Moses is truly one of the premier desert southwest spires. The isolated fantastic location, wonderful rock quality, superb climbing, bomber location, tall stature, and beauty of the formation, all lend to its five star rating.
With four-wheel drive, we drove to with-in a few minutes of the canyon rim. I had been twice before to Taylor Canyon. Once with Arches Ranger Steve Swanke, we came in to do the North Face Route on Moses, but Steve ripped his knuckles up severely on the rappels into the canyon. Seems he made a commando-Rambo-type rappel over a cap rock, and his feet were in space while his manos grinded on the stone. His hands looked like he’d gotten too close to a piranha tank. We opted to do the bolt ladder on Zeus, which is sort of ridiculous and I hear has since been erased; two and one half pitches of bolts up the skinny side of Zeus.
I returned to Taylor Canyon with Dave Evans for our spring Break. Once again we resort to lazy tactic, and decide on a late start to get gear in the canyon and fix a pitch, so the summit day will be fast, relaxed and easy.
To get to Moses from the rim, you must make two overhanging rappels, and leave fixed ropes to jumar out on for the return. I volunteer one of my ropes to fix, while Dave donates one of his old El Cap wall ropes, which he swears is bomber, at least for fixing anyways.
On the second rappel, Dave is half way down the overhanging section, when his “bomber” rope unbelievably starts to fall apart with his body weight. The sheath separates and peels away, leaving a five-foot section of only the nylon inside of the rope. If you’ve ever seen what’s under a rope’s sheath, well; it looks like about ten packaging twine strands bunched together; not a very inspiring sight, especially when rappelling overhanging rock.
We are both freaked by this rope disintegration episode, and tie knots around the damaged section to we can use it anyways for our return after our fixing day.
We finally make it to the Moses, and do pitch one, then return to our damaged fixed rappel line and delicately jug out of the canyon, hoping it will hold us for one more time. Then we can haul it out of the canyon and replace it tomorrow with a solid rope on our return trip back to the Moses. That night we tell our friends at the rim of our naughty rope and center the evening’s campfire entertainment around various ways to punish this bad rope for giving us such a scare.
Brother Scott gores first, and mows the rope down numerous times with his mountain bike. Wheelies, burn-outs, brodies, and bike slams on the already beat rope send us all roaring with laughter and revengeful delights. I then throw it around and beat it against the ground, similar to what you see professional wrestlers do to each other on T.V. We all throw rocks at the poor thing, and talk about a proper white-gas flame cremation, but nix that idea because of the smell and the mess of melted nylon.
Rising early, we search the truck for another rope to replace our shredded rope, but to our shock, we seem to have left all our spare ropes in Moab!!! To our horror, we sheepishly dust off Dave’s damaged and thoroughly abused wall rope, and realize that we must apologize to our perlon buddy and see if we can coax it into one more ride into the canyon. We feel guilty like a puppy that has peed on the carpet. How could such a thing happen?
Safely in the canyon again, we pretty much cruise the climb, which, to be redundant, was absolutely fantastic. The rappels down the north face are fairly hairy. All the stations are hanging stances off of huge clusters of rotting faded slings. One of the bolts at a station is stamped, “bad bolt”, right on the hanger; nice touch and quite a confidence builder as well.
The rope only got jammed once on the airy descent, and we make it back to the rim all right, this time to put the skank rope down forever.