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Weather/Climbing Conditions in So. Utah for late November

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Weather/Climbing Conditions in So. Utah for late November

Postby leaf » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:19 pm

Thanksgiving.. you get a nice 4 day weekend but it seems like a tricky time of year to plan a climbing vacation.

I've been looking at Moab, Canyonlands and Southern Utah as my destination, but I'm not sure if the weather allows climbing this late into the rock season and/or early in the ice season? I'm not familiar with the climate down there being from New England.

I'm looking for suggestions for a long weekend trip or just advice to see if it's even possible to get in climbing around that time of year? I was looking at the Moab Desert Towers, or anything similar. A Class 5 peak would be really ideal. Again, though, the area is totally foreign to me. 8)

I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Postby cp0915 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:42 pm

Can't speak for Moab, but there are plenty of class 5 peaks in Zion that could be doable over the Thanksgiving weekend.
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Postby Dan Shorb » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:40 pm

cp0915 wrote:Can't speak for Moab, but there are plenty of class 5 peaks in Zion that could be doable over the Thanksgiving weekend.


there was a climbing mag a while back that highlighted , mostly moderate, multipitch ridges in Zion area.

if Zion is in your frame of refrence, Red Rocks in Vegas may be better, especially if flying from the east coast.
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Postby cp0915 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:19 pm

d_shorb wrote:there was a climbing mag a while back that highlighted , mostly moderate, multipitch ridges in Zion area.


Yeah, I recall that it covered:

-the northwest ridge of Mountain of the Sun (5.7?);
-the south ridge of The West Temple (5.6);
-Cowboy Ridge on Mount Kinesava (5.7);
-and the northeast ridge of North Guardian Angel (5.6, if you climb the crack at the base of the ridge; class 4 if you don't).

These routes are well-traveled, with the exception of the NW Ridge of Mountain of the Sun. And all of them should be in decent shape in late November, with the possible exception of North Guardian Angel.
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Postby leaf » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:41 pm

this is awesome news. thanks. yeah, zion is definitely on my radar and 5-6-5.8 is what i'm looking for. so i should expect patchy ice and snow perhaps above a certain elevation and just cold fingers and toes on the lower peaks/climbs?

i checked the weather and it looks like the average temps in that area during the day in november ranges about 50-60 degrees..
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Postby cp0915 » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:09 pm

"...so i should expect patchy ice and snow perhaps above a certain elevation and just cold fingers and toes on the lower peaks/climbs?"

Perhaps patchy ice and snow on northern aspects in the higher elevations (of the peaks in question), or perhaps completely dry. Hard to say, as late November can be a funky time in the desert. I've seen it both very snowy and very dry in late November Zion...depends a lot on the year, and where in the park you're going. As for lower peaks/climbs, you have a great chance of finding excellent conditions (particularly on southern aspects). Cowboy Ridge, by the way, is the south ridge of Kinesava -- I'd expect it to be good in late November; same for the south ridge of The West Temple. Mountain of the Sun I'm less sure about.

"i checked the weather and it looks like the average temps in that area during the day in november ranges about 50-60 degrees.."

Sounds about right. With chilly mornings and cold in the shady spots.

By the way, I said that North Guardian Angel is the least likely (of the four) to be in shape in late November because the road up to the trailhead closes once significant snow comes. And you never know when that's gonna happen.
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Postby Scott » Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:04 pm

I've been looking at Moab, Canyonlands and Southern Utah as my destination, but I'm not sure if the weather allows climbing this late into the rock season and/or early in the ice season?


Moab is usually nice in late November. It can snow, but not that often and the nights are cold and the days sunny. Average snowfall in Moab is a whopping 0.6 inches, but in most years none falls at all in November. Of course the occasional storm does change this.

I agree that Zion is also nice in November. Moab is typically drier, but sometimes (not always) in Zion the autumn colors last as late as late November, plus it's typically warmer at night down low.
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Postby Dow Williams » Fri Oct 09, 2009 11:31 pm

It is good climbing all year round leaf, the guys above know the area well. If you are climbing technical routes where fingers and toes are important, whether it be Red Rocks, Zion or Moab in November, it is all about getting on south facing routes. The power of the sun on sandstone is huge. It can be 40F and I can climb 5.10 no worries if the sun has lit up the rock a bit. The inverse is true already in early October. I was out today doing a 5.11 5 pitch route in Zion and my fingers still feel store from being too cold because it was a north facing route, which in Zion Canyon this time of year, means zero sun. You actually have to wait for the air temps to warm up the rock and that takes until mid day or later if the high is 75F. Moab is quite a bit higher elevation than Zion and Zion is quite a bit higher than St. George and Red Rocks. Every foot of elevation around here in Nov-Feb makes a difference if climbing on fingers and toes. Cheers.
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Postby leaf » Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:55 pm

thanks for the excellent info. appreciate it!

now if plane fares can settle down a little.. :roll:
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Postby Dow Williams » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:28 pm

leaf wrote:thanks for the excellent info. appreciate it!

now if plane fares can settle down a little.. :roll:


Assume you know this, but....Vegas is a lot cheaper than Salt Lake or other options. I hear they are high right now (my gunks partner is planning his annual trip to climb with me), but I would hold out until the end if I were you guys. Not positive how it works, but Vegas has always subsidized air travel. They need visitors in the worst way right now. What he was quoted thus far seems way to high. Cheers
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