Gratitude is a four pitch sport route located at the 2nd tier of the Sand Dunes area wall on Island in the Sky, Snow Canyon State Park. We combined Rat Race, 5.9X’s two pitches, of which one is a trad, with Gratitude’s four sport pitches for a short winter day out in the canyon. You do not have to climb Rat Race to access the 2nd tier, you can scramble left of the Sand Dunes area wall routes past Twist and Shout, 5.7, and then traverse back right to the base of the 2nd tier routes. Any of these south facing upper tier routes on Island in the Sky are the best winter routes in Snow Canyon. Although we found the rating soft on all four pitches, as is consistent with most Todd Goss routes, the 3rd pitch offered fun climbing to be sure.
Island in the Sky displays over 64 routes and is further divided up into nine distinct walls with multiple routes ranging from 5.6-5.12b. There are over 20 published routes on the various walls of Island in the Sky across from the sand dunes in Snow Canyon which comprise the “Sand Dunes Area.” As of November, 2007, I have climbed most of these routes.
The walls in Snow Canyon are comprised of soft sandstone and therefore climbing the same grades in Snow Canyon compared to granite or limestone slabs or hardened sandstone makes the grading somewhat stiffer by consensus. Many of the routes are a mixture of trad and sport, with much of the sport portions relying on older pins versus bolts. Gratitude is all sport with fixed stations unless you use Rat Race to access it, which would then require one trad pitch for the total six pitch climb.
Access is easy. If combining Gratitude with Rat Race, use the pullout on the right side of the road for “Jenny’s Canyon” trail. Park at this pull off and angle across several washes heading northeast for the bottom of the arch that makes up the first pitch of Rat Race. If using the scramble approach to the 2nd tier, use the West Canyon parking lot further north. Cross the road and head south in the wash to the obvious broken ground that breaks through the lower walls. Gratitude receives full sun most winter days and thus makes for an ideal winter objective.
Route Description1st Pitch- (100’) 5.10c/ Seemed really soft for the grade, felt more like 5.9 to me. Clip the first two pins of Leopard Skin below a chimney to the right of a huge dihedral. Then move straight up on small face varnish. Traverse right to the comfortable fixed station (2007) below a corner/crack. At least 12 pins/bolts total versus the 10 Todd suggests in his guide book.
2nd Pitch- (70’) 5.8/ Again, easy for the grade, more like 5.7 or 5.6. Up huge holds to the right of the large flake/corner system, past one blank spot that you can stem past using the flake to the left. Traverse left to another comfortable belay stance at the top of the flake. Eight pins/bolts to fixed station (2007).
3rd Pitch- (90’) 5.10c/ We combined these last two pitches. Makes for a full rope length thus a little rope drag, but the 4th pitch is easy 5.8 varnish. The 3rd pitch is the crux pitch of the climb. Start out on slab above the station and move right into a hollowed out section making for slightly overhanging moves on crimpy, but solid varnish. Move right into the groove and then climb back left as you work your way out of the overhang portion onto easier ground above. Eight bolts to next station.
4th Pitch- (80’) 5.8/ As before mentioned, we combined these last two pitches. Easy varnish jugs through eight bolts to station on top of Island in the Sky.
DescentScramble down to the right (south) looking for the first chain rappel anchor on a west facing wall. Make three single rope rappels down the long southwest facing angling ramp back to the base of the 2nd tier. I advise using single rope rappels here as you have to come off your rope at the base of the first rap to scramble across slab to access the next rap which is stuck on a wall into a chimney to skiers right. These raps are not stacked and getting a rope stuck would be highly likely if you attempted double rope raps.
Scramble back north for your walk off descent via the hand chain to the north of Twist and Shout.
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