Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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|Shared By:||Andrew Gram on Dec 27, 2016|
|Admins:||Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, DCrane|
The West Desert is the vast empty basin and range area of western Utah. The area is starkly beautiful with very few people. The climbing is definitely on the adventurous side - even sport crags are way out in the middle of nowhere, loose and/or sharp rock is common, road conditions vary wildly, and target shooters have been known to shoot at bolt hangers and on a few occasions climbers(this hazard is particularly acute at The Valley of Zion and especially Lone Rock - make your presence known).
The West Desert has a huge variety of rock types, quality, style, and stages of development. Ibex has wonderful and uniquely textured quartzite at the edge of a salt pan. The House Range is home to an intriguing mix of granite crags and domes and enormous alpine limestone walls on Notch Peak. South Willow Canyon has hard limestone sport climbing in a lovely mountain canyon. There are many other areas that are sparsely or completely undocumented, and lots of untouched rock to explore.
The few people in the area have had a big impact on the environment. Mining has a long history here, and mining activities threaten areas like Ibex. Nuclear waste as well as chemical and biological weapons are stored, tested, and dismantled in the area. Huge sections are off limits due to military activities at the Dugway Proving Grounds and the Utah Test and Training Range. Many places in the West Desert have been trashed by visitors without much respect for leave no trace ethics. Please consider packing out some trash and shell casings, bring your own firewood, and in general leave the place cleaner than you found it.
Weather can be extreme here - most climbing is best in the spring and fall, though some high elevation areas in the Stansbury and Oquirrh ranges are pleasant in the summer. Roads and salt pan crossings become impassable after rains, and self rescue is generally the only option. Cell phone reception is rare.
There are very limited services other than free camping in the West Desert - bring lots of water, keep a full tank of gas, and consider bringing a full gas can and an extra spare tire when visiting the most remote areas.
Hiking, gem and fossil hunting, and visiting ghost towns are good rest day activities.
Utah's West Desert by James Garrett is the excellent guidebook to the area - it is well worth picking up.
Classic Climbing Routes at West Desert
Days w Precip