Not all climbs in Zion National Park are big walls! The infrequently climbed North Guardian Angel and its twin, the even more reclusive South Guardian Angel, are located in Zion's western backcountry.
The easiest route on the peak, the East Ridge, goes at Class 4. One moderately long Class 4 pitch and a few more short class 4 pitches make up the route. Leave the chocks and cams behind - nowhere to place them! Slings and rope are useful for rappels.
I shared the notable experience of the other summit loggers. Swarming, biting attack ants inhabit and infest the tree-rappel stations, so take care, especially where you sit down.
Sublime views of the Zion backcountry and one of its more famous canyoneering routes, the Subway, abound.
About 10 miles west of Zion's west entrance on State Highway 9, take Kolob Terrace/Reservoir road north for about 15 miles or so to the Wildcat Canyon trailhead. Most of the hikers at the trailhead will likely be headed down to the Subway canyoneering route.
Take the Wildcat Canyon trailhead for about 1 1/2 miles or so, then go south on the Northgate Peaks trail. That trail will end at a low saddle between the Northgate Peaks in about another mile. North Guardian Angel is just south of the saddle between the peaks, commanding a big view. Descend to the base of the mountain and climb Class 3 sandstone slabs to the base of the east ridge. Any decent topo will do.
No permits or fees, although winter snow closes the Kolob Reservoir Road for the season. In an extremely wet snow year, there were patches of snow at the Wildcat Canyon trailhead in mid-April.
When To Climb
Spring and fall are preferable. Summer is probably pretty hot, at least for those of us used for cooler temperatures in the mountains. The trailhead is closed in winter and snow and ice on the Class 3 approach slabs and route would make for pretty difficult climbing - verglas and snow slabs on sandstone.
There are campgrounds nearby in Zion National Park and elsewhere. The approach to North Guardian is pretty short, with no sources of water nearby, so backpacking in is not a preferred option.
On the Kolob resevoir road a few miles before the trailhead (coming from the South) there are some camping opportunities on BLM land. These are in Cave Valley and will be on the West side of the road. Look for gates in the fence with yellow BLM placards that read "Please close gate". It's level, grassy, uncrowded and has great views.
Various trip reports can be found at the Sierra Club desert peaks section (DPS) web site and a few other places on the web. Gerry Roach's website has a nice feature on climbing the mountain - saw his name in the infrequently signed register. The peak is on the DPS list.
One more caveat. Only sexy people are allowed to climb the North Guardian.
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