Along with it's impressive neighbor, North Six-Shooter, these Wingate sandstone towers lie in the Bridger Jack Mesa area- a culturally rich region with evidence of Anasazi dwellings on nearly every major rock. Just near the start of the 5.6 route on the south face is a petroglyph. Just north of the tower are ancient granaries. On the drive in you'll pass Newspaper Rock, one of the largest petroglyph sites in the world. The towers lie on BLM land, and depending on the conditions you can drive in fairly close. Primitive camping is generally permitted anywhere and the peak sees traffic in the form of guided groups and Outward Bound type groups.
Here are the routes on South Six Shooter:
1) South Face (II 5.6) - See description under Routes section
2) South Face Direct (II 5.9) - Climbs straight up under the summit notch. The first moves on the hand crack are 5.9, then 5.6 moves near the top.
3) South Face Right (II 5.9) - Just right of the South Direct, ascend the crack to a chockstone. Go right around chockstone on 5.9 moves. Off width moves to the top of South Face Right.
First modern ascent in 1969 by Bill Roos, Burnham Arndt, and Denver Collins
Opinion: If your coming from a Granite environment or new to desert tower climbing, the sandstone climbing takes a little getting used to in terms of feel and trust.
- Drive South of Moab, Utah on 191 and turn right (west) onto 211 toward Newspaper Rock and Canyonlands. 15.5 miles past Newspaper Rock turn left onto a dirt road at Indian Creek. Drive this road as far as the conditions or your vehicle allows you. Where the drainages divide (often dry, but can flash flood), take the right fork (Davis Creek).
- You could park as close as 1.2 miles or as far as 4.6 miles away. The nearest tower to the highway is North Six-Shooter. Ascend the east or south side of the shale ridden base of the South Six-Shooter Peak and make your way up to the south side of the formation. Once atop the base, it's obvious where to head for. Start just above a petroglyph.
Be cautious on the approach not to crush the delicate cryptobiotic soil- use worn paths to avoid the destruction of this soil
Maps: USGS North Six-Shooter Peak, USGS South Six-Shooter Peak
Ancient Puebloans or Anasazi migrated here from the Mesa Verde area about 1300 years ago. They hunted and farmed and are claimed to be responsible for the extensive rock art in the region. Virtually no prominent geographic feature is without some evidence of their work. The difference between the rock art is as follows:
Petroglyphs: etched or pecked into the rock with a hammer stone
Pictograph: painted on the rock with pigment from plants or minerals
In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell made the first known voyage down the nearby Green and Colorado Rivers. This opened up the area to further exploration by miners, cowboys, and sheepherders. Small amounts of oil and gas were found, but it wasn't until uranium was discovered that the area became discovered in the 1950's. The Canyonlands Territory was the last area of the continental United States to be explored. It still retains much of it's natural undiscovered state.
Nearby North Six-Shooter attracted the earliest climbers in 1962. Ed Webster was one of the driving forces behind the first ascents of many of the spires in the Bridger Jack area in the 1980's
Red TapeThere are no hiking or parking regulations or fees.
When To ClimbSummers can be as hot as 100 F, with spring and fall as nice as 60-80 F for daytime highs. Heavy snowfall is uncommon, but it could snow during the winter and become cold.
- There are many drive-in camp sites virtually everywhere on the BLM land. In nearby Canyonlands National Park, camping is regulated and on the permit system.
Utah BLM Site
Canyonlands National Park
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