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Heart of the Desert 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Jeff Widen - 1985
Page Views: 1,927
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Apr 19, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (21)
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Ben, right where it gets fun.

Read about Anchor Replacement and Restrictions in Arches National Park MORE INFO >>>


Heart of the Desert is a quality thin hands to fists crack in a left facing dihedral on relatively good rock. The cruxes are at two wide pods roughly one-third and two-thirds of the way up the climb. Don't miss several stemming rests and a knee-cam no hands rest in one of the pods.

To get there, park at the Courthouse Parking area, walk across the street to the trail and look left down Park Avenue. On the left-hand wall, about a quarter mile away, you can make out the obvious dihedral of Heart of the Desert.


My rack (should have) consisted of one 0.75, two #1, three #2, four #3, and one #3.5 or #4 Camalots. Fixed anchors.

Photos of Heart of the Desert Slideshow Add Photo
Anchors of Heart of the Desert being replaced... foto by Minime.
Anchors of Heart of the Desert being replaced... f...
Wide hands above the wide section.
Wide hands above the wide section.
Brian Delaney mid way on Heart of the Desert.
Brian Delaney mid way on Heart of the Desert.
Beginning to layback the wide section. The hands are very sandy, and the feet also. I slipped out of this, and then found a way to fist jam it with foot stacks.
Beginning to layback the wide section. The hands a...
Approaching the big rest about 1/3 of the way up. Below this is splitter 5.9 hands.
Approaching the big rest about 1/3 of the way up. ...
The second rest is on a 1" foothold on the left wall just below the anchors.
The second rest is on a 1" foothold on the le...

Comments on Heart of the Desert Add Comment
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By joe slansky
Jan 8, 2004
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

It's pretty good; someone should do the next pitch because it stops short shy of where it gets more exciting.
By markguycan
From: flagstaff, AZ
Mar 10, 2007
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

I recall this route being excessively sandy. I remember seating a hex, then testing it only to have the crack discintegrate around it. I was very scared as I ran it out to the anchor. 'course I had less than half the recommended gear.
By Alpine Carl
Apr 14, 2007

This is a superb pitch. Great hands (some fists, too, for me) and bomber gear. I would recomend a rack of Camalots from 1 to old 4 and Metolius 7 to 9. Some draws are nice to extend the placements.
By toddgordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Apr 27, 2007

Shortly after its first ascent (Jeff Widen, Aug. 1985), I had heard about this "Indian Creek" like crack climb. I went over with Dave Evans and the lovely Sonja Pasqal. It was a bit sandy at the time, and we wondered also about a climb that ended before the crack ended (the system continues on....), but it was really excellent and WAY fun!....Did I say how lovely Sonja is?...yeah; I think I already did....I bet, now 20-some years later, she's still JUST as lovely.... and the climb is still just as excellent!
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
May 18, 2007

Yesterday, the Minime and I replaced the anchors on this route with 1/2 inch bolts and chain. 1 bolt is a stainless power bolt, the other a 5.5 inch strke anchor. This was part of the ASCA/Access Fund effort to work with the Park in cleaning up the most unsightly anchors and tat.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Oct 14, 2010

Spectacular! I TR'd it and fell once trying to layback the wide spot in the middle. It's very sandy if you're laybacking. I was then able to climb that part quite easily using fist jams and foot stacks.