Elevation: 4,000 ft
GPS: 37.067, -111.608 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,167,451 total · 25,237/month
Shared By: Kyran Keisling on Sep 22, 2016
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

Description

The Big Water Boulders are a Dr. Seuss, lunar landscape comprised of sandstone blocks that have rolled down from the Straight Cliff formation and come to rest on the battleship gray Tropic Shale below. The Straight Cliffs form the edge of the Kaiparowits Plateau within the Grand Staircase National Monument and were formed during the late Cretaceous period in a marginal marine basin comprised of slow rambling rivers, bogs, swamps and the shoreline of a warm ocean. Flora and Fauna were abundant during the period, the evidence can be seen in the vast amount of fossils scattered in the shale. Keep your eyes out for sharks teeth and dinosaur bones.
Ninety percent of the rock here is complete choss but at least the solid stuff is dusty. One must have a good rock reading nose in order to sniff out the goods. Varnish is the key! Look for orange, brown and black streaks; avoid yellow and white poofy looking rock. Overhangs are rare, with most of the boulders yielding crimpy faces, compression features and pockets that require balance and technical footwork aka slab climbing skills.

Things that set the Big Waters apart from most other areas:
1.There are literally 1000’s of V0 and V1 problems to do. Lowball problems with cushy landings are everywhere for the young and non-committal. My wife and young children don’t have to walk far to find a high quality line to crank on.
2.The landings are the best! Tropic Shale is a pain to dust off of your shoes before each burn but is awesome to crater into when a hold pops.
3.Quiet. In over 15 years of climbing I have only run into a handful of people out there.
4.The photographic brilliance is second to none. It is an absolutely beautiful place.

WEATHER The Big Waters are great in the early spring, late fall and winter. The summer however sucks. It is hotter than two jack rabbits pitchin' woo but worse is the Dog Pecker Gnats; tiny little chingosos that were sent from hell to bite the living piss out of you and then climb into your ear hole and dodge the hastily crafted stick retrieval devise you have created to smash them. Dog Pecker Gnats are like mosquitoes on steroids who haunt the boulder field from early June to Late July. They should be avoided at all cost by going to the lake and deep water soloing on water rotted sandstone.

HISTORY
There is no doubt that people have stopped and dinked around on these boulders before we arrived but I have never found any evidence of their passing. The development of the Big Water Boulders began when Matt Penrod showed me the area in ’97 or ’98 and I instantly fell in love with the place. I spent a considerable amount of time exploring and made it my mission to walk around every single boulder. Matt was my regular partner and a group of Pagites such as Collin Keisling, Jacob Keisling, Aaron Price and Ricky Wilson would join us from time to time to contribute an FA or two. I named our posse “The Seldom Seen Climbers of Northern AZ” but much to my chagrin, no one in the group ever referred to themselves as such. I will never be able to recall all of the problems we all did back then and therefore have entered SSC as the FA in cases where I am not fairly sure of who did it first. On any given day 15 first accents were put up, ninety percent of those will never be documented by me.

Getting There

All of the boulders here lay at the base of the obvious Haycock and Mustard Points of the Straight Cliff Formation, easily visible from Highway 89 in Big Water. Off of Hwy 89 in Big Water UT. turn onto Ethan Allen St, drive for 1/3 mile then turn right at the sign in between two large yellow warehouse buildings that says Glen Canyon National Recreation Area - Highway 12 ---- ( Hwy 12 is also known as County Road NP 230). A mile after the turn you will come to Wahweap Creek crossing, under normal conditions the crossing is fine for any type of vehicle, beware during times of rain.

The Moon turn off will be a left about 1/4 mile past the creek crossing.  There is a wash about 100 yards of the road that requires a 4x4 to get through, the walk is 1.5 miles.  

For areas accessible by Hwy 12, drive 2 miles past the creek and you will see the boulders on your left at the base of a very prominent point/mesa. The first boulder field you come to is Jupiter about a 1/2 mile off of the main road, a mile past that is the Roadsides and they are right next to the road. FYI there is a No Off Road Travel Area that runs through the middle of the Jupiter Boulders and continues through the Roadsides and past the Thirsty Dogs.

The Thirsty Dogs are a group of boulders at the base of a striking buttress further down the road just past the Wiregrass Trailhead a 1/2 mile hike from the road.

Coordinates to the start of the boulder fields on NP230 (37.069727, -111.619720)

213 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Big Water Boulders

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V1 5
 4
Left Eel Head Slab
Boulder
V1 5
 6
Tranquility Lunge
Boulder
V1 5
 3
Fat Dad's Day Off - Fat Dad Boulder
Boulder
V1-2 5
 3
Gus Grissom
Boulder
V2 5+
 6
Ebony
Boulder
V2 5+
 7
Flight
Boulder
V3 6A
 3
Spina Bifida
Boulder
V3 6A
 3
Seduced by Zeus
Boulder
V4 6B
 3
Gorillas on Horseback
Boulder
V4 6B
 3
Sea of Tranquilty
Boulder
V4-5 6B+
 5
Reverse Traverse
Boulder
V5 6C
 3
Kopavi Mantle
Boulder
V5 6C
 7
Yéego
Boulder
V5 6C
 3
White Streak
Boulder
V6 7A
 4
Mrs. Balbricker
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Left Eel Head Slab 1. Rdside Boulders > … > Roof Area > Eel Head Boulder
 4
V1 5 Boulder
Tranquility Lunge 3. The Moon > … > Tranquility Area > Tranquility Base Boulder
 6
V1 5 Boulder
Fat Dad's Day Off - Fat Dad… 3. The Moon > 1. The Moon > One Small Step Area
 3
V1 5 Boulder
Gus Grissom 3. The Moon > … > Apollo Complex > Buzz Neilstrong Boulder
 3
V1-2 5 Boulder
Ebony 1. Rdside Boulders > C. White Streak… > 1. White Streak Boulder
 6
V2 5+ Boulder
Flight 1. Rdside Boulders > A. 1st Rdside P… > 1. Begay Boulder
 7
V2 5+ Boulder
Spina Bifida 1. Rdside Boulders > … > Sangre Area > 1. Spina Bifida Boulder
 3
V3 6A Boulder
Seduced by Zeus 2. Jupiter Area > 2. Europa Area > Europa Boulder
 3
V3 6A Boulder
Gorillas on Horseback 1. Rdside Boulders > A. 1st Rdside P… > 1. Begay Boulder
 3
V4 6B Boulder
Sea of Tranquilty 3. The Moon > … > Tranquility Area > Tranquility Base Boulder
 3
V4 6B Boulder
Reverse Traverse 1. Rdside Boulders > … > Roof Area > Roof Boulder
 5
V4-5 6B+ Boulder
Kopavi Mantle 1. Rdside Boulders > … > Roof Area > Roof Boulder
 3
V5 6C Boulder
Yéego 1. Rdside Boulders > A. 1st Rdside P… > 1. Begay Boulder
 7
V5 6C Boulder
White Streak 1. Rdside Boulders > C. White Streak… > 1. White Streak Boulder
 3
V5 6C Boulder
Mrs. Balbricker 1. Rdside Boulders > D. 2nd Rdside P… > Planet of the Apes Area
 4
V6 7A Boulder
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