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NPS announces Utah rock climbing closures to protect raptors, bighorn sheep

Posted at 8:08 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 10:12:31-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The National Park Service has issued its annual notice of rock climbing route closures for two parks in Utah.

According to NPS, the temporary climbing route closures in Arches and Canyonlands national parks last up to six months each year, and they help to protect the native habitats of raptors and desert bighorn sheep.

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The following routes are closed:

Canyonlands National Park

  • Century Crack, Witness the Wilderness, Necronomicon (Book of the Dead), Army of Darkness, Chip and Dale Towers, and Candlestick Tower: closed March 1 – August 31.
  • Charlie Horse Needle, Moses and Zeus, Airport Tower, Washer Woman, and Monster Tower: closed March 15 – August 15.

Arches National Park

  • Harkonnen Castle (Dune), Canyonlands by Night, El Secondo, The Coup, Crohn’s Wall (Left Route, Crohn’s Odyssey, Project One, Project Two), Klondike Bluffs Crack, The Bouquet (Route One & Route Two), Cuddle Bunny Tower, False Start, North Marcher, Sand Hearse, Unknown Marching Men, Fun Ramp, The Hyena, Trail of the Navajo, Pop Tarts, and Escape Route: closed March 1 – August 31.
  • The Three Penguins (all routes) and Tonka Tower: closed March 1 – August 15.
  • The Pickle: closed April 1 – August 31.
  • Industrial Disease: closed December 1 – September 30.

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During the closures, park biologists will survey each of the areas and may decide to reopen some of the routes earlier than scheduled.

Further regulations and "no trace" practices for climbers:

  • White chalk is prohibited. Chalk must be similar in color to the rock being climbed.
  • The physical altering of rock faces by chiseling, glue reinforcement of existing holds, gluing of new holds, and the intentional removal of lichen or plants from rock are prohibited.
  • Rock climbing should be mostly free climbing or clean aid climbing.
  • Any new installation of fixed gear requires a permit. If an existing item or fixed anchor is judged unsafe, it may be replaced, in kind, without a permit. Bolts, hangers and chains must be painted the color of the rock surface.
  • Protection may not be placed with the use of a hammer except to replace existing belay and rappel anchors and bolts on existing routes, or for emergency self-rescue. The use of motorized power drills is prohibited.
  • If an existing software item (sling, etc.) is unsafe, it may be replaced. Software left in place must match the rock surface in color.
  • Leaving fixed ropes in place for more than 24 hours is prohibited, unless the park has been notified.
  • Slacklining (or “highlining”) and BASE jumping are prohibited.
  • Guided rock climbing services are prohibited.
  • ALL overnight backcountry use in either park requires a permit.

In addition, at Canyonlands National Park:

In addition, at Arches National Park:

  • Rock climbing groups are limited to five persons per group.
  • Bivying overnight is not allowed.
  • All persons planning to climb in Arches National Park are encouraged to register by obtaining a free permit on-line (, or self-register at the kiosk in front of the visitor center.
  • Information on canyoneering can be found at