Scott Adamson is an alpine climber crafting mixed ice and rock routes throughout the world on some of our wildest peaks. He’s long suspected that Zion National Park held wild ice flows in deep, sandstone slots. Scouring maps and watching temperatures he had an idea a deep slot on the outer reaches of the park would deliver. On the first exploratory venture the ice was there but thin and not fully in. Waiting and watching, he crossed his fingers and planned for a rematch.
Andrew Burr has a photo of thick ice, in deep desert sandstone. I’ve wanted both that shot and that experience ever since seeing it. Scott and I had connected on earlier projects and I was amped when we talked through this. There was nothing guaranteed. There may be ice, there may not.
We drove out late in the evening, bivied on a shop floor and hoped for the best. This shot tells of the ice. It was huge, one the coolest spaces I’ve ever encountered – crisp desert air, sweeping pines and solid sandstone with flowing ice for hundreds of feet. We shot and climbed for two days. This frame is the first ascent of Divine Intervention, WI6. On a repeat trip a few days later it was all over. A light rain and rising temps had washed it all away. What had been six hundred foot ice flows were once again dark water streaks flowing down into the deep.