There is a place near Moab, Utah, where the rock is not good, the road is six inches away and the smell of urine assaults your nostrils on warm sunny days. Somehow, though, this is one of the most popular crags in Moab. Just goes to show, if you build it, they will come. So what is it with Wall Street, and why is it so popular despite all it’s shortcomings?
For starters, it get’s sun first thing in the morning. While other cliffs are still shaking off the previous night’s cold, Wall Street offers warm stone. And aside from the highway, which offers the chance to see just how close you can stand to a speeding semi, the setting is actually quite scenic. The Colorado River sits just a few yards away, and the towering orange cliffs glow in the sun.
As for the climbing, it takes place on the soft Navajo sandstone, which is a noticeable step down from the Wingate of Indian Creek and other crags around Moab. This does, however, lend itself to more face climbing options, and as such, there are many bolted routes on Wall Street. That alone is a big draw for many, who want to experience the climbing around Moab, but have little experience with desert cracks. It’s also convenient, with climbs lined up one right after another, so it’s easy to get in a lot of pitches, and you’ll often find locals running laps at the end of their work day.
The hardware at the area has been kept up well, with notable thanks to the ASCA and Sam Lightner, Jr, so you’ll rarely find yourself at an anchor that your worried might pull from the soft stone as you lower to the pavement. Many of the old drilled pins have been upgraded as well, as folks are finding out these things are not nearly as bomber as once assumed.
There are a wide variety of grades here, from bolted 5.7 slabs to elegant 5.11 trad lines to 5.12 crimp fests. It can be difficult, though, at an area like this, to find the best climbs. Many that are given stars in the guidebook really aren’t that good, given the sandy nature of the rock. For some guaranteed fun, however, check out the following routes: 30 Seconds Over Potash (5.8+), Flakes of Wrath (5.9+), Lucy in the Sky With Potash (5.10-), Baby Blue (5.11-), Static Cling (5.11) and Dark Horse (5.12).
Oh, one more thing. Before you go, know what you are getting into. With the highway close at hand, speeding semi trucks are the norm, and the scene often resembels a gym more than an outdoor crag. Expect crowds, and many people belaying out of lawn chairs. Hit it mid week in the colder months, though, and you can actually have a pretty fun time out there. As long as you don’t mind the trucks, sandy footholds, etc….