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Desert Shield Buttress

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Desert Shield Buttress Rock Climbing 

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Location: 37.27624, -112.94516 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 80,353
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Andrew Wellman on Apr 14, 2003
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Climbers on the 2nd to last pitch. Taken from Moo...

***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


This is the prow that Desert Shield climbs. The standard descent is to rappel Desert Shield.

Getting There 

Past big bend on the Zion Canyon road. This buttress is on the right side of the road just before Leaning Wall. The only thing separating it from Leaning Wall is a large broken area with an arch that the Spaceshot rappels go down.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.0 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Desert Shield Buttress

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Desert Shield Buttress:
Desert Shield   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c C3     Trad, Aid, 9 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Desert Shield Buttress

Featured Route For Desert Shield Buttress
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the 2nd to last pitch.  Taken from Moo...

Desert Shield 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c C3  UT : Zion National Park : Desert Shield Buttress
This is an amazing route, combining both excellent free climbing and moderate clean aid on an amazing headwall. This is an excellent step up from the standard Zion trade routes but is really not that serious.The anchors are all bolted and it is typical to rap the route to descend. I have read that it is wise to fix a rope between the 6th and 4th pitch anchors for retreat (which we did not do). You can do this rap with 60 meter ropes and land on a ledge a little down and right of the P4 anchors, ...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Desert Shield Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Rap the route.
Rap the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Desert Shield
Desert Shield
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out on the big ledge at the top of pitch 4...
Hanging out on the big ledge at the top of pitch 4...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jugging up pitch 6 after the bolt ladder.
Jugging up pitch 6 after the bolt ladder.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping Desert Shield with Angles landing in the b...
Rapping Desert Shield with Angles landing in the b...
Rock Climbing Photo: 6th pitch
6th pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Best bivy in Zion.
BETA PHOTO: Best bivy in Zion.

Comments on Desert Shield Buttress Add Comment
Show which comments
By Bryan Bornholdt
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 25, 2005
I did this route several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The free climbing is nice and the aid is great. It requires a wide range of gear for the free climbing and I used a triple set of brass offsets on the thin clean aid, primarily the larger ones. We used TCUS, Aliens, etc. This is a heads-up route but is enjoyable for experienced parties. The "death blocks" can be avoided by staying to the right but it is awkward to traverse in from the left. We had no trouble rapping the route without fixing a retreat rope. Just make certain that you back up your belay with an autoblock or such as you swing over to the anchors below the headwall.
By Deke Doty
From: Fort Collins, Colorado
Jan 16, 2009
I did this route in 07,great free and aid mixture. Three sets of brass up to #6, plus normal Zion clean rack w/ hooks,and many screamers. If taking a porta-ledge pop it between two headwall pitches,"stellar", then leave it and the pig there(traffic permitting),then retrieve as rappelling. There is a good bivi ledge,not pictured, to the right of route ,behind a flake, with a spinner bolt for porta-ledge(right of third belay or just after chimney),this flake/bivi was where we were able to rappel to from the sixth belay anchor ONLY WITH 65 METER ROPES, BARELY!!!,but it definitely eliminates leaving retreat line. Considering, two "tuff" people can bivi at flake with minimal comfort w/o porta-ledge,and a summit bivi, this route could be done without porta-ledge with decent bivy options. Please pack out if using flake bivi. Enjoy!

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