Arches national site in Arizona has a steep, narrow canyon system that’s known for being one of the toughest in the country, with cliffs that rise more than 100 feet and can stretch for miles.
“There are not many places in the world where you can climb that high up and get that kind of protection from the weather,” said Dan Hodge, a climber from Seattle who has been exploring the Arches for five years.
The rock faces at Arches include many narrow and winding canyon systems, known as “rock piles,” that range from 6 to 9 feet high.
And it’s a challenging terrain that Hodge said is best suited for those who enjoy climbing.
“I think it’s one of those environments that we need to be careful about where we are, because of the amount of climbing and the amount the terrain can get in the way,” Hodge told CBC News.
“If we were in the United States, we would probably be in the middle of nowhere.
We would be stuck.”
Hodge has climbed the Arcs for the last five years, but the canyon systems have never been explored before, so he decided to do it his own way.
Hodge had heard of Arches, but was unaware that the park was known for having some of the world, including the highest cliffs in the US, and one of only three sites in the area that had no natural rock outcrops.
“We’ve only seen a couple of other routes up there, and we’re kind of a little bit of a wild card, but we know that’s where we’re going,” he said.
Hodge was part of a team that visited the Arche and found that the narrow canyon paths can be very dangerous and even dangerous to climbers, especially in the summer when the terrain is typically very dry.
“You’ve got the rock piles, you’ve got rock piles on the sides of the cliffs, and then you have a little piece of rock that’s very hard and very rugged and it’s just extremely hard to get up,” Hogue said.
The rugged cliffs are just a small part of what makes the Archs unique, said Chris Breslau, who manages the park.
“It’s one place where there are some of these very steep, very narrow cliffs that have really narrow paths and narrow coves, and that’s just a really, really challenging environment for any climber to get to,” Bresliak said.
Breslak said he was surprised at how easy it was to climb on the cliffs.
“The cliffs are not that steep,” he told CBC.
“There’s no really good trail that leads down into the canyon system.
You have to climb in the very narrow canyon.”
Hoges, who has climbed in the canyon before, said the cliffs are also a perfect place to camp because of their rugged nature.
“Campsites have got lots of rocks, lots of crevices, and it just takes a little practice to be able to get over there and camp,” he added.
There are many more cliffs and outcroppings to explore, but Hodge has been doing it his way for years, hoping to make the best of what he has and get to the top.
“It’s been a really exciting ride,” he explained.
“This is really exciting because I’ve had a really good time climbing the cliffs and I’ve learned a lot.”
The National Parks Service has not released a list of the places Hodge is currently exploring.