Extra Texture is a sport route on varnish located between Stepping Out and Little Nightmare Music on the upper tier of what we call the Sand Dunes area of Island in the Sky, which is of course directly across from the sand dunes in Snow Canyon State Park. An unprotected traverse left on “sharp” varnish will test the nerve of even a seasoned climber. The start and finish are easy with the crux in the middle of this 70’ route that leads to chains just above Stepping Out’s first chain station and left of a cave of sorts. When rapping, you can top rope Stepping Out’s 1st pitch if you don’t want to lead it. It is not advisable to top rope Extra Texture without the draws in to protect a fall. If one person is climbing, he/she will need to be lowered and re-climb the route to clean it. It is that long of a traverse left.
Extra Texture is a funky climb that I did twice, but don’t necessarily recommend. It took me awhile the second time before I realized I had done the route before. That rarely happens, but in this case I must not have remembered it for a reason. That being said, it is a 5.7, albeit 5.7R, and thus if you have family members or friends who are not all that adept to climbing, it is a doable route. I am not sure why Olvesky bothered with it or what he was thinking regarding this zig zag of a route, but I suspect it was designed to access Stepping Out between the 1st and 2nd pitch. Stepping Out’s 1st pitch is the crux of its route and requires gear versus the rest of the route which is pinned like Extra Texture.
The 2nd tier is lined up such that you can go up and down what we call the Sand Dunes area of Island in the Sky and climb both sport and trad single pitches if you do not want to commit to a multi pitch route. Several of these routes are sport and several are trad. This Island in the Sky is not to be confused with a feature of the same name in Canyonlands National Park north of Moab.
Snow Canyon State Park is a state park of 7100 acres just north of St. George, Utah. Island in the Sky has a minimum of 64 published routes from 5.5 to 5.12b. It is a significant piece of rock (small mountain) situated at the south end of the park that is broken down into eight different climbing sections along its west wall. In the winter it keeps one busy when many of the other spots don’t look so inviting. The Sand Dunes area is one of the warmer climbing options during the winter months being slightly angled to the southwest.
Route Description/ApproachExtra Texture is just one of 20 published climbing routes that make up the “Sand Dunes” area towards the south end of Island in the Sky. Park at the West Canyon day use parking lot. Walk south on paved road for about 100 yards and head east across the wash to an obvious scree slope for access to the second tier. There is some light scrambling required and even an aid chain to assist in bypassing Twist and Shout to the north, a popular 5.7 route on the lower level. Once above that hand chain below the 2nd tier traverse back right until you are below an obvious thin crack that is Stepping Out’s first pitch. It might be hard to see the chains from below, but you will notice the pins for Extra Texture to the left. There is also one pin at the start of the crack for Stepping Out.
1st Pitch- (70’) 5.7R/ Start just left and below Stepping Out . Locate a pin that you really don’t need and head up straight on easy ground through a corner and locate the 2nd pin. From there start to traverse aggressively out left aiming for the remaining pins as you spot them amongst the varnish which can be a challenge. Eventually the angle eases up and it is a race to the chains above and left of the cave. There are more pins that continue to your left that represent Will’s Rush, the first established route in Snow Canyon. As before mentioned, it is not advisable to top rope Extra Texture without the draws in to protect a fall. If one person is climbing, he/she will need to be lowered and re-climb the route to clean it.
Essential Gear60 m rope. 5 draws. No opportunities for gear, it is slightly run out.
External LinksSnow Canyon State Park
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
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