Elevation: 4,442 ft
GPS: 39.141, -108.998 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Andrew Gram on Aug 25, 2006
Admins: Jesse Zacher, Jared LaVacque, Bradley Mark Edwards, Nick Reecy, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac
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There are a number of towers, canyons, walls, and even interesting granite walls in the roadless area of Utah and Colorado east of the River Road and west of Colorado Monument. The best access is primarily via raft, though you can access places by the Kokopelli bike trail and other long cross country orienteering adventures.

There are a number of established routes, though few are documented. You can spend a few enjoyable days floating these canyons and staring at the walls searching for rap anchors. There are also a number of major side canyons with towers - Mee Canyon along the Ruby/Horsethief Canyon stretch in particular is beautiful.

Eds. This was originally posted in the Utah section, but the climbs are actually in Colorado. So, by an MP.com user suggestion, we're moving it to Colorado under the Grand Junction subarea.

Getting There

The easiest access is by raft. Ruby/Horsethief Canyon is a flatwater stretch between Loma and the Westwater Ranger station. In can be floated in a day, but there are so many great campsites that you really should make a weekend of it. Permits are now required for this river - the BLM website is changing a lot these days so google for information. There is one small rapid around Black Rocks that can be tricky in a canoe, but nothing to worry about even for rafting novices in a raft. There are a couple of operations that rent rafts and portable toilets in Fruita, and will take care of vehicle shuttles as well.

The section of the river between the Westwater Ranger station and Cisco is another story. Westwater Canyon is the best one day rafting trip on the Colorado River and is wildly popular - permits are not easy to come by in high season. This section of the river also has a number of Class III and Class IV rapids, some of which can be very dangerous at high water levels(above 13,000 cfs). Even under favorable conditions, these are not good rapids for the inexperienced, so look in to the numerous guide services in Moab if you aren't a solid boatman.

After the Cisco takeout, the river is tame as it winds through ranches before you get to the Moab Daily section along River Road.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Westwater Area

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scotty mann
Grand Junction
scotty mann   Grand Junction
(South Tower) Playing the Flute. (North Tower) Fluttering Butterflies
Fluttering Butterflies, A2 5.11+.
Playing the Flute, A1 5.11-.
FA: Scotty Mann/Brad Winters.
Aug. 19-20, 2006. Aug 25, 2006

Nice looking towers.

Why not make an area and then add the routes with descriptions to keep it in line with the rest of the site? Two towers are not worthy of being on the same tier as Zion NP, Moab Area, The Wasatch Range, etc.

That being said, they look like a good time, and you have my thanks for bringing them to our attention.

Brad Oct 31, 2006
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
I changed the original filler to be a catchall for the whole Westwater region. Those towers are really obvious near Black Rocks on the Horsethief/Ruby Canyon stretch between Loma and Westwater. There is a ton of rock back there to climb. Nov 1, 2006
Thanks, Andrew. That's way cleaner.

For what it's worth, the area Mee Canyon described here:


It will fit right in this Westwater area. The climbing in the Westwater area is technically almost all going to be in Colorado, but I guess it's more Southern Utah in style. Nov 2, 2006
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Hey Crusher, do you anything about the routes along the river in Westwater Canyon itself? I saw a fair number of rap anchors on the walls before the rapids, and they looked like pretty impressive lines. Nov 2, 2006
Hi Andrew. No, I don't know anything about the routes along the river. The really nice sunset pic posted above is of the same towers as in a photo on page 179 of Bjornstad's Desert Rock IV. Nov 3, 2006