Labyrinth Canyon: There is Rock Climbing
Labyrinth Canyon is a flatwater stretch of the Green River that flows for about 40 miles from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. What is so remarkable about this stretch of river is that it is where the Green cuts through the Navajo (190mil) and Wingate (200mil) sandstone layers of Indian Creek fame. Wingate in its tendency to fracture in linear planes has given us the privilege of Indian Creek splitters.
This is to say essentially that Labyrinth Canyon is a wet and mysterious Indian Creek. Multimodal adventures are the future *_* Too strong a statement? Regardless, this seemed a nice introduction to the River-Climbing combination.
Being that much of the excitement for me about climbing in Labyrinth was the mystery, I don't intend here to provide a ton of beta. And that said, I don't really have much. We climbed at Three Canyon and Keg Springs Canyon. We didn't seek these places out for climbing, they are just where we ended up. In both places there was epic climbing. Navajo climbing at Three and Wingate at Keg Springs. The upper half of the Canyon is primarily Navajo and the lower half Wingate. We didn't climb at Green River Towers. Generally it seems that the second half of hte stretch is remarkably more loaded with climbs. Like, an overwhelmingly huge number of crack climbs. Hannah and I were more concerned with loving one another and and drinking wine and exploring than we were with climbing because both loving and wine are infinitely more important than climbing on rocks. Anyway, here's what I've got...
We got a free river permit at the BLM office in Moab next to the grocery store. It seemed like one could be on the river as long as desired. The BLM rules.
We drove North from Moab back to I-70, one exit West (Exit 175 to Floy) and then South on the dirt road 15 miles following signs to Ruby Ranch. We screwed up and went left at one point toward White Sand Dunes instead of right to Ruby. [Note: There is a gate at Ruby Ranch noting Private Property: No Trespassing...trespass, just leave the gate how you found it.]
We planned on a Tuesday to Saturday trip. 40 miles really is not that many river miles to cover. The last day we did 20 miles in about 6 hours, which means that in theory one could do the whole stretch in one big (very big) day. This is to say, take your time. Climb.
Also, think about how you'll get back to your car. Either park a car at Mineral Bottom to shuttle back or have friends pick you up (our plan). This is obvious to river folks, but perhaps not to mountain folks. This would be a tragic logistic to fuck up.
We got on the river at about 3:00pm on Tuesday and made our way to Three Canyon, one of the only remaining Navajo sandstone canyons not drowned by Glen Canyon Dam. It was beautiful. We spent two nights and climbed the obvious crack ascending the prow. You'll know what I'm talking about. There are likely hundreds of beautiful crack climbs deeper in the three canyons.
We spent an afternoon moving from Three Canyon to Keg Springs Canyon. We found a camp about 200 yards up Keg Springs Stream. We spent a night and climbed behind camp the next morning. Jesus. There is what feels like a lifetime of climbing up that damn canyon.
On the left above camp and behind a small tower is a beautiful 5.8 crack that requires moving right from one splitter to another halfway up. I call it Lover's Carvings. Its b-e-a-utiful. Further right are a few other splitters that are 5.HARD. I struggled my way up the one pictured below, lamentably hammered in a piton where the crack tapered, and lowered off.
The next day we had to make it to Mineral Bottom 20 miles downstream by 5:00pm to get picked up by our wonderful friends Joey and Charlie and Mary. Once loaded it took about an hour on a sketchy road to get back to Moab, and then at least three hours to drive to Ruby to retrieve our car and get back to Moab.
Life's a labyrinth. Go explore.