Primrose Dihedrals 5.11d (5.10+ A0)
Moses, Canyonlands Nat. Park
About the Climb
Moses is one of the tallest and most imposing desert towers in Utah. It is also located in one of the most beautiful and remote areas of the western U.S: Canyonlands National Park. Climbing in this incredible and dramatic setting is an experience that is hard to beat.
Primrose Dihedrals a true classic, and is one of the best and longest free climbs in the desert, offering spectacular, steep and varied climbing up a long and continuous corner system. The smooth and mostly solid sandstone of Primrose Dihedrals offers sustained climbing and excellent protection. Depending on the variation and your style of climbing (or ethics!), the route can be as hard as 5.11d, or as easy as 5.10+ A0. Either way, the climbing is exquisite and the position is spectacular and exposed. Each pitch feels different, but the climbing consists mostly of finger and hand cracks. Some belays are uncomfortable, but it is possible to link some pitches together.
Even if Primrose Dihedrals did not get a “spicy” rating, be aware that it is a serious objective. It is a long climb in a remote area and the climbing is fairly sustained. Watch out for loose blocks and inspect fixed protection. This climb gets a lot of morning sun, so it can get hot too.
To reach Primrose Dihedrals, you will need to go down some interesting and exposed dirt roads. Although it would be possible to reach the parking area with a 2WD car, a high clearance 4x4 vehicle is highly recommended. Moses tower is located in Taylor Canyon, in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Unlike Arches National Park, driving down into Canyonlands is a little more complicated. Dirt roads are exposed and adventurous, and progress can be very slow. Conditions change with weather, so make sure you check with the Island In The Sky visitor center before your trip. The drive takes about 1 hour from Moab.
If you wish to camp near the base of the route, 2 options exist, but either way you will need to obtain a camping permit from the Park service. The closest campsite is located a few hundred yards from the trailhead and is called Taylor campground. It is a single tent site and has a toilet. The reservation fee for this site is 30$ and reservations should be made well in advance. Another option is to get a backcountry permit ($15) which will allow you to camp in the wilderness near the base of the tower.
If you're looking for something a little easier than Primrose Dihedrals but in a similar setting, In Search Of Suds (5.11a) is another great climb that is also located in Canyonlands.