AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, United States, Utah, Merrimac Butte, The Hyper-Crack on the Anchor Chain

Merrimac Butte, The Hyper-Crack on the Anchor Chain. Both the Monitor and the Merrimac Buttes, named for the armored ships which fought each other during the Civil War, are prominent landmarks 12 miles northwest of Moab. They are composed of reddish Entrada sandstone atop a base of the dark red Carmel formation. The white dune-like strata which make up the plateau on which the two stone ships sail is Navajo sandstone. The westernmost is the 200-foot-high Merrimac; the smaller eastern butte is the Monitor. They are easily viewed from State Highway 313 after the road switchbacks up out of Seven Mile Canyon on its way to Dead Horse State Park and the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. The first ascent was made on September 22 by Jim Dunn, Lin Ottinger, John Bouchard and me via two pitches on the northeast comer. On the first pitch four bolts (drilled-in angles) protect the first lead which ascends an overhanging layback crack before switching to an overhanging jam-crack ending at a belay with two bolts and one drilled-in angle at the point where the rock begins to lean back a few degrees (5.11). The second pitch begins with a 40-foot off-width crack (strenuous 5.11) protected by two drilled-in angles. The lead continues another 80 feet via a tight chimney to the summit (III, 5.11).

Eric Bjørnstad