Don’t let the “run out” rating scare you off. This is actually a pretty fine route by Snow Canyon State Park standards. You must first climb Little Nightmare Music (5.8 trad) to reach the start. Therefore it becomes a mixed trad/sport route. The rap descent is the same as for most of the 2nd tier routes on Island in the Sky, four raps with a single rope, two with double 60’s to the south of Stepping Out. Besides a hairy “very wide” 5.8 traverse the true crux pitch is the 3rd overall pitch, a nicely sustained 5.9 pitch on thin varnish through 8 (somewhat run out) pins covering over 100’.
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.
Full Metal Jockstrap is just one of 20 published climbing routes that make up the “Sand Dunes” area towards the south end of Island in the Sky. Combined with Little Nightmare Music, it can be one of the longer Sand Dunes routes. 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, head straight up for a significant corner with a small roof on it. This is Little Nightmare Music.
You will not see the chains from below and there are no pins on this first pitch.
Route Description1st Pitch- (70’) 5.8/ I have done Little Nightmare Music (5.8 trad) twice and it offers a classic start to this route; a significant corner on the left side of the upper tier of Island in the Sky. Start in the corner and place medium to large gear in the crack as you protect textured moves. Once you get past the large loose block stuck in the crack, move out right on unprotected ground to the right edge of the roof and protect in the crack above as you mantle your way up to a textured wall. Traverse back left onto a comfortable ledge with old pin anchors.
2nd Pitch- (50’) 5.8/ A funky long traverse left and up over 6-7 pins (not 4 as in the guidebook) until you reach a small standing belay at a two pin anchor below pins that lead up to the third pitch. Everything is quite positive, but typical exposure for a wall traverse.
3rd Pitch- (100’) 5.9/ The crux and best pitch of the climb. Sustained vertical straight up and trending right, hard to see pins at times as they are quite spread out and rusted. Little if any opportunity for gear with the exception of hooking a feature with a clove hitch here or there. More run out towards the top versus the bottom. Nice thin positive varnish though, makes it feel more like 5.8.
4th Pitch- (60’) 5th class that can be easily protected straight up to a big ledge. Traverse right past 2-3 pins to the summit.
DescentDescend down into the summit plateau and cross over to the south following a somewhat exposed ledge across to chains hanging above Wills Rush. Rap to a large flat ledge and down climb into a slanted chimney on the south side of the ledge for another set of chains. With 60m doubles, you can reach the base of the upper tier from here.
Essential GearNeed double 60m ropes to make it a 2 rappel descent. Will help on rope drag for the 2nd pitch traverse as well. Need several pieces of medium to large gear for the first pitch which is all trad. Then a bunch of draws, at least 10.
External LinksSnow Canyon State Park
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
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