Road Trip to Road Side Crag­ging in Moab

Gripped - - AREA PROFILE - Story and pho­tos by Tim Ban­field

Early spring in Canada typ­i­cally means one thing in the climb­ing com­mu­nity, an ex­o­dus of your friends to the desert south west. As ice sea­son winds down and tem­per­a­tures in the desert start to im­prove, those of us look­ing for rock be­gin to make our plans. There are numer­ous ar­eas in the Amer­i­can South­west that climbers can choose from and one of the more pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions is Moab, Utah.

Moab is a hot­bed for climb­ing, the qual­ity and range of styles has some­thing for ev­ery­one. Multi-pitch, split­ter cracks, tow­ers and boul­der­ing; it can all be found in Moab. Record­ing only 10 inches of rain­fall a year, Moab is one of the num­ber one des­ti­na­tions for climbers look­ing for an es­cape with qual­ity climb­ing and prac­ti­cally a guar­an­tee of not get­ting rained out dur­ing your trip.

Wall­street is the most pop­u­lar and ac­ces­si­ble crag in Moab and pos­si­bly the world. The routes are lo­cated on a wall that tow­ers over the Colorado River as it makes its way through the desert south­west. The word “ap­proach” is al­most hu­mor­ous to use when dis­cussing the crag, de­pend­ing on where you park you might not be able to open the door to your ve­hi­cle be­cause the cliff is too close but the av­er­age ap­proach time is typ­i­cally about one-minute.

Wall­street has a large and var­ied se­lec­tion of qual­ity, ac­ces­si­ble routes, there is a route for al­most ev­ery­one, easy top rope slabs, clas­sic cracks and spicy bolted routes to choose from. Hav­ing a wide range of clas­sic climbs and lit­er­ally no ap­proach, Wall­street can of­ten be busy and de­servedly so, es­pe­cially dur­ing the week­ends when the pop­u­la­tion of Moab seems to dou­ble. Just walk around and check out all of the li­cense plates, it a clear sign that Wall­street draws not just the lo­cals, but climbers from all over North Amer­ica.

At some routes, the f irst piece of pro­tec­tion is a lit­tle high. At most crags, that would mean spot­ting the lead climber so they don’t land too hard. At Wall­street, you spot the climber so they don’t land too hard and so they don’t roll onto the road and get hit by a car. It re­ally is that close. Whether or not you like ap­proaches, the stone at Wall­street is some of the best around and worth check­ing out.

Alas­tair Mcdow­ell just about to make the clip be­fore mak­ing the fi­nal few moves on the Moab clas­sic Flakes of Wrath 5.9

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