1st Pitch, 5.10 (Direct)
If you are into ticking off new towers and routes in Castle Valley, Parriott Mesa
and the Convent
will no doubt be two of the last features you will climb, despite the fact they are the first two you encounter as you rise above the Colorado River basin east of Moab. Although massive in size, neither feature is as striking as Castleton Tower, The Rectory, The Priest, the Nuns and/or Sister Superior. Whilst the others I mentioned are all part of the same ridge line, Parriott Mesa sits by itself guarding the north entrance to Castle Valley. The majority of its routes are on its north face.
Super Natural is the most moderate of the climbs on the north face and perhaps the most popular, but still seldom climbed. Most likely (as of 2017) you will have Parriott Mesa and this climb to yourself. Jay Smith and Jack Tackle established the route in 2006
. The direct variation steals the first pitch of Spirit World
making the route 5.10 vs 5.10-. I cannot imagine hiking up here and choosing Super Natural’s 5.8 start over Spirit World’s first pitch.
3rd Pitch, 5.8
As before mentioned, the direct start is actually the first pitch of Spirit World. If you choose to climb it, it becomes the crux of the climb, of the C4#3 and #4 variety.
It is a beautiful crack/corner climb that finishes on a broad ledge. Move the belay left and climb another stellar pitch in the massive right facing corner on the north face to a much narrower ledge. I walked our tag line out right and left it on the fixed rap anchors as two single pitch raps make it back down to this ledge from the top. The third pitch offers variations no doubt, but the most natural line continues up the corner and traverses left under a roof to a ledge left of the arête and out of sight of the belayer. The final pitch was fairly quick and easy going to the north end summit of Parriott Mesa. A fixed rap is located climbers right a short distance.
Drive as you would for Sister Superior
. There is a significant trail head used for equestrians on the right side of Highway 128 (River Road) just past the right turn for Castle Valley. Turn into here and if you have a high clearance vehicle, take an immediate left in the parking area and descend into the wash. Drive in the wash for over a mile looking for a large boulder on the right side. You will be scouting out a climbers trail that switchbacks up to the very northeast corner of Parriott Mesa. Thus you will park about even with this corner of the mesa. The trail meanders right by the before mentioned boulder.
Near the top you will traverse right on a trail just below the wall and gain access to the north face. Shortly after, you will be able to spot the route (photo). The 5.8 starts up a ramp on the right side of a 200' tall feature. The direct pitch is up a splitter/corner more in the center of this same feature (photo-twin cracks). Either way, you are starting to the right of the bottom to top corner system that makes up the arete of the northeast corner of the mesa.
Route Description1st Pitch- 180’- 5.10/
The FA took a plain looking (5.8) scramble type pitch up the right side (ramp). One would be a fool to not take advantage of the direct start up the first pitch of Spirit World (5.10) if you hiked up here to do this climb. Although this does make the first pitch the crux of the climb, it is in line with the grade of the route. Although I brought up a C4#5 as recommended, it is not essential for the long wide section of Spirit World’s first pitch. I did walk my two #3’s for a long portion of the first half of this pitch. You could definitely bring more of those. I walked my two #4’s as well, but I think two is adequate. The crux for me was the #3 crack. Although you could get fists for some of it, this was a straight in, steep splitter. Arm bars were few to non-existent. The crack was painful on the feet (calcite uneven surface) and easy to get stuck and or step on your cams. Once you make it to the #4 section, you start to get a few stems and feature help vs pure wide crack. The roof pull does protect with a #5 underneath it, but it also protects well with small gear once you stem out to start the pull. The roof is definitely not as punchy or sustained as the #3 terrain below. Once you are out of the crack, you have joined Super Natural's FA start. Turn left and 5th class it several meters up to rap rings.
Move the belay left to the tall corner.
2nd Pitch- 150’- 5.10-/
The beta out there is that this pitch is 175’ but it is far short of that. A typical varied corner climb with cool features and some calcite. A standard single rack easily does this pitch. Just follow the corner, a fun pitch that gets a bit wide at the top, but with features. Sustained 5.9 climbing. You land on a cool narrow ledge named Voodoo Lounge. Gear belay below a chossy looking crack. I walked the “plank” to the right and secured our tag line onto the rap anchors for Voodoo as you will not need two ropes except for the final two raps.
3rd Pitch- 90’- 5.8/
Most of the pitches are shorter than advertised and this pitch is no exception. There could be variations to this pitch, but the most straight forward line is to continue up the crack system above (the rock looks worse than it climbs for these last two pitches) until you can traverse left on the calcite face. I traversed left right below the roof. Extend gear. Climb up to a significant ledge and sling a boulder for the belay.
4th Pitch- 150’- 5.9+/
This pitch climbs better than it looks. Pull the roof above and continue up a series of mantles following a good crack to the summit. Again this pitch is shorter than stated in other beta and the rock looks worse than it actually is. The calcite mix is stronger than it appears.
Walk west and descend a short step. The rap is on the short west facing wall. One wire and one bolt, both in good shape as of 2017. Single 60m rope rap down to rap hangers and a ledge. Then another single 60m rope rap down to the long narrow ledge that was atop pitch 2. The 3rd rap is a double rope rap down to the rap hangers you belayed on at the top of the first pitch. One more double rope rap to the ground.
The C4#5 that was recommended was not necessary but can be used on several pitches. Several sources including the FAer’s recommend triples to #3, but in actuality we almost never used doubles except for the C4#3.
My recommendation is a single rack to C4#4, double #4’s and triple #3’
s. If you do not carry any passive gear, double on #.3’s to #.5’s so you have some gear for a station here or there. A micro cam or wire is helpful in protecting the roof near the top on that direct start 1st pitch.