American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Arizona, Navajolands

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

Navajolands. Although climbing in the Navajo Indian Reservation is still discouraged, it is hoped that selective areas not sacred or near a native dwelling may soon be designated acceptable to ascents with an ecologically sound approach. In 1987 Kyle Copeland and Alison Sheets climbed to within 100 feet of the summit of The Rabbit in Monument Valley. In February 1988, Copeland returned with Marc Hirt to be the first team to stand on the summit of this desert giant (IV, 5.10, A3). In the spring, John Middendorf and Alan Humphreys made the first ascent of Rooster Rock via the northwest face (II, 5.9, A1). This is located ten miles southeast of the Monument Valley Tribal Visitors Center and is clearly visible east of the Totem Pole. Twenty years previously Fred Beckey and I were stormed off an attempt. It seems incredible that such a prominent landform should not have had an ascent until this year. The higher summit of Indian Chief was reached for the first time by the Arizona climbers known as the Bandidos. The seemingly impossible rift at the top of the lower summit was breached with an innovative pitch involving the use of a long pole. The Bandidos are well known not only for their prolific desert ascents but also for their approaches on motor cycles and their habit of leaving a copy of Easy Rider Magazine (always with a topless buxom female atop a Harley Davidson) on each summit they reach.

Eric Bjørnstad

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