Moapa Peak, South Guardian Angel, North Guardian Angel


By: Jim Roberts


Private trip

Participants: Cuno Ranschau, Doris McClure, Jim Roberts

Getting off I-15 at the Carp-Elgin exit (#100) we explored several unpromising roads, including two that could not have been built by Romans, before hitting on the right one to Moapa (see fig.). This dirt road is very good all the way to the loop at the end. Cuno rates Moapa as one of the finest climbs on the DPS list. It is a steep limestone (dolomite?) formation jutting 3000' above the surrounding alluvial plain. Friction on the rough, sharp rock is even better than one might desire. Climbers are advised to bring an extra set of hands in case the first wear out.

A direct assault up the central buttress on the south face did not go (is there a route up the gully just to the east?), so we traversed west to the ridge that leads to a small saddle ,west of the peak. About half way up the west ridge there is a short, tricky 4th class pitch in a water gully. After reaching the summit monolith, traverse the shelf under the south cliff. From the middle of this shelf a 3rd class gully (with one 4th cl move) leads to the summit ridge just west of the peak. One can descend this way, or run the exposed, knife-edged east ridge back onto the shelf, and return via the west saddle. We did not find a 3rd class route up this peak.

Soon after dark we camped near the 7000' level off the Kolob Road in Zion just NE of Pine Valley Peak. (Has anyone free climbed this one? It looks barely possible.) We set off early the next morning for South Guardian Angel on a route suggested to me in July by two canyon hikers. The hike to the canyon bottom along this route was extremely beautiful and very easy. The variously weathered fossil sand dunes make a superb photographic subject. Unfortunately this 'route', which intersects the left fork 1.5 miles E of North G. A. and looks so' plausible on the 7.5' topo, does not cross without wings or a Buck Rogers flying belt. The correct crossing is about 2/3 mi SE of N. G. A., and is not obvious. We amused ourselves for a few hours with strenuous route finding problems before settling for N. G. A. We reached the summit of this pocket peak shortly after noon, where we met Henry Heusinkveld and his Canyon Explorers Bobcat, Graham Breakwell, et al. All three of us made the descent of N. G. A. free, but none did Moapa free. We were back at the car by 2 pm and left for Vegas. We highly recommend these three peaks for an extremely pleasing, productive and challenging three day trip. Of course, one must approach the Angels from the north and be certain of the route across the canyon. A much larger group than ours might have to camp at the Lava Pt. CG.

When passing through Vegas, try the buffet ($3.70 with tax) at the El Rancho hotel-casino, one block SW of the Sahara. Circus Circus across the street is the same price and has longer hours, but the cost in cultural shock is much greater and the food not as good. The two Keno women we saw in the restaurant had legs good enough to make even Cuno forget all about (rocky) peaks and inquire solicitously into the details of their diet. According to Doris, the male croupiers and dealers weren't much to look at. If one, is passing through in the wee hours (before 7 am), stop at Bingo Palace - also the Sahara exit, N of freeway - for their 49 cent breakfast. Order several!

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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