Bluff Street Cracks is the most adjacent climbing area to the center of St. George proper. In fact the main air traffic landing route brings small jets directly overhead. Since you are climbing the base of a significant sandstone buttress, the jets appear instantly on top of you along with their sonic boom adding an intriguing element to the climbs. Bluff Street Cracks has the reputation of being some of the best single pitch crack climbing in Utah.
There are only six published routes at Bluff Street Cracks, but evidence of quite a few others, most of which supposedly don’t rank with the six highlighted below. These routes are featured in Todd Goss’s new edition guide book, Rock Climbs of Southwest Utah. This book was published in 2006 and I highly recommend it. I climbed all six published routes, one of which is missing proper rap hangers (Inspired and Perspired). These are all 60’ trad cracks requiring mostly medium to large gear. I found the grade somewhat on the stiff side.
Routes Listed Left to Right
- Freeze Dried Bat- 60’-5.10c/ Scramble up a bit and then follow a crack that gets finger tight just under a broad roof (crux). Protect under the roof with large gear as you pull out onto the sparse left face and squeeze on through a loose section climbing to the anchor above. This route was quite dirty and must not see much traffic. We cleaned out a huge boulder and tons of sand. By far the toughest of the six routes at Bluff Street Cracks. Medium to large pro up to #4 Camalot.
- Wide Boy- 60’-5.10a/ During the winter months this is the first crack to get sun as it protrudes some from the main wall. We left our vehicles at 35F degrees and started this route, no worries, in 30 minutes. This is a full 60’ crack bottom to top. It gets to be mostly hands in the middle (after a solid knee jam if you are small enough) as you arm jam your way up. Some might find it technically easier to layback most of this route, but of course that will be physically more demanding. Medium to large pro up to #4 Camalot.
- Red Warrior- 60’-5.9+/ This corner crack can stay shaded until noon in the winter. In my opinion, Red Warrior is the easiest of the six routes at Bluff Street Cracks. Layback or finger jam until towards the top where you can spread out and use feet in Deface Crack for an easy finish. Small to Medium pro up to #2 Camalot. Shares the same anchors as Deface Crack.
- Deface Crack- 60’-5.10a/ Best hand jam route of the six. Left facing wall crack that opens up toward the top where you will shove a knee or two. Medium to large pro up to #4 Camalot. Shares the same anchors as Red Warrior.
- Inspired and Perspired- 60’-5.10/ Appropriate naming for this “grunt” route. Quite wide crack making it a more physical challenge than technical. Inspired and Pig Lloyd are quite a ways east of the first four. Just stay high and traverse on over. Like Deface, a left facing wall crack, but much larger. Off width requiring quite a bit of large pro: #3 Friend up to #5 Camelot.
- Pig Lloyd- 60’-5.10a/ Goss rates this a 5.9+, maybe I missed something, but I believe it is a 5.10a. Just another corner crack, but is a little more overhanging in places compared to Red Warrior. Like the other routes, the crux appears during the middle section. Small to medium pro.
WARNING: I advise that you first climb Pig Lloyd and check out the anchor status of Inspired and Perspired. The anchor in place in December, 2006 was not adequate and a traverse had to be made on lead to the anchor of Pig Lloyd.
Getting ThereDiagonal Street runs diagonally southeast from Bluff Street to Main Street in St. George. Head north on Bluff Street to the fancy car wash on your right and turn east on any street that takes you to Diagonal Street. Drive southeast and turn left on 400 West. Continue up the hill looking for a small parking area on the left that is not marked, but appears to be public (room for two vehicles not blocked in). Scramble up the loose red rock talus to the base of the cliffs. Use the photographs on this page to assist in getting centered and locating the routes.
Goss’s guidebook calls the approach difficult, but by Canadian Rocky standards, it is a short walk to the base of the wall. Four of the routes are to the left (west) and two are just left of the parking area and straight up.
Red TapeYou are within the city limits of St. George and there are no permits to climb or park. Parking is limited for Bluff Street Cracks however. Make sure you do not piss any of the locals off. I cannot imagine they are thrilled with climbers looking into the rear of their homes.
My favorite place for dinner is the sushi bar at Samurai, 245 Red Cliffs Drive. The best breakfast and coffee (Italian espresso) can be had on Main Street at the Bear Paw Coffee Company (within walking distance to the crags). The Outdoor Outlet is one of my favorite independent climbing stores anywhere. They know the climbing area well and have a great selection of gear at competitive prices.
When to ClimbThe climbing is good all year round with the exception of daytime during the summer months. If you are climbing anywhere in southwestern Utah during the summer months, you more than likely better get up early and finish your climb early. The walls get brutally hot. We hit Bluff Street Cracks at about 11:AM in December and had a shirts off day.
Camping/LodgingThere are three campgrounds within the city limits of St. George none of which I have experienced. Temple View RV Resort at 975 South Main Street; Settlers RV Park at 1333 East 100 South; St. George Campground at 2100 East Middleton Drive.
Of course my druthers would be to stay at the campground in Snow Canyon State Park. This has to be one of the finest State campgrounds anywhere with direct access to tons of climbing routes. The campground is open all year, no holiday closures. There is a limit on your stay of 5 days. They have 33 total units, 17 of which are reserved for the big boys (RV’s) with utility hookups. The tent sites were $14 in 2005. Drinking water is available on site along with vault toilets and even showers. The running/hiking/equestrian trail system is pretty cool and as long as you don’t run into the occasional Segway group, the whole park is usually very quiet, particularly during winter months.