Ancient Art, Stolen Chimney 5.8 A0


Desert Towers, Utah, USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
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5 Total Ratings
5 star: 80%  (4)
4 star: 20%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Lazy Sunday

Intermediate climber
Jul 17, 2002 - 08:30am
Ancient Art is a fun!!! The first pitch ist free climbed 5.10b, the second at the maximum 5.7 the third is 5.9,there is no pitch of 5.10d... The mud is awesome!! The corksrew is fun!!! Early in teh morning itīs pretty cool.

Advanced climber
Sep 26, 2002 - 05:05pm
good climb, gear is really good on 5.8 chimney. the corkscrew can be done as 5.8 A0 - this route is fine for the very solid 5.8 leader. last pitch is very exposed and heady for the second - not a climb for an absolute beginner. totally classic - best moderate in the desert.

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Mar 12, 2003 - 09:22pm
I always thought you were supposed to free-climb water grooves-- enjoy the moves! FFA by N. Carolinans, of course.

Mountain climber
Draperderr, by Bangerter, Utah
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   Dec 1, 2011 - 03:46pm
Pitch 1: The pulled bolt on P1 has been replaced. Easy french freeing w/ stemming to aid this pitch. Nice modern 3-bolt anchor w/ chains on a nice ledge at the end.

Pitch 2: Chimney looks dirty but isn't too bad. 5.7 IMO, just a little heady with the grit and questionable pro. Don't forget to climb under the bolder at the top and tunnel through the backside. This is a fun & secure way to end the pitch, although if climbing with a pack you'll need to trail it for this part. Nice modern 2-bolt anchor w/ chains.

Pitch 3: The pulled bolt on P3 (the first bolt) is still missing. You have to go a ways to reach the 2nd bolt, but it is only cl. 3-4 or so and you can clip it reaching high from the last ledge. The second bolt really isn't much further than the 1st bolt. You can french free the two remaining bolts on this pitch if you don't have the nerve or patience for 5.9 sandstone face climbing. I decided I'd rather pull on the bolts than risk a small fall on them :-) Nice modern 4-bolt setup w/ chains on 3 bolts. Pretty exposed belay but barely enough room for 2 parties.

Pitch 4: I've seen the summit corkscrew rated 5.9, but it seemed to me to be a lot easier than the 3rd pitch (IMO, 3rd pitch seemed pretty hard for 5.9, & the summit seemed like an easy to standard 5.9). My guidebook (not ST) showed a bolt on the camelhead/diving board. Either the book is wrong or that bolt was removed/ripped. A mandatory mid-5th free move is required to reach the first bolt, about 20-30 ft out from the belay on the catwalk. You can either mantel the head directly or shimmy along the left side, underclinging it, and then stem/mantel atop to the first bolt.

The crux on the corkscrew is short, but it is heady! High exposure, gritty rock, and a drilled angle for pro, which isn't set flush, so you might want to tie it off short. Nice moves on buckets & pinches make for a different feel than the crack & chimney climbing lower on the route. The final move on the spire uses a right hand crimping hold that flexes A LOT. Take care when pulling on this since it is bound to come off soon! Don't forget to stand on the very tippity-top after clipping the lowering slings. The slings are beefy and have 2 rapp wrings & a screwgate to thread. No need to back up these anchors, but if you do, bring a LARGE sling (10 ft?).

Descent: 1 60m rope is plenty sufficient for P4 & P3. You can barely rapp P2 & P1 with 1 60m, but tie knots! You might need to lower yourself by hand or stem the last foot to the next anchors. Done this way you can climb & descend w/ one 60m rope. 2 70m ropes can barely get you from atop P2 to the ground in one long rapp.

If the second trails a second rope for rappels, it might get stuck in the split roof crux on P2. Watch out!

Rappels are straightforward on good anchors and ropes pulled pretty clean. You do come down onto climbers in the chimney, so take care with your rappels there.

Gear: Bring 1 set of nuts on the larger size (I think I used one BD #8 in a slot?). I didn't see many opportunities for smaller nuts, and I can't imagine a smaller one not ripping out rock if you fell on it.

1 set of cams. You don't place much pro, but I found myself using a wide variety of cam sizes in the chimney, from a BD #0.5 to a BD #3. You can place a BD #4 to protect the top of the squeeze before the tunnel through, but this section is really secure and not exposed. If I didn't already have it on me I wouldn't have missed it.

Pitches 3 & 4 are all fixed gear, so no need to worry about bringing more than draws & anchor slings up from the comfy ledge atop P2 (seems like a great spot for lunch). We also left our 2nd rope on the large ledge, clipped to the anchors. No need to carry all that stuff to the catwalk belay!

It took us just over 3 hrs to climb the route and both summit, and our pace was pretty chill (Pete had to downclimb part of P2 & retrieve the caught rapp line & I took lots of photos while leading pitches :-) )

The climb is short enough and close enough to the road that you should make sure to enjoy the area. You MUST hike to the end of the trail at the base of the Titan. It is one of the more scenic trails I have hiked, and you get some very nice views of all of the Fisher Towers.

Trad climber
Oakland Park Florida
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   Mar 15, 2014 - 07:50pm
The Fisher Towers are Fantastic. And Climbing Ancient Art is too much fun. On the summit, standing at the very top, it's hard to beat. We had a gopro with a hellecopter and buzzed the climber on top. I found the climbing a little unnerving as it's pretty much baked mud. I used a point or 2 of aid. I found the corkscrew 5.9 move tough. But a great adventure. We rapped to the top of the chimney pitch, then a double rope rappel to the ground..just makes it. stay out of the chimney. Its a tough pull. I used an EDK and was glad I did.

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
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   Apr 6, 2016 - 03:29pm
What a route. Absolutely fantastic.
We arrived around 1pm on a Friday in April, and were the first party there (I imagine).
P1. Easy climbing to the 5.10 Stem/Bolt Ladder. If you keep your legs wide, there are plenty of pebbles to reach up to. Free it!
P2 Chimney is well protected with Cams. No real need to bring nuts/chocks. #0.5-#3 with doubles of .75 and #3 is more than enough.
P3. Slab climbing with bolts up to the top of the sidewalk. Well protected and fairly moderate.
P4. One of the best pitches I've ever done. Crazy exposure, and the belly flop onto the diving board is great. The summit is just spectacular. 500 feet down in every direction
Atop the corkscrew
Atop the corkscrew
Credit: sol_dog

Decent: Single Rope Rappel from top of P3 to Top of P2 Chimney. Two 60m Ropes will get you all the way to the bottom with 2-3 feet to spare! Tie knots.

Trad climber
Starlite, California
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   Dec 15, 2011 - 04:18am
Try bridging the "chimney" 2nd pitch - lots of folks get too far back in it, and actually try and chimney it. There's lots of 'toasters' and 'softballs' on which to stem, along the outer rims.

I don't think it's a grand idea to tunnel through to the N Face at the top of the chimney, if I understood the OP correctly. There is a subtle hand jamb for your left, just as you are peeking through a tunnel to the N Face, which facilitates an easy transfer onto a large, south facing, ledge. At the top of the S Chimney, I'd guess it's at about 1 o'clock, just above shoulder height. It is isolated, and not part of a crack system.

I think most of these Utah posts contain just a little bit of sand. As in: YDS vs "UDS." Solid 5.9 A0 last visit. The crux, for me, came where the Diving Board (dispatched with a belly flop) hits the summit tower. Kind of an outleaning crater. A bit like trying to insinuate one's self into an inverted bathtub...but not too steep. Just don't fall here. 2nd "5.9"(or 5.5, come on peoples, whatever) summit crux looks harder than it actually is. You're faced with an undercut mantle...but there's a jug for the hands. Unless, of course, you get really lucky, and the jug is filled with water from a storm 2 days earlier. Then it's kinda sporty. Final approach is like walking up a staircase; which narrows to about a 15 inch square, with about 500 feet of exposure all around.

I'd ditch a pack. But I'd take 2 can rap down the mud curtain to the main trail below the S. Face, and not interfere with other parties, save a piece of walking while you're at it. (This would be from the Camelback ledge once you've quitted the corkscrew summit)

This is a serious desert tower, and, despite its modest grade, you'd better be a solid 5.10 leader before attempting it. IOW - if you are a 5.8 leader, and you cruise this so-called 5.7 French are more solid than you think.

A warm up on the E Chimney of Castleton might help sort you out. Pro everwhere! Which is good, because the 1st 5.9 pitch overhangs slightly, and the 2nd has just enough OW for you to appreciate it.

Kor-Ingalls is actually a 5.10 OW horror show, judging by all of the moaning, and 2:1 hauling systems I've watched the leader's set up for his 2nd. Rap 2 -60m down the N. Face. Or, for that matter, climb the N. Face!

The good new is: if you walk Ancient Art, you're ready for Kingfisher Colorado NE Ridge. I think that it is more aesthetic than the Titan, because its large Moenkopi capstone offers a full rope length of fairly easy (but touchy) free climbing. But, not having chosen to climb on the Titan, who am I to say?
Stolen Chimney - Ancient Art 5.8 A0 - Desert Towers, Utah, USA. Click to Enlarge
Ancient Art from the approach.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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