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Elevation: 4,536 ft 1,383 m
GPS: 38.59055, -109.94986
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Brad Brandewie on Dec 9, 2008 · Updates
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, GRK, D Crane
Warning Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek DetailsDrop down
Warning Access Issue: Permits are now required for climbing in Hell Roaring and Mineral Canyons. See section below for details. DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

Hell Roaring Canyon lies about 5 miles north of the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. It’s one of 4 canyons in this area that drain into the Green River from the east and it hosts a number of interesting climbing objectives in its 12ish mile length. The region is administered by the BLM and is currently under threat of development by the oil and gas industry.

This canyon has a long history as evidenced by the Barrior Canyon Style pictographs in its upper reaches and the 1836 inscription near the mouth of the canyon by French-Canadian trapper D. Julian. The first climbers to explore this area were Ron Olevsky and Dave Monduea who made several trips into the canyon in ‘84 that ended for reasons ranging from weather to rockfall. On Halloween, Ron returned alone and soloed a 4-pitch line on The Witch calling it Midnight Rider. The next year, Ron and Dave returned with Dale Kruse and climbed The Warlock, which is likely the most impressive tower in the canyon. Other towers in the canyon that are of interest to climbers include The Cauldrons, Corner Tower, and the Kachina Spires.

The rock here is wingate and although the towers have been climbed, the potential for new routes along the canyon rim is extensive. Despite this and the fact that Hell Roaring Canyon has been listed in at least 4 guidebooks, you are likely to have the place to yourself if you choose to climb here. Come prepared for an adventure.

Getting There Suggest change

There are three approaches to Hell Roaring Canyon. All approaches begin from HW 313.

Mineral Bottom Approach- (for Corner Tower or routes near the mouth of the canyon) From HW 313 turn west onto Mineral Bottom Road which, after a dozen miles on dirt, drops you down to the Green River via the Horsethief Trail switchbacks. (It’s the same approach as for Moses to this point.) Turn right at the bottom and follow an old mining road upstream past the mouth of Mineral Canyon and for several more miles to the mouth of Hell Roaring Canyon. It is possible to drive up Hell Roaring Canyon for a couple miles but a landslide blocks further vehicular traffic. Note: The road along the Green River is often impassable. A high clearance 4x4 is required for this approach.

Rim Rappel Approach (for The Witch, Warlock, Cauldrons, or routes in the middle section of the canyon) From HW 313, turn right on Mineral Point Rd. (This is the road with the Horsethief Campground. It is 1/4 mile before the Mineral Bottom Rd. if you’re driving toward the Park on 313. You will know you’re on the right road because the 60-site campground will be on your left just after you leave HW313) From here the approach requires some attention if it’s your first time. Mark you mileage when you turn onto Mineral Point Rd. At about 3.8 miles you want to stay left on the better road. This takes you past a bluff on your right. About 3.2 miles later (or 7 miles from HW313) you pass a small tower at the end of the bluff with a wide crack splitting it. From the tower, backup 50 meters and look for a rough road going left and then continue across the desert . You will come to a second bluff on your right after about 1.3 miles. Take a right here (road gets rougher) around the end of the second bluff and drive straight at the rim and the towers. The road ends at a campsite. A 4x4 is recommended for this approach though you could probably get a Subaru out there if you were motivated. The rim is a short walk from camp. To find the rappel anchors, hike to the rim and scramble down the first tier to a point where the towers extend away from you in a row. Look to your left for an obvious gash (cairn) that takes you down one more level. From here scramble down and left past a small tree to a small alcove containing two bolts with chains. Use caution.

Spring Canyon Bottom Road Approach – (for The Kachina Spires or climbs in the upper section of the canyon) If driving toward the Park on HW313, turn right on Spring Canyon Bottom Rd. (this is a dirt road) 8.2 miles from the junction of HW313 and HW191. You will pass a BLM Kiosk and parking viewpoint on the left just before you reach this road. Follow this road for approximately 1 mile and then go straight/left at the Dunbinky Well Road junction. Continue along Spring Canyon Bottom Rd for a few miles until you cross a cattle guard. Immediately after the cattle guard there is a small dirt road that veers off to the left and goes for 200 meters to the rim of Hell Roaring Canyon. The Kachina Spires are obvious from the rim.

Permits Required

Suggest change

Permits are now required for climbing in Hell Roaring and Mineral Canyons.

These canyons are important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including raptors such as the Mexican spotted owl, golden eagle and the only herd of native desert bighorn sheep in Utah. In response to a recent increase of recreational activity impacting wildlife habitat, the Moab BLM is implementing a rule to restrict aerial and roped activities in the Hell Roaring and Mineral canyons. The rule includes a permit requirement for all climbing below the canyon rims. The decision was reached after significant study, and environmental assessment including the consideration of public comments.

Mineral and Hell Roaring climbing permits must be obtained at least 48 hours in advance. Permit rules and seasons vary by location of the climb and are only available for the following towers: North and South Kachina, Witch, Warlock, and Cauldron Towers, and Gollum. The lower portion of both canyons is also included in the permitted locations. A map will be provided to the permit holder along with further stipulations upon issuance. The environmental analysis including a map of the entire restricted area can be viewed on

For more information or to obtain a permit contact the BLM Moab Field Office by email at

To read the decision record including the Environmental Assessment for the rule, visit the federal register.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Hell Roaring Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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