Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The Sandstone Alps Rock Climbing
|GPS:||38.883, -110.455 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||USBRIT Ross on Oct 9, 2003|
|Admins:||Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq|
DescriptionThis area has most of the longest climbs in Utah. See Photos below text to get an idea as to the various crag sections. There have been about 200+ routes put up from about 200' to 2000' which add up to all most 70'000ft+ of climbing. Some with very easy pitches, some up to 5.12 and many with long runouts. Climbers used to slab climbing should find the grades about right, others who are not may find some of the runouts quite entertaining.There are also steeper climbs in the side canyons. Overall the rock is fine to excellent, although you will at times encounter a few soft spots but that is all part of the Reef experience.Note. This area is not for those whose only interest is chasing grades. Its for those climbers who like adventure . This adventure will be found in the Swell no matter what grade you think you can climb!!Take note....
Many of the routes climbed so far have great summits that overhang the back canyons by about 400', so often the descent is back down the ascent route. These longer climbs are more like mountaineering routes and always seem to give great views and lead one into very unusual rock formations. A recent article in a climbing mag called the area The Sandstone Alps which seems a fitting analogy.
As was already mentioned, many pitches are long and runout. Cam and stopper protection or a few bolts are usually found on pitches that are at least 5.7. Though, routes 5.9 or harder do tend to be better protected.
It is advisable to perhaps carry a hand drill and a couple of #1 angles or 4" bolts in case one gets too far off route. Also carry extra slings to back up old webbing on the rap anchors and maybe bring a 3/8" spanner in case you need to tighten bolts, more so if no second ascent has been recorded on that climb.As of 2017 most of the climbs are still unrepeated.Due to some comments on various climbs it seems that the leader should be capable of 5.8/9 even when attempting a climb in this area that is graded for example 5.6 . This is due perhaps to some of the pitches are at times a wee bit runout. The grading systems are just for this area as there was little slab climbing in the desert to compare..On the FA's the leader most often asked the second what they thought the grade should be as the leader may at times think the climbing more difficult due to drilling on the lead and the runouts !.
All the longer routes on the slabs and in the steeper side canyons were done on sight ground up.The bolt protection was placed from free stances...not easy.
So keep in mind, due to the difficulty of finding and placing protection there is marginal gear on some routes. Gear beta should be taken with a pinch of salt as these were the placements we found and hopefully you will too. If you have any doubts bring extra gear, you never know what might have been missed.
For climbers who prefer even more adventure there is still a lot of unclimbed rock in this area more so on the backside of the Reef.
The Reef is a magical area but the climbing is not for everyone and perhaps that's a good thing!
NOTE. The crags are set up in alphabetical order starting from I-70 and going south along the Reef.
For Crags A thru F park at Little Spotted Wolf Canyon.
For Crags F thru K park at Uneva Canyon.
For Crags K thru P park at Three Fingers Canyon.
For Crags Q thru U park at Two Fingers Canyon.
Getting ThereThis very large sandstone slab formation is located about 13.1 miles west of the Green River exit on I.70 at mile marker 147. The entrance to this well-maintained dirt road is 10.4 miles from the Price 191 exit and 2 miles past the Route 24 exit to Hanksville. Here one will find a wire gate. Go through this, and immediately turn left and go under the interstate. The section under the interstate can be sandy and a much easier entrance to get onto the good dirt road is from a gate on the opposite side of the interstate. With a car this entrance is recommended.
The dirt road then parallels the slabs for about 6+ miles. The approach to the slabs from this road takes anywhere from 20/30 minutes of easy walking. However climbs near Three Finger Canyon, Little Spotted Wolf Canyon and Uneva Canyon trail heads are much closer to a parking area.
These are the three main parking places to the various climbs.
The Little Spotted Wolf area is a pull off on the right about 2.1 miles from I.70, Univa Mine Canyon area is a right turn about 3.2 miles from I.70 and then a short 4x4 1/4 mile to the canyon trail head. It's about 6.1 miles from I-70 to the Three Fingers Canyon turn off, then about 2 miles of high clearance/4 wheel drive to the canyon entrance.
NOTE. The Hanksville road (Rt 24) is usually in much better shape and more convienent for Three and Two Finger Canyons. Take the Rt 24 Hanksville exit off I.70 and drive 7 miles just past a mile marker 153 thats on the left of the road. The dirt road is on the right and starts very straight then curves right (north). Drive the road for 4 miles to the small BLM post on the left..this is the 2 mile road (best with high clearance/4 Wheel drive) to Three Fingers Canyon.
To get onto the Two Finger Canyon road, which once found is an easier drive than Three Fingers ie possible with two wheel drive.
From the Hanksville road entrance drive 2.4 miles to unmarked road on left, follow past pond on flat rock through trees then left (south) to obvious road up the hill. The road then flattens out and is an easy drive to its end..about 2 miles. This area now has many routes both in Two Finger and south to One Finger and then beyond to the final slab of End Game (U Crags).
Other climbs are also to the north of Two Fingers (Q Crags). The Mile and a Bit Traverse that starts at Three Fingers also ends at Two Fingers.One of the nicest areas for good rock and great slab routes is L crags (Sinister Slab area)
Classic Climbing Routes at Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The Sandstone Alps
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season