I first did Stepping Out several years ago. It is considered a classic route at Island in the Sky. I revisited the first pitch in January, 2007. It is lined up such that you can go up and down the 2nd tier of what we call the “Sand Dunes” area of Island in the Sky, which is of course directly across from the sand dunes in Snow Canyon State Park, and climb both sport and trad single pitches if you do not want to commit to a multi pitch route. The first pitch of Stepping Out is my favorite of these single pitch options. The first pitch features a classic thin off-width crack at 5.9 and then the route eases off to 5.8 for the remainder of the route, which can be accomplished in one long pitch if you use double ropes to avoid rope drag.
As before mentioned, Stepping Out is in the middle of the Sand Dunes wall area of Island in the Sky of Snow Canyon State Park fame, not to be confused with a feature of the same name in Canyonlands National Park north of Moab. Snow Canyon State Park is a state park of 7100 acres just north of St. George, Utah. Island in the Sky has a minimum of 64 published routes from 5.5 to 5.12b. It is a significant piece of rock (small mountain) situated at the south end of the park that is broken down into eight different climbing sections along its west wall. In the winter it keeps one busy when many of the other spots don’t look so inviting. The Sand Dunes area is one of the warmer climbing options during the winter months being slightly angled to the southwest.
Stepping Out is one of 20 published climbing routes that make up the “Sand Dunes” area towards the south end of Island in the Sky. At four pitches it is one of the longer Sand Dunes routes. Park at the West Canyon day use parking lot. Walk south on paved road for about 100 yards and head east across the wash to an obvious scree slope for access to the second tier. There is some light scrambling required and even an aid chain to assist in bypassing Twist and Shout to the north, a popular 5.7 route on the lower level. Once on the second tier you need to traverse back right until you are below an obvious thin crack that is Stepping Out’s first pitch. It might be hard to see the chains from below, but you will notice the pins for Extra Texture to the left. There is also one pin at the start of the crack for Stepping Out. You will need gear for the crack. You can top rope the 1st pitch from Extra Texture which is a zig zag of a 5.7R. However, Stepping Out’s first pitch is a fun trad lead.
Route Description1st Pitch- The first pitch is 50’ (photos) to chains. One pin low, small to medium gear in the crack. Start right, crux move back left (5.9), easier climbing to anchor.
2nd Pitch- (50’) 5.8 Friction slab through five pins to chains.
3rd Pitch- (60’) 5.8 Slopers through six pins to chains below large ledge.
4th Pitch- One pin to “intersection ledge” with two pin anchor. Climb chimney to south of ledge and make three single rope raps to ground.
Climbing Sequence of First Pitch (crux)
Essential Gear60 m rope will suffice. Double ropes will allow you to combine pitches 2-4 and save you a rappel. Need a few pieces of small to medium gear for that first pitch. 6-8 draws. Red chalk only please!
External LinksSnow Canyon State Park
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
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