Matt and Joanne’s Page

March 9, 2008

Jacks Canyon

Filed under: Climbing, Roadtrip — Tags: , — Matt Stamplis @ 9:33 am

*Warning* Boring climbing post ahead!

While out near Petrified Forest we spent five days climbing in Jacks Canyon and had a surprisingly good time. I wasn’t sure what I would think of the climbing, especially considering the reputation of the place. Drilled/comfortized holds, bolted cracks, bolts every five feet, short routes: it doesn’t sound exactly like a climbing paradise to me but the routes were entertaining (and so were the grades! Well at least some of them…). The rock is high quality limestone and the routes tend to climb like bolted boulder problems with short, physical cruxes. Also, the canyon is quite beautiful and makes for a great setting.

The stream that cuts through the canyon was exceptionally high while we were there. The main wall was completely inaccessible and the water was deep and very fast; fortunately, someone had setup a tyrolean across the river. Unfortunately, they didn’t anticipate exactly how high the water would be. When crossing the river, the rope stretched enough that my backside ended up getting a little wet. Well, it could have been worse! The water level went down our last two days, making the crossing much more relaxing. Visiting climbers might consider making Jacks a stop: you might even have fun on a bolted crack (The horror!). Here were some routes that should put a smile on your face: Betty Cracker 8, Sports Book 10-, Dealer’s Choice 10-, Claim to Fame 10-, Crosstown Traffic 10, Genesis 10, Jack and the Beanstalk 10, Jack of All Trades 10+, Six Shooter 11- Some of the grades here may have been adjusted to reflect our opinions :).

Regarding Jacks Canyon, Joanne says

“Both of us agree that the grading system in Jack’s Canyon is definitely a little soft. Not so much that the routes are easy but more because most of the route has 1 crux move, short and not sustain. Matt actually onsited his first 5.12a which is to both our surprises. We did not have the guide book handy (stored in computer) so we merely just pick a route and climb and check the rating later on. And I also got my first 5.11b redpoint after spending some time working on the crux moves :). I also think that the grading here are a little funky sometime. For comparison, Matt has been working on another 5.12a and after the 3rd day, he gave up on it because it was just a little too hard for him. And I on the other hand couldn’t even make some of the move on another 5.11a route. Maybe some routes are soft and some aren’t I guess. But this place is definitely a great place for beginner climber because the routes are very well bolted (as in very very well bolted compared to Smith Rock). You can almost always able to clip the first bolt after making 1 small move from the ground and the bolts are about 6 ft away from each other so not too much worry about falling. Also as long as you are climbing your grade, whenever you need a hold there always seems to be something right there. Sometimes I wonder if the holds are real or man-made :). ”

Here’s Matt testing the waters out on the Tyrolean at Jacks Canyon. It was really hard for him to stay dry!

Just three days later the water level had dropped way down again – you can see Joanne is nowhere close to touching the water!

Matt and Yogi playing with shadows on the road to Jacks Canyon.

Route Info + Beta!
Climbing Quality: OK, the climbing is actually pretty good – certainly better than what I was expecting. But seriously, the routes are way too short. The grid-bolting is a bit obnoxious – a few months have passed since we climbed there and not a single route or even a single MOVE sticks out in my mind.

Camping: At least the camping is awesome, perched on the canyon rim. It’s free and there’s even a pit toilet! No water. Judging from some of the ridiculous ruts in the road, this is not a place you want to be after heavy rains.

Rest day activities: Go explore the canyon. There’s some other roads in the area that access the canyon in other places. While taking a LONG walk one day I spied a great looking wall but the river was too high for me to get close enough to check them out. Based on trails in the area, I’m fairly certain it’s seen some development but I can’t believe it’s not the “main attraction” in the canyon! Other than that you could get drunk. There’s really nothing else to do here!


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