A pair of semi’s thundered along I-15 on the bridge below the crag. I lowered from my project, defeated. I wasn’t strong enough for the VRC. I wanted to boulder and enjoy easy low commitment climbing…
Winter can be difficult for climbing. El Niñ0 arrived in California, drenching Yosemite National Park in rain and snow and socking in the sport climbing in Sonora. I usually retreat to the East Side when the weather turns wet, but after a few winters in Bishop, I wanted something new. A short talk with Berkeley Ironworks’ stock boy, Scott Frye, convinced me to head south to the best limestone in the US, the Virgin River Gorge. When the VRG got old, I headed just a few miles north to the classic bouldering in Moe’s Valley.
The Shinarump Conglomerate sandstone in Moe’s Valley tends to be soft rock with a variety of holds. The undersides of the boulders have enormous huecos, and the vertical walls have small crimps and slopers. The majority of the top outs have big holds and solid feet, making them a casual affair. The descents are straight forward, and many of the boulders are on flat ground, providing ideal landings zones.
The problems range from V0 to Isaac Caldiero’s Force of Nature, which clocks in at V14. The majority of the problems fall in at moderate grades with a large concentration being from V4 to V6. Moe’s was a perfect break from the heartbreak of the VRG.
The road into Moe’s tends to be a bit rough. I bottomed out in my Honda Odyessy a few times but after I learned to weave through the bumps, it was an easy ride. The area is located about thirty minutes from St. George and the town is visible from the campground. There’s a number of places to car camp at the area, and located within spitting distance of I-15, the crag is a good stopping point for traveling climbers.
I met with a few other boulders from Chattanooga and the Bay Area who were all passing through. Though Tyler Webb and Seth Giles authored a guide book to the area in 2011, we mostly relied on Mountain Project to find the boulders and the problems. The app was chalk full of boulder problems.
Later, I tracked down a copy of the guide book and snapped photos of the topos for reference. Finding the boulders and most of the problems felt pretty mellow. The area is fairly concentrated and there’s minimal walking between the clusters of boulders.
One member of the group, who will remain anonymous, but let’s just say he enjoys pies and his name rhymes with Flames, broke a hold on a classic V3 at the Teepee boulder. Further supporting the hypothesis that he needs to lose weight and that the rock at Moe’s tends to be friable.
Beyond the one broken hold, we climbed a number of great problems- Huntsman Grafitti, Underwhere, Device Ignitor and a few other moderate problems stood out. Greg Ward, a climber from Chattanooga, made a quick ascent of Shots Fired, an amazing V6 perched on a talus slope. The precarious landing made the mantel, though moderate, quite exciting.
Moe’s Valley provides a great stopping point for climbers passing through the Saint George Area. With lots of fun moderate problems and easily accessible climbing, it should be high on the roadtrip radar.