Another Run Up North Guardian Angel

Where: Zion National Park, Utah
When: June 2008
Partners: DB, Ram & Aaron Ramras

Our first view of a Zion classic

Ram and Little Ram were coming to Zion again so we made plans to hook up for a run up North Guardian Angel. A classic peak by any standard, NGA is a peak so good that Ram had done it fifteen times, Aaron and I had done it twice, and DB was anxious to do it her first time.
Partway up the West Face

Rather than head up the standard Northeast Ridge, Ram suggested we take a closer look at a possible route he'd spied on the west face some years earlier. I was game. Getting there, however, he, Aaron and I scrambled partway up the face and were confronted with steepening, loose terrain that made my stomach gurgle. Not terribly difficult in appearance, the terrain was still intimidating enough that one's head needed to be in "alpine" mode, and not in desert scramble mode. And as coincidence would have it, mine wasn't the only head not "in the zone." We unanimously agreed to save the route for another day.
Aaron gaining the Southwest Ridge

Swinging around to terrain familiar to Ram, we gained the Southwest Ridge and headed up. Soon encountering 5th class terrain, Aaron and I donned rock shoes and soloed up. Ram and DB opted for an easier variation Ram had discovered before.
Little Ram soloing the first 5th class portion of the SW Ridge

Meeting Ram and DB at the top of the first 5th class portion of the route, we all hiked up a bit of loose and exposed class 3 terrain until we encountered another 5th class portion of the ridge. Again, Aaron and I soloed up while Ram and DB stepped around an astonishingly exposed blind corner on a 3rd class bypass of the technicalities.
Big exposure on the 3rd class bypass

Above the second 5th class section, we found a steep face that required a short traverse east to a groove that allowed us access to the final short face leading to the summit ridge. The views back down the ridge from the upper mountain were astounding.
Near the top of the Southwest Ridge

Atop the difficulties, I topped out on a minor false summit and gazed over at Ram and DB enjoying the warm and sunny summit. Within minutes, I joined them. And there we sat for an hour, eating, napping and day dreaming. A descent via the Northeast Ridge eventually followed.
Aaron just below the summit