Type: Trad, Aid, 900 ft, 10 pitches, Grade V
FA: Brian Povolny, Dave Evans, and Todd Gordon, Nov., 1983
Page Views: 3,033 total · 21/month
Shared By: toddgordon Gordon on May 7, 2007
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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


This is a long climb. It took everything we had to piece this climb together. I don't think this climb has had a 2nd ascent. Maybe some modern hot shots can blaze up the thing , but we are just plain folk, and this was one BIG-ASS adventure for us. I will give details of the actual climbing in the comments section. The Arachnid Mesa is huge, awesome, scary, and magical.


This mesa is located in Canyon De Chelly, just behind Spider Rock.


Everything you got;...pins, RURPs, bat hooks, cams, stoppers, slings, lots of wide pro, patience, luck, desire, the spirit of adventure, and determination.
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
  5.10 A4
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
  5.10 A4
O K...here goes. Pitch one; start with a shoulder stand, then 7 bolts and one piton in a bolt ladder that leads to a wide crack to a ledge (5.10 A2). Pitch 2; Up a wide crack to a sling belay. at one point, climbing out outside the wide crack on thin seams to the left of the crack.. Some bat hooks too. (5.10 A3/A4). Pitch 3; Continue up the wide crack (some loose sections) a few more bat hooks, to a big ledge. (5.10 A3/A4). Pitch 4 ; A2 cams to a small roof, above the roof, tension traverse (right)off pins to cracks in a pink colored headwall. Continue up cracks to a sling belay on the left. Pitch 5 ; Up more crack systems to an alcove with all sorts of scary-looking loose balanced blocks above you. Pitch 6; instead of going up through the loose balanced blocks, tunnel through (squeeze) about 20-25' to the left like a mole to a huge chimney system, and a nice bivy spot. ..Belay here. (short pitch). Pitch 7 climb up chimney (5.8),..then chimney/walk/tunnel/squeeze forward INTO the bowells of the formation;...WAY back in there......(It's bizarre...). Pitch 8.....tunnel/climb/chimney some more until you pop into a circular "room/cave" with a window looking out......Pitch 9; Climb out of the chimney (finally) into the light of day (5.9 slot or 5.9 face to the left)and climb anothe 30 feet to anchors (on top). Unrope and walk to high point of the mesa. There is a description of the first ascent of this climb in an old Ascent Magazine. The rock and climbing on this route is not the best in the world; it;s sandstone, and there are long sections of wide cracks and chimneys. The route and adventure of this experience is top notch. It's a long, involved, challenging, scrappy route to the top of a huge mesa that has seen few feet, in a wonderful, magical place. May 9, 2007