The following cliffs will be closed to climbing beginning March 1, 2012: Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne (beyond single- and double-pitched climbs), Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), The Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, The East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava, and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek. All other cliffs will remain open to climbing.
Zion is a spectacular park with excellent routes for a wide range of ability levels. It is most noted for its long wall routes on amazing sandstone. There are many good entry-level grade IV's and V's like Prodigal Sun, Touchstone Wall, and Moonlight Buttress. There are also many challenging lines that will test the seasoned wall rat. There are plenty of short, one or two pitch routes for those who don't want to venture too high off the deck.
As a National Park, Zion charges $25 for a seven-day pass or $80 for an annual pass (good at all National Parks and covers entry fees at most other federally-managed lands). A $10 fee is charged for a bivy permit for each wall you do. Overnight bivy permits are obtained from the rangers at the visitors center. Or you can book online using the Zion online permits. You still have to pick them up but at least it is booked.
Beginning sometime in March all cars have to be parked at the Visitors Center. Shuttle buses have to be ridden to access anything in the canyon during the high season. They are fairly efficient and operate from 5:45am until 11:00pm.
There is camping at the Watchman Campground inside the park, as well as lodging at the Zion Lodge (not for the standard, dirt-bag wall rat). Free camping is available in many areas just outside of the park in the Springdale and Rockville area. Some of these sites have been really trashed. Feel free to clean them up so that free camping continues.
Springdale is loaded with all of the necessary amenities for a long stay. There are restaurants, grocery stores, showers, hotels, bars, and even a gear shop.
The weather is stinking hot by May. There are sometimes nice cool spells, but the most comfortable weather usually occurs in the spring and fall. There is about a 3,000 to 4,000 foot vertical rise between valley floor and canyon rim. For this reason, weather can be different depending on your current elevation.
Zion is located in the southeastern corner of Utah between St. George and Cedar City. Coming from the North, take exit 27 off of Interstate 15 going to Toquerville on Highway 17. 17 joins Highway 9. Continue West on Highway 9 following the obvious Zion National Park signs to Springdale and the main park entrance. Coming from the south, take exit 16 off of Interstate 15 onto Highway 9 headed towards Hurricane. Continue west on Highway 9 to the park entrance.
I was there in mid-May as well, and I believe we left at 5:45 am on the express bus taking hikers or climbers directly to their location, without making all the standard stops. I also remember the last bus leaving the Big Bend parking lot about 11:15 PM. These times were changed to accomodate climbers so they wouldn't have to give special use permits for parking for long day climbs (Moonlight, Prodical, Touchstone, etc.) However, you are allowed to park in any lot and overnight (with the $5 bivy permit) until Easter Sunday (~March 30th).
Here's a few of the NPS regulations that are worth noting as of 2002. Most of the rangers that I've met there are friendly towards climbers (unlike Yosemite). So, let's do our part and keep it that way by following the regs and cleaning up after ourselves.
Permits are NOT required for day climbs.Permits ARE required for overnight climbs.Power drills are illegal.It's illegal to camp at the base of a climb or in a vehicle.Gardening of plants from cracks is not permitted.All human feces must be packed out. (A PVC tube or river bag with some kitty litter and some paper or plastic bags work nicely.)No tossing of human waste off the walls.Remove old slings, ropes and equipment.Do not climb above trails where dislodged rocks can hit hikers.White chalk is frowned upon, use the colored stuff if any.
Closures for Peregrine Falcons (February - Late August) usually affect the formations listed below, but it can change each year. The closures end when the young have fledged. Check at the Vistor's Center for the latest information.The Great White ThroneCourt of the PatriarchsCable MountainAngel's LandingTunnel West
Climbing and rappelling is not allowed above Middle and Lower Emerald Pools and Weeping Rock.
One note on climbing after it rains, it takes a *couple* of days for the sandstone to dry out after a good storm. Sandstone is weak to begin with and very weak when it's wet!
If the published guidebooks contain insufficient beta for your tastes, the back country desk at the visitors' center has several rock climbing beta books which contain the most comprehensive and detailed Zion route descriptions.
I'm a climber looking to hit my first C3 Zion wall. How would the site users here compare Desert Shield to Lunar Ecstacy in regards to difficulty, asthetics, and just pure enjoyment. I know that Lunar X has a slightly lower rating than Desert Shield, but I've been sandbagged in the desert enough times to know better. ;) The lines seem pretty comparable in length and gear list, though the Shield seems to have more free climbing.
Will-This time of year the staying out of the sun is probably a more important factor. Given that, I'd say do Dessert Sheild since it's in the shade most of the day. Lunar Ecstacy, on the other hand, gets full sun. I believe the two are similar in difficulty, both are classics and you pretty much nailed the pros and cons.
The following is copied from emails sent to me by Dave Jones, one of Zion's leading route developers.Dave scoffs at the notion that "there are only 10 good routes in Zion."
My personal top free or mostly free routes
Golden Years (Kolob)Shune'sLovelace (aka Fang Wall above Pine Creek)The VigilSilmaril (Watchman)Rites of Passage (Red Arch)Hello Mary Lou (Angelino Wall, S. face of Streaked Wall)Hue and Cry (Watchman)Bits and Pieces (Red Arch)
Shorter good routesDancing With Zully (W. Face Mt Spry)
you can't go wrong on any of these...
the new routes along the north wall of the Grotto (partial topo in the Visitor's Center) are all pretty outstanding; in particular, look for one starting with a very steep bolted face that leads to an overhanging crack -- the second pitch splitter crack on this is as good as anything anywhere. Pure fun. In same area, walk up Grotto drainage until reaching the cement water cistern, then up the open talus to the left to the base of a buttress, 'Second Sun buttress', with many cracks (we've climbed all of these); if you're at the right spot you will look up to see a right leaning flake leading into asplitter so beautiful you cannot conceive of it. The pitch goes at 5.11++ or 5.12a and is a FULL 50m of real climbing. It is called 'Second Sun crack'. Not in the guidebook. The bolted face climb I mentioned above is about 100 yards to the left of this, somewhere around Scotch on the Rocks and One For the Road, all excellent.
I should add that on 'Second Sun' crack I am going to add two bolts to keep the rope out of the lower right-leaning face crack and out on the face to the left. The reason simply being that it is nearly impossible to protect this first part, deal with the rope weight and drag, and then do the 11+/12- crux on trad RP pro, followed by the sustained climbing to the bolts. Two bolts out on the face to the left will solve this problem and make the pitch a pleasure instead of a hellish battle.
When do the sunny walls become unclimbable due to sun exposure? Anyone know what CFS makes the river unmanageable (from looking at the gauges on bigwall.com)? I guess I am just wondering when the season ends for the summer. Little help here...C
March - May and mid September - November are generally the best times of year. June is hot. July and August are damn hot. If you climb fast, don't mind climbing at night by headlamp, and look for a route in the shade, you can extend the season by a few weeks to months. Zion is one of those funny weather spots: I have been VERY cold on a route in May and been very warm during March. It just depends.
Zion is a wonderful place to climb. But Don't be fooled By hip people in Springdale. My clinbing Partner and I were Celibrating yet Another great send @ the Springdale BLM Campsite, when out of the blue in the middle of the night in NOVEMBER BLM Ranger Dick Morman Rrevealed Himself. Ranger Dick was Spying on us for over 2 hours via night vision goggles. We thought it was a joke, being out in the middle of nowhere and all. but he then showed his ID Card and GUN. We were shocked to here he had Photos of us Smoking Marijuana. He then Showed me the shots on his State of the Art Digital Camera. I could not believe the U.S. Government Paid this guy To hide out in the woods Looking to bust people smoking pot. We now have to pay an $1,150.00 fine and Federal Probation wich involves taking drug tests 1 day a week for a year.So know that when your in Zion your being watched.
Ya that is a pretty lame story, I just heard one very similar to it(involving night vision video, e tc..) Apparently BLM rangers are now targeting those smelly, dope-smokin, dirtbaggin climbers all around zion. Oh the joys of visiting a police state. May be the U.S. should 'liberate' Utah?FIGHT THE POWER!!!!
We're planning a trip out to Zion for the 1st-2nd week of march, but are concerned about the peregrine closures. For instance, we were hoping to do something like "Tricks" on Isaac in a day: big, adventurous (non-trade route), but without too much aid. I guess Isaac is closed, as is the rest of the Court of the Patriarchs. Were also thinking of the Lowe Route on Angel's landing (closed also). Not so interested in the trade routes (Moonlight, Touchstone, etc.).
Does anyone have any other suggestions for routes like the above that will not be subject to the closures? How about "Gettin' Western" on the West Temple? Is it closed? Burly? Scary? Uhh, of course it is....
You've got to be kidding - night vision to bust stoners?!!!! If true that is ridiculous. I haven't been to Zion for too long. Any new action on the north face of Cable Mountain? That wall always looked so nice......
i have the exact same story of a ranger in the mosquito cove camp area! he also hid in the woods for a while and then gun drawn came out like we just killed someone . fuck those assholes!!!!!!!!!!! same fines and all that too...too bad all that sick climbing is in a mormon nazi state...they should chill out like the moab scene is! so smoke all hidden somewhere.
it's all true. rangers with nothing better to do in the area; can't believe they get paid for that. is there nothing better do to with our money like bust killers or something? got busted in mosquito cove at night with a ranger using night-vision goggles -- ranger harris; what a dick. lies in court too. if giving me a ticket wasn't good enough. that's a cop for ya; the most worthless people of them all, cops.
hey the same thing happened to me too. it's real. you're better off smoking in the the car driving. then at least you won't get a federal charge, just a state charge. ranger harris was his name, down in mosquito cove. night-vision goggles too. get a life; there are better people to bust, man.
Hey I was wondering if anyone had any beta for lovlace. Hows the aid for one and also how is the free climbing, Is it good clean cracks ( From Vedauwoo but don't want to spend my vacation groveling) that are not all huge and gaping. Also is the free version pretty burly and sustained or can you get away with pulling most of it free and french freeing the few crux moves. Any info would be great as i will be down there next week and would like to knock this route off in a day. Adam
I can't comment on the climbing, but a friend tried to do this route and was greatly surprised at the length of approach (I think 4 hours). They intended to fix and blast but I believe they couldn't fix more than the first pitch or two with two ropes due to the traversing nature of the first pitch. Other than that, word is it's a stellar route. Good luck, I'll be in Zion myself in a couple weeks.
FYI there is an approach pitch to Lovelace (Fang Wall) not mentioned on the topo. If you want to fix the aid pitch you'll need 3 ropes. The approach is a thrash; sand, rattlesnakes, bushwhack... I've only done the firs 2 pitches.
Looking to climb "Tricks" in November. How is the weather there then, what should i be prepared for? Is it open? Just looking for general beta mostly on weather and conditions throughout the winter months there. Also on Santa Claus chimney and available placements after the belay stance on the sandy ledge, how others have done it. The first time i was there it fealt runout and scary. When done in a day did the second jug? Thanks for any info that can be given.
its true. Ranger Haris is watching you. he watched me for two days, listened to my phone conversations, and waited for my friends to show. he did this so he could make an additional $1,135.00 on top of my fine for smoking reefer. he watched me poop, get naked, and god knows what eles with his dick in his hand. Does any body wonder why springdale is so nice? well with $200,000.00 revenue a summer from herb busts its realy no wonder to me any more. If you smoke the kind, DO NOT THINK YOU WILL NOT GET BUSTED!. as this was my mentality, and yes, i too read the blogs before i went and was totaly aware. yet i did anyhow because mesquito cove seems like a pretty chill camp spot. That overpaid jerkoff came out of the bushes with nightvision eq and put us on federal probation within fifteen minutes. this is happening! If you have any previous convictions, you will be going to jail for 6 months in utah. i cannont stress how much i would like to see that prick get into a firey auto wreck. but on the other hand, happy climbing in zion it truly is the promised land. just dont smoke the reef there.
I pass through most years around Christmas- sometimes the 100' icecycles are forming on the giant walls, sometimes they are falling off. I can't imagine doing anything beyond cragging there over the Xmas holiday.