Lady Mountain

November 29, 2009

An incredulous route that poses a few short 5th class cruxes in its current state

Southeast slopes of South Ariel Peak

Moki steps

The Lady Mountain "trail" was constructed by the Park Service way back in 1925. At that time it consisted of 1,400 chiseled "moki steps", two ladders and 2,000 feet of cable. Due to difficulties in maintaining the route and many visitor injuries and deaths it was dismantled in 1978. All of the cables and ladders are now gone and the steps in the soft sandstone are a bit eroded but the route is still viable for those with the proper skills and a high tolerance for exposure. Here Dominic is climbing a steep set of steps near the start of the route. The steps have converted the 5th class terrain to 3rd class terrain.

Crux of Progeny Peak's southeast slopes route

Fading arrows point the way

Fading arrows that were painted on the rock long ago still point the way through the maze of steep cliff bands. The one shown here is yellow but they come in a variety of colors.

Aries Butte from South Ariel summit

First crux

The infamous chimney crux. This is the former location of one of the ladders before they were removed. Ratings seem to vary, probably because of the wild exposure below and the deadly consequences a fall would bring. There are two solid bolts here - one at the bottom belay ledge and one at the top. Dominic was also able to place a cam before pulling the little overhang. We both found this pitch to be surprisingly straightforward (with rock shoes).

View west from South Ariel summit

Dominic leading the first crux

Dominic in the chimney underneath the overhang. A crack on the left will take protection.

View down South Ariel Peak's southeast slopes route

Second crux

The second crux (another former ladder location) is technically a bit tougher (5.7), but its only 12 feet high and the exposure is very minimal. Opportunities for protection are slim to none, but a spot from below should do the trick. Dominic free-climbed it and set up a belay for me with cams and nuts providing a good anchor. On the way down I rappelled of the gear anchor and then Dominic removed it and carefully climbed down unprotected.

Climbing down the crux

Exposed ledges

Much of the route follows highly exposed ledges. Bush belays are common practice.

Climbing down the crux

Summit decoration

A remnant of the tourist days, this plaque points out various other prominant peaks in the area.

Climbing down the crux

The summit

Views from the summit are grand. The high peak on the left is The East Temple.

Climbing down the crux

Rappelling the lower crux

Dominic rappelling the exposed crux chimney. A solid bolt provides a good anchor.

Climbing down the crux

How did we get up that?

Lady Mountain's imposing east face as seen from the parking lot. The route goes at 5.7 but miraculously most of it is 2nd and 3rd class! I would never have guessed that such a reasonable route existed.

Home | Peak List | Colorado | Utah