American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, San Rafael Swell, Mudrosity

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

San Rafael Swell, Mudstrosity. In March Strappo Hughes and I climbed the Mudstrosity (350', V- A3+). This tower is in the southern San Rafael Swell, located 10 miles northwest of Factory Butte (the summit of which provides a wild view of the whole area). It is approached by a confusing series of washes and old roads (high clearance required). USGS maps refer to the area as Salt Wash, just south of the Moroni Slopes. From a distance the Mudstrosity looks like a pint-sized Titan. Our route starts on the left side of the southeast face, at a relatively prominent crack. No free climbing here; this is some of the rottenest stuff I’ve ever climbed on. Every non-vertical surface is deeply rotted. Luckily, vertical faces hold some higher quality rock. Sustained aid, using everything from birdbeaks to lost arrows and specters, nuts used as “stopper- heads,” and various cams, led to a two-bolt hanging belay just below the south shoulder. This excellent 200' pitch evolved as a two- day joint effort. A short nasty pitch across the shoulder led to a small ledge below the headwall. Several bolts and thin nailing gained a mud-choked offwidth-size crack, which splits the summit. The summit is the size and shape of a pair of motorcycle seats, end to end, with a 300' drop-off on each side. The summit vibrated like an old motorcycle as I cleaned pitons 40 feet below. We left three mediocre bolts and a register for the hordes who will flock to repeat this route.

Steve Crusher Bartlett, AAC

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