1.4 Miles of Climbing


A trio of desert adventurers has established one of the longest girdle traverses in North America: the 1.4-mile traverse of the Great White Wall in Utah. British expatriate Paul Ross, Andy Ross, and Layne Potter traversed this enormous slab in the San Rafael Swell, using parts of routes established earlier on the 1,200-foot face. A Mile and a Bit of Fun went at 5.8R. Paul Ross, a British expatriate, has spearheaded dozens of long new routes on the east-facing slabs of the San Rafael Swell, just south of I-70. Although they have modest ratings, these climbs are sparsely protected and can be dangerous—Ross broke his ankle in a fall last autumn when a ledge collapsed under his feet.Ross, a prolific new-router, brought the British tradition of girdle traverses with him when he moved to North America in the mid-1960s; he pioneered the traverses of Whitehorse, Cathedral, and Cannon cliffs in New Hampshire, where he lived for many years. In 2001, he and Jeff Pheasant created an unlikely nine-pitch traverse that circumnavigates the famous Castleton Tower, outside Moab, Utah. For more information and photos of the new route, visit www.climbingmoab.com/rock/db/ san_rafael_swell__south_/eastern_reef_slabs /a_mile_and_a_bit_of_fun.html.