American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, Utah Desert Climbing

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Utah Desert Climbing. River Road Area: This is a local name for the section of State Highway 128 that follows the Colorado River east from US 191 at the Colorado River Bridge in Moab. Rick’s Rotten Ramp. Rick Norman, Mike Meyer, Brett Maurer and Christine Blackman ascended this left-sloping ramp two crack systems right of Split Pillar in the River Road Dihedrals area on July 26. (I, 5.7.) Frankin-Tony was climbed in May by Tony Valdes and Steve Frank. The 70-foot route is on the rimrock above the River Road just west of mile-marker 6. (I, 5.10d.) Fried Flounder is on the west face of Big Bend Butte 7.5 miles up the River Road. The route is 350 feet right of the left edge of the landform. Rappel slings are visible from below. (I, 5.10b.) Vivaldi Pinnacle was first climbed by West Germans Franz Nebbe and Renate Stockburger. The four-pitch route is 200 feet left of the notch between Dolomite Spire and the right edge of Big Bend Butte. (II, 5.9, A0.) Grim Reaper was climbed on March 24 by Benny Bach and Cameron Bums. The route is 500 feet right of Dolomite Spire on the northeast side of the butte. (III, 5.10a.) The Scorpion was climbed by Harvey Carter and me on April 23. The 200-foot-high landform is in Richardson Amphitheater, east of mile-marker 23 on River Road. (III, 5.9.) Farewell to the Desert was climbed by Nebbe and Stockburger. The four-pitch route makes the first ascent of the Rectory from the east side. All other routes follow fracture lines on the mesa’s west walls. The Rectory is immediately north of Castleton Tower (II, 5.8, A2.). Renate Goes to Africa was climbed by Nebbe and Stockburger on August 19. It is 300 yards from the north end of the west face of the Convent (the mesa north of the Rectory). (III, 5.8, A2.)

Potash Mine Road, Long Canyon Area: King’s Left Hand was climbed by Bego Gerhard and Barry Miller on September 8. It is on the Potash Mine Road (State 279 a mile north of the Colorado River bridge, north of Moab), ¾ mile upstream from “Indian Writings.” (II, 5.9.) King’s Right Hand was climbed the same day by Tony Valdes, Paul Frank and Bob Milton. (II, 5.10.) Seam As It Ever Was, 5.2 miles up the Potash Mine Road, was first climbed by Dan Mannix and Alison Sheets. Rappel anchors are visible. (I, 5.11.) Last Tango in Potash was climbed by Kyle Copeland and Sheets on November 30. The route is 4.5 miles from Highway 191. (I, 5.11+.) A Fistfull of Potash was made by Charlie Fowler, Geoff Tobin and Tom Dickey. The route is the first crack system right of the previous route. (I, 5.11.) Necro Dancer is on the north side of Long Canyon 1¾ miles from Jug Handle Arch. (I, 5.10+.) Dawn of an Error is left of Necro Dancer (I, 5.11.) Both were done on April 9 by Copeland and Sue Kemp. Rappel anchors are visible from below. Carter Chimney was soloed by Harvey Carter in April. It is on the left side of Maverick Buttress. (I, 5.9.) Five climbs on Maverick Buttress were done in January by Charlie Fowler and Jack Roberts: Hot Toddy (I, 5.10b), Tequila Sunrise (I, 5.10d), Gunsmoke (I, 5.11a), Miss Kitty Likes It That Way (I, 5.11d), Rawhide (I. 5.11d).

Fisher Towers: Road Kill is a new route on the north side of Cottontail Tower and was climbed by Earl Wiggins, Art Wiggins and Katy Cassidy on November 13. The 7-pitch, 750-foot route begins at the right of an obvious buttress right of the original West Side Story route. (IV, 5.9, A4.) Phantom Spirit was soloed by Jim Beyer on February 25 and 26. The route ascends the east face of Echo Tower. (IV, 5.9, A3.) World’s End was also soloed by Beyer in March. The 8-pitch climb begins 40 feet right of the Sundevil Chimney on the southwest face of the Titan. (VI, 5.9, A5.)

Moab Area: Mill Levy was climbed on December 1 by Earl Wiggins, Katy Cassidy and Dan Mannix. It is in the Airport Towers north of Moab and ascends 230 feet in three pitches up an obvious line on the prow of rock across from Echo Pinnacle at the entrance of Mill Canyon. (II, 5.11.)

Valley of the Gods: Eagle Plume Tower. The first ascent of the north face of this 350-foot route was done in the spring by Chip Wilson and Steve Bartlett. This route is on the opposite side from the original ascent line. (II, 5.4, A3.)

Texas Canyon: Texas Tower was first climbed on April 26 by Tim Toula and Kathy Zaiser. It rises 650 feet and is a desert classic, rivaling Spider Rock and Moses in beauty. (IV, 5.10+, Al.) Driving south on US 191 to State Highway 95, you follow signs to Bridges National Monument and at the visitor center you may get directions to the tower.

Indian Creek: There continue to be hundreds of ascents done each spring and autumn in the popular Indian Creek area. The location of the following routes requires a detailed topo of the region and thus they are listed only to document their ascent. Detailed approach may be researched in the new Desert Rock Guide, published in 1987 by the Chockstone Press of Denver. Wild Works of Fire, on the Supercrack Buttress, by Austrian Martin Wilberger and Swiss Romain Vogler (I, 5.11-); Digital Readout, by Alan Lester and Chip Chace (I, 5.12); Zigi, by Chace and Monika Lou (III, 5.12); Fuel Injected Hard Body, by Steve Petro and Kelly Moore (I, 5.12); Little Face Climb, on the Supercrack Buttress, by Germans Michael Beuter, Carmen Moritz and Christian Strasser (I, 5.11c); Christmas Tree, by Antonine Savelli and Teri Kane (I, 5.12c); Paragon Prow, by Stuart and Bret Ruckman (II, 5.11); North Face of Six Shooter Peak, by Dave Dawson and Dave fc (II, 5.9).

Glen Canyon Recreation Area, Bathtub Butte: North Tower by Tom Thomas and Dan Mathews. 360 feet, 4 pitches. (III, 5.11, A2.) Gunsight Pinnacle by Thomas and Mathews. 360 feet, 4 pitches. (III, 5.11a.) Both are on Bathtub Butte which appears on the USGS quad as P 6229, east of Fiddler Butte.

Eric Bjørnstad

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