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    • I'm starting a Cake Panel to tell of our adventure in Utah this last week. We saw the land via climbing, off-roading, hiking, and freezing. Yeah, it's cold there.

      Our group of friends, the panelists of this conversation, consists of no Utah natives, and in fact, half of the group wasn't even born on this continent. Exploring Utah was a unique experience for all of us. @cesar , @mendoza , and our friend Pablo are going to the U of U, so @kevin , @joseph_hsieh , and I rendezvous with them in Salt Lake. From there, we took them out of the bubble to see some red rock.

      Before my friends chime in, I want to beat them to the punch by spoiling the highlights 😉

      This is our group, minus @kevin, the picture-taker:

      @cesar topping out a 5.11:

      A road we almost died on. Can you spot our car?!:

      Another shot of that same road, Shafer Trail Road 👇

    • I’ll start telling the story by talking about our dinner that first night. Sharing my family and culture's recipe’s with friends is the highlight of trips like these. So that I did. I don’t need anything but a metal grill because I prefer to cook all that I can directly on the fire. My food is a Mexican-Spanish fusion, cooked John Muir style. That night I kept it simple. High quality ingridents flame-cooked made some delicious quesadillas. Here's me getting the fire started.

    • Kevin, you’re our personal Chef’s Table. Fire cooking and sketchy food handling are legit. I’d say your food is exceptional if it wasn’t so DAMN spicy. And you give lactose intolerant people a run for their money.

    • I just love it when Kevin, Alex, and Joseph come to visit, because Mendoza gets his act together and actually cooks food that I can tolerate. It IS suppose to be that spicy, @xelanil. Let us just say that Utah is not a place to find ethnic foods. In Ecuador, we don’t like Mexican food, but here in Utah, it’s heaven. Plus, Kevito is a legit chef.

    • Yes, Kev, you’re food is always amazing. I didn't photograph the food because my focus that first night was on making a schedule for our road trip to southern Utah the next morning. The group had requested I take them climbing, so I was on everyone to get to sleep early so we could wake up at sunrise and rush to the walls of southeastern Utah.

      We went climbing at Wallstreet in Moab, on the Colorado River. Us climbers can have a lack of imagination for naming climbs and rocks:

      Since the group was big and the skill levels diverse, we stayed on the ground doing single pitch climbing. It allowed people to be lazy. We sat in lawn chairs and rooted for each other like we were watching sports.

    • Sorry about that. I also found it fairly sketcky when I climbed it after. My feet would constantly slip on the sand that coated the rock. The sandstone was brittle and I feared holds would break. We both agreed it was a 5.11. I was just glad you didn’t fall, because it was questionable if I could keep you off the deck.

      Here's me gearing up to climb after you:

    • Joseph, you climbed to the top of the highest climb that day. My 70m rope was almost maxed out, so you were ~35 meters up at the top which is above 100 ft. Nice work! That is an impressive first climb!

    • @cesar, I'm glad I checked your harness before you went up because apparently you've never double backed your harness the whole time you've been climbing. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS NEXT TIME.

    • Although @kevin managed the logistics of climbing and brought most of the gear, he was most intently focused on driving Shafer Canyon Road. He dedicated our next day to doing the road. I didn’t understand the urge until I laid eyes on the trail myself. It is this one lane dirt road carved into the sandstone cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park.

    • I’ve always wanted to do this legendary road. I’ve been to Moab many times, but every time it’s been too muddy or snowy to safely attempt. This time we had perfect, near-dry conditions, and we able to do it on this trip. It was absolutely incredible.

      Last time I was in Moab 👇

    • To my surprise every mile of the shafer canyon road had mega drop offs like hundreds of feet. Climbing with ropes was too much for me, so I stayed well away from the edge but I did photograph the rest of the group on the edge.

      It looks scarier zoomed out. Do you see why I hesitated guys?

    • I couldn't tell because because it's not my specialization 😂 Relative to the river that carved them, yes extremely solid 🙃

      What’s life without a little risk? Sometimes you have to hang your feet over the edge.

    • If we're talking about our adventure in terms of risks, driving the two-lane highway between Salt Lake and Moab is probably about as dangerous as our Shafer Canyon Trail excursion. One slip of the steering wheel on the highway puts you in oncoming traffic, and then you're in a head on collision. I don't think Shafer canyon was dangerous when we did it.

      I don't want to overstate the danger. Besides Cesar dancing around the edge it was a pretty tame drive in the park.

      Without 4-wheel drive and high clearance or in rain or snow, it would have been suicide. Luckily both Kevins came equipped on a sunny day:

      We were in constant contact. I would radio @mendoza from the F150. There he is earlier in the day working the radio:

      @kevin was insistent that we go uphill and not down due to the fact that he thinks it is way easier to stop an upward moving vehicle if things get out of control. The road started super mellow, in that although there were cliffs, the actual road was wide. Two vehicles could pass and it wasn't even steep:

      We even went through a ravine:

      @mendoza started the drive following us too closely:

      The 16 miles of road gradually got steeper and steeper:

      The frequency of picture breaks increased with the grade:

      The most dangerous part was making the very steep hairpin turns. Our F150 truck had such a poor turning radius that Kev had to do 3-point turns to get through the switchbacks. Mendoza, following behind us in his landcruiser, wasn’t prepared for the first hairpin turn we made. He was following so closely that he had to stop halfway through the hairpin to let him reverse and go forward again:

      The road leveled out after we finished all the switchbacks, but the exposure was high. Cliffs above and below the cars made us feel almost heroic like we had conquered something:

      Near the very top and end of the road, the views were insane. Kev on a rock at the top:

      We were lucky that the road dead ended into Canyonlands National Park's excellent paved road system, so no need to go back down. From there, we drove out to some grand views of the park: