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Over the Top Rock

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Over the Top Rock

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Arizona, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.99364°N / 112.00647°W

Object Title: Over the Top Rock

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 14, 2007

Activities: Scrambling

Season: Fall


Page By: GeoPooch Sobachka

Created/Edited: Nov 17, 2007 / Nov 20, 2007

Object ID: 357648

Hits: 4853 

Page Score: 86.44%  - 24 Votes 

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Sand Cove Wash and the Wave

Exit from Sand Cove Wash
Exit from the Wash ... hardly a lizard track on the prefectly smooth sand!
Narrows of Sand Cove Wash
Little dryfall in Sand Cove Wash

Few visitors venture beyond the super-popular Wave into the wilderness of Coyote Buttes. We planned to scramble up Top Rock and to see its arches, and to check its back side, before taking off to White Pocket.

We started before 8 am on a chilly November morning. The Sun was still low but there were two new lines in the trail register already (one of them from the ranger out to check the $%$#%# permits!). As we hiked into Sand Cove, we couldn't help noticing that the rays of Sun didn't even touch the domes above the Wave, let alone shine into it. So we went looking for the dino tracks on the West side of the Cove, then dropped into the wash some ways upstream of the BLM-recommended crossing, and enjoyed exploring the little slot there.
The guardian dome of the West entrance
A multi-colored dome at the entrance to the Wave makes a perfect backdrop for Jasmine

The overhanging part of the Wave
In the shadow of the overhanging wave
SE end of the Wave
So humans have been there too?

As we left the slot canyon and headed uphill, the West entrance to the Wave opened right ahead of us. The famous place turned out to be real tiny, probably not bigger than some suburban backyards. There were no photographers around, but soon we spotted a teenage gal in the folds of slickrock to the SE, and stopped for a chat. In a few minutes it turned out that she was the feared law enforcement person, definitely a wrong youngster to growl at. But we were off the hook, whew! BTW the ranger told us that quite a few internet permit-lottery winners are no-shows, and none of them ever turn in their permits.

Max dog-surfing
Jasmine dog-surfing the Wave

After some dog-surfing in the slanted rays of morning Sun, it was time to take off.
Top Rock Arch
Top Rock Arch

Top Rock

Cracked Domes
Looking back from 2nd Wave to the Cracked Domes, the location of the Main Wave
Shadows play at the 2nd Wave
The turban of the 2nd Wave

We stopped at the so-called 2nd Wave, just under the West face of Top Rock to the South of the one and only wave, then scrambled up slickrock kind of in between the two waves. It was very interesting to see the little patch of cracked domes below, and the Wave snaking between them.
The Wave revealed!
Bird's eye view of the Wave. Look how small it is! Do you see two hikers at its entrance, on the right side of the picture? Just below the deep shadow of the Wave overhang?

The dune of the Top Rock Alcove
The dune in the overhang grotto of the Top Rock
Melody Arch
Melody Arch, the back side

Top Rock Arch was now just below us to the North, and a wide saddle opened to the East, towards the two large groups of giant tepee-like formations. Melody Arch was out of sight to the South; behind its ridge lay a neat pink sand dune in an overhanging alcove of rock. We rounded the corner of the ridge on the East side and there was the arch, really just a window in the face of the cliff far above.
A beautiful striped formation on the Back Side of Top Rock
This striped column marks the descent path off the Back Side of the Top Rock
Top Rock s Back Side
The Back Side, looking North

The back side of Top Rock was less steep than the Wave side, but also with some picture-perfect rock formations. Staying near the boundary of the red rock and the sand, we soon rounded the South end of Top Rock, and took the BLM "trail" back to Wire Pass. Time to see if we can make it to White Pocket now ... and hopefully back.


Tanya's Wave Page with great beta on Top Rock

Next stop of our trip: White Pocket

And then the next one: Wahweap Hoodoos


Jasmine dog-surfing the WaveSE end of the WaveShadows play at the 2nd WaveThe guardian dome of the West entranceTop Rock ArchMax dog-surfingThe Wave revealed!
Melody ArchThe overhanging part of the WaveThe WaveA beautiful striped formation on the Back Side of Top RockCracked DomesExit from Sand Cove WashTop Rock\'s Back Side
[ View Gallery - 3 More Images ]


[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-16 of 16    

Mark DoironSomeday ...

Mark Doiron

Voted 10/10

Someday I must go there. Thanks so much for reminding me why! --mark d.
Posted Nov 19, 2007 7:42 am

WalksWithBlackfliesTake a Leash


Hasn't voted

I can't believe you let your dogs climb over the fragile Wave formations.
Posted Nov 19, 2007 8:20 am

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: fragile Wave formations

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

The Wave slopes are pretty sturdy actually, and the humans pose on them all the time, and put tripods on, and generally stay for hours. So we wouldn't think a 15-pounder pooch will be any worse. And the ranger didn't have a problem with it either.

This said, when and if the BLM works out the quirks of its permit lottery, and really starts letting people in by the dozen as they officially intend to do, we all would need to become even more cognizant about preventing damage to the sandstone.
Posted Nov 19, 2007 9:04 am

WalksWithBlackfliesRe: fragile Wave formations


Hasn't voted

Correct about the main part of The Wave, but not so about The Wave 2 and some of the other formations in the area. Yes, people walk on the formations, but they can also purposely place their feet away from fragile areas. At the very least, I hope that you would leash your dogs if they were damaging the formations. Sorry if I sound harsh, it's just such a wonderfully unique area, and I'd hate to see it damaged.
Posted Nov 20, 2007 10:45 am

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: fragile Wave formations

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

Oh. In the first message you said that the dogs actually climbed over the fragile formations. Now you are saying that they might have climbed there, and that the owners might have neglected to have leashes just in case. And even that we don't care if this great area sustains damage!

Of course what you said before was incorrect, and what you are saying now isn't correct either.

We understand that the question of dogs in the mountains is controversial, and some SPers hate the idea. It's OK to have strong opinion about stuff on SP, but please do not twist the facts, and please try to accept others' freedom of the hills.
Posted Nov 20, 2007 11:38 am

supermarmotam i the only one


Voted 5/10

who wonders why a dog-walk report made the front page? this is absurd.

Posted Nov 19, 2007 6:55 pm

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: am i the only one

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

No, we wondered too. Maybe because it's got a good chunk of 4th class scrambling? Or maybe because of some beta on a really cool spot? Hard to say if we really earned the honor ... but it isn't absurd, that's for sure.
Posted Nov 19, 2007 8:00 pm

supermarmotRe: am i the only one


Voted 5/10

i'm sorry, you're right. 'absurd' was more in reference to the talking dogs (or deranged owners--you decide.)

Posted Nov 19, 2007 11:15 pm

Zac FinleyWOW

Zac Finley

Voted 10/10

Some people can be pretty brutal with comments. I enjoyed reading the report. It's a beautiful area. I was there about a month ago.
Posted Nov 19, 2007 11:01 pm

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: WOW

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

Or maybe the elves were wrong to put something as controversial as "dog-walking" right on the front page ... just judging from the votes, the SP community considers it to be a mediocre TR. In fact two out of three TRs score better than ours!
Posted Nov 20, 2007 12:29 am



Voted 10/10

Beautiful photos! I hope the trail report was accurate and you found everything you were looking for.

Posted Nov 21, 2007 12:13 pm

GeoPooch SobachkaThanks Tanya!

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

We really enjoyed your site and the waypoints were very helpful. Thought to stop at Carmel Jct on the way back to see if we get a chance to thank you personally, but we got sidetracked into Cottonwood Canyon Road.

The only thing we missed up on Top Rock was an up-close view of Melody Arch. Kind of ran out of time and power to routefind over the steep drops around the Dune Grotto, but in hindsight I see that Melody should not be missed. I mean we saw it, but from the less picturesque side.

Yeah and the last thing ... Jeff who?? Not one of our crew ;)
Posted Nov 21, 2007 12:57 pm

tanyaMelody Arch


Voted 10/10

Melody Arch is spectacular! I understand now. Jeff posted this link elsewhere so I thought this was his trip report. I wish you had stopped by. I always like to meet new people. :)
Posted Nov 21, 2007 2:27 pm

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: Melody Arch

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

Oh, I see. In Yahoo groups, right?

Thank both of you for the plug :)
Posted Nov 21, 2007 5:08 pm

GeoPooch SobachkaRe: to meet new people

GeoPooch Sobachka

Hasn't voted

But this Best Western ... is it Best Western at Carmel Jct or I am making stuff up? Anyway, it isn't a place the dogs are allowed, is it?
Posted Nov 26, 2007 4:51 pm



Voted 10/10

That's were I saw the link.
Posted Nov 24, 2007 2:27 pm

Viewing: 1-16 of 16