was a beautiful thin hand 5.11a crack. The pendulum was awesome and the next aid pitch Bryan styled. By the time I got up the end of the aid pitch we decided to bail as we were going to run out of light. The route rapped very quickly (and safely for that matter) and we were back at our gear in no time. We reached the car by dark and went back into Springdale to meet Bryan’s wife and have a nice dinner.
I’m a bit bummed that we didn’t top out, but given how much I had been climbing (zero) I can’t be too disappointed. I only hope that I didn’t hold Bryan back. I’ll be back soon to tackle it again.
The best topo I found is here.