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Evening sun on Entrada Sandstone. Owl Rock, Arches...
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. Scramble up easy 4th class rock with some foot pockets to the summit (a piton on top and on an intermediate ledge assist in protecting this scramble) for an excellent view of the Garden of Eden. Rap (do not lower) the route from the three-bolt anchor on the ledge.
A standard set of camalots up to #4 and a couple of spare pieces in the 1.5-3 range (cams or hexes), 3' slings for runners and to hook horns will suffice. Carry or trail a second rope for the 2-rope rap off.
Matt Misfeldt climbing Owl Rock just before sundow...
BETA PHOTO: Owl Rock from the SW (the left pillar)
Fun, easy, owl poopy.
looking down from the summit, Oct. 2003
rapping off owl rock, 3/25/07
Leon and I on Owl Rock summit, enjoying a Tommykno...
Robbie coming down from the summit. Check out the...
Climber trailing a rope for the rappel on [[10...
Checking out the sunset from atop Owl Rock, Arches...
Climbers on a late afternoon ascent of Owl Rock, M...
i love sunbursts, couple of boys preparing for our...
One of the more interesting anchors i've seen. I c...
Lindsey following a bitter cold winter ascent of O...
Derek leading the crack on Owl Rock. I found this...
|By Stacy Bender|
Mar 21, 2002
This is a great climb for the ham who likes to show-off for the tourists. Seriously though, this is a good mellow 5.8, hands to fist crack, with excelent protection.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Apr 24, 2002
I agree that this a hands-to-fist crack, It protects like one, and some jamming must be done. As I recall it though (from 1996) it climbs more like a gym-route. Big moves between big holds, and slightly overhanging through the crux. Fun route.
But what prude named this formation?!?!? When you look at it "Owl" is probably not the first thing that comes to mind now, is it?
|By Jay Jeffery|
Aug 8, 2002
Great Climb! There are big, easy to grab hand holds and lots of jams. Bring lots of medium to long runners, though, since almost all pro goes pretty deep in the crack. I found myself using the slings from my hexes to lengthen my quick draws. I climed it when it was windy, so I couldn't talk to my belayer. That was a little unnerving.
|By Charles Dalgleish|
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 27, 2002
Great climb with a minimal approach. Some of the most fun I've had climbing in the dessert. The route is such a surprise when you're expecting a sandy old crack and find chicken heads, calcite ledges, and a generally straight-forward route to climb. Just make sure you take a 60m rope for the rap, makes it easier. Also a great climb at night (done twice) with headlamps. Takes gear well.
Dec 11, 2002
Fun route. Good place to start off in the desert. Very different than any other area. Even though its a crack, it takes little to know crack skills to climb. Bring some slings for rope drag and show up early, because everyone and their dog will be there too.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Mar 18, 2003
I agree with everyone else, but this climb had been done so many times, that the rock is getting super polished and people also need to respect the rule of no white chalk in Arches. Although not visible from the road, Owl Rock has been robbed of some of its natural beauty.
|By Jeremy J. Franz|
Apr 1, 2003
Climbed this one last weekend. Fun Route. Great view of Balanced Rock at sunset! Just a point of clarification: this route can be safely toproped with a 50m rope. It's a bit of a stretch, but definitely do-able. Just make sure your belayer ties into the other end of the rope!
|By William McGehee|
From: Choctaw, OK
Sep 26, 2003
Be very careful about your rope's orientation when you set up the rap. Also, FORGET trying to rap from the summit's eye-bolt. Your rope will be stuck due to the ropegrooves in the rock. I had to prusik my ass back to the summit because of this. Set up the rap on the lower set of pins and have the second rappeller make sure there is NO twisting above the ledges.
|By Sam Lightner, Jr.|
Feb 19, 2007
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.
|By Brian in SLC|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 19, 2007
Great work, Sam.
FA for folks interested, I believe, is Ron Olevsky (which might help explain any drilled angles).
|By Chris O'Connor|
From: bouldertown, co
Mar 6, 2007
Great rock in one of the most beautiful places in the region, with great views of the La Sal mountains. Don't miss it, it's a lot like Lizard Rock in the Fisher Towers: small and easy but for some reason it's fun and memorable.
|By Kevin Sainio|
From: Durango, CO
Apr 16, 2007
A good climb on mostly solid rock. There are a couple of large, loose rocks on the ledge right before the anchor. Also, I found large wires to be very helpful in protecting this route i.e. the BIG wild country rocks. Good fun.
From: Joshua Tree, California
Apr 27, 2007
Ron scored a coup with this one; probably the most popular climb in Arches! (And a good one too!). I was surprised reading these posts that no one mentioned that the reason that this formation is called owl rock is NOT because it looks like an owl, BUT because , at one time, there was a large boulder on the summit that looked like an owl, but has since fallen (or was trundled;....) off . There are photos of the formation with the "owl" ;.....too bad the owl is gone, as it was WAY cool looking. I first did this climb in 1983 with Lori Graf, but it was yesterday's papers by then, as Ron did the first ascent WAY back in Feb. of 1978. It's close location to the road, (and gawking tourists), excellent protection, and wonderful steep climbing, as well as a very cool summit, make this a must do. I've done the thing many times, and it's worthy of repeat ascents. There can be "mini-traffic jams" so be wary of this; another climb sometimes "over-loved."
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 27, 2007
Cool story about the summit "owl", Todd. If you or anyone else has an old photo with the "summit owl", I'd love to see it!
|By Br'er Rabbit|
From: The Deeper South
Oct 19, 2008
My first Tower...descent, easy route.
|By Brian Scoggins|
From: Eugene, OR
Mar 16, 2009
I sewed it up with a double set of cams from #1 C4 to #3 C4, plus a #4 C4, an old style #4 (purple) camalot, and a handful of large nuts. I did however use every single sling I had. The good placements are deep enough in the crack that rope drag would be heinous (especially after the crux bulge) if you didn't sling everything long.
Remarkably steep for the grade. Crux is not quite in the same character as the rest of the route, but you have good pro (doubly so if you're tall enough to weasel in a high #3 C4/3.5 friend), after which it turns super relaxed. The summit eye-bolt is completely gone now, so plan accordingly.
Also, I wasn't terribly impressed with the climbing on this route. Its fun to top it out, but aside from the somewhat awkward crux, the moves just felt repetitive and boring, like a climbing gym jug haul.
Finally, I'm not seein' the wang Tony. Apparently you are (not that there's anything wrong with that ;) ) but I don't see it.
|By Chris Wenker|
From: Santa Fe
Jun 5, 2009
What a hoot!
/Can't believe I'm the first to post that.
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 19, 2009
The route description advises bringing a second rope for the rappel; however, a single 60M is long enough to rappel from the three-bolt anchors.
|By Josh Cameron|
Nov 29, 2010
A great climb to do while in Arches. It's very steep and some of the bulges, especially at the start, make the climb feel overhanging, but whenever you feel stuck reach over your head and you should find a good jug. And please downclimb from the summit instead of lowering. Peoples' ropes have been wearing grooves into the rock. Have fun!
Nov 28, 2011
i was pleasantly surprised by the climbing on this thing. pretty unique for the desert. jug hauling, knee barring, steep, different. really fun, and it makes for a great mellow last day.
|By Joel Hickok|
Aug 14, 2012
Will always stand out in my mind as the first time I ever roped up. (Thanks Andy Pitas!)
|By Ryan Henderson|
From: Pleasant View, UT
Oct 23, 2012
Bulges. I hate bulges! Yet, I did enjoy this climb. Good pro all the way up. Make sure you bring some slings to extend your gear though. I got sketched out 20ft before the top. So I guess I'd consider that the crux. Crazy the amount of good holds there are on this climb though!
Oct 29, 2012
YOU ONLY NEED ONE 60M ROPE!
Also, #4 camalot is not crucial, but nice. Long slings mandatory. Mostly mid-sized gear (.75-2 camalots)
|By Mark P Thomas|
Nov 22, 2012
Very steep but solid, clean, and juggy with easy gear placements. According to the photo time stamps, it took me about 10 minutes or less to onsight this. Very straightforward. This route has some of the most solid rock in Arches!