This is a remote, high-elevation desert canyon. The area is incredibly beautiful, with plentiful ancient ruins, a year-round stream, and lots of tall pines and quaking aspen. The rock is Cedar Mesa Sandstone, which can range from decent to bad. As with all infrequently climbed sandstone, expect some sand and bring some fresh webbing for the anchors.
Hammond Canyon is located in the Manti-La Sal National Forest, in the Elk Ridge Area, west of the Abajo Mountains. Getting there is complicated, and you'll need a map. You can come from the Natural Bridges area via the Bear's Ears Pass. You can come from Indian Creek, via a big drive up Beef Basin Road. Or you can come from Blanding via Cottonwood Wash. It's possible to access the canyon from above or below. The top of the canyon is at "Little Notch," which is signed off of the Elk Ridge Road, also known as Woodenshoe Road. The camping at this trailhead is nice and the hike into the canyon is down an established trail. For towers in the lower canyon, it might be easier to come in from the Cream Pots trail, but it's probably sixes.
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Traverse a few feet left (west) to where it's possible to set up a belay using small cams in a pocket. (Your belayer will be above a blank slab, so a fall would take you both for a ride, without the anchor). Climb the sandy slab, with a cruxy section above the pin to a ledge. Traverse this 30ish feet left to another drilled pin and go up a challenging vertical seam (5.11) to another ledge. Protect your second in a nice crack and traverse all the way left around to the other side of the tower. ...[more] Browse More Classics in UT
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