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Supercrack Indian Creek with Mountain Madness

Chasing the sun and warm desert rock

As the Pacif­ic high pres­sure sys­tem shifts south toward the equa­tor for the win­ter, fall marks the almost cer­tain onset of grey and wet weath­er in the PNW. With this climbers find them­selves twid­dling their thumbs — even­tu­al­ly head­ing south in search of dry rock and sun­ny days. Sto­ry by MM guide Jake Skeen

There are many pop­u­lar fall climb­ing des­ti­na­tions across the west with dif­fer­ent styles for every­one. Whether you’re in search of split­ter cracks, big walls, or crimps and bolts you can’t go wrong between Smith Rock, Trout Creek, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Red Rock Canyon, Moab/​Indian Creek, and Zion. I’ve had the plea­sure of work­ing with Moun­tain Mad­ness guests in the Moab desert the past cou­ple falls — here’s what it’s all about.

Short approach­es, car camp­ing, and light back­packs are wel­comed after a long sea­son of alpine slog­ging in the Cas­cades. Climb­ing in the Utah desert is char­ac­ter­ized by cold star­ry nights, warm sun­ny days, and beau­ti­ful red sand­stone rock. The two biggest draws from a climber’s stand­point are the stand-alone tow­ers that paint the sky­line and the long, con­tin­u­ous cracks that split the faces of sand­stone walls.

Indian Creek sunset with Mountain Madness
Moab rock climbing

After a week of climb­ing long routes in Zion, I met Jamie and Bren­dan for some Indi­an Creek crack climb­ing. The theme of last year’s trip with them was sum­mit­ing tow­ers around Moab includ­ing Castle­ton, Ancient Art, and Light­house. One of our goals this trip was to focus on jam­ming tech­nique in Indi­an Creek. Jamie and Bren­dan quick­ly real­ized stuff­ing their fin­gers, hands and feet into cracks was the only way up the rock due to the lack of real holds”. Learn­ing by neces­si­ty is a good way to do it! We also took a quick lap up South Six Shoot­er tow­er to round out our time in The Creek. Rest day” activ­i­ties around Moab includ­ed moun­tain bike rides, rope swings, and milk­shake consumption. 

I met up with Aga after Jamie and Bren­dan left and we began our week­end of climb­ing with sin­gle pitch crag­ging on Potash road. This area is perched above the Col­orado riv­er with hun­dreds of routes that involve essen­tial­ly no approach — great for max­i­miz­ing time on rock! After dial­ing in our slab climb­ing tech­nique we drove north­west of town and climbed a 1000’ slab route. Good foot­work, bal­ance and fric­tion were the keys to success.

Crack climbing moab
Supercrack Indian Creek with Mountain Madness
Crack climbing near colorado riiver

I would encour­age all Moun­tain Mad­ness guests who are inter­est­ed in rock climb­ing to join us for fall desert adven­tures in the future. There is suit­able climb­ing for every­one, and the lifestyle and scenery can’t be beat! See you on the snow this winter.

There is still time to enjoy the desert sun and get on some rock! Here’s some options to choose from:

Moab Rock

Indi­an Creek

Moab Basic Rock

Moab Inter­me­di­ate Rock

Joshua Tree Climbs