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Routes in Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch Regular Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
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Type: Trad, 100 ft
FA: Lin Ottenger ?
Page Views: 7,942 total · 58/month
Shared By: toddgordon Gordon on May 26, 2007
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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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 Details

Description

This is a fun adventure, and it's legal, for it's not "a named arch in Arches National Park." Even though it's 5.3 , we chose to rope up, and we wanted/needed a rope for the simul-rappel one climber off each side at once. It's a very exciting thing to do, and you it gets your heart beating and blood flowing. Climb the spine of the arch fromt he right side, up cracks and grooves.

Location

Between mile marker 102 and 103. Park just at the arch in the pull-out.

Protection

Take a few cams, and your rope. Simul-rap off the top, one climber on either end of the rope; and the rope pulls right over the top through the rock and dirt. Just don't unclip until our partner is down.
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
 
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
 
We climbed this arch in April of 1993. I simul-rapped off he top of the arch with John Barbie as my conter-weight, and then we held one end of the rope as Cyndie Bransford rapped off the other end. It was a thrilling experience to rappel through space down the eye of the big arch. This is a really fun and exciting thing to do, and it's actual 5th class climbing to get to the summit, so it's not a place where you will see tourists with their lap dogs and lawn chairs. The rappels off the arch are a real show-stopper for the cars driving by. If you have a couple hours to burn, I suggest go do Wilson Arch; it's good bang for your buck. May 27, 2007
Do it for the simul-rap, not the climb. It is a fun little side trip, as Todd says, if you have a couple of hours to burn. There is also a decent anchor w/ slings if you are doing it solo. Oct 22, 2007
Mike McMahon
Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT
Mike McMahon   Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT
Soloed it.... without a rope. I found a few sections of the downclimb pretty scary! This one would have been way cooler with a partner and a rap! Nov 21, 2007
Nathan Tomlin
Boulder, CO
  5.5 R
Nathan Tomlin   Boulder, CO
  5.5 R
Climbed it in 3 pitches, but really a rope is just for emotional support. It's easy, but long stretches without gear placements. The Looking Glass is nearby and supposedly rated a 5.7, but they seemed the same, so I'm splitting the difference and saying both are 5.5.

I was excited to try a simul-rap, but when we got up top, it was narrower and flatter than we expected. Didn't think it was a good 1st simul-rap, so we used the rap anchors. Aug 16, 2010
Sarah Meiser
Boulder, CO
 
Sarah Meiser   Boulder, CO
 
If you plan to rap off the anchors on top a 60 meter rope will just barely get you down. Nov 8, 2010
paul bucher
moab, utah
paul bucher   moab, utah
the crux is the first move off the starting shoulder. well protected with finger size. 5.6 but i did it in my hiking boots. my partner in climbing shoes seemed to think it was easier than that. smooth sailing after that Sep 20, 2011
Tristan Higbee
Ogden, UT
Tristan Higbee   Ogden, UT
The approach beta here says that the arch is between mile markers 102 and 103, but that's actually the Looking Glass Rock turnoff. Wilson Arch is another 2-3 miles down the road.

We climbed it in 2 long pitches (see topo) with a 70 for nearly 400 feet of climbing. The climbing is kind of crappy but the rappel makes it worth it.

A single 70m rope easily gets you down if you rappel from the anchors but it wouldn't be enough for the simul rap. Apr 25, 2012
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
So a 60/70m will get you down, but 2 rope for the simul rap ? Feb 28, 2014
Josh Cameron
California
  5.3 PG13
Josh Cameron   California
  5.3 PG13
Climbing gets half a star but the rap gets 3. Jan 24, 2015
Autumn90
  5.7 PG13
Autumn90  
  5.7 PG13
I'll done this several times, a week ago I did it without belay and free climbed it with a couple friends and rapped down. I would say with the 2 major pitches this is not a 5.3 route. Most of it is...but those 2 pitches are 5.6 moves, maybe even 5.7, especially when you're fully exposed it'll get your heart racing. Did Looking Glass as well, and I agree that they are similar in difficulty. May 26, 2015
Ben Gleason
Durango, CO
5.0 PG13
Ben Gleason   Durango, CO
5.0 PG13
There is one easy 5th move getting off the deck, and then nothing harder than 4th class to the top. Roping up is an annoyance and probably wouldn't do anything anyway, considering how bad most of the placements are. That rappel is rad, though. May 30, 2015
Daniel Bologna
Ypsilanti, MI
Daniel Bologna   Ypsilanti, MI
It's possible to rap this with a single 60m from the rap anchors then, skipping the simul-rap? Thinking about heading out here this week. Oct 20, 2016
D. M. Cole
Northern Utah
D. M. Cole   Northern Utah
If a belay is required, consider setting up stations at each of the 2-3 cruxes. Because the steeper sections are short and separated, you cannot effectively catch a fall by a climber on the opposite end of this route with a dynamic rope.

If you simul-rap, avoid unlikely catastrophe by running the ropes through the chains, with the knot (e.g., Flemish bend) uphill (west) of the chains, which are found on the downhill (east) side of the arch. This way, if the uphill climber fails to weight the rope, the knot hits the chains almost immediately, arresting the descent of the downhill climber. And, given the anchor location, if the downhill climber fails to weight the rope, she hits the chains almost immediately, arresting the descent of the uphill climber. Tying the knot downhill risks the uphill climber being dragged across the top of the arch before he hits the chains, arresting the plummet of his petrified downhill partner. Dec 5, 2017
Accidentally turned it into four pitches- can be tough to communicate with the belayer and pro is (while largely unnecessary) a little bit sketchy. Mostly slinging bushes and bad cams.

If I were to do it again, would have started by Googling "Wilson Arch" and driving to it. Would have brought just a single, light 70m with ten alpine draws, two or three double-lengths, and two each BD 0.5-2 cams (max) and run it in two pitches or simul it in one pitch. Maybe handheld motorolas to talk w/ belayer. Run this climb at sunset with a full moon rising, perhaps set up a camera at the base beforehand or make your third wheel photograph in exchange for beers. Jan 12, 2018

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