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Grand Staircase

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Grand Staircase  

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Elevation: 5,000'
Location: 37.38374, -111.84908 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 23,136
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Roy Suggett on Nov 29, 2012
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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Very exposed second pitch with deep and dark canyo...


The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has many canyons that lack crowds, water (most of the time), and quality rock. This is for the old school desert rats, as well as those that just want an adventure. The sandstone is soft but the aesthetics are oh so sweet! This place is in the "Grey and White Cliffs" area or the Kaiporowits down to the Entrada formation. Covering both the Cretaceous and Jurasic periods. The slots are deep, dark and wild places with a few locations where erosion and time have cemented the sand sufficiently enough to climb on... though not your best rock for sure! Sew it up! And there are five TOWERS and counting! For those of you into the bouldering scene there is a fine place to camp and boulder about a third of the way up the Cottonwood Rd. out of Bigwater (see "Cap Rock City Area). The rock here is a bit better in that the boulders were once "cap rocks" up above on the ridge and have some real possibilities.
The GSENM is huge and is administered by the B.L.M. Keep a low profile, and nobody will see you or bother you. The climbing reg.s are vague but nobody down here understands climbing much less climbers so best not to perpetuate the negative images the locals have of us in their minds eye.
NOTABLE WILDLIFE includes: Elk, Black Tailed Deer, Black Bear, Mt. Lions, Badgers, a few cows, Golden Eagles, Rock and Canyon Wrens, Spotted Owls, California Condors, to name but a few. In terms of flora, this area is in the Painted Desert, and is dominated by a Pinyon/Juniper Forest and most of the related plant species that are associated. Coral and Bivalve fossils are abundant with the occasional Sea Urchin spines or Sharks teeth to be seen. Petrified wood as well as some real dino fossils (see two photos in the "Cap Rock City Area") are also around.

Getting There 

Head for south-central Utah and HW 12. Depending on the canyon/area, it would be best to stop in at the visitors center in Cannonville. Get maps and information (on JUST the slots/area and not the routes... keeping a low profile) here.

Climbing Season

Weather station 11.6 miles from here

27 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Grand Staircase:
Code Walker   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a C2     Trad, Sport, Aid, 200'   Hackberry Canyon
Browse More Classics in Grand Staircase

Featured Route For Grand Staircase
Northeast or short side of Hacker's Tower and Roy ...

Code Walker 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a C2  UT : Grand Staircase : Hackberry Canyon
CLIMB: Hackersí TowerROUTE: Code WalkerDESCRIPTION: This formidable and fantastic tower currently has only one line on it, though there are other possibilities. The current line is out of the vision of most of the hiker traffic well below in the canyon. To reach the climb, hike up the canyon about a mile, passing many great climbing possibilities until you are just under the southeast corner of Hackerís Tower. Follow the faint trail, cairns, and the line of least resistance up to the north...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Comments on Grand Staircase Add Comment
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By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Nov 29, 2012
Oooooooh! Jungle version 2.0??
By Roy Suggett
Dec 1, 2012
Nope...just looking for something to do near by and burn off those bored and restless calories. It was Thanksgiving for crying-out-loud!
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Dec 3, 2012
I was hoping it would be Jungle 2.0. Did you think I was giving you crap?
By Roy Suggett
Dec 4, 2012
If the SLC cragers get freaked about the Jungle rock quality then this place is Jungle 6.66! And I expect as well as deserve to be given crap!
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Dec 4, 2012
The SLC craggers wouldn't know choss if it slept with their mom...
True choss guzzlers are few and far between.
By BSU_Zac
From: Cedar City, UT
Jan 2, 2013
I would say the theme for this location is "looks can be deceiving". The rock quality and the grand scale of the canyon will sandbag you time and time again. What looks like a 5.9 hands cruisefest will somehow turn into a 5.11 burlfest by the time you climb up to it. The location is remote and adventurous. The rock is soft with sections of even softer rock. Help is far away and no matter what you packed for lunch, humblepie is all you will be eating. The asthetics of the rock make it all worth it however. I hope to see more climbers venturing into the dark depths of these canyons and plucking the beautiful cherry lines that reveal themselves around most corners. Best pack a large rack to sew up the soft stone. The rock feels like butter under a hammerdrill so we found ourselves backing up some of our anchors with a third bolt and I would suggest the same unless you can find bomber rock somewhere. If you have a hand drill then that may be a better choice than lugging a power drill through the long approaches since the stone is plenty soft. Be extremely careful when trundling stones as tourists often explore the beautiful slot canyons and a climber dumping rocks on a family of three on vacation would cause the vague climber regulations to become harder than the rocks you droped on them.
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