American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Utah, Green River, Desolation Canyon, The Siren

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2012

Green River, Desolation Canyon, The Siren. In April Josh Thompson, Andrew Gram, Lena Laakso, and I put in at Sand Wash with whitewater rafts loaded with beer, food, and camping and climbing gear. This was our approach to a tower that Andrew had seen on his first trip downriver, in 2004.

We made the Mushroom Rock camp in good time due to very high spring melt and heavy rains the day before. Along the way we passed many a bloated dead cow. We in turn were passed by two running buffalo so close we could smell them from the rafts.

Our target tower (looking from various angles like a goblin or a viper) can only be seen for five minutes while on the river, or longer from a half-mile hike to Mushroom Rock (known for its petroglyphs). The casual part of the final approach dead-ends at a series of dry waterfalls (180', loose). The first, only 20' high, was the hardest: steep choss held together by roots, mud, and salty secretions. Josh soloed it with a heel hook and a tiny tree. Some 4th class took us to more casual hiking to the base of the tower.

We named the tower The Siren and the route Shake Wait (5.10+ A2) because Andrew shook as he waited for the next barrage of missiles launched by Josh. The rock consisted of Green River, Wasatch sandstone, limestone (2 types), basalt, and a foot of coal (yes, coal!). The route is three pitches with 20' of aid (this section could be freed; the bolts are in). Overall the vertical rock was solid; it was the ledges that held the missiles.

From an adjacent ridge I saw another unclimbed tower to the north; this one you can only see from the ridge and the summit of The Siren. It’s a little smaller, but worthy The descent involved three days of Class 3 western whitewater to the town of Green River. Along the way many towers and walls revealed themselves—most likely all are unclimbed. I submit this report because it's so much fun to blend diverse outdoor sports with wild remoteness and a car- camping mentality.

Daniel Gambino, AAC

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