Missing ‘Man’: Iconic desert rock face falls to rubble

The Jah Man rock climb on the Sister Superior formation was severely impacted by rockfall earlier this month. The Urban Dictionary says the name of the rock means “being high” and references visiting the Jamaican god “Jah.” Photos courtesy of Jason Ringenberg

The classic desert rock climb ‘Jah Man’ on the Sister Superior formation has seen incredibly substantial rockfall. So much so, that a significant part of the route has been reduced to a pile of rubble. I was up there today to assess the damage.

Greg Child, Castle Valley resident and the author of the original Mountain Project Post, informed me that residents of nearby Castle Valley heard the rockfall as it occurred on Jan. 3. Local climber Doug McDonald was the first to report the incident when he spotted a plume under the ongoing temperature inversion in the area.

Doug and Farland Fish went up Ida Gulch to confirm the event Sunday, Jan. 12. However, the visibility due to the temperature inversion concealed the Sister Superior formation. That inversion has since cleared out, exposing the giant rock scar that was once the Jah Man route.

The entire first and second pitches have fallen off the formation, leaving a blank wall in its place and a gigantic pile of rubble at the would-be base of the climb.

Though the scar looks featureless, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before a new variation is established. It will be interesting to see what transpires.

Jah Man was a classic 5.10c route first put up by Ken Trout and Kirk Miller in 1984. It has since become one of the most famous and beloved climbs in the desert. The climbing community will miss this one.

This story was republished by permission from Marshall Dvorscak of Moab Gear Trader, which originally posted it to the business’s Facebook page.

Jason Ringenberg is a writer, skier, snowboarder, rock climber, vanlifer, and lover of all things outdoors. He is originally from South Lake Tahoe, California. When he’s not stealing wifi and writing from his laptop, you’ll likely find him in the mountains. He doesn’t enjoy walking uphill, but for some reason, he spends most of his time doing just that. Check him out on Instagram @JasonDavidRingenberg