|San Rafael Swell - North
Maura Hahnenberger climbing hoodoos in the San Raf...
The San Rafael Swell is a large anticline that is split in two by I-70. Much of the documented climbing north of the interstate is concentrated within a few miles of the BLM campground at the junction of Cottonwood Wash Road and the Mexican Mountain Road. This campground has tables and a toilet and charges $3/person/night. There are many free camping opportunities along both of these roads and within a quick drive/bikeride of the toilet. There is no fresh water, and firewood is nonexistent. The largest concentration of routes is on the Dylan Wall two miles east of the campground on the north side of the river. The Mexican Mountain Road (to the Dylan Wall) is easily passable by two-wheel drive vehicles unless the road has been washed out. Eric Bjornstad's Desert Rock (Wall Street to the San Rafael Swell) offers a selection of climbs and an impressive history and geology lesson that should not be missed. While this area does not offer an extensive amount of established routes in comparison to places like Indian Creek, it has a sense of gradeur and seclusion that makes it every bit as enjoyable.
30 miles west of the interstate exit for Green River, take exit 131. Make two rights and follow I-70 back east for a few miles then north for 20 miles to the San Rafael River and the campgrounds. This road was in excellent shape for two-wheel drive traffic (10/02). The road continues north up Buckhorn wash, or once across the bridge the Mexican Mountain Road (signed) goes east along the river.
Browse More Classics in San Rafael Swell - North
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for San Rafael Swell - North:
Featured Route For San Rafael Swell - North
5.9 C1 UT
: San Rafael Swell
: ... : Trilobite Tower
P1 - Climb the beautiful splitter .5/.75 camalot crack. There is not much size variation on this pitch. 140' 5.12+/13- or C1. Belay at two bolts on a small ledge.P2 - Climb the chimney to a great ledge with two bolts. A chockstone is slung at the start, and some gear can be placed in cracks within the chimney. 80' 5.9P3 - Climb a 3 bolt ladder to some free climbing, and then another 10 bolt or so ladder to the summit. The bolt ladder has a lot of face features and should also go free, thou...[more] Browse More Classics in UT
View over the central section of the Northern San ...
Buckhorn Wash Pictograph
Photo by: Frosty Weller
How to get a good pump if you encounter rainy weat...
The San Rafael Bridges and the tasteful graffiti u...
Unknown climber in the Swell
Beautiful fall day in the Swell taken 10/25/2009
Fall colors in the Swell 10/25/2009
Morning in the Swell
Swell resident ..quite rare
Some recent rockfall visible from Napes Needle. L...
Kody Watts navigating the crux of Idiot Wind, 5.11...
|Comments on San Rafael Swell - North
Jan 16, 2003
Buckhorn Wash has one of the most impressive rock art panels found anywhere in the desert, perhaps second only to those found in Horseshoe Canyon of Canyon Lands. With incredibly easy access, stop by and be puzzled by this bizarre creation.
Oct 12, 2004
Note the description to The Weasel, Breezeway, and Pinnacle in the Desert Rock II is incorrect. The road into this area is 6.1 miles south from the San Rafael River bridge (NOT 2.2) on the right (west) with a cattle guard.
|By James Garrett|
Feb 28, 2006
I agree with Scott. Just because one does not happen to read the name of an obvious previously visited tower in the SR Swell in a guidebook, does not mean one should stick to the name thought up by someone who bolt ladders their way to the top with cheap fare. A case in point is that I once submitted tower and route names to EB for unclimbed towers in the Southern Swell. Turkey Tower had been named by hikers and a hiking guidebook author previous to my climbs. The same was the case for Broken Cross (I had named it Head of Sinbad in the register I left at the time. Though I preferred other names for these proud formations, it is only correct to defer to previously held names. Scott's history needs to be told, written, submitted to EB, and remembered. Tibia Tower should be the name in red at the top of the page, rather than whatever, for what my opinion is worth. But I am confused.... for Tibia Tower is the other name for The Breezeway...which definitely had not been climbed before Jim Howe topped out on it with his wife a day after he joined me on the final pitches for the first ascent (of the hard side) of the Pinnacle. Also, any chance the route descriptions could be run through spell checker before they are set in stone?
|By Malcolm Daly|
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2006
The exit number is 131, not 129. Don't know where the #129 came from (Bjornstat's book?) but it's wrong.
Jun 30, 2006
Over the last year the Exits and Mile Markers numbers have changed on parts of I.70
Oct 11, 2006
Tibia Tower is located next to Resurrection Spire, See that description. There is a fine looking route up its North face. One of the FA party broke his tibia hence the name of the route.
|By Ben Folsom|
Nov 19, 2007
Is Tibia Tower in the main group of bigger spires at the Deadmans Spires formation? We climbed the tallest of the three shorter towers to the Northeast. There had been a previous attempt where a big block with a bolt in it was laying at the base of the route. The block obviously came off from below a roof about 30 feet up the route. There was another bolt just below where this block fell off. These two bolts were totally unnecessary. The tower had not been climbed on above that point. I had to clean big loose blocks to make it feasible. I climbed the route without placing any bolts except for the summit anchor. I'm just wondering if they are calling Hermits Hovel, Tibia Tower. Because if they are, it had not been climbed until Nov. 17th 2007 by me and Maura Hahnenberger. There were no anchors on the summit, and no way that anybody had climbed above where the block and bolt pulled out of the wall on the previous attempt.