Jun 07 2018

Zion: No Name Knoll

Backcountry Scrambling on the Kolob Terrace

Categories: Zion

The Kolob Terrace of Zion lies between the main part of the park and the Kolob Canyons area of the park. It’s made up of a series of “terraces” divided by long sandstone ridges and escarpments. The terraces are covered in sand and lave pastures and forests. It’s also splintered into a confusing array of public and private, state and federal land.

Along the road that passes through the area there is a high ridge of sandstone hoodoos in between Cave Knoll and Tabernacle Dome. I’ve been on Cave Knoll many times but had never tried this other wall of rock so one day set out to do just that. I’m calling the peak No-Name Knoll because I haven’t seen any labels for it on maps or the internet.

This broad sandy wash seemed like the easiest way to approach the cliffs from the road.

With no real way of knowing how to get on top I had to simply explore the bottom of the cliffs and look for opportunities.

My first attempt got me up above the trees but became to steep and exposed.

There was this strange half built “storage shelf” from 1961.

Near the logs was a stone dam. It was completely filled with sand but water was trickling out the hose on the bottom.

Climbing above the dam seemed promising. There were numerous seep springs around the area. Again, here I was able to almost get up above the waterfall but the rocks became just steep and exposed enough to make me uncomfortable. Rock climbing shoes might have made the difference.

Some nice vegetation growing above the dam. The temperature was cooler here than anywhere else that day.

My first two attempts were a bust so I had no choice but to walk along the bottom of the cliffs until I found another way up.

The bottom of No Name Knoll is littered with nooks and crannies and pseudo caves.

Finally after I’d walked all the way to the back of the valley I found a way up the ridge connecting to Cave Knoll. It had taken a couple of hours.

Some storms were brewing to the north. I hoped they would blow east.

To the south it looked great.

Looking across Lee Valley your vision is blocked by another high wall of cliffs. I decided to find a way up there at some time in the future.

After a bit more climbing I came to an amazing open area of seldom visited slick rock parkland.

Some unusual rocks on the top. That tree has lifted the stone originally grew out from under.

As I got higher I began to encounter these wall barriers.

Looking back at the maze of hoodoos I had navigated through.

A really cool wall with a sidewalk along the bottom. I almost had to climb that tree to get over this one.

Climbing up to the highest point. 

The storms produced a bit of lightning and drifted close enough to make the summit of No Name Knoll cold and windy. I began to get pelted with rain for 10 minutes. Once a ways past the highest point the descent became kind of dangerous so I decided to turn around and go back the way I came.

Getting pretty late in the day as I made my way back down the series of laser sliced walls. If i had been able to make it all the way to Tabernacle it would have been a shorter hike.

I always know I’m in the right place when I come across perfectly sorted rocks and pebble with no footprints. I got out of my way not to add my own.

The place where you get down looks oddly chopped up.

The final descent to the valley floor. After this is was a simple trudge through the sand back to the road, but I wanted to make a few other stops along the way, just to be a completionist.

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I’d had a long but fantastic day. In twilight I walked through nice cold patches of twilight air around my legs with the satisfaction of a day well spent.

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