Northwest Ridge, Golden Spur, Mountain of The Sun III 5.7
Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Avg time to climb route: 1 day
Approach time: 30 minutes
Descent time: 2 hours
Number of pitches: 10
Height of route: 1700' route, 2400' total
For those who enjoy mountaineering style routes this is an incredible and fairly easy route. Expect loose and soft rock, choss, dirt, sheep shit, a killer summit and good times in a spectacular position. For most competent parties, the descent and hike out will be the crux of the day.
Approach: Park or exit the shuttle bus at The Court of The Patriarchs shuttle stop. Follow the short paved trail east of the bus stop to the overlook. Continue hiking up the hill to the base of the Mountain of the Sun. Aim for the highest point of vegetation left of center of the base of the mountain.
Begin by climbing up a vegetated ramp to the left for 60 feet. Rappel from a pinion pine down 60 feet to a major ledge. Scramble left (up-canyon) up ledges to the left of two major gullies. Ascend this gully to the crest of the north ridge. Follow the north ridge for about 1000 feet to where the rock turns yellow. Follow the bighorn path up the yellow spur to the summit. If you plan to use the Pine Creek drainage descent youíll need to leave a vehicle at one of the paved pullouts 0.5 miles east of the Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
Rack: 1 ea to 5Ē, nuts optional, 1 rope
Descent: Itís essential you bring a good topo map to navigate the descent. Scramble off the peak to the east down into the hanging canyon (Employee Canyon). There is a fairly well-traveled path down to a beautiful rainbow-colored rib of slickrock. Follow the hanging canyon to the south up hill over a col and then down hill towards the East Temple. Skirt the left side of the top of Spry Canyon (on your right) and walk east up and over a ridge and down slickrock slabs into the Pine Creek drainage. Follow Pine Creek canyon south to the road on the east side of the Zion/Mt. Carmel tunnel.
It is also possible to descend Employee Canyon to the north. Check www.canyoneeringusa.com for beta. Sometime around the year 1999 a well-loved localís life was lost descending this canyon due to a mishap involving a stuck rope.
Another option is to cross Employee Canyon to the east and traverse the slabs on the flanks of Deer Trap Mountain to the plane crash wreckage behind The Zion Lodge and descend as for Risk Management described in the previous section. This route requires some exposed hiking/scrambling and route finding. Consult your topo map!
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