Southern Utah Sandstone

After hanging off the limestone cliffs of south western Utah for a couple weeks we felt the calling of high desert sandstone. In need of a break for our bodies and minds, we set off to tour the National Parks and watch the sun set over the red-orange towers and cliffs of the Moab area.

The first park on our list was Zion, which we visited with my parents at the end of March. The weather was a bit dodgy but it made for beautiful skies, and we did a couple short hikes to enjoy the views.
Short hike to the Emerald Pools
Then, in early April, we set off to Bryce Canyon for the first time. We arrived in the evening and hiked through the hoodoos in the last light of the day. The air was cool and there was snow on the hills, which was added to the following morning.
Evening sunlight on the hoodoos
Sunshine and snow
Wildlife along the Queens/Navajo Combination Loop
We awoke to morning snow! For camping tips:
Next up was Arches National Park just outside of Moab, in southeastern Utah. One of the things we really wanted to do while in the Moab area was climb some desert towers, so we decided that climbing is how we would experience the park. As we had never climbed a desert tower before, and we hadn’t climbed on gear in sandstone in over three years, we picked an entry-level tower as our first. The one-pitch 5.8 crack on the west side of Owl Rock was perfect.
Graham getting set to lead
Summit selfie 😀
Owl Rock: Our first desert tower ❤
One of Arches’ arches
While pondering what to do next our friend Michael Pang invited us out to join his campsite in Indian Creek. We hadn’t planned on driving down to the Creek but in the end we changed our minds. We are so glad we did.
Sun rising in Creek Pasture campground, Indian Creek
The following morning we climbed the South Face (5.6) of the South Six Shooter – a big step up from Owl Rock in terms of adventure and a much more impressive feature. The North and South Six Shooters are just outside of Canyonlands National Park. They are huge, stand-alone towers in the middle of an expansive landscape. The one hour hike to the base of the climb was one of the most beautiful approaches we have ever done. The climbing itself on the South Face was mediocre at best, but the position and summit were amazing. We also took the opportunity to swap leads on the route, making it the first time we teamed up together for a multipitch on gear.
The South (left) and North (right) Six Shooter towers
Views along the approach. You can JUST see our tiny van
We’re gonna climb that thing!!!!!!!
Summit selfies again
In the afternoon we hiked up to meet Michael, Nina, and some of their friends at Cat Wall. We didn’t bring our rack, rather opting for the opportunity to spectate and be inspired. It worked – we are inspired, and can’t wait to come back and learn.
Washing dishes instead of climbing…. Cat Wall in the background
Is Michael Pang teaching us to ring lock or showing us how to make shadow puppets?
Nina Caprez on her onsight of Cattle Call (5.12-)
Finally, we wrapped up our sandstone tour with a drive and small walk through the southeast corner of Canyonlands.
Quick jaunt around Canyonlands NP
Now we are back in St George to continue to pull down on those tiny limestone edges with renewed psyche for our projects.
Just before sunset in Indian Creek

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