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The Palisade at Gateway --- 4th & low 5th class rock climbing to summit

The Palisade at Gateway

4th & low 5th class rock climbing to summit

When you drive through Unaweep Canyon and approach the Dolores River/ little berg of Gateway, a huge red sandstone fin looms above the valley where West Creek/Unaweep Canyon and the Dolores River canyon join.

That huge fin is known as The Palisade. We climbed it - 4 WSA members - on a 2nd try (had trouble finding the proper start location 1st time we tried it). Now it is back by popular demand.

The ascent is:

  • a walk up a big, grungy talus slope
  • traversing on sloping sandstone ledges and scrambling on 3rd and 4th class rock
  • using a climbing rope at a few spots to give you protection &/or peace of mind on 4th class and up to ~5.4 sections of rock climbing.
  • then, you reverse it all by down-climbing much of the route combined with 3-5 rappels

If you have some rock climbing, canyoneering or other scrambling, rope work and rappelling experience, come on along.

We need to  limit this to 8 persons to control the time needed for rope work. If we have 8, we may need to break into 2 travel groups of 4. We will see how it all plays out on the early stages of the ascent.

If you canyoneer with WSA, if you were with us last autumn on Parriott Mesa, if the rock gym is a place you go for exercise; or, if you have outdoor climbing experience . . . come on along.


Meet at7 AM under the City Market sign and row of trees at the City Market just off Hwy 50 heading south, in Orchard Mesa; before the fair grounds and on the opposite side of the road.


  • Helmet (required)
  • Climbing harness and rappel/belay device
  • 2-6 carabiners (prefer that at least some be locking)
  • 1" webbing, 5-9mm accessory cord or a daisy chain for a safety tether
  • 1" webbing (15-60' of it in case we need to leave rappel anchors on the descent)
  • leather/ fake leather or rubber face-cotton back gloves to avoid rock abrasion
  • headlamp (required)
  • broad-brimmed sun hat
  • pack to carry it all
  • lunch, snacks, water (lots of each of these)
  • dress for weather from cool to warm; calm to breezy; sunny to . . . sunny

Ropes (Need 11 mm climbing rope: 120' if we rappel double rope; or, 90' or less if we take a pull cord).

Rock climbing 'rack' of cams, hexes, stoppers, etc.


Each and every person who wishes to participate must be a WSA member. You may only RSVP for yourself - no guests, no +1, no mention in your RSVP of 'I am bringing my brother-in-law. In your RSVP YOU MUST give a 2 or 3 sentencebio of experience that makes you qualified for this activity. If you do not post that information in your RSVP the event organizer may opt to remove your name from the RSVP roster.



***** Acknowledgement of Risk *****

By RSVPing YES and participating in this activity you acknowledge that you have read the statements below and agree to abide by them while participating in this or any Western Slope Adventurers activity. Only those persons who have read this information and agree to its terms shall be viewed as participatants in this or any WSA activity.

Hiking, backpacking, road or mountain biking, water sports, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing/ scrambling, rappelling, canyoneering and other adventure sports are fun, but are not without risk. You are responsible for your own safety and staying within your own comfort limits. All Western Slope Adventurers events are unguided events. By participating in a WSA event, you acknowledge that you have a personal duty and responsibility for your own safety.

Western Slope Adventurers MeetUps are organized to provide a venue for outdoor enthusiasts to meet and have fun while sharing in experiences and adventures.

Neither the WSA MeetUp nor any event organizer assess the personal, technical and/or safety skills of participants; nor do they assess any event location to determine current conditions.

By your participation, you acknowledge that you have a personal duty and responsibility to (a) assess your own skills, honestly and accurately, to determine your suitability as a participant for each event, (b) seek adequate information to assess the difficulty of each event to determine if it is within your fitness and skill level, (c) seek adequate information about the current conditions in each area and the weather to assess potential risks to you by participating, and (d) evaluate other prospective event participants and to use your own judgment to determine their suitability for the event and how their participation may affect you.

All participants are encouraged and expected to:

  • honestly assess your skills to ensure each activity is within your ability
  • assess your prospective fellow event participants
  • accept responsibility for your own safety and comfort
  • do your share of any teamwork involved
  • share your ideas for situation assessment before and during an event
  • speak up if you're having a problem
  • speak up if you question what's going on or something that is being done, no matter who's doing it
  • have all of the clothing, equipment and any other special items needed for the activity
  • inform the event organizer or other designated participant if you are using medication (prescribed or otherwise) or have any medical condition that may affect your full participation in the event
  • on any biking, canyoneering, climbing; or, river event that is class II difficulty or higher, wear a helmet, no exceptions
  • have fun


Join or login to comment.

  • Beth

    What a blast. This was more than worth the drive: gorgeous views, and a very talented group second to none. Many thanks to Andy and Ruxton for showing the way.

    1 · April 22, 2013

    • Doug Van E.

      Next, you may want to do Parriot Mesa over near Moab. That is the one Tom Cannon, Jim Landis, Barrie Bloom, a few others and I did about 1 month after we did the Via Ferrata. You may want to coordinate a date for Parriot with Ernesto as I bet he would like to do this one, known as The Poor Man's Via Feratta.

      April 22, 2013

    • Beth

      I will probably wait for fall for that one.

      April 22, 2013

  • Andrew K.

    So much fun! It's very steep in the beginning, but the fun begins once you get on the rock steps/shelves up above. This trail requires scrambling, climbing and smearing to reach the top and it's a blast. We walked to the southern end of the plateau for lunch, and returned back to the trail where we proceeded to set up three rappels during the hike down. The day was finished off at Kannah Creek Brewery where my carpool party thanked me for driving. I met some new friends and bonded more with others, and it was all fantastic.

    1 · April 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Had a great day. The weather held perfect. Cool morning with sunshine at the end.

    1 · April 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The way up was just a bit steep, but soooo worth the pain! The views from up there were absolutely amazing, especially when the sun decided to pop out and clear away the clouds. :) We got to do a little hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, and rappelling - the whole package! I couldn't have had a better time!

    1 · April 20, 2013

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