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Moonshine Wash - San Rafael Desert

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Quality Ratings


Three of us did the loop on December 26, 2022. There was a 10' long pool with a 1/2" thick ice crust at the bottom of the up climb. We broke ice and placed a few rocks on the small but slippery shelf on the left edge and stripped down to avoid the risk of wetting our warm layers and scaled the ledge, which was very tricky.  We made it through with cold blue feet although were relieved that none of us landed in the cold and deep part of the pool, which looked around 4 to 5 feet deep at the bottom. With approach shoes back on, it was still a slippery and tricky climb up and over the round choke stone at the top. My two young and accomplished climber companions went up first and set a short length of rope to provide me protection and help me up. I found one other dry fall problem a little further on to be my crux and again needed a bit of help up.  The rest of the route was spectacular with a few beautiful, iced pools and an extensive ice cascade at the location of the moonshine production concrete vat’s. The temperature as around mid to low 40's, which in my opinion was perfect. It took us a little under 5 hours. On this trips experience, I would class this as 2AII canyoneering. Road conditions approaching from Green River were dry and good.


loop with Sonja

We went down the main fork and up the West Fork. It rained the night before and there was a considerable amount of water in both forks. It was waist deep in the main fork and full swimming going up the west fork. I think the climb out of the west fork was a little more advanced than Ryan makes it out to be in his description. You need some stemming skills to get over the final chockstone obstacle. The canyon was really pretty and had really cool narrow slots but was more climbing than a hike trying to avoid the water. Car to car it took 5 hours. I would call this a climbing canyoneering mission, definitely not a hike.

With Ben, Lara, Mike, Amber, Cody, & Lara's Friend Laura! Did full loop, ~5hrs car to car

Nice walk and did not miss sheep bridge. Spring was dry and it was Hot! 10mile total hike.

Dry down the East Fork, Wet at the slot upclimb, hard to avoid, slot was also wet. Dry above the 40ft upclimb.

Short and slightly overrated; other non-tech slots like Buckskin or Wildhorse are better - although more crowded. Look for the optional scramble exit on west wall 0.1 miles before the junction of West Fork if you want to avoid the dryfall and potential wet exit.




Dry mode. Went down past sheep bridge to where it opens up a bit and then back up. Upclimbs would be difficult with mud or water present. Top 5 non technical Utah slot in my book


cool hike but tough to follow route, could not have been more canyoneering-like before too much for us,






Sweet slot. Nice challenge. Hike back was a little long and hot.