El Segundo offers a fantastic 5.9+ crack pitch (“the second” pitch as aptly named) that can be easily used to supplement the right chimney on the Penguins or some other near-by climb to make for a half day of climbing near the highway if you are at the start or end of a climbing trip to Moab. That is how we used the route, climbing the right chimney on the Penguins (umpteenth time) combined with El Segundo before leaving at noon. The approach is short and fast as El Segundo is located just above the bridge on the Colorado River at the north end of town. Kyle Copeland established the route in 1992.
Even though El Segundo is listed as a two pitch route in a local guide, the first pitch is really just part of the approach. However, most will want to rope up for this short 5th class traverse due to exposure. The second pitch offers up an excellent corner climb that follows a large ramping flake from right to left that leads to a mostly hands corner that presents a few finger-crack cruxes at the grade. The exit to the right at the top offers an athletic and exposed move on bomber rock. This pitch is a great intro to how stiff the grades might or might not be, compared to what you are used to, on the more classic Moab Tower climbs.
El Segundo is actually in Arches National Park, but you do not access it from the park road or entrance. Park on the road on the north side of the Colorado River just below the bridge. You can rap directly down the route back to your vehicle when finished. However for the approach, it is much easier (versing heading up the loose slope) to hike along the paved bike path north until you can cut back right on a trail that leads to petroglyphs (cut back right just before the bike bridge). From there keep traversing the slope back southeast until it is obvious to rope up for a short 5th class exposed traverse that lands you on a ledge with a fixed station. The objective is mostly south facing.
Steph Abegg, my partner and photographer for this climb, did an outstanding job on writing up a detailed trip report on her blog site.
Route DescriptionEl Segundo, 150’+/-, 5.9+
1st Pitch- 40’- 5th/ Traverse down and then up to the ledge with the fixed belay.
2nd Pitch- 110’- 5.9+/ Move right to the start of the large hand crack corner/flake. Traverse right to left on the hand rail with minimal feet to the main corner above. Take the corner with mostly small hands plus a few finger crack cruxes where feet placements might vanish for a move or two. Near the end when the crack bites down (C4#.5), place a .5 piece, extend it and make a dramatic move up to the small ledge on the right with a fixed rap. The holds you are reaching for on the ledge are positive, but the ease in which they are reached might be height dependent.