OverviewIn most areas in the lower 48 states, Window Blind Peak would be considered a difficult peak. However, here in the San Rafael Swell and at “only” three to four technical pitches and at only 5.7, it is one of the “easier” summits as well as perhaps the first of the technical summits to be successfully climbed. It is also one of the higher summits as well. The first ascent of the peak was done on September 22-23 1973 by Jim Langdon, Dale Black and Dave Paler via the West Face. The North Rib is now considered the standard route and was first climbed in 1977. One may wonder about the old benchmark on the summit, but rest assured it was installed by helicopter!
The San Rafael Swell is a huge anticline, measuring 80X40 miles (125X65 kms). Most of the land is arid or desert, but a few areas in higher elevation support some sub-alpine vegetation. The rock layers are all tilted and many rings of cliffs surround the Swell, all radiating around the center of the Swell. The outer most cliff bands are known as the San Rafael Reef, and it contains many jagged fins, towers, and peaks. The scenery is fantastic, and contains towering mesas and mountains, thin rock pinnacles, slot canyons, larger deep canyons, huge rock walls, arches, slickrock, etc. etc. The Swell offers everything from gentle hiking to extremely difficult peak climbing.
Getting ThereVia I-70
West of Green River and on I-70, take Exit 131 and head north towards the San Rafael Campground. It’s a long, but good gravel road and if you don’t know how to read a map, better seek professional advice. A couple of miles before you reach the San Rafael Campground, park between a straight line between Bottleneck Peak (which is mismarked on the topo maps, but you can’t miss it-it’s very obvious and distinct!) and the obvious Window Blind Peak, the highest peak in the region (the impressive mass to the north is Assembly Hall Peak which is a more difficult climb).
South of Price and on Highway 10, take the exit between mile markers 56 and 57 (or 49 and 50) and head towards Cleveland (the Utah one is slightly smaller than the Ohio one) and turn on the Buckhorn Wash Road. Yet another alternative is to take the Green River Cutoff which is just north of Castle Dale and exits Highway 10 between mile markers 39 and 40. From any of these routes and with a map in hand, drive to Buckhorn Flat and to the San Rafael Campground and head to the car park as mentioned above on the I-70 route.
Via Woodside (one house-no services)
The east side of the Green River Cutoff leaves Highway 6/191 just south of Woodside and between mile markers 283 and 284. This mostly well graded road heads west to Buckhorn Wash as mentioned in the Price route above.
Whichever route you take, make sure to take a good map and plenty of fuel and water. There are no towns near Window Blind Peak so make sure to get gas at places like Green River, Price or Castle Dale.
Routes OverviewNorth Rib
This is the standard route up Window Blind Peak (“standard” is a relative term since the peak sees very few ascents). The route was first ascended by Hal Gribble, Paul Horton, Renny Jackson, Guy Toombes and Cindy Wilbur on February 19 1977.
The route scrambles up the northwest finger spur of the main peak and has much scrambling before the 3-4 technical pitches are reached on the north side of the peak. The route is rated 5.7 and is grade II-III. The route is pretty hard for 5.7 and is a bit runout. The rock is loose in places as well.
See the Route Page for information.
This was the route of first ascent up the peak and see the overview for the first ascent data. It is also interesting to note that two of the climbers (Black and Paler) were 14 years old at the time of the first ascent.
The route also scrambles up the northwest finger of the main peak and makes a more direct climb via the obvioous crack system on the west face of the peak. There are five technical pitches. The route is rated 5.9 and is grade IV.
I know of no other routes on the peak.
Red TapeNone. No services, rangers, permits or any people living in the area and the chances of meeting anyone on the peak are very slim. Go prepared.
CampingYou can camp at the San Rafael Campground for a small fee or you can camp anywhere in the area for free.
When to ClimbSummer is extremely hot with temperatures exceeding 100F degrees (38C). Winter temperatures drop well below 0F (-18C). The best times of the year for this adventure are March through mid-May and then again in late-September through November, though snow can fall eary spring and late fall.
This is a land of weather extremes. Temperatures in the nearest towns have ranged from -42F (-41C) to 112F (44.5C) at Green River and -35F (-37) to 114F (46C) at Hanksville. 50 degree temperature swings between night and day are very common here. Sunny weather predominates and it only rains a few times a year, but when it does rain, it can really pour!
Mountain ConditionsClick Here For Weather Forecast
Weather and climate data for the Hanksville is below. *National Weather Service Data 1912-2004.
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