Hackberry Wash is my least favorite climbing crag in Snow Canyon State Park. The sandstone is loose and chossy and the routes not that interesting with the exception of Deviated Septum, a classic hands to fist 70’ 5.10c trad crack. Hackberry Wash is the first climbing crag in the park if you are driving in from St. George (Ivins) heading north. As soon as you enter the park, you can see Island in the Sky to the north. Hackberry Wash is on the wall to the southeast of Island in the Sky. Park at the pullout for Jenny’s Canyon trailhead and follow the trail until you hit the wash, then turn south (right) and walk up the wash, eventually leaving it for the wall directly to the southeast of the far southern corner of Island in the Sky (Jimmy Durante). I have included a wall photo for identification. You are quite unlikely to ever find anyone climbing at Hackberry Wash and/or much of a trail through the sand leading up to it.
Hackberry Wash has six published routes (Todd Goss’s “Rock Climbs of Southwest Utah”) as of 2008, from a 5.4 chimney pitch to a 5.11a face climb on delicate varnish. Snow Canyon is full of Red Navajo sandstone, capped by an overlay of black lava rock. This process creates significant, but sometimes delicate climbing holds called desert varnish. I have taken a 25’ whipper when one of these varnishes failed. These routes, mostly put up by J. Tainio, are rarely climbed and quite dirty, sandy and mossy as a result.
Please avoid walking on the microbiological soil. It is the dark crust that holds the surface layers together and prevents erosion. It takes centuries to reoccur. This whole ecosystem is much more delicate than most. Try to stay on the existing trail(s) and in the washes as much as possible.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right
- Deviant Chimney – 35’-5.4/ Can’t say I know what a 5.4 is as you don’t see to many sport routes labeled such, but this route actually had a bail biner on it! So it can be slightly stiff for a 5.4 I suppose. True deep chimney requiring some chimney technique through three bolts to sling anchor on the detached block (east facing). Kind of run out for 35’ considering the experience of folks who would want to lead a 5.4. So loose and uninviting of a chimney that my wife did not want to 2nd it.
- Pillar of Faith – 70’-5.10b/ There are two cracks side by side. This is the right crack. The one to the left (unnamed) has a bolt low in it, but looks like a very loose and dirty ride. This crack is much smaller, but still quite mossy and delicate climbing. Medium pro supplements four bolts to sling anchor.
- Who Knows What it is Called – 75’-5.11a/
- Deviated Septum – 70’-5.10c/ The trad corner.
- Pygmy Brain– 40’-5.9/
- The Right Stuff– 40’-5.10/
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
- DowClimbing.Com Snow Canyon
Red TapeSnow Canyon State Park hours are 6:00am to 10:00pm. A day visit pass is $5.00 and camping spots are $15.00 to $18.00 (2007). Wildlife seasonal enclosures as of 2007 include all Hackberry Wash routes from March 31 to June 1 and all West Canyon routes from February 1 to June 1.
The sandstone rock at Snow Canyon State Park is not as solid as the lava influenced Black Rocks. As with most of the climbing in and around St. George, you should avoid climbing for at least 24 hours after any rain.
My favorite place for dinner is the sushi bar at Benja's Thai & Sushi, 2 W. St. George Blvd. The best breakfast and coffee can be had at Jazzy Java, 285 North Bluff Street. 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. Ask for Bo.
CampingNo climbing is allowed on the rocks behind the campground. Quiet hours are 10:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. Generator hours are 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. Shower hours are 4:30 p.m. to 11:OO a.m. Check out time is 2:00 p.m. You are to renew your site permit by 10:00 a.m. Maximum length of stay is 5 nights. Pets are permitted only on West Canyon and Whiptail Trails and must be on leash at all times. Do not dump gray water at sites, use the dump station by the restroom. Tents on tent pads only. Bikes on pavement only. NO FIRES June 1- Sept. 15. Fires in grills/fire rings only. Firewood gathering is prohibited. They have a volleyball court which is pretty cool. The restrooms are first rate.
Sites 1, 2, 9, 10, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 27 cannot be reserved. Sites 1 - 14 are hookups with water and electric. Prices are $15.00 - non-hookups and $18.00 -water & electric. For reservations call 800-322-3770.