SPRINGDALE, Washington County — If you’re looking to rock climb in Utah, be aware that several options will soon be off the table.
In preparation for nesting season and in an effort to help habitats for desert bighorn sheep, many popular cliffs and climbing routes in Arches, Canyonlands and Zion national parks will be closed off beginning Sunday.
The closures are expected to last several months.
According to the National Park Service, those routes are:
- 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 (routes one and two), Cuddle Bunny Tower, all three routes of The Penguins, Tonka Tower, False Start, North Marcher, Sand Hearse, Unknown March Men, Fun Ramp, Trail of the Navajo, Pop Tarts and Escape Route in Arches National Park
- Century Crack, Witness the Wilderness, Necronomicon (Book of the Dead), Army of Darkness, Chip and Dale Towers and Candlestick Tower at Canyonlands
- Angels Landing (trail to summit not affected), Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne, Isaac, The Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, The East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.
In addition, Charlie Horse Needle, Moses and Zeus, Airport Tower, Washer Woman and Monster Tower at Canyonlands will close on March 15. The Pickle at Arches will close on April 1, and Industrial Disease closed in December.
All route closures have ties to wildlife. For example, the cliffs at Zion National Park are used for nesting by peregrine falcons, which are sensitive to any disturbance during nesting season, park rangers said.
Park rangers at Arches and Canyonlands say the routes closed at those parks are in an effort to protect habitats for raptors and desert bighorn sheep.
The climbing routes will have different timetables to reopen.
Listed Zion locations may reopen in the spring depending on conditions. Wildlife biologists will monitor the locations of the closures and if they aren’t being used for breeding, they could reopen in April or early May. They will otherwise reopen in late July.
All listed Arches routes will reopen on Aug. 31 except The Penguins and Tonka Tower locations, which will be opened back up on Aug. 15 and Industrial Disease will reopen on Sept. 30.
Charlie Horse Needle, Moses and Zeus, Airport Tower, Washer Woman and Monster Tower at Canyonlands will reopen on Aug. 15. All other listed Canyonlands routes will reopen Aug. 31.