Climbing Namaste, a great wall in a surreal canyon

Climber at Namaste Wall

Last weekend we went to Zion National Park to climb one of the most beautiful sport climbing lines in the United States: Namaste wall. Not only the wall is magic, but also the approach hike through the Kolob Canyons.

Namaste is a Sanskrit greeting that means "The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you" - a knowing that we are all made from the same Consciousness. This is the way we felt after hiking and climbing at this surreal and peaceful place.

Getting there

We were already camping for 3 days close to the Zion National park and did some splendorous hikes, but we were getting tired that Zion had people everywhere. We failed to get the backcountnry permits and escape from crowds -  park rangers were not helpful at all.

We woke up that day and decided it was time to move on. It was hard to left Zion without seeing the Narrows and Subway but we decided to let it go.  

Go where? Since January when we bought our flight tickets, we've been checking a couple of climbing areas on that region. Not really into it, 'cause Raisa was about to get a shoulder surgery, we didn't know how recovery would be. But I remember stumbling on this huge overhang reddish sandy rock wall. The climbing routes were above our level, but who cares!?  We looked at each other and said: "we gotta climb this wall".

That moving morning after few discussion, indecision and u-turns we decided to head to Kolob Canyons, where Namaste wall is. It's located far from the crowds in an isolated northwestern section of the Zion National Park. Drive access to this area is different from the Zion main entrance, further northwest. We took interstate 15 to the Kolob Canyons exit 40, then drove 3.2 miles to where the road makes a hairpin turn to the right, where the parking lot is located.

Trail-scendental Trail

The trail to the Namaste wall starts close to the South Fork of Taylor creek. As you climb gradually inside the canyon, the throat becomes narrower and the walls seem taller. Since it's not as accesible as the rest of the park, you hardly see anyone else on the trail, and the nature is more preserved.

The trail climbs gradually and passes through a light green forest, a garden-like paradise sheltered by huge walls of deep pink and orange Navajo sandstone. At the end of the trail you walk over pink sand - torn off the walls over the millennia. 

Weather in the desert is extreme, changing from freezing cold to hot in minutes and vice versa. It was a sunny day, but on our way it became really cloudy and a hail storm started. We got shelter in a cave and waited until the ephemeral water precipitation vanished.15 minutes more hiking and we got to Namaste Wall. We were completely alone - surrounded by red walls with huge holes, pockets and huecos - up to 2 meters wide. The red light was reflected in the white sand, creating a pink environment, lightly moist , with light green trees. The solitude that bring you mind piece - namaste!

Rock Climbing

Well, so what? Let's climb. Mon started leading it and at the beginning, he thought about giving up, but after the 2nd bolt he was enjoying the big jugs to climb up on this overhang wall. Then it was Raisa's time, with her heart in her mouth - it was her first time climbing in the nature after the surgery... she didn't finish the route, but climbed enough to enjoy her passion. She came down and started to cry: "I'm back again!"

After climbing, we packed our gear, watched a climber struggling to complete another route (man, one really gets pumped on this overhangs!) and hiked back to our car.

Just jump

Hiking Back  

We were in love with that pinkish atmosphere and huge trees always creating this mini oasis. It was a beautiful time spent there. Back to the car we tried hard to take a corny jumping picture.

Time to hit the road and head to next destination... a lunar canyon in earth: Bryce Canyon. 

What we did last weekend? We had fun in nature. Namaste!