Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 38.85480°N / 109.7304°W
Additional Information County: Grand
Activities Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Tezcatlipoca , named for the Aztec god of the night sky, is a fun 50-foot high spire in a remote and beautiful setting in a maze of slick rock canyons north of Moab. It is reached by an hour long hike up slick rock benches - a long hike to a short climb, but the hike is very spectacular and the setting of the tower is very peaceful. 

Tezcatlioca sits atop Sunshine Wall. A fifty minute hike from the far north end of Sunshine Wall - very easy and scenic. 
Getting to the baseApproach to the spire
Tezcatlipoca 5.7Tezcatlipoca and surroundings
The late Mike Baker rope-soloed the first ascent of Tezcatlipoca by moonlight in June 1998. He named it for the Aztec god of the night sky, hurricanes, discord, temptation, sorcery, and war. Tezcatlipoca, translated from Nuhuatl as "Lord of the Smoking Mirror", was a black magician who wore a black mirror on his chest, which allowed him to see the deeds and thoughts of humans and to kill enemies.

Getting There

Parking below Sunshine WallParking below Sunshine Wall
Looking down into the corralLooking down into the corral
Drive south from I-70 on US 191 for 4.2 miles or 27 miles north on 191 from Moab and turn east on an unmarked dirt road between mile markers 152 and 153. Bump across railroad tracks and follow the road for 1.2 miles to a right turn on Salt Valley Road (unmarked) just past a white bridge. Drive southeast to another road junction, then bear right and head southeast down upper Salt Valley towards Arches National Park. The hogback with Sunshine Wall rises above the road. Drive 1.4 miles to a road that branches left to the obvious cliffs. Follow this rough road to the cliff and campsites. One camping area is to the left in a wide alcove and another is to the right by a large boulder with a naked lady petroglyph carved by a cowboy.   
Sunshine Wall is a southwest facing Wingate sandstone cliff in the northern end of Salt Valley and a few miles north of Arches National Park. You can spend some time climbing here before hiking towards Tezcatlipoca. The cliff offers lots of bolted slab routes in a beautiful desert setting. It is particularly good climbing venue during the cooler months since its receives lots of sunshine. Most of the routes are over 100 feet long. Use a 70-meter rope.

Red Tape and Camping

The whole area is on BLM public land and has no current restrictions. Free camping is found below the base of the wall. Bring water with you. Things have changed - this used to be a great area to camp with climibng on Sunshine Wall above, great winter destination. But during my recent years, I found many campers and always ran into a climbing party. 

Tezcatlipoca route 5.7

Start of the climb Start of the climb
Tezcatlipoca Tezcatlipoca
: Start the approach hike at far left (west) end of the long Sunshine Wall hogback. Hike southeast on a bench, passing above a short varnished slab with towrope anchors. Continue up the bench, steadily gaining elevation until you are above the Sunshine Wall routes. Eventually the bench ends at cliffs to the right. Scramble over a high point and descend toward a short stubby pinnacle. Turn right here and hike toward a maze of shallow sandstone canyons = obvious red rock formations southeast. Keep a careful eye out to locate Tezcatlipoca, a short spire perched on a slick rock ridge. Start the route on the right side of the northeast face. Allow an hour of hiking and plan a little time on spending to find the tower (we had no problems, most of the formation along the hike are white rock, and you can clearly spot dark red sandstone in the distance from the top of Sunshine Wall, just head in that direction).
Climb:  Begin on the north side up a sloping slab below a short crack. Climb the short, wide crack to a notch, then step left and smear to a piton. The crack is sort of off width, not quite big enough to call it a chimney. A few awkward moves will get you onto a slab and head towards a piton. There is a small horizontal crack below piton - good for a small cam (? 0.5 camalot). Make a tricky move and mantle onto the flat summit and a belay/rappel anchor. Trust your feet. The climbing seems a little tricky for 5.7 and holds are a little sandy.
Descent: Rappel 50 feet
Rack: Medium and large Camalots (there is a place for #3 or # 4) in a wide crack, you can also play a medium sized nut or a small cam below a piton. So about 2-3 pieces of gear total. 

External Links