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Moab conditions this weekend: Rain on Friday?!

Original Post
Branty · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 275

Hey, pals!

I've got a Moab/Indian Creek trip planned for this weekend, but the weather's starting to look ugly on Friday. I sure wouldn't want to be a rock-breaking turd who climbs on sandstone when it's still wet!

I have a few questions. The rain chances are pretty low now (30-40% for a few hours), and some places say it might only come in the morning. How long do locals wait after light rains (or very light rains)? Would later in the weekend be possible, or should I consider climbing a lost cause?

Of course, it might not rain at all, and all of this worrying could be for nothing.


Greg Gavin · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 766

Wait a day or so if the rain (light or otherwise) comes in. Check the soil for moisture content on all four sides of the compass. Sunny crags could be dry where shady will still be moist, and not climbable. Plenty to do around Moab that's not climbing-centric so don't be afraid to bag it if it rains. I got skunked this season and spent the day exploring lesser traveled regions of the area on foot. 

Raul P · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 35

Interesting. I’m headed there too this weekend, I guess we’ll have to see what happens with the weather. 

Michael Nill · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Greg, are we talking Saturday being OK in the sun if it showers Friday?

A-K · · Denver, CO currently · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

I too am heading there from CO and I will not be climbing Saturday if it rains Friday. Will only be climbing in areas that get lots of Sun on SUNday....get it? Sun...sunday. 

Lots of other commentary here.

Greg Gavin · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 766
Michael Nill wrote:

Greg, are we talking Saturday being OK in the sun if it showers Friday?

Saturday would still fall in the 24hr window Michael so Sunday would be the soonest. There are many different ways to justify trying to climb in Moab after a rain storm from "this rock is bone dry" (but the ground is soaked) to "it rained yesterday, but today is nice" (even though it poured). Simply put sandstone is porous, and requires time to dry out. Planning a trip to Moab one must understand getting skunked due to rain is part of the game, and pulling the cord due to weather is a card you have to be willing to play. I've seen parties climbing the same afternoon as a huge t-storm passed through Arches. They got away with it, but that's how splitters get super buffed out, edges get rounded, and bolts loosen in their holes. 

grog m · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

If there is a chance of the rock being wet please excerise good stewardship. There is no crag police. Its very unlikely someone will say something (If I see someone, I will say something). Please utilize personal integrity and do not climb wet/damp rock. If it rains on rock Friday, it can still be wet Saturday. Especially in the fall with reduced sun to dry the rock. Yeah it sucks to have rain stop the climbing. But there are lots of other great things to do in Moab.

Leave No Trace. 

Now the rain in the area can be intermittent geographically, and just because it rains in one area, does not mean everything is wet. If it rains at Wall Street, it may be dry in the Creek, and vice versa. 

Michael Nill · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Good call, Greg.  When it's wet in Washington we just don't climb the slab routes, so thanks for keeping me more informed.  I want to leave no trace.

Branty · · Boulder, CO · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 275

Thanks for the advice, everyone. Good to hear most people want to tread lightly. I cancelled my trip -- the weather's too iffy today! If you're heading down, have fun, and I hope it doesn't rain on ya!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern Utah Deserts
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