Owl rock is a one pitch 100' roadside spire that offers one of the easiest summit spires in the desert. Not that it's easy, but it's one of the easy ones. Hint. The rock looks like mud but really feels solid as you go up, and takes gear and slings well. It's the most popular route in Arches (for obvious reasons), and worth a climb if you're starting out in the desert. There is a scenic parking area 200' from the start of the climb to park in.
Go 9.3 miles from the Arches visitor center (entry fee $10 for a week) and turn right (E) on the Windows turnoff. Drive 1.1 miles and turn left into the Garden of Eden parking area. Owl is the spire ESE of the parking area. Approach on established trails and avoid cryptobiotic soils in the area. Gain the base of the route from the west ramp, not up the steps on the north side of the ramp (crumbly sandy with groundfall potential around 20').
The Standard Route, climb up the west ramp to the base of the obvious crack system. Climb the crack using horns, jugs, knobs, some jams and stems, and at least one awkward left-stepping face move to a ledge with 3 bolts 10' below the summit. The majority of the route goes at pretty decent 8, but be prepared for some slightly harder moves - the sandstone has eroded a bit and the climb is getting harder. Belay from here - there's plenty of room for several people on the ledge. Scrambl...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
One of the better 5.8 routes I've done. Aside from the gapping tourist less than 100ft away. The climbing is sustained throughout the entire route, with the crux up high. I found the pro to be solid, but bring long slings for rope drag.
On February 15 we beefed up the newer anchor on Owl Rock, adding a 1/2 SS bolt to the in-place angle and large ring bolt (probably placed by local guides). This was equalized with brown-(camo)-heavy-gauge chain, and the chain one might use for tying up a dog was removed.
Over the years, the older anchor that once existed on the summit had created rope grooves. The newer anchor, which was in place prior to us beefing it up, is in an improved anchor position and should mitigate those grooves and thus help preserve climbing access.
An angle-piton exists between the summit and the anchor to protect leaders in the 8 feet of 5.3 to the summit. You have to also down-lead this portion. This angle can be clipped and unclipped from the same ledge you clip the anchor from.