The 3 Rules for Scouting it Out - Adventures in Indian Creek

May 09, 2023

People come from around the world to climb in Indian Creek. Most people just drive through it on their way to Canyonlands National Park. But it features world class crack climbing for rock climbers. 

Like many big things I want to do, it takes me a while to pull the trigger. Indian Creek is in the remote southeast corner of Utah. It’s not on the way to anything else. So it’d taken me a while to get there.

When I put off doing something I care about, a scouting trip is the best way to break the ice. Scouting trips are a key part of the discovery process. The goal of a scouting trip is to gather solid information while spending little to no money, making no major decisions and the whole experience must be reversible. No one way streets. You gather information and then go home.


On this trip my plan was to just drive down to Indian Creek, see it, camp overnight, maybe walk to the base of the cliffs and come home. If I couldn’t find a campsite, I’d just drive home. That’s what I did. Sort of. I took my rock climbing gear just in case.

In the creek valley there’s literally zero cell service or internet. To help people communicate, there’s a series of boards in parking lots and campgrounds where you can post handwritten notes on scraps of paper. For example: “I’m here for two days and looking to climb. I have my own gear. I’ll be in the Superbowl Campground, site 21.” That’s the note I left on a few of the boards and went off exploring on my own.


When I came back to my campsite that evening, I had two notes on my picnic table from people who wanted to climb. One thing led to another and I spent the next two days climbing with guys from Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Portland. Between us we had all the gear, knowledge and experience to have an amazing time on the beautiful splitter cracks that are the hallmark of Indian Creek.

This scouting trip far surpassed my expectations. Not all scouting trips do. But I followed the rules: low expenses, no decisions, completely reversible. I spent $15 on a campsite, paid for gas and bought a few groceries. That’s it. I came home with a wealth of information, some fun climbs under my belt and some great new friends. What could go right?


The point is, what is the thing you’d like to see, do or try that you’re putting off? What kind of scouting trip can you take that will help you break the ice on navigating toward your dream? The rules are:


  1. Low cost (preferably $0)
  2. No major decisions
  3. Completely reversible


When we life design with clients, we share a variety of tools and techniques that make achieving your major life goals smooth and effortless. Scouting trips is one of these techniques. And there’s so much more.


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