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The Watchman

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Chastity Crack T 
Cradle to Grave T 
Hoods in the Woods T 
Mythical Kings & Iguanas T 
Negative Ghostrider T 
Silmaril T 
Strikes & Gutters T 
Vigil, The T 

The Watchman Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,555'
Page Views: 18,407
Administrators: Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: bsmoot on Mar 4, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

32° | 17°

35° | 16°

36° | 14°

36° | 13°

39° | 15°
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BETA PHOTO: The West face of the Watchman - Known Routes 1 –...

***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


The Watchman is the beautiful and often photographed formation guarding the south entrance to Zion. The impressive 1/2 mile wide west face is cleaved with many vertical cracks, corners, pillars and chimneys. The west face varies from 1,000 to 1,500' high, with at least 15 established routes. 10 of them going from bottom to top. The climbing is very traditional. Make sure you have experience in multi-pitch sandstone climbing.

In May of 1973 Mike Weis and Jeff Lowe made the first ascent of the steep west face via a crack system just below the summit. Their route went all free save a pendulum up high.

This secluded area doesn't get many visitors. Most of the routes are concentrated on the south end of the west face, where the rock is steeper and more compact. Most of the rock is good, but one must beware of the usual loose rock on ledges and wide chimneys.

Getting There 

A good approach is to cross the Virgin River at the Desert Pearl Hotel. A short trail/dirt road leads to the talus. Ascend the small rib that breaks through a cliff band. A trail leads to the middle of the impressive west face. The approach takes about 1 hour.

If you can't or don't want to cross the river, you'll need to enter via the south end of the Watchman campground. Walk south to the break in the cliff band, then head up.

Climbing Season

For the Zion National Park area.

Weather station 2.7 miles from here

8 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in The Watchman

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Watchman:
Mythical Kings & Iguanas   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   
Negative Ghostrider   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 9 pitches, 1000'   
Chastity Crack   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   
The Vigil   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R     Trad, 10 pitches, 1300'   
Silmaril   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 10 pitches, 1100'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Watchman

Featured Route For The Watchman
Rock Climbing Photo: The free variation is on the left. The original ro...

Silmaril 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  UT : Zion National Park : The Watchman
Originally done as an aid route, Silmaril is a great mixed free and aid line. Moderate aid on good rock with "Indian Creek" type crack climbing. The first ascent party didn't place any bolts. A free ascent is equally good. A left hand variation for the first 3 pitches climbs a very good corner system to an intersection with the original route. The crux free climbing is right off of the ground.There are good ledges at almost every belay. The bivy ledge on top of pitch 9 is huge. This is one of th...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of The Watchman Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Watchman at night. Illuminated from the cresce...
The Watchman at night. Illuminated from the cresce...
Rock Climbing Photo: The watchman from the campsite below.
The watchman from the campsite below.

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