American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, Canyonlands National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

Canyonlands National Park. This preserve of 527 square miles is in the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Most of the region is remote and inaccessible to all but the most diligent wilderness explorer. Although climbing continues to gain in popularity over much of the Southwest desert, ascents in Canyonlands National Park are increasing in number at a much slower rate. Nevertheless, when Desert Rock, the first climbing guide to the sandstone climbs of the Colorado Plateau, was published by Chockstone Press in late February 1988, there were barely 50 routes established in the park. Now, less than a year later, the number totals better than six dozen. The following new climbs may be referenced to access information in Desert Rock or detailed topos, equipment lists and approach data may be obtained by writing to Eric Bjømstad, 137 North Main Street, Moab, Utah 84532. In the Chesler Park area of the Needles district of the park, Robert A. Kooken and A1 Hymer established Crack of Many Colors (I, 5.9). Several new routes were put up by Tom Thomas and Gil McCormick in the remote Maze district of Canyonlands. On the Pinnacle landform, the team made the first ascent of East Tower (5.11–) and West Tower (5.11 – ) as well as The Little Toe (5.11–). These towers are designated as the Pinnacles on the Fiddler Butte USGS topographic quadrangle of the Maze. Thomas climbed Bagpipe Butte (II, A3) solo. Katy Cassidy and Earl Wiggins climbed The Grand Blast (5.11) on the west prow of Grand View Point in the Island-in-the-Sky district of Canyonlands. Four routes were pioneered on Another World Wall, on the right before the first switchback of the Shafer Trail. The ascents made by Paul Turecki were Poetry in Motion (5.10c), Objective Factor (5. 10d) and Sweet and Sour (5.11 a). In the same region Pete Gallagher and Max Kendall climbed Super Glob of the Desert (5.10 + ). This is just east (uphill) from the park boundary fence as one approaches the park on the Potash Road (State Highway 279). The Taylor Canyon area remains popular with Moses now having been climbed over a hundred times. Charlie Fowler and Sue Wint climbed the fourth route to the impressive 600-foot summit of the tower when they did The Promised Land (IV, A3 + ). The route ascends the formidable overhang and continues in a direct line to the summit. Between Moses and Zeus, the Ark was climbed via its north face by James Garrett, Dave Anderson and Will Gilmore (5.10), establishing the first ascent of the long-overlooked diminutive tower. Four routes were put up by Bret Ruckman and Gary Olsen at Point Bottom and Saddle Horse Bottom on the road from Horse Thief Trail to Taylor Canyon. Smokiri Deal (5.10), Marlboro Cig (5.10 + ), just right of Smokin’ Deal, and Seoul Games (5.10 + ), a prominent west-facing dihedral above the road just right of Marlboro Cig. BFE (5.11) was also climbed by the team and is at the park boundary at Saddle Horse Bottom.

Eric Bjørnstad

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