Harness your inner lizard while climbing the crags of enormous sandstone towers, the ancient sentinels of the expansive red sandstone desert of Moab. For the vertically inclined, the towers and cracks that scour the maze of canyons hold challenges for climbers of all abilities.
Kane Springs Canyon
- Ice Cream Parlor is easily the BEST place for a novice climber to begin to learn the ropes in Moab, and focus on learning the essential skills like belaying, rappelling, knot tying, climbing techniques and climbing safety.
Big Bend (Bouldering)
- Excellent bouldering area similar in quality to Joe’s Valley. Many quality overhanging sandstone boulders accessible via the parking lot, right next to the Colorado River.
- For the seasoned climber, this stretch of climbing canvas could delight for days, months, many locals have dedicated years. Ideal conditions are dependent on the season, with direct light from the East all day, this cliff face can be a beacon in the cold, and feel like an oven in the heat.
Castle Valley (Castleton Tower, Priest and Nuns, Rectory)
- This is a classic and historic area of towers and buttresses on perfect Wingate Sandstone. Castleton Tower is the most popular tower in the desert, and one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. The Priest and Sister Superior are two more wild towers, and the Convent, Rectory, and Parriot Mesas all have multi-pitch crack routes.
- Got Crack? Indian Creek climbing has enough soaring cracks for any crack climbing enthusiast, and very few climbs under 5.10. If this is your first visit, be prepared to suffer. Beware of crowds. Don’t annoy, molest, or otherwise disturb: other climbers, cattle, cowboys, the Dugout Ranch, prehistoric ruins, and the cryptobiotic soil crust. Bring all your own water and pack out all of your trash. Consider bringing a portable toilet. Also, if you don’t have a vast array of cams, with groups of ten or more of the same size…consider hiring a guide. These parallel cracks go on forever.
Arches National Park
- Rock climbing at Arches is a challenging proposition. The soft Entrada sandstone that comprises most of the rock formations here is not exactly the sturdiest medium around, while the extreme climate quickly weakens webbing and slings. Still, climbing has been going on here since long before there was such a thing as Arches National Park, and the thrill of mounting the area’s majestic towers renders any technical difficulties thoroughly insignificant in comparison. Regulations:
- Use of motorized drills is prohibited.
- Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps; on Balanced Rock year-round; on Bubo from January 1st to June 30th; on Industrial Disease on the Devil Dog Spire from January 1st to June 30th.
- The use of chalk for climbing must be of a color which blends with the native rock.
- Climbers are encouraged to employ clean-climbing ethics, leave dull-colored webbing when recovery is impossible, and access climbing routes via established trails, slickrock, or sandy washes.
- This area is difficult on many levels. It is difficult to get to, with very few routes under 5.11. True to the nature of Moab, be prepared to wander a bit. For more information, visit the Mountain Project.
- Scary towers of mud, with lots of routes.
Although many climbers adhere to “minimal impact” and “leave no trace” practices, rock climbing is sometimes damaging to the environment. If you are bouldering, then no partner is needed though a spotter is definitely recommended. However, if you are planning on any roped climbing, you will need a partner.
Bouldering in Moab is a most excellent way to pass time next to the Colorado River, chasing answers to problems up crimpers and heel hooks. With lots of overhanging shelf to practice hanging and traversing, Big Bend has a stunning array of problems in a highly concentrated area, with everything from V0-V13. Peak months are October-March – avoid the mosquitoes and hellish heat!