North Ridge, Watchman, The Watchman IV 5.10 A0
Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Avg time to climb route: 1 day
Approach time: 1-1.5 hours
Descent time: 1.5 hours
Number of pitches: N/A
Height of route: 1500' route, 2700' total
This is an excellent mountaineering-style adventure. The start of the route is on the west aspect of the toe of the North Ridge. A competent party can climb the first 300-400 feet unroped if they follow the path of least resistance. When we climbed this route we roped up in a steep grove of large pine trees. There are many options so be heads up in your choice of which way to go. This route resembles something akin to adventure found in a more alpine setting such as the Tetons. You climb several aspects of the ridge and use a variety of climbing styles. The final technical pitch climbs the right hand of the two major chimney systems. This chimney turns into a left-facing offwidth corner with a few old protection bolts next to it. We yarded on the bolts, making this the only aid section of the climb. This pitch probably goes free at 5.10 offwidth. This is a true adventure route with all aspects of a Zion-style climb included. Bring your sense of adventure, and imagination, and oh yeah, your headlamp! See photo.
Rack: 2 ea to 4”, 1 ea 5”, nuts, 2 60m ropes for descent.
Descent: this is a complicated one. Carefully study a USGS topo map and bring it with you. From the summit, head south, careful not to stray too far from the edge of the west face. You encounter a series of gullies that take you towards the hanging canyon between The Watchman and the Mount Johnson formation. Many parties have taken different routes to gain the hanging canyon. The farther to south you go, the closer you are to the hanging canyon and the fewer rappels you’re likely to make. The way to go is not obvious and requires a little trial and error to find the right gully. You should end up in a gully at a bolted rap station. Once the hanging canyon is reached, walk north to the mouth of the canyon. From here two raps put you back at the base of the west face. Allow at least 1.5 hours to descend.
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