The Sunday Wall
is Unaweep’s most popular and famous wall. While Unaweep Canyon page creator Liba Kopeckova did a good job covering the Sunday Wall in the main canyon page, this is an attempt to cover this popular section a little more closely.
The Sunday Wall is a large granite wall in the heart of inner Unaweep Canyon. The granite here is considered the same formation as that in the Black Canyon, but the erosional pattern and infusions of metamorphic layers render a very different landscape than the Black. The Sunday Wall’s popularity likely comes from its wide variety of climbing in terms of difficulty, length, and style. There are single-pitch, beginner-friendly trad routes such as Don Juan (5.6), Beginner’s Luck (5.7), or Three’s Company (5.8+) and difficult bolted face climbs like Simple Mind (5.11-), Bridge of Air (5.12-), and Monkey Gone to Heaven (5.12). The Sunday Wall is also home to some of the canyon’s best and most popular multi-pitch routes like Sweet Sunday Serenade
(3 pitches, 5.9), Napa Valley (5 pitches, 5.11), and Echoes (6 pitches, 5.12c). Everything from first time leads to committing, difficult grade III. Something for everyone….
From Grand Junction head southeast on Highway 50 towards Delta. After about 9 miles turn west (right) on Highway 141 at Whitewater. Follow Highway 141 for fourteen miles to the turnoff for Divide Road and measure from this point. The turnoff and Access Fund trail access is 2.3 miles farther down the road on the right (north) side. From the parking, following the well-defined trail for about 15 minutes with some mild elevation gain to the wall.
The climbing on the Sunday Wall breaks nicely into four main sections: upper, main area, sport area, and lower.
The Sunday Wall
Topo of the Sunday Wall
From where the Access Fund meets the cliffs (at the base of Bandito and Don Juan) turn left and contour uphill along the cliffs past the Napa arête. The leftmost (farthest) developed route is Beginner’s Luck, a popular and high quality 5.7. (UPDATE: in October 2012 there was a sign asking climbers not to access this area. Private ownership issues are a constant fact of life in Unaweep, don't jeopardize access for everyone by not respecting signs such as this. The Access Fund is hard at work to resolve this issue and hopefully these climbs will be open again soon.) Here are the routes from left to right:
|1||Beginner’s Luck||Trad/single pitch||5.7||One of the easier climbs on the Sunday Wall but high quality for the grade. Follow a curved, slabby crack to a two-bolt anchor. Walk off or rappel down.|
|2||Fearless First||Sport/single pitch||5.8||Fearless First climbs the face just to the right of Beginner's Luck. Some call it contrived, but there is a sweet pinch on a beautiful crystal about 2/3rds of the way up that makes it all worthwhile to me. Bolt protection, maybe a light rack to supplement moderate runouts.|
|3||Unknown||Trad/single pitch||5.11c ||A trad climb with a couple of bolts for support. Identified by the red hangers on the bolts.|
|4||Napa Valley||Trad/multi-pitch||III 5.11-||A five-pitch climb up the distinct buttress feature on the left (west) side of the Sunday Wall. One of several challenging grade III climbs on the Sunday Wall.|
These climbs are the first encountered from the Access trail. They are mostly moderate and popular:
|5||Don Juan||Trad/single pitch||5.6||Located just to the left of where the Access Fund trail meets the wall. Don Juan is an easy climb and often a first lead. Pull a tricky move off the ground to scale a small pinnacle and follow the disjunct, ledgy crack system to a two-bolt anchor. |
|6||Bandito||trad/single pitch||5.8+||Located just to the right of where the Access Fund trail meets the cliff. A tricky move off the ground and some runnout moves make this a spicy 5.8 trad climb. People often top rope this. The anchors can be accessed via a series of ledges from the anchors for Don Juan.|
| ||Unknown||trad or TR/single pitch||5.11+/5.12-?||This climb and the one to the right share their own anchor. They are not listed in Baum's guide or on any climbing website (that I am aware of). They are both runnout and usually done as top-ropes. Pull an awkward roof on bad holds and follow a thin, runnout crack to the anchors.|
| ||Unknown||trad or TR/single pitch||5.9||Start to the right of the mini-cave (the roof on the climb to the left). Follow a slabby, disjunct seam with tricky face holds to a two-bolt anchor. |
|7||Three's Company||trad/single pitch||5.8+||Start in a short but perfect left facing 5.7 dihedral, mantle a ledge and work through an awkward off-width to a hands/cupped hands crack to a two-bolt anchor (5.8+). A #4 camalot comes in handy for the OW.|
|8||Bomb's Away||trad/multi-pitch||III 5.9 A1||An infrequently climbed grade III. Climb six pitches with some minimal aid.|
|9||Echoes||trad/multi pitch||III 5.12c||A hard 6-pitch route with several pitches of 5.12+. One of the harder and better long climbs of the grade in the canyon. This route is part of more recent development.|
Yes, Unaweep does have quality and challenging sport routes, some of which are found here at the Sunday Wall. These climbs are on the bolted face to the right of where the trail meets the cliffbase. Just past these sport climbs are other single and multi-pitch trad climbs that ascend the impressive center of the wall.
Sweet Sunday Area
|10||Bridge of Air||Sport/single pitch||5.12a||One of the harder sport climbs at the Sunday Wall and one of the best. Climb a thin slab with technical moves and pull a roof crux before the anchors.|
|11||Simple Mind||Sport/single pitch||5.11-||A short, 5-bolt sport pitch. Start up the middle of block and gain a ledge. New anchor thanks to ASCA.|
|12||Optical Illusions||Sport/aid/single pitch||5.11b||Just to the right of Simple Mind. A thin, technical face climb past six bolts. Shares anchors with Simple Mind.|
|13||Monkey Gone to Heaven||Sport/single pitch||5.12+||One of the hardest of the Sunday Wall sport routes and infrequently climbed. Face climb with tricky moves past 9 bolts to a roof and a ledge with the anchor. |
|14||Burnt Beautician||Sport/single pitch||5.12-||A long climb. Face climb along a seam system past 9 bolts to a two-bolt anchor. Rap with two ropes.|
|15||Project (Hairdresser on Fire)||Sport/single pitch||5.13?||A partially bolted and (to my knowledge) un-sent route that is very difficult.|
|16||Silent Line ||trad/multi pitch||III 5.11+ R||Begin just to the right of the sport climbs. Follow two pitches to big ledge. Traverse left to the base of a good handcrack, and climb two pitches in a corner system to the top. Walk east and rap down Sweet Sunday Serenade.|
|17||Antlers on Sunday||Trad/single pitch||5.10||Climb a left-facing dihedral past a roof to the anchors. |
|18||People are Poodles Too||trad/single or multi pitch||5.10- A0 or 5.10- (single pitch)||A five-pitch route that tours this portion of the Sunday Wall. Climb a 5.10 dihedral to a ledge with a pinyon tree. Do an easy traverse left to a short dihedral and ledge. Walk left along the large ledge and climb three more meandering pitches to the top. Most only climb the first pitch.|
|19||No Name Route||trad/multi pitch||III 5.10 A0||Climb the same first pitch as People are Poodles Too then follow a straighter path for 3 or 4 pitches to the summit. Walk east and rappel off Sun Dancer.|
The three-pitch Sweet Sunday Serenade is possibly Unaweep's most famous climb. When people travel any significant distance to get to Unaweep it seems that this is the tick they all seek. Sweet Sunday has several variations, and there other other good trad climbs on this part of the wall.
|20 ||Standard Route||trad/single pitch||5.7||A long pitch that can be combined with Sun Dancer to make the easiest way to get to the top of the Sunday Wall. Climb a long (160') pitch to a ledge and build an anchor. Belay up your second and traverse up a diagonal ledge and either continue up Sun Dancer to the top, or find a two bolt anchor and rappel to the ground.|
|21||Black Dynamite||Trad/single pitch||5.10c||Starts to the right of the Standard Route. Pull a hard bulge off the ground and climb a nice handcrack. Meet with Standard route, belay, and traverse right to anchors for a long (145') rappel.|
|22||Sweet Sunday Serenade||trad/multi pitch||II 5.9||A Unaweep classic! Especially at the moderate grade. Climb two pitches with possible variations to the Sun Deck, a large ledge 2/3rds of the way up. Climb either the standard finish or the popular Sun Dancer route to the top. 3 pitches.|
|23||Catch a Wave||trad and sport/single pitch||5.11a||A long climb. Start in a good handcrack and clip several bolts to the anchors. Some small cams can alleviate a runnout above the crux.|
|24||Motion Fascination||trad/single pitch||5.11c||A challenging pitch that is mostly bolt protected. Climb a crack system with two tough mantels followed by face climbing to the anchor.|
|25||Trash Can Alley||trad/single pitch||5.9||Not a very good pitch|
|26||Dreams of Far Away Places||trad/multi pitch||III 5.10-||Climb the Standard Route. Traverse slightly left and climb two pitches to the summit.|
|27||Eagle's Path||trad/multi pitch||II 5.11c||Climb the Standard Route to the ledge and traverse slightly left to this route's base. Climb two pitches of tough face and crack (5.11) to the summit.|
|28||Satisfaction Guaranteed||trad/multi pitch||5.9||This is really just a variation on the second pitch of SSS. It has become the standard route in a sense. Climb the first pitch of Sweet Sunday Serenade. Partway up pitch two, veer right into an excellent crack with layback moves. Finish on SSS or Sun Dancer and rap down.|
|29||High Exposure||trad/multi pitch||5.8+||After the second pitch of SSS traverse left past the usual route and do this high quality final pitch.|
|30||Sun Dancer||trad/multi pitch||5.8||The easiest and most direct way to top out from the Sun Deck. Climb the first two pitches of SSS (or any other route to the Sun Deck) and climb the dihedral to the top. Rap from the anchor here back to the Sun Deck, downclimb to another two-bolt anchor and rap with two ropes to the to an area behind a pillar where you can downclimb to the ground.|
|31||The Gargoyle||trad/multi pitch||5.10b||A more difficult way to top out from the Sun Deck ledge. Start up Sun Dancer but veer right into a fingercrack with a challenging roof.|
The beginning of Sweet Sunday Serenade
The Sweet Sunday area
The cliffs in Unaweep are vast, and it seems like the potential for future development is almost limitless. However, the main issue barring Unaweep's full potential from being tapped is private property. The Access Fund has been active in Unaweep, purchasing land and gaining easements to access some of the best cliffs. Still, however, many of the most promising Unaweep monoliths require a private property approach. In the name of preserving and furthering cooperation with land owners, it is not recommended that you trespass in order to climb at Unaweep. Instead, stick to the walls that have been opened for now and we'll all collectively work towards opening more of this granite wonderland for the future.
Fortunately the Sunday Wall was part of the Access Fund's efforts and an excellent and legal trail exists to bring you to its base. Anytime you climb in Unaweep, you should adhere to No-Trace outdoor ethic. Please carry out all waste that you might generate (including human).
There are several places to camp in the Unaweep area, but DO NOT camp in the private property at the canyon's bottom! The most popular areas to camp are found off Divide Road on BLM land. There is also BLM land in the bouldering area on Nine Mile Hill before you get to the main granite canyon.
External LinksUnaweep Canyon on summitpost
- Liba Kopeckova's excellent and informative page that covers Unaweep and the Sunday Wall
The Sunday Wall on mountainproject.com
- more information about the Sunday Wall.
Grand Junction Rock: Rock Climbs of Unaweep Canyon and Adjacent Areas
by K.C. Baum. If you are going to head to Unaweep to go climb, you should pick up a copy of this book at a climbing shop or online such as here on Chessler Books