G2 - Obscure, and Already a Classic

Dow Williams and I were enjoying lunch at Oscar's one afternoon when Zach Lee commented about he and Joe French making a recent ascent of Zion's G2 directly from Zion Canyon. "G2? What's that?" I asked.

He pointed it out - the first big mountain to the south of Bridge Mountain. Once someone points it out to you, you can't miss it from Springdale. G2, he explained, was the name given to it by its first ascentionist. Great! I love local names...and to think I'd always known it as Peak 6,602.

Peak 6,602 had been on my to-do list for months, but now, it shot to the top! Promising an obscure and potentially classic backcountry exploration, Bo Beck, Tanya Milligan, Jeff Branin and DB jumped on board. We made a plan for the next weekend.

With everyone meeting at our designated spot bright and early, James Hiebert, on vacation from Washington D.C. and having bumped into Bo in The Subway the day before, showed up and decided to join us. A great guy, James.

The approach, as are most approaches in Zion National Park, was terrific, scenic, challenging and very rewarding. It wasn't long (well, okay, it took hours) before we were at the base of the steep slabs that would take us to the col that I believed would lend us access to the top. And up we went!

Reaching the col ahead of the others, who were wrapping up a nice lunch on a stunning perch above Zion's east side, DB and I traversed west until we found a short 5th classic slab that appeared to lead to easy ground all the way to the summit. Donning a bit of rope, I soloed up the slab and set up a belay from a tree at its top. Soon enough, the others arrived and were belayed above the difficulties. Minutes later, we were on the summit!

I've said it before about other Zion summits, but the views from the top of G2 were perhaps the best in the park. Unobstructed 360's of Mount Kinesava, The West Temple, The East Temple, The Watchman, Bridge Mountain, The Towers of the Virgin, Twin Brothers, Deertrap Mountain, Destination Peak, Gifford Peak, Nippletop, The Sentinel, Eagle Crags, Canaan Mountain, Smithsonian Butte, etc. The list really does go on.

Regrettably, after a nice break, it was time to head down. Scouting out a descent variation that we hoped would shave off considerable time and distance, I called out to the others that it appeared to go. And it went! Like a charm.

At the bottom of a gully, we found a male bighorn skull with horns still attached. After goofing off and posing for a few pictures with it, we continued our long walk back to the vehicles.

11.5 hours after we left, we returned - very satisfied. A Zion classic!

*Photo of DB on the summit of G2 courtesy of Tanya Milligan