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North America, United States, Utah, Moab Area

Moab Area. On the Merrimac Butte, 200 feet left of its prow, Stuart and Bret Ruckman established The Albatross (I, 5.11c). There have been at least six new lines climbed on the butte that are still to be documented. Jim Dunn and Betsy McKittrick climbed a tower up Mill Creek about a half mile from the trailhead. They rate Little Big Man at I, 5.8. Along Kane Creek Boulevard, the same pair climbed Pit and Bear (5.10+). It is located 50 feet right of the first “Chicken Cave” reached from Moab while driving along the paved portion of the road. Also in the Kane Creek region, Dunn, Kyle Copeland and Eric Johnson made the first ascent of The Predator, naming their route “Rain of Terror” (II, 5.11–). Dunn and McKittrick teamed with Chad Wiggle for an ascent of a spectacular hoodoo Cobra I, (5.10+) located between Ancient Art and the Echo Pinnacle/ Cottontail landforms of the Fisher Towers. Dunn and Copeland freed the Corkscrew summit route on Ancient Arts (III, 5.10). Also in the Fisher Towers, H.T. Carter and Bruce Hamilton climbed Fine Endeavor above Lizard Rock (II, 5.10). Directly above the Mystery Towers of the Fisher Towers area at the “Top of the World,” Strappo and Crusher climbed Cooler than Jesus (2 pitches at 5.10–). Just beyond the Rhino Horn, up the Sand Flats Road, the hoodoo Elvis’ Hammer was climbed by Glenn Dunmire and Stew Sayah, who named their north-side route Harmones in Waiting. The south side was soloed by Dunmire, who named it Black Elvis (5.10). In Arches National Park, Dunn and Bob Palais pioneered a third line up the popular Owl Rock, Rasta Magnola (5.9, A2). Jr. Buttress on the Convent was climbed by Jim Bodenhamer, Rob Slater, Bruce Hunter and Tom Cotter (IV, 5.10). In the Corona Arch area up the Potash Road, Laytor Kor and Copeland did a three-pitch, 5.10 fin. The first free ascent of Big Indian Rock, It’s a Gas, was made by Jim Howe and Keith Maas. The freed ascent had a slight variation at the bolt ladder (5.11). The first free ascent ofTexas Tower (IV, 5.11c, 8 pitches) was done by Derek Horsey and party. The second free ascent was accomplished by Bret Ruckman and Tim Coats. The remote spire is south of Canyonlands National Park near Arch Canyon and Natural Bridges National Monument. Closer to Moab, in Bluff, Utah, six short but exacting routes were climbed near the Navajo Twins landform by Mike Friedrichs, Jay Anderson, Manuel Rangel and Jean Rousch. They were all of 5.10 to 5.11 difficulty.

Eric Bjørnstad