Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zion - Voice from the Dust - Trip Report

Since moving back to Utah, Zion National Park has become one of my favorite places to go on climbing adventures.  In Hebrew, one translation states that Zion means 'a place of dryness.'  In a religious context, it is another word for the holy city Jerusalem.  More secular definitions of Zion suggest that it is used to describe a spiritual sanctuary.   For me, Zion represents a land of contrasts.  On one hand, there is this beautiful and stark desert environment that invites a sense of calm and relaxation.  This is in contrast to the character of the majority of the climbing routes in Zion, which generally entail some sort of adventure.  These contrasts keep me coming back for more. 

After climbing in Red Rocks for several days, Jonathon and I decided to take a detour through Zion on our way back to Salt Lake City.  We had our sights set on climbing an nine pitch route on Mt. Moroni called Voice from the Dust.  Earlier in the fall, I had rappelled over the lower half of the route after climbing a neighboring route and those pitches looked quite inspiring.  The route itself was very good with a mix of splitter cracks, delicate face climbing and adventure choss topped off with a beautiful summit. Here is the beta:


Take the shuttle to the Court of the Patriarchs stop.  The large huecoed roof and splitter second pitch crack are visible from the road. Cross the road and follow the trail to a bridge that crosses the river.  Continue to follow the trail until you reach a corral.  At the corral, head right.  After a couple hundred feet, look for a faint trail the heads up the hillside towards Mt. Moroni.  Follow the path of least resistance through a couple low-angle cliff bands and traverse towards the base of the route.  Allow about 30 minutes.

Pitch 1:

Climb up a 5.8 chimney under the huecos. Look for a bolt to the climbers left and traverse through the huecos to reach a 1 bolt belay backed up with some smaller cams.

Crawling under the huecos on the first pitch.

Pitch 2: 

Step out left and climb the tight hands splitter for 100 feet.  Starts out with BD .5 to .75 to #1 and finishes on tight #2s.  With all the the features on the wall, the pitch is quite manageable.  Belay at a 2 bolt anchor in a little alcove. 5.11a.

Starting up the second pitch

Jonathon following the upper bit of the second pitch

Pitch 3:

Climb through a pumpy roof and then continue up an enjoyable hand crack.  The pitch finishes up with a 5.8 offwidth that can be protected with a #5 camalot.  Belay at a 2 bolt anchor on a large ledge.  Of note, Jonathon took on a piece just above the roof and the piece popped due to the rock breaking.  While very splitter looking, the rock is still a bit fragile. 5.11-.

Jonathon starting up the third pitch

Pitch 4:

Moderate face climbing leads to a cruxy, sequential and slopey move protected by a drilled angle.  The rest of the pitch has bomber bolts and a couple small cams and nuts protect the lower part of the pitch.  Belay at another 2 bolt anchor. 5.11b/c

From here move the belay across the huge ledge to the base of a 5.9 offwidth.

Pitch 5:

This 175 foot pitch begins in an unprotected (possible a #6 camalot would fit) 5.9 offwidth.  After the offwidth, traverse to the right to a bolt that protects a reachy and exposed step-across move into a hand sized crack system. Continue following the crack system for another 100 feet or so.  Build an anchor at an awkward spot where the crack starts to trend left. 5.10a

Zoomed in on the upper part of pitch 5

Views from pitch 5 belay

Pitch 6: Traverse and undercling left up towards a short offwidth that leads to another undercling system that can be protected with a #4 camalot.  Continue moving left across loose boulders and climb down a little bit to a tree with slings on it. 5.10b.

Pitch 7: Head up and slightly left through the 'book of the dead.' While not too difficult the climbing is quite loose.  We ended up belaying on the ledge just after the 'book of the dead' and just before the 'book of life' due to rope drag and the potential to dislodge loose rocks.  There are some slung boulders and a small cam can make a decent anchor. 5.8.

Pitch 8: Continue up the low-angle splitter for about 60 feet.  Go right after the crack ends and then climb through some easy terrain.  Belay on a ledge just above the two bolt rappel anchor. 5.8.

Pitch 9:  Go left and then back right through easy terrain.  Pass a bolt and fixed pin rappel anchor and scramble up to the summit. 5.7.

Summit Shots!


Rappel the route with a combination of double rope rappels and single rope rappels. Be careful not to get your rope suck on the second rappel

Walking back to the shuttle after finishing the climb.


  • 1 blue tcu, 1 yellow tcu, 2 .4 BD camalots, 3 .5 BD cams, 3 .75 BD cams, 3 #1 BD cams, 3 #2 BD cams, 1 #3 BD, 1 #4 BD cam, 1 #5 BD cam
  • small set of small to medium nuts.  
  • If you want to protect the 5.9 off width on pitch 5 you need a BD #6 or something bigger
  • About 10 total Petzl Dyneema slings and Petzl Ange quick draws
A 70m Petzl Rope
A 6mm tag line for rappelling
A comfortable pair of La Sportiva Muira
Patagonia Morning Glory Tank


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