Arches National Park Rock Climbing
Sunset in Arches NP... Photo Credit: Harlan Humph...
|Raptor Closure 2016: Three Penguins 2016 Raptor Closure: All climbing routes on the Three Penguins are temporarily closed due to presence of raptors displaying breeding behavior. Check status and details at: nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/roc... -Read about Anchor Replacement and Restrictions in Arches National Park|
RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>
Arches National Park Climbing Rules
Arches National Park rangers would like all climbers to be familiar with the special rules in the park. Please visit the NPS website before your trip! nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/cli...
Arches National Park is an amazing place to climb. The area has everything - serious multipitch towers, easy one pitch towers, and hard cracks on long buttresses. Best of all, routes in Arches are usually only a few hundred feet from the road so the approaches are casual.
Most of the routes here are on Entrada sandstone, which is much softer than the Wingate found at Indian Creek. It often fractures vertically so there are a lot of splitters, but they are much sandier than in other parts of the desert. On aid routes, avoid nailing whenever possible as the incredibly soft stone doesn't hold up well to abuse.
This area sees a lot of tourists, and since most of the routes are very near the road climbers must maintain as low a profile as possible. As always in the desert, approach climbs via washes to avoid trampling cryptobiotic soil. Some areas are closed seasonally for nesting, so check in at the visitors center before climbing. Finally, this is a national park, so be prepared for the entrance fee.
Water is available at the visitors center. Moab is only a few miles south, and there is lots of camping on BLM land along River Road or near Moab. There is a national park campground in Arches, but I've never stayed there so I can't vouch for it.
Your Input Needed Arches National Park
has been working for some time on a plan for climbing and canyoneering in Arches National Park. The final plan will essentially be the rules that all climbers must obey when in the Park.
Obviously, how this turns out will be very important to climbers who enjoy the towers of Arches, but it is actually even more significant than one might think. Arches is just one of four parks in what the Park Service refers to as the South East Utah Group (the others being Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, and Canyonlands). In all likelihood the Park Service would use this climbing plan as a base to build the rules we climbers would abide by in Canyonlands. In other words, this plan could affect Owl Rock and The Three Gossips, but also Moses and Standing Rock.
The fact that the Park Service has asked for our input in this, the preliminary study, is a very good sign that they want to make sure climbing is a part of the Park's future. They have given us four alternative plans, but it is likely that the final plan will include components from each of the alternatives. We will hopefully have the chance to vote on the final plan later this spring.
The options so far presented to us are, in a very broad overview, as follows:
- Option A = No action. We don't think this is correct as the lack of clear and well defined rules has led to trouble in the past.
- Option B = More limiting in what climbers can do and would require a check in and check out process. Also requires a permit to do a new climb.
- Option C = We could call this the Hueco Scenario... it puts strong limitations on climbers in the Park, including our numbers, where we can go based on other visitors being able to see us, etc. All climbing would require a permit that costs an as yet undetermined amount.
- The plan which the Friends of Indian Creek endorses is Alternative D. This plan is very similar to the plan used in Zion. It focuses on educating climbers on their impact and how we might mitigate problems with trails, rope grooves, etc. It will, of course, make room for seasonal closures due to nesting raptors and such. In other words, this plan allows us to climb in the Park much as we have for the last 50 years.
Please take the time to write them a short letter detailing your feelings on how climbing should be managed. Here are a few points to think about when composing your letter:
1. Thank them for taking the time to get us involved in the preliminary planning process. It is an extra step that the Park Service does not have to take.
2. Again, the Friends of Indian Creek believes Alternative D is the best option as it focuses on education and allows us to climb under the rules that have existed for much of the time the Park has been in existence. The fact is that most climbers want to follow the rules but do not know what the rules are. If we were educated as to what is expected I'm sure the majority of us would abide.
3. If you feel there are problems with all the alternatives then say so. However, try to be polite. Remember that the Park Service employees are just people doing a job and have rules they must abide by. This is them giving us, the climbing public, the chance to state our idea of what those rules should be.
Here is how to find the page where the letters are to be written:
Go to parkplanning.nps.gov
. Scroll down, click on "Climbing" and "Canyoneering Management Plan". Click on the open for comment project link on the left to view the Preliminary Alternative newsletter and provide a comment. Please provide all comments by March 13, 2011.
Feel free to post the comments you send to the Park Service here on our Facebook discussions page.
Thanks Friends of Indian Creek
From Moab, drive north along US 191 to the turn off for Arches National Park. Arches is only a few miles out of town. All climbs are accessed from this entrance - pick up a map at the visitors center. The map has most of the formations marked on it.
Weather station 1.1 miles from here
80 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',21],['2 Stars',35],['1 Star',20],['Bomb',1]
Classic Climbing Routes in Arches National Park
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Arches National Park
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Arches National Park:
Featured Route For Arches National Park
Standard (West Fins) 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a UT
: Moab Area
: ... : Elephant Butte
Hike past Owl Rock and into the drainage on the south side of Elephant Butte. Look for a rubble filled gully leading up between two fins (see photos) and head up into it. As it narrows and ends, you will see a small fin that comes down. Climb the fin and continue up into the next meadow. Leave the meadow on the right and follow a bowl up as it steepens and dead-ends at a short wall. This wall is the crux and can be climbed on either the left or right side at about 5.3-5.4. Once above the wa...[more] Browse More Classics in UT