Zion Tabernacle Dome Summit Summit for Thanksgiving
Zion. Tabernacle Dome. A fine easy climb before pigging out on Thanksgiving victuals. What an amazing fall we have been having. The warm, sunny weather has persisted, and it seems our obligation to take advantage. Tabernacle Dome (or Turtle Rock) seemed like a good choice for a pre-feast romp - half-day, not too far, mostly just fun fun fun. Takers for this event were Assam Saidi (outfitter at ZAC) and his buddy from Detroit, Adam Spencer aka Spence; and the always-game Amanda J. A casual start got us on the trail at 11 am.
This adventure is planned to be included in my next Canyoneering-and-other-adventures guidebook to Zion, so I wanted to get the directions down well. There WAS a private inholding with a nice house on it on the north side of Tab Dome (as in, last time I did it), and my directions used that as a landmark, specifically the road out to the house made a fine place to park. This spring, the owners sold their property to the Park Service, and the house and the road were erased. See Story Here. I drove right by where that road used to be... turned around and parked in a different spot, closer.
We dropped into a wash, then up the other side. Followed game trails east; found the edge of the mesa; espied where we thought the route went up and moseyed on over. Yup, the right place - the log is the key to the start of the route.
And a fine route it is. Somewhat intricate, and with just a few un-scary spots of moderate difficulty. Up two nice couloirs. Passing by an interesting projecting rock thingee (the Pterodactyl). Over to the base of the real north ridge of the monolithic dome. Climbing up the steep slabs of the ridge was easier than I remembered, perhaps because the day was amazingly still and just the perfect temperature. The rock was clean and very sticky. Up we went.
Tradition calls for enjoying the summit for a long while, taking many goofy pictures, enjoying a snack. Check check check. But, cooking duties eventually called us back, and we made our way down. We brought a rope just in case... but did not use it. Amanda pointed out that last time she was here, it was really windy, and they appreciated having the rope to at least handline the steepest section on the ridge. (Looks like 100 feet of handlineability would be required). There are slings on a couple of the bushes - but man, those things don't look very strong!
After, some cooking, and much feasting, was done. I give thanks for a sweet romp in the sunshine.