(TR) Desert Towers Rule!

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 20 of total 78 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
joepuryear

climber
Leavenworth, WA and Talkeetna, AK
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 5, 2009 - 02:41pm PT
I just got back from another fun-filled tower climbing adventure. This trip was a bit shorter than the last, at only 3 weeks, but I still managed to squeeze in 24 towers.

Here are the links to the last two SuperTopo trip reports I did on tower climbing:

Utah Desert Tower Tour
I love the Desert


My wife Michelle and I drove down to Moab in early October and decided to warm up with a couple towers in Arches National Park.
First off was Dark Angel, West Face (5.10+), a very prominent tower in the north of Arches, with a pleasant and scenic 3-mile approach.

Dark Angel is the prominent tower in the center. <br/>
Arches National Par...
Dark Angel is the prominent tower in the center.
Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Dark Angel from the west.  The route follows the center chimney to a s...
Dark Angel from the west. The route follows the center chimney to a short crack, then left to the horizon and up bolts to the top.
Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The next day we met up with our friends Steph and Drew and hopped on the Three Penguins, Right Chimney (5.10c) a cool 2 pitch tower right over the road.

The Right Chimney Route ascends between the right and middle penguin. ...
The Right Chimney Route ascends between the right and middle penguin.
The Three Penguins, Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

An enjoyable hand crack led to a fun off-width.

Elbow up on the first pitch of Right Chimney. <br/>
Three Penguins, Arches...
Elbow up on the first pitch of Right Chimney.
Three Penguins, Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Steph leading the 5.10 offwidth on the second pitch. <br/>
The Three Pengu...
Steph leading the 5.10 offwidth on the second pitch.
The Three Penguins, Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear


The next day we headed down to Valley of the Gods, a remote and desolate canyon just north of Mexican Hat.
The first day we all climbed Petard Tower, Hurley-Rearic Route (II 5.10-). It's a fun little route on a truly freestanding tower.

The east face of Petard Tower, a.k.a. Prairie Dog on a Mound. <br/>
Valley...
The east face of Petard Tower, a.k.a. Prairie Dog on a Mound.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Steph leading the 5.10 3rd pitch just below the summit. <br/>
Petard Tower...
Steph leading the 5.10 3rd pitch just below the summit.
Petard Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The next day Michelle and I climbed Putterman on the Throne, Supercalifragilisticexpialiputterman (III 5.9 C1) and Putterman in a Bathtub, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Putterworld (II 5.9 C1), while Steph and Drew climbed Eagle Plume Tower across the way. Both routes were super-cool and had awesome summits.

Putterman on the Throne &#40;center, left&#41; and Putterman in a Bath...
Putterman on the Throne (center, left) and Putterman in a Bathtub (center, right).
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Here's another shot with Eagle Plume Tower for perspective.

Putterman on the Throne &#40;left&#41;, Putterman in a Bathtub &#40;ri...
Putterman on the Throne (left), Putterman in a Bathtub (right), and Eagle Plume Tower (center).
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Looking down at Michelle from the summit of Putterman on the Throne. 
...
Looking down at Michelle from the summit of Putterman on the Throne.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Michelle on top of Putterman in a Bathtub. <br/>
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Michelle on top of Putterman in a Bathtub.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The next day we climbed the ultra-classic Eagle Plume Tower, South Face (III 5.10), the Castle Tower of Valley of the Gods.

The south face of Eagle Plume Tower.  The route follows the weakness i...
The south face of Eagle Plume Tower. The route follows the weakness in the center of the tower.
Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

While not as solid as its northerly neighbor, it offers thoughtful, sustained and varied climbing right to the summit.

Michelle coming up to the belay on top of pitch 3. <br/>
Eagle Plume Tower...
Michelle coming up to the belay on top of pitch 3.
Eagle Plume Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Michelle coming up the splitter 5.9 corner on the 4th and final pitch....
Michelle coming up the splitter 5.9 corner on the 4th and final pitch.
Eagle Plume Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

No trip to this part of the desert would be complete without a run up Mexican Hat, Bandito Route (C1)

The Bandito Route climbs up a 5-bolt ladder left of center. <br/>
Mexican ...
The Bandito Route climbs up a 5-bolt ladder left of center.
Mexican Hat, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Drew leading the Bandito bolt ladder. <br/>
Mexican Hat, Utah.
Drew leading the Bandito bolt ladder.
Mexican Hat, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

On our way back north we decided to have a look at Magic Man, Prayer Stick (III, 5.10+) on Comb Ridge, a cool propped-up tower in the middle of nowhere.

The Prayer Stick, Comb Ridge, Utah.
The Prayer Stick, Comb Ridge, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The 2nd pitch is the crux, a brutal wide crack that goes from 100' of fists and larger to a crux 10" section up high. Overall a super high-quality pitch though and a fun route overall.

Steph, Drew, and I on the 3rd pitch. <br/>
Magic Man, Prayer Stick, Comb R...
Steph, Drew, and I on the 3rd pitch.
Magic Man, Prayer Stick, Comb Ridge, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Michelle had one more day to climb before flying back home from GJ, so we revisited Colorado National Monument for a quick climb of Sentinel Spire, Fast Draw (II, 5.10).

Fast Draw climbs a crack system on the right side of the prominent tow...
Fast Draw climbs a crack system on the right side of the prominent tower.
Sentinel Spire, Colorado National Monument, Colorado.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The first pitch is a splitter 100' hand crack, then two fun chimney pitches lead to the summit.

Michelle following the first pitch hand crack. <br/>
Fast Draw, Sentinel S...
Michelle following the first pitch hand crack.
Fast Draw, Sentinel Spire, Colorado National Monument, Colorado.
Credit: Joe Puryear

After Michelle left I took a rest day before meeting up with my best tower-climbing buddy Stoney and the infamous Tom Payne.

We warmed up with a blustery morning climb of Dolomite Spire, Kor Route (III 5.9 C2) and Lighthouse Tower, Lonely Vigil (II 5.10-).

Dolomite Spire, Lighthouse Tower, and the Colorado River. <br/>
River Road...
Dolomite Spire, Lighthouse Tower, and the Colorado River.
River Road, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

A close up of Dolomite Spire &#40;left&#41; and Lighthouse Tower &#40;...
A close up of Dolomite Spire (left) and Lighthouse Tower (right).
River Road, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Dolomite was a nice mix of free and aid climbing.

Stoney leading the first pitch. <br/>
Kor Route, Dolomite Spire, River Roa...
Stoney leading the first pitch.
Kor Route, Dolomite Spire, River Road, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Lighthouse started with a nice long 5.10 pitch, followed by a steep chimney.

Stoney hanging out in the chimney on Lonely Vigil. <br/>
Lighthouse Tower,...
Stoney hanging out in the chimney on Lonely Vigil.
Lighthouse Tower, River Road, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The summit of Lighthouse is pretty small, just big enough for the three of us. The fun part was downclimbing back down off the summit, since there are no anchors on top.

Me starting the downclimb from the summit of Lighthouse Tower. <br/>
River...
Me starting the downclimb from the summit of Lighthouse Tower.
River Road, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The next day we headed out to "scout" the route for the Doric Column out in the Mystery Towers. That afternoon we came back and climbed The Hindu, Maverick (II 5.9 C2), an excellent 2 pitch route on one of the best looking towers.

The Hindu, Onion Creek, Utah.
The Hindu, Onion Creek, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Me leading the first pitch. <br/>
The Hindu, Maverick, Onion Creek, Utah.
Me leading the first pitch.
The Hindu, Maverick, Onion Creek, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Later that evening we headed on over to the Fisher Towers and took a few laps on Lizard Rock, Entry Fee (5.8) and the other variation to the left.

Tom dynoing the crux. <br/>
Entry Fee, Lizard Rock, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Tom dynoing the crux.
Entry Fee, Lizard Rock, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The next day we climbed Echo Tower, Phantom Spirit (IV 5.9 C2). This was one of the best aid route's I've done in the Fishers. It's pretty much all natural gear (no bolt ladders) and goes clean easily.

Phantom Spirit takes the stunning line on the left side of the tower. ...
Phantom Spirit takes the stunning line on the left side of the tower.
Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Me on the first pitch of Phantom Spirit. <br/>
Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, ...
Me on the first pitch of Phantom Spirit.
Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Cool morning silhouette of Ancient Art. <br/>
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Cool morning silhouette of Ancient Art.
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Tom can't decide whether it's thumbs up?... <br/>
Echo Tower, Fisher Tower...
Tom can't decide whether it's thumbs up?...
Echo Tower, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Or oh shit!!, on the narrow summit ridge of Echo Tower. <br/>
Fisher Tower...
Or oh shit!!, on the narrow summit ridge of Echo Tower.
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

That afternoon we took some laps on some of the towers beneath Ancient Art. We climbed Boxtop (5.10), The Cobra (5.11), and the two shorter towers just west of the Cobra, one of which was just a boulder problem, the other actually had some hard, loose climbing. (Edit: Anyone know the names of these two?)

Me atop Boxtop. <br/>
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Me atop Boxtop.
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Tom leading the Cobra, before it threatened to fall over... <br/>
Fisher T...
Tom leading the Cobra, before it threatened to fall over...
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

A warning to all about the Cobra: the Cobra shuttered and swayed twice, while we were on it. I've never heard of or had that do that before. Fun times...

The next mission was River Tower, North Face (III 5.8 C2), a really cool tower just north of the Fishers, made of the same Cutler sandstone. The route is a good introductory to this type of climbing with no real difficulties, but a nice location and great views.

Stoney leading the first pitch. <br/>
North Face, River Tower, Fisher Towe...
Stoney leading the first pitch.
North Face, River Tower, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Stoney on the first pitch, amidst a sea of cutler. <br/>
North Face, River...
Stoney on the first pitch, amidst a sea of cutler.
North Face, River Tower, Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

On top of River Tower. <br/>
Fisher Towers, Utah.
On top of River Tower.
Fisher Towers, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

That afternoon we drove down the road and climbed Crooked Arrow Spire, Longbow Chimney (III 5.8 C1). This has got to have one of the funnest (and easiest) chimneys in the desert.

The route climbs up the obvious deep chimney, then up a bolt ladder to...
The route climbs up the obvious deep chimney, then up a bolt ladder to the summit.
Longbow Chimney, Crooked Arrow Spire, Parriott Mesa, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Getting sucked into the chimney. <br/>
Longbow Chimney, Crooked Arrow Spir...
Getting sucked into the chimney.
Longbow Chimney, Crooked Arrow Spire, Parriott Mesa, Utah.
Credit: Tom Payne

Next it was another quick visit to Arches. Both Stoney and Tom had already climbed Tower of Babel, Zenyatta Entrada (IV 5.8 C3), but agreed to let me short-fix them up it. It was a great 3 hour session of excellent straight-forward clean aid climbing.

Zenyatta Entrada climbs straight up the middle of the face. <br/>
The Towe...
Zenyatta Entrada climbs straight up the middle of the face.
The Tower of Babel, Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Looking down from around the 4th pitch. <br/>
Zenyatta Entrada, Tower of B...
Looking down from around the 4th pitch.
Zenyatta Entrada, Tower of Babel, Arches National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Another rest day, then our final destination was to be Canyonlands. First order of business was Charlie Horse Needle, North Face (5.10 C1). Wingate climbing is nice too.

Charlie Horse Needle is the right most tower. <br/>
Canyonlands National P...
Charlie Horse Needle is the right most tower.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Stoney leading the second pitch. <br/>
North Face, Charlie Horse Needle, C...
Stoney leading the second pitch.
North Face, Charlie Horse Needle, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Next we ghost rode the whip around the White Rim to do Tiki Tower, Brave Little Toaster (III 5.9 C1). Tiki is a little known tower that sits on the western end of a ridge of forming towers behind the larger Airport Tower.

Tom on top of pitch one of Tiki Tower. <br/>
Canyonlands National Park, Ut...
Tom on top of pitch one of Tiki Tower.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Stoney leading the tension traverse on pitch 2 of the Brave Little Toa...
Stoney leading the tension traverse on pitch 2 of the Brave Little Toaster.
Tiki Tower, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

On the summit of Tiki Tower. <br/>
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
On the summit of Tiki Tower.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

One of the main objectives of this trip for me was Islet in the Sky, Original Route (IV 5.10 C3), one of the best looking towers out there and with a real big-wall feel.

Islet in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Islet in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

After a wandering and sustained 5.10 hand/fist crack on the first pitch, the climb does a horizontal traverse left out onto the north wall of the tower, giving it a real airy feel. It then climbs a 2 pitch splitter seam, then a short free pitch to the summit.

Stoney leading the 2nd pitch horizontal traverse onto the tower. <br/>
Ori...
Stoney leading the 2nd pitch horizontal traverse onto the tower.
Original Route, Islet in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Me looking down the thin 3rd pitch. <br/>
Original Route, Islet in the Sky...
Me looking down the thin 3rd pitch.
Original Route, Islet in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The shadow of Islet in the Sky. <br/>
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
The shadow of Islet in the Sky.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Another huge objective for me was the Pixie Stick (III C3). My friend Dougald (who made the first ascent with Paul Gagner), turned me on to this slender little spire in a remote section of Monument Basin.

The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

I got to lead both pitches, Tom belayed, and Stoney took the photos.

Me starting up the first pitch. <br/>
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Can...
Me starting up the first pitch.
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Me at the crux of the 2nd pitch. <br/>
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Ca...
Me at the crux of the 2nd pitch.
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

What a really cool climb - and still awaiting a free ascent...

On the summit! <br/>
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National...
On the summit!
The Pixie Stick, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

While we were out there we found a splitter 200' hand crack on the White Rim that we each took a turn soloing...

Splitter hand crack on the White Rim... <br/>
Canyonlands National Park, U...
Splitter hand crack on the White Rim...
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Finally it was time for some free climbing on The Mock Turtle, Mud Wrestling (IV 5.10+). The Mock Turtle is the highest free-standing tower in Monument Basin, and is uniquely capped by five feet of the white rim sandstone.

View of Monument Basin.  The Mock Turtle is the center tower.  Stagger...
View of Monument Basin. The Mock Turtle is the center tower. Staggering rock is in the left distance and Bruce Smith is on the right.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

A got sandbagged into linking the first two crux pitches together into one mega 190' mud fest. "Yeah Joe, just keep climbing, you can make it to those next anchors..."

Me leading pitch 1 and 2 on Mud Wrestling. <br/>
The Mock Turtle, Monument...
Me leading pitch 1 and 2 on Mud Wrestling.
The Mock Turtle, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Gotta love those #6's. <br/>
Mud Wrestling, The Mock Turtle, Monument Basi...
Gotta love those #6's.
Mud Wrestling, The Mock Turtle, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Stoney led the next pitch, a super-squeeze chimney. He ended up having to remove every last piece of gear from his harness, helmet off, and retie his rope below his waste to fit through.

Stoney starting up the 3rd pitch of Mud Wrestling. <br/>
The Mock Turtle, ...
Stoney starting up the 3rd pitch of Mud Wrestling.
The Mock Turtle, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

Me barely fitting through the chimney on the 3rd pitch. <br/>
The Mock Tur...
Me barely fitting through the chimney on the 3rd pitch.
The Mock Turtle, Monument Basin, Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

We were treated to some cool wildlife while down there.

Big Horn Sheep in Monument Basin. <br/>
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Big Horn Sheep in Monument Basin.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear

And for a parting shot, I went around and took some photos after climbing and took a shot of Six Shooter Lake in Indian Creek:

North Six Shooter and Six Shooter Lake. <br/>
Indian Creek, Utah.
North Six Shooter and Six Shooter Lake.
Indian Creek, Utah.
Credit: Joe Puryear



Desert Towers rule!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Nov 5, 2009 - 02:59pm PT
Damn, dude, that's like a year's worth of climbing!!!

Badass indeed. Nice shots.
Hoots

climber
Toyota Tacoma
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:02pm PT
DOOOOOOOOOD! You get it done. I love the pics of these obscurities. Thanks for sharing.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:14pm PT
VERY nice!

Great pics of some cool out of the way ones too...

Thanks for posting up!
Pate

Trad climber
?
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
Super bad ass road trip. I could read this TR over and over again.
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:28pm PT
SUPER FRIGGIN' AWESOME TR!!!!

Bravo to all who sent here!!!


Love that aiders shots looking into the sunlight... that's a keeper...

I think this is the shot
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs7NTs7KCgj

other notable shots (the ones I really like)
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs0Pz44JCkn

Super siloette!
http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs0OD0_ICYj


http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs0ODw5IyMi
uhm... was this thing really meant to be climbed... I mean... It's almost tipped over already! yikes!

http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs0OzY8KCcg
This guy is a machine!!!
Right On!

http://www.supertopo.com/inc/photo_view.php?dpid=Pzs0Oj45Iycq
Ok.. now you're just being funny!!!



Excellent TR, I will be back to read more...

Cheers


incredible!


Post Shite Edit: I can't get the pics to show here.. pulled from above, you've already seen them.. don't need to see them again... but you can click the link to see what I was commenting on.
franky

climber
Davis, CA
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:49pm PT
Man, utah is great.
MH2

climber
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:55pm PT
Deserves some kind of climbing/photography biathlon prize.
Jeremy

Social climber
Hanging with your mom...
Nov 5, 2009 - 03:59pm PT
JOE KICKS ASS!!!!!!!!!!!

SWEET DUDE!!!!!!!!

Great to meet you guys out there!

GREAT pics!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOO FRIGGING HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeremy
eKat

Trad climber
BITD2
Nov 5, 2009 - 04:09pm PT
Well. . . YAY!

Thanks for postin' up!

ox

eKat
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 5, 2009 - 04:10pm PT
UNREAL!!!!

thx much!!!


Pixie Stick looks amazing! WHat a prize!
schwortz

Social climber
davis, ca
Nov 5, 2009 - 04:26pm PT
awesome

and i thought 7 towers in two weeks was a pretty good road trip...nice slice of humble pie....

awesome stuff
great photos
i love the desert
thanks
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Nov 5, 2009 - 05:05pm PT
Dang, that's a lot of towers for one trip! How many days?
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Nov 5, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Awesome!

That's a lot of climbing in that 3 weeks. Thanks for sharing.
miss.julienne

climber
Capitola, California
Nov 5, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
RAD!!! I wanna go
Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Nov 5, 2009 - 06:00pm PT
What an adventure! Thanks for posting up!!!!!
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
Nov 5, 2009 - 06:01pm PT
Beautiful pics. Love that ancient art in profile.
Tea

Trad climber
Behind the Zion Curtain
Nov 5, 2009 - 06:18pm PT
Proper! Thanks for sharing! Islet in the Sky is proud!
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Nov 5, 2009 - 06:21pm PT
What a TRIP!
Barcus

Social climber
San Luis Obispo, Ca.
Nov 5, 2009 - 06:39pm PT
Awsome trek!
thanks much for sharin.
Marcus
Messages 1 - 20 of total 78 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews