Type: Trad, 1100 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 20,680 total · 185/month
Shared By: Brian C. on Feb 13, 2010
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
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

Route Description

Hike past Owl Rock and into the drainage on the south side of Elephant Butte. Look for a rubble filled gully leading up between two fins (see photos) and head up into it. As it narrows and ends, you will see a small fin that comes down. Climb the fin and continue up into the next meadow. Leave the meadow on the right and follow a bowl up as it steepens and dead-ends at a short wall. This wall is the crux and can be climbed on either the left or right side at about 5.3-5.4.

Once above the wall follow the steep sandstone down to the left until you see five bolt hangers that aren't visible from above. Rappel down and scramble into the lower valley.

From here, turn towards the summit and scramble up class 3/4 sandstone slabs up towards it. Angle right as you ascend and look sharp for a cairn marking a weakness in the upper cliffs. Once above the short cliff, climb up and find a short scramble that puts you on the summit plateau.

To descend: As you descend the slabs down towards the valley the first rappel put you in, aim for a small pinnacle straight below (see photos). Follow the gully next to the pinnacle down until it cliffs out. There are three old pitons that can be used for a final free hanging rappel down. From there simply hike down the gully, take a right and head back to the car and don't forget to smile about dodging the tourist crowds and climbing a seldom visited summit.


Park at the Garden of Eden overlook by Owl Rock.


We had a 60m rope and some backup webbing for the two rappels.

The crux doesn't need gear but some people would appreciate a sitting belay from whoever will climb up without a belay.

Although the rest of the route is no harder than class 3/4 (if the easiest path is chosen), this route would be dangerous when wet. Also, people uncomfortable on steep sandstone slabs will not have a very good time.


Zach Allen  
Well worth doing. Spectacular views, and a fun little romp. Nov 8, 2010
paul bucher
moab, utah
paul bucher   moab, utah
what an awesome fun route! great view from the top. less complicated than you might think and easy to to find the decent. classic easy adventure. this is a must do! i would rather be cautious and call the crux 5.6. i can do 5.4 all day in hiking boots and i stopped and shoed up at the crux. i was alone and carrying a pack so it may have just felt harder than 5.4. some pro is possible but it's not going to be bomber. hope the topo helps Mar 15, 2012
paul bucher
moab, utah
paul bucher   moab, utah
did it again on 3/22/12 with dante. he agreed with the 5.6, this time i was able to pull the crux in my hiking boots but still feel the moves (all 3 or 4 of them) are 5.6 note; last time i fixed up the anchors and in this short time someone had removed all the bomber new stuff i left and replaced it with junk. bring cord or webbing for rap anchors! also this time we cut right at the slabs and dumped our rope at the base of the small decent tower and went up from there. saves a little bit of weight on the final part of the climb. Mar 26, 2012
Paul, sorry to hear that.

We climbed it on 3/14 I believe, there was a nicely tied off cordalette around the pitons for the final repel, and a large nest of new and old slings for the first repel. Mar 27, 2012
  Easy 5th
  Easy 5th
The short "5.3 section" is no more than 2 short moves of easy 5th class. My brother got up it in hiking shoes. Just bring a static line and some webbing for the raps. Oct 29, 2012
Bradley Mark Edwards
Grand Junction, CO
Bradley Mark Edwards   Grand Junction, CO  
I didn't know what to expect when I read that there was a rappel for the ascent. Seemed backwards to me, but this was just a really good hike/climb/rappel/scramble with great panoramas and we didn't see a single person while we were there and there was some huge event in Moab that weekend. If you've got a few hours, do this. I'm taking folks real soon! Apr 4, 2013
Mark P Thomas
Mark P Thomas   Draper
Crux is thought-provoking but easy enough to do in hiking shoes. No real point in bringing pro on the climb, just a rope for the 2 rappels.

Fun route with some nice side canyons and squeeze chimneys to explore, and a great rest day detour. At a relaxed pace we were on the summit in less than two hours, and less than an hour getting out. May 4, 2013
Chris Bartram
Orono, ME
Chris Bartram   Orono, ME
How long are the rappels? will one 50m work or do i need a 60m? Apr 17, 2014
Pawel Janowski
Pawel Janowski   WA
50m suffices. Have fun. Awesome awesome outing! Jul 11, 2014
Heidi Riley
Santa Fe, NM
Heidi Riley   Santa Fe, NM
did both rappels with a 35 m rope. closed loop barely dragged the ground - perfect. (june 2014) Sep 5, 2014
Josh Cameron
  Easy 5th
Josh Cameron   M.O.A.B.
  Easy 5th
Would probably want a top belay transitioning from the downclimb after the crux to the rappel ledge. Not much for your hands and if you slipped you'd be toast. Jan 24, 2015
a Ball
Denver, CO
a Ball   Denver, CO
This route was a zoo on a monday during spring break... Mar 31, 2015
Just did this route, it is really fun. It is 5.4 in climbing shoes, a little harder in boots but not bad at all. I got lost on the approach and went up the descent gully, the start is just behind owl. The anchors and slings are in great shape, but bring extra webbing just in case. A sitting top belay will speed things up for a larger group. Take extra time to enjoy this route, the views are great and so is the setting inside the canyons. We also did utrun a few days earlier, which too is a blast and goes quick.

A note, someone or group should build an approach trail to keep everyone off the soil, for both the approach and descent routes. Try to keep on the rocks as much as possible. I think this route would also be fun in reverse. Ascend the 2 raps and down climb the few climbs... We plan this for our next trip.

We brought a 45 and it was good for both raps, for the 2nd, just go to the sandy platform and then it is an easy down climb, oh, a PAS is helpful at the raps. May 9, 2015
Hey folks just a reminder that this route does require a Arches Canyoneering permit. They are free and can be found online or in front of the visitor center. Please follow park regs so that access is not further restricted. Sep 30, 2017
Alex Zucca
Salt Lake City, UT
Alex Zucca   Salt Lake City, UT
To reach the first rappel, walk up the slab that is above a mini sand dune. Oct 23, 2017
Peter D Daniels
Denver, CO
Peter D Daniels   Denver, CO
Now that I see the mtn proj beta/photos, the route finding would have been much easier. Totally fun adventure - good times! I see varied comments on the crux step up. I was uncomfortable climbing the crux in approach shoes - asked for a short belay. Felt the moves were somewhere in the 5.4-5.5 range. For ref, I'm an novice-to-intermediate level climber - solo up to 5.3ish, trad lead into 5.5, TR around 5.9. Oct 24, 2017
If you bring a 70 you can rap down the final rappel and the 10' down climb described in the topo. Then have your last party member pull the rope and downclimb. A good option if your party doesn't want to downclimb. Apr 23, 2018
Oakland, CA
Sirius   Oakland, CA
The first rap has been changed in a strange way. The regular anchor has been mostly stripped - three of five bolts were pulled (holes weren't patched), two bolts remain but the hangars were taken. Lame to pull but not patch.

The new anchor is now to the right, three bolts situated on a bulge back from the lip. Already showing deep grooves from pulling ropes. Not sure this was a well thought out decision - now instead of one anchor area with bolts and grooves, we've got two. Why? How does that minimize our impact?

Not sure that comments above re. rope length will still hold. We had a 60 and it was plenty, and I'd guess a 50 will be fine too. Not sure. Oct 13, 2018
Josh Cameron
  Easy 5th
Josh Cameron   M.O.A.B.
  Easy 5th
And in a National Park- bad form. I'd like to know the logic behind moving the anchor. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Feb 10, 2019