Type: Trad, Aid, 400 ft
FA: Nate Sydnor and Herb Crimp
Page Views: 180 total · 18/month
Shared By: Nate Sydnor on Mar 16, 2018
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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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


With the desert getting as much traffic as it is, I have a general rule to stay away from posting new areas. However, now that this one is up, I guess I'll embrace the double standard and add our route in the hopes that it will possibly see another ascent from a motivated, respectful party.

The route is named for a giant block we pulled off on the first ascent. When we watched it vaporize on the talus below it looked like a whale spouting whitewater. I discovered the route on a Winter hike a few years back and was immediately taken with the splitter on pitch 2. The way it was established was in two waves. Because I knew I couldn't install any anchors, I figured I had to check out the crack from above on abseil to see if it connected with climbable features. I went out and tied off a 70m static line to a tree and hucked it into the void. Rappelling into the route became increasingly intimidating, with blocks and edges and all that, until I got to within a foot of the end of the rope (with a big honkin' knot in it). Hanging out there in space on that wall, with all of Canyonlands, Monument Basin, etc. gnawing at me, is an experience I won't ever forget. I was devastated to see that the crack pinched to nothing, but I saw that the crack beside it connected to the top, so back up I went (in hasty fashion!). I went back with Herb almost a year later and we did it ground up in a few hours, walking back to the car in the beautiful late-evening winter light.

This route may one day be an incredible free route, as it really only has one point of aid that provides the question mark. I doubt I'll get back out there anytime soon, so let me know how it goes if you free it. As it is it's an amazing route in an unparalleled location. Great Winter destination.

The first pitch Herb led with some aid and I freed following. It's likely 5.12 (or 5.10 C1) and very enjoyable. I remember some stout fingers right off the deck, some facey moves, a key yellow-colored cam (TCU/Alien) placement, then some splitter climbing to the belay below one of the best cracks ever.

The second pitch crack, if it was in Indian Creek, could be a contender for one of the best single pitches on the planet. The initial crack tapers for over 200ft from #2s to .3s to nothing. At some point along the way when things get thin, you'll need to pendulum or Dawn-Wall dyno to the crack out left. If bolted anchors were allowed I would have taken the singular crack to it's terminus and it would likely also be a contender for one of the hardest cracks in the desert. As it is, from the pendulum you ascend a great wide-hand crack to a ledge where some wide gear is needed for the belay, and for the beginning of the next pitch (5.10 C1 or 5.12? dyno).

Pitch 3, also 5.10, drops you after a short time onto a great ledge beneath the grand finalé; a 5.10X chimney (Herb said old-school 5.9!) that I was super thankful to Herb for leading! It's beautiful chocolate Wingate and aesthetically intimidating. Seeing as how the Park Service doesn't allow any fixed hardware, this pitch has no bolts and only has a shoddy piece or two at the beginning of the pitch. Don't fall. Alternately, if you can find the top of the route just skier's right of the start of the Government Trail, it would be possible to lower a rope with knots in it down the last pitch, tie it off to a Juniper, then descend the trail and lead out. That would be a shenanigan, so it's likely better to either be a desert hard-person or have one with you to just sack up and lead the last pitch. You end up right at the top of where you headed down, so you can leave packs, etc. at the top when you descend.


When you get down the Government Trail, hike climbers left (skier's right) for just a short ways and you will see the unmistakable 2nd pitch splitter on the prow after less than 100 meters. Scramble up onto the ledge to start.


At least 5, maybe 6 #3 BD Camalots, a #4 and #5, and a pretty standard desert rack other than that. The belay at the top of pitch 1 takes almost exclusively #3 Camalots, and I went like 80 feet above our lone last one on the mega-crack of the second pitch. Having a quiver of them would be useful. Seeing as there is no fixed hardware allowed in Canyonlands NP, there are no anchors on the route.