North America, United States, Utah, The Desert, Various Activity

Publication Year: 2004.

The Desert, various activity. In 2003 Paul Ross and partners added 23 multipitch routes in the southwest desert, 18 of which were on the Eastern Reef Slabs of the San Rafael Swell. [Note: Only the longer routes are presented here, and route length-pitch count discrepancies are due to frequent 4th-class unroped climbing on the routes—Ed.] Most of the routes on the slabs follow the major features; however, many other possibilities remain in the side canyons between the major slabs. There are now 31 routes on the Eastern Reef Slabs, amounting to over 36,000 feet of climbing. The longer new routes from 2003 include Dedication (1,440', 5 pitches, 5.7+; to the left of Sinister Slab), by Layne Potter and Ross, and, just right of Dedication, Seduction of Stone (1,600', 5.7+R), put up by those two and Sheridan Potter. On the slab formation just right of Three Finger Canyon, Layne Potter and Ross established Layne Potter and the Sorcerers Stone (760', 5.9R). On the Great White Wall, left of Three Finger Canyon, the pair established Senile Dementia, 1,000 feet, 5.6 (they forgot drill bits for setting up descent raps—fun epic!) and Everlastingyes (1,160', 5.8 R).

Three routes were climbed on the Triple Slab Buttress area in March (though pictured in the 2003 AAJ, p. 203) by the Layne Potter and Ross team: The Giraffe (1,130', 7 pitches, 5.9R), The Jack Russell Buttress (980', 5.6R)—named for Paul Ross’s other preoccupation, breeding and judging Jack Russell Terriers—and the classic Mellow Yellow (1,060', 6 pitches, 5.9R).

The team also climbed 1,000 Feet of Fun (1,000', 5.6); located 15 minutes through Three Finger Canyon, it ascends the unmistakable white slab that angles through chocolate-colored rock. They also put up Death By Chocolate (1,700', 9 pitches, 5.8) and The Arrowhead (820', 6 pitches, 5.8R). These routes are two of the best on the slabs. Ross and Billy Rothstein established Day of Atonement (1,600', 5.8+, 9 pitches), another classic slab route on very good rock, just right of Death by Chocolate.

In Arches National Park, The Prow (800', 9 pitches, 5.12+, 5 stars) was climbed by Mick Haffner, Keith Reynolds, Mike Ritter, Colin Stenhowe, and Leonard Coyne in April. The left- facing dihedral is approached by a raft crossing of the Colorado River from the River Road, two miles upstream from US 191 at Moab. The descriptions of many of these new routes, including shorter ones not listed here, can be found on the web:

Eric Bjørnstad, AAC