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Areas in San Rafael Swell - North

April Fools Wall 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Assembly Hall Peak 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2
Bottleneck Peak 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 3
Calf Mesa 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Coal Wash 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 4
Cottonwood Wash 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 4
Dead Mans Spires 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 3
Dog Pond/Road area 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1
Eagle Canyon 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 8
Frolic Wall 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Gun Show, The 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Head of Sinbad North 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 5
House Boulder, Buckhorn Wash 1 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Lower Buckhorn Wash 7 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 13
Mexican Mountain Road Area 23 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 24
Moore Cutoff Road 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 3
Pine Canyon 12 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Private Pizza Wall 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 9
San Rafael Canyon - AKA Little Grand Canyon 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 4
Scenic Byway Wall 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Smith Cabin. Nothern Reef area 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2
Tiki Tower 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Torres de Polvo 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 3
Upper Buckhorn 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Vertical Smile Wall 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 6
Weasel Formation, The 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 10
Window Blind Peak Area 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2

Description

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 non-existent. 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.

Getting There

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.

139 Total Climbs

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Location: San Rafael Swell - North Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at San Rafael Swell - North

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Unknown Handcrack
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Private Pizza
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Scenic Byway
Trad 4 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Blowin' in the Wind
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cheek Full of Redman
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A1
James Tower AKA The Lightblub
Trad, Aid 3 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Anchors From Hell
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Old Bushmills
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
One More Cup of Coffee
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Lite Not Solid
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Short Stack
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Planet Waves
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Rabid Muslim
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Idiot Wind
Trad
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Tippin The Bottle
Trad 3 pitches
Unknown Handcrack Private Pizza Wall 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Private Pizza Private Pizza Wall 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Scenic Byway Scenic Byway Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Blowin' in the Wind Mexican Mtn Rd Area > Dylan Wall 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Cheek Full of Redman Private Pizza Wall 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
James Tower AKA The Lightblub Lower Buckhorn Wash 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A1 Trad, Aid 3 pitches
Anchors From Hell Pine Canyon 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Old Bushmills Pine Canyon 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
One More Cup of Coffee Mexican Mtn Rd Area > Dylan Wall 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Lite Not Solid Pine Canyon 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Short Stack Lower Buckhorn Wash 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Planet Waves Mexican Mtn Rd Area > Dylan Wall 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Rabid Muslim Pine Canyon 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Idiot Wind Mexican Mtn Rd Area > Dylan Wall 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Tippin The Bottle Bottleneck Peak 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad 3 pitches
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christopher burton   Bend, OR
Does anyone know anything about the short (30-60 ft) corner routes located right off Buckhorn Wash road, just before the petroglyphs traveling south? Went up those this weekend, curious about names, grades, etc. Anything ya got would be appreciated.
Chris Mar 21, 2016
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. Nov 19, 2007
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
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. Oct 11, 2006
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
Over the last year the Exits and Mile Markers numbers have changed on parts of I.70 Jun 30, 2006
Malcolm Daly
Boulder, CO
Malcolm Daly   Boulder, CO
The exit number is 131, not 129. Don't know where the #129 came from (Bjornstat's book?) but it's wrong. Apr 9, 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?
Feb 28, 2006
USBRIT Ross
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
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. Oct 12, 2004
Hill  
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. Jan 16, 2003

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