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“Jah Man” Rises Again!

It's alive!

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Jah Man on Sister Superior, pre-rockfall.Photo: Duane Raleigh.

Well that didn’t take long: Earlier this week Rock and Ice reported that the classic desert route Jah Man was no more following a major rockfall event, and now it seems a quartet of industrious Moab locals have already gone and resurrected it!

On January 3, a massive chunk of rock on the southeast face of Sister Superior, a tower in Castle Valley, came crashing down. The space between that rock and the tower proper had formed the classic first-pitch 5.8 chimney on Jah Man. Left in its wake was a large rock scar of unknown quality.

Yesterday, climbing guide Gaar Lausman reported on Instagram, “#fuckyear We did it!! … Crew of 4 locals, Mark Howe, Jake Warren, Dave Sadof and myself reclaimed JahMan! We established 3 new pitches that link into the original line. The new climb is fairly clean, fun, and engaging. Except for P1, which is standard desert tower climbing. So it’s still fun.”

Lausman, Howe, Warren and Sadof’s new pitches entail some wild traversing and harder terrain than the former start to the route. While the first new pitch goes at 5.10, the second and third new pitches go at 5.11 and 5.12b/c, respectively.

The top of pitch 3 ends just a few feet higher than one of the anchors on the previous iteration of the climb, stopping instead at a natural ledge. Both this new ending, as well as the anchor on pitch 2, require gear anchors at present.

Before you point the car toward Castle Valley to give it a try, know that Sister Superior and its immediate surroundings are still in a state of flux.

On a Mountain Project thread, Mark Howe added gave some details, noting that the loose rock at the base of the tower is “unstable and actively settling. Spontaneous rock sliding in the impact area is occurring and continuing over the 50′ rock band below the base.”

Howe also wrote that the beginning of the first pitch—a portion of the original first pitch that survived—is of questionable quality right now and should be approached cautiously

Finally, Howe wrote, “A major portion of the south terminus of the tower is fractured and has serac-like features that appear potentially unstable. There are spontaneous and sporadic sand spin drifts propagating from the fractures in this area indicating movement.”

So again, approach with care. Perhaps best for most of us to let the dust settle a bit more before taking a crack at the new Jah Man.

Nice work, guys!