Wooden Hammer runs up one of several long corners on Prophesy Wall, the most prominent one towards the east side. It is advertised as a three pitch route in Todd Goss’s “Rock Climbs of Southwest Utah” guide book, but can easily be done in two pitches. Outside of the first two bolts, it is a trad climb made up of two deep chimneys. The second chimney serves as the death chamber for horned owls with tons of skeletal remains littering the chimney. I was actually spun around by a horned owl that was startled from its nest when I was rapping another corner route further west, Past Lives, 5.9.
Prophesy Wall along with Solstice Wall down in Woodbury Road Crags, is one of the finer “moderate” sport walls in or near St. George and Zion National Park. It is known for being more of a sport area than trad, and thus Wooden Hammer would not be the norm. Compared to ratings on other local walls, I consider Prophesy Wall grades to be somewhat relaxed, however Wooden Hammer is all of 5.8 due to the quality of rock forcing you to be light about the touch.
Route DescriptionWooden Hammer is a dirty route that rarely gets climbed but is easy to identify on the wall by the route photo provided. There exists some real precarious varnish you must rely on to pull yourself out of two separate chimneys that are joined, but fractured.
1st Pitch- (100’) 5.8/ The first pitch starts out with two run-out bolts and then moves over a short mossy section into the first chimney. You can sling a feature at the base of the chimney with a girth hitch and then wander up easy ground into the deep chasm. It is impossible to protect down low in this section. You have to climb up to where the chimney starts to close over the top of you and sink a larger piece here. Then study the questionable holds on the right wall as you commit from the chimney over to the wall and proceed on easy, but suspect holds to the top of this first chimney. Continue on easy ground into the second chimney were the horned owl debris is.
2nd Pitch- (80’) 5.8+/ This second chimney is a squeeze play up to suspect holds again to pull yourself up and over onto easier ground. The same issue exists as it did with the first pitch, it is difficult to protect low. You are quite committed by the time you can protect the pitch. Although sucked into the chimney at first, do not go all the way, you will not fit through the key hole deep inside. Come back out and reach up onto a huge, but fractured, piece of varnish and do your best to weight your moves accordingly. Once you make a move or two to gain the top of the chimney, you can breathe again.
3rd Pitch- (50’) 5.7/ The third pitch can be combined with this second pitch which is what I recommend. Easy climbing through a hole formed by a massive chock stone and up a featured crack on the left to the top of Prophesy Wall.
DescentThe guidebook recommends walking off north. However, once you top out, you can traverse west to a set of chains, about 15 meters on top of “The Roofs of Jericho”. There will be another set of chains less than half way down on top of an arch. Double ropes will not get you to the ground so you need to stop here. Beware: toss your ropes versus feeding them out. If you feed them out, they can slip through the arch and get hung up on the features below. A person cannot fit through the arch. If this happens, you could be in a short term mess. There is another station right below the arch with a sport route directly below, so you could always take a knife to your rope if you were truly stuck.
Best True Technical Clothing and Accessories in the Outdoor Industry, Hands Down....the Legit Climbers Gear at Real Prices
Scarpa has surpassed La Sportiva in terms of quality, function, value and actually stand by their warranties
Osprey Backpacks, Not a Second Choice
Great Outdoors Depot