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San Rafael Swell - South

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Back of the Reef 
Ding Dang Dome 
Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The Sandstone Alps 
Factory Butte 
Family Butte 
Head of Sinbad South 
Long Dong Silver Area 
Lucky Strike Mine Area 
Mudstrosity, The 
Reds Canyon 
San Rafael Knob 
Sulphur Canyon Area 
Swaseyland 
Upper Muddy Creek 
Viewfinder Towers 
Wild Boulders 

San Rafael Swell - South 


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Location: 38.79847, -110.45724 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 564,959
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: USBRIT on Sep 27, 2003
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Rosco Rescue

Description 

The southern San Rafael Swell is a huge area with big slabs on the San Rafael Reef, isolated towers and domes. Currently there are well over two hundred routes in the Reef area alone with potential for many more.
Free camping is available pretty much everywhere and the nearest services are in Green River about 14 miles from the Reef.
It is a good idea to have maps of the area as you will likely see no one and there are many old roads all over the place.
However the roads into the Reef Slab area from I.70 or the Hanksville road (Rte 24) are very straight forward.


Getting There 

This huge spread out area is south of I70 west of Green River. Everything is very spread out so more specific directions will be included with the rock formations themselves.See Getting there on Eastern Reef Slabs and Walls section.


257 Total Routes


['4 Stars',27],['3 Stars',123],['2 Stars',75],['1 Star',28],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',30],['5.7',31],['5.8',58],['5.9',63],['5.10',39],['5.11',21],['5.12',9],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',1],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for San Rafael Swell - South:
Eagle Rock   C2     Trad, Aid, 1 pitch, 110'   Swaseyland
The Road to Mecca   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 5 pitches, 1000'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : E Crags (DBC Canyon)
Forget Me Not   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 4 pitches, 800'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : I Crags (Uneva Canyon)
1000' of Fun   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 1000'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
1200' of more Fun   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 6 pitches, 1200'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Firebird   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 5 pitches, 950'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : A Crags
Cat Walk.   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 310'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Planetary Alignment   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 500'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Death by Chocolate   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 9 pitches, 1700'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : E Crags (DBC Canyon)
Jacks' Tower- Pair of Jacks   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Head of Sinbad South
Knights-Errant   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 870'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Rumble Strips   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 190'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : A Crags
Mercury   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 5 pitches, 1450'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : K Crags
The Hollow Men   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 6 pitches, 1130'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
The Dark Side   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : B Crags (Spotted Wolf Canyo...
Karma's Castle in the Air   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   San Rafael Knob
The Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 185'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Curiosity Killed The Cat   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 6 pitches, 1110'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : O Crags (Three Finger Canyo...
Bensass   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 45'   Viewfinder Towers
More Madness   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 700'   Eastern Reef Area.. AKA The... : F Crags
Browse More Classics in San Rafael Swell - South

Featured Route For San Rafael Swell - South
Wandering Poet (B) starts far right. <br />Innominate (A) left route.

Wandering Poet 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13  UT : San Rafael Swell : ... : B Crags (Spotted Wolf Canyo...

Photos of San Rafael Swell - South Slideshow Add Photo
On the Slabs
On the Slabs
View from the Summit area of Death by Chocolate looking south
View from the Summit area of Death by Chocolate lo...
Scot Carson on the grove first pitches of Endless Journey, Death by Chocolate Area..View full size.. photo Paul Ross
Scot Carson on the grove first pitches of Endless ...
Slabbing in the Swell
Slabbing in the Swell
Scott Carson on the crux pitch of Day of Atonement.. View full size.. photo Paul Ross
Scott Carson on the crux pitch of Day of Atonement...
Spring flowers on the Reef.
Spring flowers on the Reef.
Big Horn Sheep at the entrance of Three Fingers Canyon
Big Horn Sheep at the entrance of Three Fingers Ca...
Waterfalls on the San Rafael Reef after a strong thunderstorm.  Remeber that those slabs are over 1000 feet tall.  You wouldn't want to be caught on a climb in conditions like that!
Waterfalls on the San Rafael Reef after a strong t...
Looking down the southern end Of the Reef Slabs. The Large slab in the forground is the Surfing the Swell formation ,over 1600' high. The dark canyon wall to the right forms C) Bongo Canyon > Two excellent climbs start out of this canyon. Silver Lining 5.12 and Feeding the Rat 5.9-A) Two Fingers Canyon B) Three Fingers Canyon
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the southern end Of the Reef Slabs. T...
Looking south along the Eastern Reef slabs and canyons
BETA PHOTO: Looking south along the Eastern Reef slabs and can...
The chap's...  the driver was responsable for most of the area's new routes.
The chap's... the driver was responsable for most...
Upper Muddy Creek
Upper Muddy Creek
Desert Flowers
Desert Flowers
Evening panorama from Death by Chocolate
Evening panorama from Death by Chocolate
Looking north from Death by Chocolate
Looking north from Death by Chocolate
The Desert Rats
The Desert Rats
Comments on San Rafael Swell - South Add Comment
Show which comments
By Ben Folsom
Jun 4, 2008

Andrew, Nathan or Perin... The routes Angle of Repose and Wandering Poet should now be moved to the Little Spotted Wolf Canyon area now that Paul has added that.
It seems to me that there should be some reorganization here. The place is hard to figure out if you haven't done a lot of exploring. There should be a general area- Eastern Reef Slabs, and under that there should be sub-areas. Like Little Spotted Wolf Canyon and envirions, Three Finger Canyon & environs, Uneva Mine Canyon and environs, etc... At this stage, if you went there even with a whole mini guide of the area printed out (which is probably about 100 pages) it would still be hard to figure it out.

By USBRIT
From: Cumbria.UK
Jun 4, 2008

Hey Ben that's what adventure climbing is all about ...figuring it out .We do not want to make it too easy for the lads and lasses from Boulder.

By Ben Folsom
Jun 5, 2008

I know, you are right... They've been complaining so much though, that I thought I would try to help out a little. It's fine with me though if things are left the way they are. I don't have any problems with the area, it all seems pretty straight forward, especially with all the photos we have posted.

By USBRIT
From: Cumbria.UK
Jun 5, 2008

It is still a nice peaceful place that we have mainly to ourselves or at most the few climbers who love the tranquility of the desert. Thank God its not like Rifle, Shelf Road ,or Potash with folks screaming "Take".The future of climbing in the Swell will become more understandable and perhaps more popular soon enough..................We went on the Reef with no information ,if visiting climbers cannot figure out the massive amount of info that is already on this site its perhaps better they stay with the crowds.

By Ben Folsom
Jun 5, 2008

Paul, I totally agree... That is the reason I haven't been to Indian Creek in almost ten years. The climbing is great there, but the crowds and the attitude don't suite what the desert is about for me. Buckhorn has also become way too crowded for my liking. So I guess you are right, leave it organized how it is... Things are explained pretty well here anyway.

By USBRIT
From: Cumbria.UK
Sep 27, 2011

The dirt Road into the Reef both from I.70 and the Hanksville road is now graded and in very good condition. Sept 27th 2011