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Routes in Canyon De Chelly National Monument

Arachnid Mesa T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A4
Spider Rock T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Type: Trad, 800 ft, 9 pitches, Grade V
FA: Don Wilson, Jerry Gallwas, Mark Powell, March 30, 1956
Page Views: 9,206 total, 72/month
Shared By: toddgordon Gordon on May 5, 2007
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

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It is illegal at the present time to climb in Canyon de Chelly or elsewhere on the Navajo Indian Reservation Details
Closed. Details


Eric's Desert Rock says that Spider Rock is 9 pitches , but it's been done in 6 pitches. Pitch 1; Thin groove (5.9) to a 5.8 squeeze leads to a traverse right (one bolt) and a 3 bolt anchor. Pitch 2; 5.10 hands and O W (on the right) lead to a 5.10 chimney and a squeeze. Pitch 3; a fixed pin and a fixed chock lead to another chimney (5.9) and the 3 bolts traversing left into a steep finger/hand section to a belay in a cave. Pitch 4; 5.9/5.10 O W and chimney lead to a belay from natural gear up high...past some rap anchors. This chimney/O W pitch has about 8 bolts on it. Pitch 4 ; climb rotten rock to a hole which you crawl through. After the hole section, traverse right to a crack and free climb up more rotten rock (5.10) past a steep section (1 bolt), into a 5.9/5.10 squeeze slot. Belay in a hole from a fixed pin and natural gear. Pitch 5; go left up a 5.10+ O W (crux), past about 6 bolts. Near the top, there is sort of wild traverse to the left, then to the summit;...make sure to protect traverse for the second. The rappells don't always go to the same belays as the ascent. Some are double rope raps;...some are single. Careful not to get ropes stuck. Some of the rap anchors are sort of scary and old looking.


About 13 miles into Canyon de Chelly. Approach via rappels from Overlook (dicey anchors and sticker bushes), or hike in on the Bat Trail (past the overlook).


Three sets of Cams, a few chocks (medium), lots of slings and biners, and a few large cams.
Quentin Tutt
Window Rock, AZ
Quentin Tutt   Window Rock, AZ
I'd love to climb this spire, illegal or not. Haha...I guess my only excuse would be I'm Navajo and it's there! Thanks for the recollective story. Apr 3, 2009
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
The route is on the face that faces away from the overlook....(I guess you would call it the backside....)... Jan 1, 2009
Thanks Todd for having the ongoing "hostel" all those years. Aug 7, 2008
I like stories of climbing. John Long has been a master story teller and book writer for Years. Even had a story turned into a movie, Cliffhanger. Does anyone say "HISTORY"? Gosh, where would climbing be without all that story telling. Aug 7, 2008
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
Colin; You are correct; DOES seem kinda strange. Do what you wish with this information;......You found this information strange;.... Maybe some people find my "spraying and confessing guilt" interesting, curious, facinating, or , in the case of guys like Jim Bridwell......possibly useful;... Jul 10, 2008
Why are you posting route information if it is illegal to climb there? Maybe your experience should be kept to yourselves so that you wouldn't need to explain your actions to the world. With one hand your spraying, with the other your confessing guilt. Seems kinda strange. Jul 7, 2008
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
For more info, click:… Jun 9, 2007
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
On this climb, we found a piton stamped C P..( Chuck Pratt), who did the 2nd, 4th, and 5th ascent of Spider Rock. I had it with my collection of odd junk I've found on climbs, but I donated it to Access and it got raffled off at a fund raiser. (I'm sure it has a good home..) It was one of my prize goodies of old collectable junk. May 28, 2007
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
I climbed this route in Feb. , 1984 with Brian Povolny. This was a big deal for us;....We both lived on the Res., we both climbed alot together, and we both loved climbing. I had been to the Spider Rock overlook so may times just looking and dreaming; We rapped in instead of hiking in; this was a mistake, for the rap anchors weren't all that inspiring, and the overhanging jumar out of the canyon with heavy packs was almost too much for me. The climbing went well;...we fixed one pitch in the dark one evening, slept at the base, and then went to the summit and back the next day. We free climbed all but a few moves. We got the rope stuck on the 2nd to last rappel, and after alot of tugging it came free, and Brian hit his chin on the rock and drew blood. This was one of the highlights of a very long and fun climbing career for me;...nothing quite like it. The climbin aint' all THAT special; alot of chimneys and O Wths...but the whole experiece for us meant alot to us;... May 8, 2007