What’s New Pussycat (Pussycat) is a two pitch wonder of a sport route located at the 2nd tier of the Sand Dunes area wall on Island in the Sky, Snow Canyon State Park. We combined Pussycat with Atomic Indian, 5.11a, Stepping Out, 5.9 and Thousand Pints of Lite, 5.7 for a day of recovery climbing in Snow Canyon after a week spent in Moab.
You can scramble left of the Sand Dunes area lower wall routes past Twist and Shout, a neat single pitch 5.7 route, and then traverse back right to the base of the 2nd tier routes. Any of these south facing upper tier routes on Island in the Sky are the best winter routes in Snow Canyon. Although the ratings are typically soft on Goss routes in Snow Canyon, this gem was actually put in by Farr and Biniaz and was fairly true to grade, 5.10a for the crux moves on the first pitch (pretty much off the deck) to a really nice 5.8 second, slightly traversing, pitch over nicely varnished ground above.
Island in the Sky is home to over 64 routes and is further divided up into nine distinct walls with multiple routes ranging from 5.6-5.12b. There are over 20 published routes on the various walls of Island in the Sky across from the sand dunes in Snow Canyon which comprise the “Sand Dunes Area.” By 2007, I had climbed most of these routes and their descriptions are included on the Sands Dune Area page of Island in the Sky.
The walls in Snow Canyon are comprised of soft sandstone and therefore climbing the same grades in Snow Canyon compared to granite or limestone slabs or hardened sandstone makes the grading somewhat stiffer by consensus. Many of the routes are a mixture of trad and sport, with much of the sport portions relying on older pins versus bolts. Pussy Cat is bolted (versus pitons) with fixed stations requiring two rappels with a single rope.
Access is easy. If combining Pussy Cat with Rat Race, use the pullout on the right side of the road for “Jenny’s Canyon” trail. Park at this pull off and angle across several washes heading northeast for the bottom of the arch that makes up the first pitch of Rat Race. If using the scramble approach to the 2nd tier, use the West Canyon parking lot further north. Cross the road and head south in the wash to the obvious broken ground that breaks through the lower walls. Pussycat receives full sun most winter days and thus makes for an ideal winter objective.
Route Description315’+/-, 2 Pitches, 5.10a
1st Pitch- 80’- 5.10a/Just to the right of Stranger than Friction, way out on the right side of Island in the Sky is the start of Pussycat, the most southern route on the Sand Dunes Area walls. The bolt line is fairly easy to spot. The crux of the route is pretty much through the first two bolts, pulling hard on a precarious hollow flake up to better, but sandy, holds. Follow the varnish as it trends right through eight bolts to fixed anchor.
2nd Pitch- 80’- 5.8/ I recommend this 5.8 pitch for beginning 5.8 leaders. It is nice and vertical, yet the moves are all on significant jugs. The bolts through this pitch are hard to spot. Definitely arc left at all times, on the good varnished jugs above the blank wall, through eight bolts