Utah Desert Tower Tour (TR)

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 48 of total 48 in this topic
joepuryear

climber
Leavenworth, WA and Talkeetna, AK
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 30, 2007 - 10:08am PT
I thought this would be a good trip report for SuperTopo, since we used the SuperTopo e-book SuperTopo: Desert Towers extensively. Great guide by the way, you all should get a copy. Okay enough for the shameless SuperTopo promotion.


My wife Michelle and I just returned from a two week trip climbing desert towers around Moab, Utah. Overall we had a great trip, climbing 11 routes on 10 towers (actually 9 towers and 1 mesa).

Our first stop was Arches National Park. We decided to warm up on Off Balanced Rock, North Chimney (5.7). The 100-foot runout on the second pitch was a little unnerving but luckily the chimney was fairly secure.
Here's a shot of me taking a picture of Michelle coming up the chimney:


On top of Off Balanced Rock:


Next stop was the obligatory Owl Rock, Olevsky Route (5.9), definitely a must do tower for anyone visiting Arches.


Michelle rapping off:


That evening we hiked out to Delicate Arch for the sunset.


Next it was time for the Fisher Towers.


It rained a little the night we got there, so climbing Ancient Art the next day was out, as climbing dry mud is bad enough. Instead we did the really cool hike through the towers and out to a viewpoint.


Later that evening it seemed to dry out enough to give Lizard Rock, Entry Fee (5.9) a go.

Leading up:


Michelle on top:


The next day we headed up to do Ancient Art, The Corkscrew Route (III 5.10d)

The route climbs up the central chimney then up the highest point on the left.


Following the first bolted crux:


The summit has to be one of the top five coolest spots in the world that I have been.


We came back down and I decided to give a go at The Cobra (5.11 R). I mean, how much longer is this thing going to be there? I had to get it while I still could.


Chalking up under the lip:


One more day in the Fisher Towers and we wanted a little bit more, so we climbed the Kingfisher, Colorado Northeast Ridge (IV 5.8 C2).

Kingfisher, the route ascends the left side of the tower:


This was actually Michelle's favorite route of the whole trip! Not because the climbing was that great - mostly a bolt ladder with a few very C2 mud placements and some good free-mudding. But the overall line, exposure, and summit were fantastic.

Looking straight down the Northeast Ridge:


Summit views - The Titan, Echo Tower, and Cottontail Tower:


Next stop was Castle Valley. We of course had to do the obligatory route on Castleton Tower- the Kor-Ingalls (III, 5.9).

Castleton Tower:


The route follows the central dihedral:


The line is good, but the climbing leaves a bit to be desired. The crux offwidth is only cruxy because they tell you to bring so much god-damned gear up the route and you have to squeeze up the thing with all this crap. In reality you only need a number three Camalot and 4 quickdraws to lead the crux pitch. Anyways, cool summit.

Michelle coming up the crux OW/Chimney:


The Rectory came with many recommendations, and although it is a mesa and not a tower, it still has a tower feel and is a really cool desert formation.

The Rectory is the mesa in the foreground, the route climbs directly up the facing wall:


We climbed Fine Jade on the Rectory (III, 5.11a). The first two pitches are the crux and are both interesting and sustained. The warm up pitch is a steep but short 5.10d hand-OW-hand crux.

Michelle following the first pitch:


We hiked across the Rectory to watch some climbers on the Honeymoon Chimney of The Priest.



Climbers on Fine Jade, The Rectory:


Later that afternoon we decided to climb the North Chimney of Castleton Tower (III, 5.9), as many people consider it the better of the two moderate routes. The first pitch was ultimately classic. Two parallel cracks, mostly hand jamming, and interesting moves for an entire 150 feet. The second pitch, however, was mostly junk and I linked all the way to the notch in exactly 200 feet.

Michelle following the first pitch:


The next mission was Sister Superior, Jah Man (III, 5.10c). Another fine desert route, with a stout but short crux on the 3rd pitch. And one of the finer chimneys in the area - the Sister Squeeze chimney on the 2nd pitch.

Sister Superior:


Up close:


Looking down the 3rd pitch:


On the summit looking toward Castleton and the Rectory:


And for the final hurrah we took the long drive out and climbed Moses, Primrose Dihedrals (IV, 5.11d).

Moses is the tallest tower:

The route is everything it's cracked up to be - short but sustained pitches, interesting climbing, and an awesome position.

Michelle coming up the 4th pitch:


Pitch 5:


Summit success:
wilcox510

climber
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:25am PT
nicely done! I think Fine Jade and Primrose are two of my favorite routes ever. Is that big loose spike/flake still in the dihedral, maybe around pitch 4? That thing scared the crap out of me, even following the pitch.
Blinny

Trad climber
NorthWestMontana
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:27am PT
TheGrandDaddyOfAllTripReports!

Fabuloso!

Thanks!

eKat
Beatrix Kiddo

Mountain climber
Denver
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:30am PT
As if I wasn't already missing the desert! Now I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY miss the desert. Fantastic photos. Looks like you 2 had a fantastic time with much success.
TwistedCrank

climber
Hell
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:30am PT
A+

TR's like this keep me coming back!
Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:32am PT
Way to get 'er done. Sounds like you had a blast. Thanks for the TR.
L

climber
The Rebel L Gang
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:33am PT
Joe & Michelle--Excellent TR and unbelieveably gorgeous photos! The pix of Delicate Arch is one of the best I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing it with us.
paganmonkeyboy

Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:33am PT
niiice !
sweet pics...
sweet climbs...
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:37am PT
really nice stuff - photo work way up there - many thanks for posting
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:48am PT
Nice tick list. Plus you got to lead everything...

Enviously

Prod.
scooter

climber
B loop site 15
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:52am PT
I am very impressed. You two must chug coffee on a Croftian* scale to send that many hard routes in a single trip. Well done!


*to do as Peter Croft would
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:58am PT
Great TR!

You've been very busy.
joepuryear

climber
Leavenworth, WA and Talkeetna, AK
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2007 - 11:12am PT
Cool thanks guys. wilcox510 - I think I remember what you are talking about with that loose spike thing, i.e. I think it is still there. If I remember right, I tried not to touch it, but Michelle wailed on it - of course, she doesn't weigh very much :).
wiclimber

Trad climber
devil's lake, wi
Mar 30, 2007 - 11:20am PT
Nice report. Cripes!!!

Off Balanced rock chimney is fun. Isn't there a drill angle near the top, on the exit moves to the summit? I remember feeling happy when clipping it.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Mar 30, 2007 - 11:20am PT
Very, very cool. Nice job.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:01pm PT
Very cool TR!

Beautiful
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:10pm PT
These pics are great. Just wondering what kind of camera gear you use. Small???

Prod.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:19pm PT
Exceptional!
Marshall

climber
bay area
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:35pm PT

really great pics and TR!
up2top

Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
Wow. Great photos and a nice summary report. I'm jealous on many levels.

Ed
Crag Q

Trad climber
Louisville, Colorado
Mar 30, 2007 - 12:55pm PT
Joe,

Your pictures are definitely a cut above. What kind of camera were you using? It seems like my desert pictures always look washed out, but I'm just a point and shoot kind of photographer with a canon powershot sd450. Any good photog advice?

Thanks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 30, 2007 - 01:10pm PT
really great TR, thanks for putting the time in to post it here!
piquaclimber

Trad climber
Durango
Mar 30, 2007 - 02:19pm PT
That was a FANTASTIC TR!

Nice work getting all that climbing in and not losing the motivation to take such crisp, wonderful pictures. I really enjoyed it.

Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Mar 30, 2007 - 02:40pm PT
bravo
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Mar 30, 2007 - 05:58pm PT
Very nice TR. To say the least, I'm envious.
SammyLee

Trad climber
Memphis
Mar 30, 2007 - 06:31pm PT
WOW! I must certainly add my compliments to the report and pictures, both a big part what makes this forum great.

And it did not hurt that I will be landing in Salt Lake City on May 19th to climb there. My rope gun for this trip has climbed several of these routes and wants to get back to them. Likely, I'll lead a couple of pitches but mostly following. Never the less, I was already super charged about the upcoming trip but now even more so.

Thanks.
SammyLee
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Mar 30, 2007 - 07:47pm PT
What a great tower tour! Any couple that can do that while staying in love has what it takes. Hats off to you guys!!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Mar 30, 2007 - 08:15pm PT

Loved it. Loved it!

That first photo is great. Took me minutes of sustained thought and frowning at the screen to figure out what was going on there with the shadow.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 30, 2007 - 08:22pm PT
thanks for giving the forum a terrific shot in the arm.
i feel refreshed.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Mar 30, 2007 - 08:53pm PT
Absolutely Great. What a trip you had! Thanks.
Zander
10b4me

Trad climber
Hell A
Mar 30, 2007 - 09:10pm PT
really liked the pics, and the write up.
I climbed the Kor-Ingalls route back in '96 because it is a "classic". probably wouldn't climb it again
Mimi

climber
Mar 30, 2007 - 10:14pm PT
What a productive two-week trip! Way to go. Super TR!
clustiere

Trad climber
Durango, CO
Mar 30, 2007 - 11:00pm PT
gEE APARENTLY i NEED TO GET OUT TO THE LOCAL CRAGS...
joepuryear

climber
Leavenworth, WA and Talkeetna, AK
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 31, 2007 - 08:53am PT
For you photo people - I finally made the switch to all digital this year, although I still shoot the occasional roll of Velvia left over in my fridge. I drug a Canon digital SLR with a couple lenses up a couple of the climbs - I've got a nice 10-20mm for the wide angle shots. Otherwise I've got a great little Nikon point and shoot digital that seems to take pretty good shots. My advice for washed-out or marginal shots from a point-and-shoot? A little post image processing goes a long way.
J. Werlin

climber
Cedaredge
Mar 31, 2007 - 01:00pm PT
Hey-- ya'll TORE the desert up! Well done and A+ TR. Thanks for taking the effort to post.

-JW
tim_b

Trad climber
Corona, CA
Apr 2, 2007 - 07:29am PT
I can't believe how awesome these pics are. I'm sitting in bed, 7:30am, I've spent every other week in Hamburg, Germany, which is FLAT, btw, and then I get THESE STELLAR pics, of STELLAR climbs ... makes me want to CRY. Can anybody hear me ? I NEED TO CLIMB ... THERE.

Thanks for getting me totally pumped for climbing season (this horrible schedule ends mid May)

Woo Hoo !
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2007 - 07:36am PT
Whoa, you hit all the classics I've heard so much about.

Nice photos, especially the DA sunset!
yo

climber
The Eye of the Snail
Apr 2, 2007 - 08:04am PT
bump

Did you smooch out by Delicate?

And how did you solo Moonlight so fast?
joane

climber
Apr 2, 2007 - 08:46am PT
Ditto on practically every compliment already made, thanks for these photos, what a grat way to explore a possible climbing visit some day!!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Apr 2, 2007 - 10:33am PT
That's a lot of towers for one trip! Most people climb one thing at the Fisher's and head on home feelin' pretty good.
You two crank!
jaystone

Trad climber
EDH, Ca
Apr 2, 2007 - 10:44am PT
SWEET!
BadInfluence

Mountain climber
Dak side
Apr 2, 2007 - 10:49am PT
cool TR great photos!
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati
Nov 1, 2010 - 09:17pm PT
Bump (See the first post!)
Decko

Trad climber
Colorado
Nov 1, 2010 - 09:43pm PT
Absolutely stunning TR.......

Beautiful pictures, looks like a great trip
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 1, 2010 - 09:53pm PT
Awesome! R.I.P.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Nov 1, 2010 - 09:59pm PT
Way cool pictures and TR! You guys were gettin' busy. Let's hear it for mud wrestlin'
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 2, 2011 - 09:49am PT
Man that guy really got out a lot.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Nov 2, 2011 - 10:06am PT
Looks like you guys had a great trip! Nice work!
Messages 1 - 48 of total 48 in this topic
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 Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews