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Beginner desert crack crag outside the Creek.


Original Post
fromtheestuary · · North Carolina · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 60

Like the title suggests, I am looking to practice some jamming and general sandstone crackery. Any suggestions for beginner crags that might not have the hoards like those in the Creek. Many thanks! 

Z Winters · · Mazama, WA · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 220

The Creek is a great place to learn how to crack climb. If you stay away from a half dozen of the most popular crags you will not be bothered by crowds. Check out Power Wall, Petrified Hornet, Lost Horse, Blue Gramma, Critics Choice, Sparks Wall... that said, if you're a beginner and want to ride top-ropes, go to the popular crags and ask for a ride!

Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 410

Check out Potash Road in Moab.  Some good practice routes there, right beside the road.

Matthew Tangeman · · Bellingham, WA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 130
Idaho Bob wrote: Check out Potash Road in Moab.  Some good practice routes there, right beside the road.

Certainly no place to get away from the hoards though. I agree with Zach, just go to the Creek!

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
Matthew Tangeman wrote:

Certainly no place to get away from the hoards though. I agree with Zach, just go to the Creek!

+1 Potash can be more crowded than IC, certainly beyond Super Crack and Donnelly.  

There are a fair amount of beginner friendly cracks in IC, the issue is they are either 1) at Super Crack or Donnelly so there is a line, 2) There is only one or at most two beginner cracks at a crag so you will have to hit multiple crags in a day.  In the creek just look for shorter routes and realize that grades are subjective.  The other thing is treat IC like a sport cliff.  Don't be afraid to hang dog up a route and then work it or TR it.

https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105867613/unnamed-510-lf-flake-in-deep-corner 
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105717352/warm-up
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105891553/brodie-machine
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105717577/short-and-stupid
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105895536/unamed-58
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105717445/twin-cracks
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105717418/unnamed
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105943130/24-unknown 
D-Storm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 295

Regarding this comment, "...treat IC like a sport cliff"—please do not perpetuate this mentality.

I know the poster is saying that the perfect desert cracks make it easy to dog up a route with good gear (usually) and set a TR, but the "sport cliff" mentality comes with a lot of other baggage that results in these places getting hammered. Please bring a little more respect if you visit the fragile desert. It's not Rifle. And frankly, I think even Rifle should be given a little more respect for the natural wonder that it is, roadside or not. The sport mentality often seems to go hand-in-hand with a sense of do-whatever-you-want entitlement that takes precedence over other concerns. Sure, visit and learn, but try to minimize your footprint at all times: don't climb after rain, avoid traveling off the beaten path as much as possible, and pack out all waste, including poop and little bits of tape. And leave the ego at home, or at least in the car. You'll probably see others being jackasses, but that's a trend that needs to end. You can help.

To the OP, here's another option you might like, as it's more secluded; this place is near Grand Junction: https://www.mountainproject.com/area/105788880/escalante-canyon

Thanks for reading. Good luck and have fun on your trip.

Dave Alie · · Golden, CO · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 70

Why does everyone who wants to climb in the desert have to go to Indian Creek? I love Indian Creek and all, but there are valid reasons to want to go elsewhere. Also, this fevered "Indian Creek or Bust" manic approach to desert climbing is part of how we're loving indian creek to death. By all means, go to the creek if you're psyched; it's incredible and everyone has a right to go and experience the place. But it's hardly the only serious option; the desert has lifetimes of good climbing.

OP: check out Escalante (the one in Colorado, near Grand Junction), or even Colorado National Monument near Fruita. Both have single pitch splitters that are totally worthy and way less congested. 

Mike Slavens · · Houston, TX · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 35
D-Storm wrote: Regarding this comment, "...treat IC like a sport cliff"—please do not perpetuate this mentality.

I couldn't agree more that IC is fragile.  Even with perfect environmental stewardship it would get loved to death.  Unfortunately it also has a percentage of climbers that are abusing it which is exponentially compounding the problem.  Due to how fragile IC more needs to be done to minimize your footprint and keep it clean than most other cliffs so please read up on all the issues.

However, I completely disagree that being a complete jacka$$ is synonymous with "treating it like a sport cliff".  I don't think anyone has the mentality that we must protect trad/ice/alpine areas but its okay to trash and abuse sport areas.  Treating an area like s#&t is treating an area like s#&t, and there is no place for it.  Please don't stereotype sport climbers based on the actions of a few, and please don't put words in my mouth based on your stereotypes.  

The point is when people go to IC for the first time they should not be afraid to work routes, run laps, struggle while you learn the technique, and accept that maybe you'll only do two or three (or even just one) routes in a day. 
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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