After writing this piece on The Philosopher’s Wall, I had to put on my sleuthing hat to see if there was another Philosopher’s Wall out there. It turns out there is, actually there are two. It also turns out that I have climbed one of them. The Philosopher’s Wall1 at Reimer’s Ranch near Austin, TX. Unfortunately, that wall was kind of forgettable, in fact I literally forgot about it. With names like “Unnamed Dihedral” and “Pinko Commie” the folks who put up the original routes kind of dropped the ball.
The other is actually called Philosophy Wall, but who’s counting! This wall is in the Crawdad Canyon which is a private climbing area in Southwest Utah. One may think… ‘why would anyone go climbing at Crawdad Canyon when Zion is only an hour away’. Well Zion does have hundreds of the world’s best routes. And it may be in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, but does it have a natural spring fed pool? Does it have crawdad catching? Does it have The Philosophy Wall? No, no and no!
Not so hot now are you Zion National Park?
Obviously, Zion is still the would-be destination, but I think Crawdad Canyon may be a worthy side quest. Who wouldn’t love a spring fed pool, especially after a day of climbing? And while I had to look up what a crawdad is (it’s like a tiny lobster type freshwater crustacean thing, their names are localized, I grew up calling them crayfish, some places call them crawfish) it could be a selling point to some. There is also an attached campground, and the fee for the park and climbing is only $15.
Regarding the climbing, there are 234 routes and walls up to 85’ high. The grades range from 5.6 – 5.13 and there are brass plaques at the base of each route designating the name and grade. With 15 different walls/sections to choose from there is a ton of variety, but perhaps most importantly there is The Philosophy Wall!
Obviously, I was most curious about the names of the routes on this wall, and I wasn’t disappointed. Starting with an ode to Hobbes’ state of nature is the easy 5.2 called Brutish, Nasty, and Short. We follow that up with the 5.3 called I Refute Thus, a 5.6 called Who Says You Kant, a 5.7 called Pillars of Truth, and the hardest route on the wall is a 5.10c called Primary of Existence. Nothing would suggest that these are what you would call world class routes, but did I mention that there are Crawdads? Also, the other walls at Crawdad Canyon, although lacking in moniker status do have several 3.5- and 4-star routes. You could spend days at Crawdad Canyon and never have to repeat a single route.
Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, took a dip, caught a few crawdads it’s time to eat. 21 minutes away is the sparkling emerald of southwestern Utah. Tias Artisan Bakery and Restaurant is a Salvadorian, Mexican, and Bulgarian fusion, family owned, farm to table restaurant. The three sisters (Michell, Corina, and Ellie) made it their mission to share their love for family, culture, and cuisine through their dedication to serving nutritious and FRESH food.
The menu contains ingredients plucked straight from local gardens and farms. Each menu section contains vegetarian and vegan options including toasts, soups, salads, brunches, and nachos. For my money the crown jewel of Tias is the pupusa. If you’ve never tried pupusas, they are traditional Salvadorian flat-bread stuffed with all types of delicious options from cheese and jalapenos to pork and beans. There are also specials that include an array of tacos, tamales, and yuca frita.
When you come to Tias for a visit, make sure you come hungry because there are also an immense assortment of tasty drinks and bakery items. So, after you scarf down a mountain of farm fresh, made to order nachos, and a plate of pupusas, you are going to want to wash it down with a delectable jar of honeydew, cantaloupe, or papaya juice. Follow that up with some of the most mouthwatering desserts in the great state of Utah. I mean where else in the Beehive State can someone find churro cheesecake?
If you have any doubts about my sincerity, take a look at ABC 4 contributor Amy Dancy’s face as she tears into a pupusa on the news piece shown on the Tias website. She looks like Indiana Jones discovering the Ark of the Covenant. The only difference is that pupusas are real, and Amy Dancy isn’t acting!
Rock Climbing, philosophy, crawdads, and the taste of El Salvador, all the things that Utah is most known for, and all within a 25-minute drive. The next time you are in southwest Utah, and are looking for ways to escape the enchanting beauty of Zion National Park, look no further than Crawdad Canyon and Tias Artisan Bakery and Restaurant.
Location: Southwest Utah “The Beehive State”
Crag: Crawdad Canyon
Restaurant: Tias Artisian Bakery and Restaurant
Distance: 18 Miles Away
- The Routes are fine, the area is a little overgrown, but my critique is purely based on the names. If someone is interested in climbing this wall, I found enjoyable and I wouldn’t discourage it.