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5.10 C2- R,
Trad, Aid, 300 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III,
Avg: 3 from 1
FA: Midkiff, solo, February, 1987
> Moab Area
> The Needles District
Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek
WET ROCK: Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN MOAB during or after rain.
RAPTOR CLOSURES: Please be aware of seasonal raptor closures at the Cat wall and Reservoir wall. They occur annually from March 31st until August 31st. *Due to the federal hiring freeze in agencies such as the BLM of Monticello, no official closure for 2017 has been issued and the laws which have been put in place in previous years are not being enforced. Please, for the sake of fragile desert ecology, DO NOT CLIMB at stated walls. These raptors return to the same nesting sites every year to raise their nestlings.
Closed to climbing: This route is illegal to climb and has been left on Mountain Project for historical purposes only. To read more about climbing restrictions in the park, click here.
Druid Arch is the most tower-like of the arches listed here, and is the most technically challenging. It is a majestic arch with a commanding view from the summit.
The route follows the obvious crack system on the left hand side of the arch when viewed from the trail. The first pitch followed a very nice crack to a nice ledge. Pitch 2 climbed up the face and to the right to another nice ledge. The third pitch followed the slightly overhanging dihedral through a short roof and diagonals up and to the right. The crack ends and one traversed on huecos and face holds to just below the summit saddle. Anchors were up there that allowed a return to the nice ledge.
It is relatively easy to reach compared to the other Needles District arches, and this means that the potential for tourist traffic is substantially increased. It is a popular day-hike destination and rightly so for it is the most striking landmark for miles. It is reached by driving to the base of Elephant Hill and finding the trailhead there leading to Chessler Park and Elephant Canyon. Druid Arch is located at the southern end of Elephant Canyon. It is about a 5.4 mile (9 km) hike to the arch over slickrock, sand flats and a dry creek bed; follow the cairns. There are a couple of backcountry campsites lower in the canyon (with permit); the NPS does not allow camping in the Druid Arch corridor. The route is located on the east side of the arch's south leg.
Standard. It's interesting to note that when Midkiff soloed this on the FA, he removed the springs from his Gibbs ascenders so that they would slide on the rope both ways. This resulted in a big whipper at one point. Kicking off the wall as he fell engaged the cam and halted the plummet. Yikes.