American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, Southwest Desert Soft Rock Climbing

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Southwest Desert Soft Rock Climbing. Among the main attractions of the desert around Moab are the rich reds and blacks and blues of hematite and manganese, the alpenglow at day’s end, the play of light and shadow on angular rock, and the lure of the incomparably vast space and silence with its cathartic (and lethargic) mid-day sun and sweet, cool, star-bright nights. Undeniable too is the aura of the Anasazi (the Navajo’s ancient enemy) and their inscrutable carved or painted messages so numerous throughout the canyonlands.

Towers represent, for many, the essence of the deserts of the Colorado Plateau and offer a prize experience to those willing to seek them out. The attraction is perhaps the unique exposure a spire offers; perhaps the improbability that it exists at all, that the mere thought of climbing it brings terror to many, or the fact that in the long geologic process it will more than likely be the first type of landform to succumb to the inevitable laws of gravity. It is such towers as the Totem Pole, Spider Rock, Standing Rock, Castleton Tower, Moses, and the Titan that come to mind when one envisions the mystery and romance of southwest spires. But there are still a gallery of unclimbed towers hidden in the remote recesses of the desert, and each year a handful are ferreted out and climbed by a lucky few.

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