OverviewUnder Reconstruction-- I am reworking this page, but all essential information is here.
Other than the Zion classic, Angels Landing, peakbagging in Zion has never really taken off. Maybe it’s the understandable distraction of all the unbelievable scenery in the park that pulls people away from the presumably-unclimbable peaks above them; perhaps it’s those peaks’ typically chossy rock that steers people away; perhaps it’s what was once an unfortunate lack of route beta to be found out there; or perhaps it’s the atrocious nature of many of the approaches…long and bushwhacky; or the technical nature of some of the approaches…sketchy climbing on bad rock, multiple rappels from natural anchors of questionable fortitude, and whatnot. Who knows?
For these, and perhaps other, reasons, a number of peaks in Zion National Park have no documented ascents – Ivins Mountain, and others. This peak didn’t see its first ascent until 2001.
If nothing else, the park’s beauty is substantial, making any trip, for adventure or otherwise, certainly rewarding.
In addition to what you find here, be sure to visit this terrific Zion National Park site.
The Peaks + Routes Overview-- Kolob TerraceLocated some miles west of Zion Canyon and north of Virgin and south of Kolob Reservoir, the Kolob Terrace area holds fantastic scenery; some of the park's best scrambling peaks, including the classic North Guardian Angel and the elusive ultra-classic South Guardian Angel; the world famous semi-technical slot canyon known as the Subway; and, in comparison to Zion Canyon, a feel of being almost deserted. A good deal of private property abuts this section of the park, but there is still a wild, wide-open feel to much of it. Be aware that there are no NPS campgrounds out here except for the one at Lava Point, which is several miles north of the best peaks and trails of the Kolob Terrace area. However, there is some BLM land adjacent to the park out here, and one can camp there for free and with few restrictions.
West Ridge-- Class 3
East Northgate Peak
North Slopes-- Class 2
North Guardian Angel
East Ridge-- Class 4 (a short, but rather exposed, route with exceptional views)
Pine Valley Peak
East-North Face-- 5.5
South Guardian Angel
Northeast Ridge-- Class 3 (approach can be Class 5)
Northwest Ridge-- 5.2-5.4
West Northgate Peak
East Face-- Class 3, North Slopes-- Class 2+
|Cave Knoll||E. Northgate||NGA||Pine Valley Peak||SGA||Tabernacle Dome||W. Northgate|
In and Near Zion Canyon
-Ariel Trad Climb (SE Face) - 5.6
-East Side - class 3
-via Gifford Canyon - class 4
-Clear Creek - Class 3
"South Ariel Peak"
-South Face - class 2-3
-Southeast Face - class 4
|Aires Butte||Checkerboard Mesa||Destination Peak||South Ariel Peak||Lost Peak|
Kolob CanyonsKolob Canyons, 5.9-5.12+
Just Outside the ParkCanaan Mountain
Water Canyon-- Class 2
Clear Creek Mountain
Birch Hollow Drainage-- Class 2
Northeast Face-- Class 3
|Canaan Mountain||Clear Creek Mountain||Lambs Knoll|
CanyonsFrom “walk-thru” canyoneering classics like the world-famous Virgin River Narrows (aka – Zion Narrows or “The Narrows”), to semi-technical classics like The Subway (Left Fork of North Creek), and yet still to technical canyoneering epic-builders like Heaps Canyon, Zion canyoneering (click on the link for further, and highly informative, reading) has certainly found itself on the adventurers’ map.
A mere sampling of some of the fine canyoneering adventures available in the park follows. Permits are required for all those listed except for the Hidden Canyon route linked below. Canyon ratings are in parentheses:
-Separation Canyon (1AII)
-Zion Narrows (1BIV)
-Hidden Canyon (2A R II)
-Behunin Canyon (3AIII) - trip report
-Spry Canyon (3AIII) (photo)
-Keyhole Canyon (3BII) (photo)
-Middle Echo (3BII)
-Pine Creek (3BII) (photo)
-Mystery Canyon (3BIII) (photo)
-The Subway (3BIII) (photo)
-Orderville Canyon (3BIV)
-Englestead Canyon (4AIV) (photo)
-Das Boot (4BII) - (photo)
-Imlay Canyon (4B R IV)
-Heaps Canyon (4B R V) (photo)
Canyoneering ratings in a nutshell:
-The first character in the rating, such as the "3" in 3BIII, refers to the technicality of the canyon.
A "1" refers to a non-technical canyon hike. No rope or other technical gear is needed.
A "2" is a basic canyon, wherein one might need to do some scrambling to work through the occasional obstacle. A rope might be useful for assistance with packs, belays, etc. Up-canyon escape options (without fixed ropes) are available.
A "3" is an intermediate-level canyon. There may be actual climbing (and/or downclimbing) and/or rappels involved. A rope will be needed and a retreat upcanyon would necessitate fixed ropes.
A "4" refers to an advanced canyon. Multi-pitch rappels, difficult climbing and/or complex rope work can be expected. Natural anchors may be challenging to establish, and unique canyoneering obstacles, such as keeper potholes and Mae West obstacles, may be present.
-The second character in the rating, such as the "B" in 3BIII, refers to the water volume and current in the canyon.
An "A" means that the canyon is typically dry or contains very little water. Some wading might be needed.
A "B" means that there is water in the canyon. The water should have little or no current. Some swimming can be expected.
A "C" means that there is water in the canyon and it moves swiftly. Expect waterfalls...and expect that wet canyon rope techniques will be needed.
-The third character in the rating, such as the "III" in 3BIII, refers to the grade of the canyon.
A "I" means that the canyon will only take a couple of hours to do.
A "II" means that the canyon should take about half a day to complete.
A "III" means that the canyon can be expected to take most of a day to complete.
A "IV" means that one should expect a long day. A bivy may be required.
A "V" means that the canyon will take about two days to complete.
A "VI" means that the canyon will take two full days (or more) to complete.
Occasionally, a rating will have an "R" or an "X" as well. The "R" means that the canyon is particularly risky. Beginners, even in the presence of solid partners, are not appropriate. An "X" means that the canyon is appropriate for experts only.
Canyoneering, like climbing, is a potentially dangerous activity. Conditions change regularly. Don't bite off more than you can swallow. 'Nuff said.
Refer to Tom Jones' excellent Utah canyoneering site for more info. He's got a Zion canyoneering guidebook out too. Check it out.
Climbing Spots (Short Routes)Ashtar Tower
-Feeling Minnesota - 5.8 (1 pitch)
-Ashtar Command - 5.9 (2 pitches)
Mrs. Butterworth (located just outside of the main entrance to the park near Springdale, this crag is part of the eye-catching Eagle Crags)
-Aunt Jemima - 5.9 (3 pitches)
-Weeping Rock Chimney - 5.7 (185')
-Face-tastic - 5.11 (100’)
-Ion Shadows - 5.11b R (100’)
-Cave Route - 5.7- (1 pitch)
-No Holds Barred - 5.8 (40’)
-Cynthia’s Handjob - 5.9 (65’)
-Tails of Flails - 5.9 (100’)
-Aton/Allison/Stern - IV, 5.9-A0 (top of Cerberus)
-Touchstone Wall - IV, 5.9-C2 (8 pitches)
-Squeeze Play - 5.10a (60’)
-Cherry Crack - 5.10c (140’)
-Flip of the Coin - 5.10d (80’)
-The Fat’hedral - 5.10d (150’)
-Face-tastic 5.11 (100’)
-Scarlet Begonias - 5.11a (65’)
-Coconut Corner - III, 5.11a (4 Pitches)
-Fails of Power - 5.11b-c (70’)
-Intruder - 5.11c (65’)
-Electrica - 5.11c-d (120’)
-Dire Wolf - 5.12a-A0 (120’)
The Tunnel Crags
-The Headache - 5.10a (3 pitches)
-Kitty - 5.10-11 (5 pitches)
-Kung-Fu Fighter - II, 5.11a (4 pitches)
The Practice Cliffs
-Casual Sex - 5.7 (1 pitch)
-Unnamed - 5.10 (1 pitch)
The Temple of Sinawava
-Tourist Crack - 5.9 (1 pitch)
-Right Toilet Crack - 5.9 (2 pitches)
The Great White Throne Base
-Scotch on the Rocks - 5.8
-Box Elder Jam - 5.8+
-Free Bird - 5.9
-Rookie Crack - 5.9
-Grasshopper - 5.9+
-Rain - 5.9+
-Psychobolt - 5.10
-Crack of REM - 5.10
-Edge of Delight - 5.10 (2 pitches)
-One for the Road - 5.10a
-Illusion - 5.10a
-Fourplay - 5.11 (2 pitches)
-Twin Crack - 5.11a
-Nemesis - 5.11a
Getting ThereZion National Park has three entrances:
The main entrance is located on highway 9, just outside of Springdale, Utah.
The park’s east entrance can be found at Mt. Carmel Junction, Utah, also off of highway 9.
And the park’s third entrance, lending access to the Kolob Canyons section of the park, is found off of interstate 15, north of St. George, Utah.
Additionally, the Kolob Terrace [Reservoir] Road, found off of the main highway just a few miles before the park’s main entrance outside of Springdale, gives access to the Kolob Terrace section of the park.
Consult the park’s SP mountain pages for specific directions to a peak (or climbing spot) of interest. Or click on one of the park contact links found on most of the mountain pages for more information.
MiscellaneousOn 2-23-07, Diggler provided the following:
Of interest to many, if not most, car-camping enjoyers of Zion, is where to shower while there. The following establishments, all in Springdale, offer (usually at a nominal fee) showers to the weary traveler (current as of 11/'6):
* Tsunami Java & Juice (ph #: 435.772.3237)- First building on the R when you leave the park from the S entrance; 8.00 - 18.30, 7 days/wk; $4 for unlimited time
* Zion Canyon Campground (ph #: 435.772.3237)- .5 mi from the S entrance of the park on the L side of the road in Springdale; 8.00 - 20.00, 7 days/wk
* Zion Rock & Mtn Guides (435.772.3303)- 1.5 mi from the S entrance of the park on the R side of the road in Springdale; 8.00 - 19.00, 7 days/wk
Operations typically season dependent (i.e. may not be open in winter).
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