AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

North America, United States, Utah, Desert, Canyonlands, San Rafael Slabs

Canyonlands, San Rafael Slabs. Located 15 miles west of Green River, Utah, just south of I-70, a new climbing area has been opened on the Eastern Reef of the San Rafael Swell. Paul Ross and Layne Potter have made four new routes, ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 feet in length, up to 5.9 in difficulty. For those who need a change from strenuous vertical cracks, these open slabs provide fine situations, a feel of mountaineering, and great views toward the La Sal Mountains and Canyonlands. The rock is sandstone and surprisingly sound. The quality of these slab routes, in particular Surfing the Swell (1400' 5.9R) and Reefer Madness (1800' 5.9R), is comparable to the best granite slab routes of Whitehorse Ledge in New Hampshire. Protection, however, is sparse and confidence on slabs is a benefit. The descents from the routes climbed so far have been back down the ascent route, as the summits of these slabs overhang the canyons behind by about 400 feet.

Paul Ross