Scotty had been jonesing to get on Primrose Dihedrals for a while and brought along a copy of the supertopo just in case he was able to tear us away from the sweet sweet cracks of Indian Creek. He succeeded. After spending 5 days of cragging at Indian Creek we decided to give our hands a break and diversify our trip with a little desert tower action. (Also I was excited to climb such a beautifully named tower so close to Passover)
We ate dinner in Moab and then proceeded to drive out to Canyonlands. Upon arriving at the top of the switchbacks we had to make a decision. Scotty had heard that the dirt switchbacks that drop ~2000ft to the canyon floor are a bit steep and sketchy. Should we bivy at the top of the canyon and head down in the morning or should we get as close as possible to the park entrance before crashing for the night? After vacillating for a few minutes Scotty came to a conclusion that will inspire all of my future decisions….”Let’s go with the more adventerous of the two options”. And thus we continued our decent to the canyon floor, which actually wasn’t bad at all.After stalling a bit in the car waiting for the morning air to get warmer, we started hiking under cloudy skies. 45 minutes later Scotty was racked up and leading the first traversing 5.8 pitch to circumvent the direct start (cheaters!). We climbed as a party of 3 with Scotty and I swapping leads and Lin in the middle.
The climb progressed as expected except for the belay under the ear. After linking the previous two pitches I set up a hanging belay in a small alcove at the base of the ear. Foreseeing a cluster fuck, we had Lin anchor herself at the top of the first pitch and then I belayed Scotty up to …….actually, its quite complicated to explain and not that interesting.
Here is the breakdown of the pitches:
Pitch 1: Fun easy 5.8 traverse (Scotty Lead)
Pitch 2: Quite difficult for 5.10- but then I saw that its actually rated 5.10+, which is pretty reasonable. I didn’t find any “steep handjams” but rather found a #0.75 crack that required some laybacking and ring locks (Shay Lead).
Pitch 3: Short downclimb followed by a slightly tricky steep pitch 5.10- (Scotty Lead)
Pitch 4: Awesome wide hands the whole way. I was afraid of running out of gear, but it wasn’t too bad. I actually had an extra #3 left over at the end of the pitch 5.10+. (Shay Lead)
Pitch 5: Really cool laybacking crack in a corner. Good fun. Sucked up nuts like it was its job 5.9+. Linked this with the previous pitch. (Shay Lead)
Pitch 6: The ear pitch. Really cool and well protected with bolts. Getting into the lieback is probably the crux though it wasn’t too bad. The “unprotected chimney” at the top is 8 ft long and ubber casual. 5.11 (Scotty Lead)
Pitch 7 & 8: Some face moves and then easy climbing to the summit. Linked the pitches. (Scotty Lead)
*Although we were swapping leads most of the way, Scotty offered to take us to the summit since up until that point he had only led ~30 vertical feet of the climb.The summit of Moses is phenomenal. Completely flat with a 360 degree view.