Welcome to SP!  -
Moses, 5.11-5.12c
Mountain/Rock

Moses, 5.11-5.12c

 
Moses, 5.11-5.12c

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.63611°N / 110.04694°W

Object Title: Moses, 5.11-5.12c

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

 

Page By: Dow Williams

Created/Edited: Mar 24, 2009 / Feb 3, 2013

Object ID: 500695

Hits: 3833 

Page Score: 85.87%  - 21 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview/Approach

 
Moses
Moses

Island in the Sky is a 6000’ high mesa in Canyonlands National Park to the west of Moab, Utah towering over the Green and Colorado Rivers. This section of Canyonlands is home to the most infamous of desert towers, the most notable of which are Moses, Zeus, Washer Woman, Monster Tower, Standing Rock and the Witch. The extreme temperature range in this region is one of the widest in the world at -25F to 115F. My first climb there was In Search of Suds, a stellar route up Washer Woman. My second was the ultra classic Primrose Dihedrals up the southeast face of Moses, perhaps the most prominent of all towers in Canyonlands, located in Taylor Canyon. Both of these climbs offer remote climbing experiences where on many occasions you are likely to have an entire tower to yourself and possibly an entire canyon as well. For these reasons as well as considering the climb itself, Primrose Dihedrals makes for one of the best adventure desert climbs in North America.
 
Zeus
 
 
Primrose Dihedrals, 5.11d
 

Moses is the tallest of the towers in Canyonlands National Park. Moses was first ascended by Fred Beckey and company in 1972 (via a lot of direct aid) on a line later named Pale Fire, IV, 5.12c. This line on the left side of the north face is the most common rappel line from the summit. Jim Dunn, Stewart Green and others made the second ascent of the tower in 1973, the Dunn Route, IV, 5.11. It was freed in 1982 by Jeff Achey and Glenn Randall. The Dunn route climbs corners on the right side of the north face. Ed Webster and Steve Hong made the first free ascent of Primrose Dihedrals, IV, 5.11d, in 1979, actually utilizing this climb to introduce camming devices to the desert tower climbing community. This is the only published route (2009) on the south side of the tower.

Head north out of Moab on US 191, turning left on the paved road heading for Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky). After 11 miles on a paved road that heads for the park’s visitor center, turn right on a gravel road marked for Mineral Springs Bottom. Do not make the mistake of turning rightt for Mineral Springs Point which is the dirt road that runs past the Horsethief Campground. Rather take the next right, .2 more miles down the road, on a gravel road heading for Mineral Springs Bottom. Follow this road for quite a distance until it finally dumps onto steep switchbacks to the bottom of the canyon. High clearance vehicles are highly advisable for this descent. Once down to the Green River, turn left for the sign marking Canyonlands National Park. This narrow dirt road follows the river for several miles to a campground along the river on your right and a marked sign telling you to turn left for Taylor Canyon. The Taylor Canyon road is much more primitive requiring even more of a 4x4 type of vehicle as it meanders along several washes for approximately five miles up canyon to the base of Moses where it dead ends. Follow a marked trail from the parking area as it ascends to the ridge line heading for the southeast edge of Moses. Follow the trail left for the north face routes, and right for Primrose Dihedrals.

Route Description(s)

 
Moses
 
 
Moses
 

  • Pale Fire- 4 Pitches- 5.12c/

  • Dunn Route- 5 Pitches- 5.11/

  • Primrose Dihedrals- 7 Pitches- 5.11d/
  • Primrose Dihedrals’ 7 pitches breaks down into five stout pitches at the 5.10 grade or more. Although Supertopo calls for eight pitches, it makes more sense to combine the final two pitches into one. A traverse first pitch can replace one of the 5.11 pitches making the entire route more of a moderate objective. This is a commonly used variation. Dow

Descent

The most common rap off of the summit is the Pale Fire line, however, Primrose Dihedrals has also now (2009) been rigged for rappels down the south face. For the Pale Fire rap, take a single rappel from the summit back to a rap station at the eastern edge of the shoulder. Make a double rope rappel down the eastern ridge for a short distance, then swing out skiers left to find the bolt line for Pale Fire on the north face. This rappel is not that long. Find the chains and make another relatively short double rope rappel looking for the chains in a small alcove. From there, a final long double 60m rope rappel hits the ground on the north end of Moses.

Essential Gear

You will need double 60m ropes to rap these routes. North side can be chilly in the spring. This whole area is higher and can be colder than what you might expect if you are based out of Moab. Always take plenty of water into Canyonlands National Park. A spare tire in the vehicle would be smart. Stewart Green has a good description of gear needed for each route in “Rock Climbing Utah” put out by Falcon Guide.

External Links

  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Island in the Sky
  • Tons of Moab Area Tower Climbs from Radek's and my first hand perspective as well as a few others
  • Moab
  • Great Outdoors Depot
  • Images