Kor-Ingalls 5.9

 
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Castleton Tower


Desert Towers, Utah, USA


Trip Report
A Fine Effort
Wednesday October 16, 2013 8:02am
How do you measure achievements in climbing? Numbers are deceiving. Too little attention is paid to the quality of the effort involved. Coming essentially off the couch, I decided to meet Nature at Castelton Tower for an ascent of the Kor Ingalls, a historic route, even older than either of us.

Nature showed up in the middle of a rainy Sunday night. I slept in the front of my truck because I didn't bring a tent. It was cold, and still raining at first light. The campground was surprisingly crowded due in part to the shutdown, and in part to the "Columbus day" holiday.

One guy said they were bailing because they did'nt want to climb on the sandstone when it was wet. (!) Well, today was our only day, so we decided to at least hike up to the base and see what the weather did.
Credit: Reeotch
From the night before . . .
From the night before . . .
Credit: Reeotch
It was fricking cold and windy. The Castelton wasn't going to yeild its classic summit too easily. It was putting off a surly vibe. The cracks looked wide, too.
Credit: Reeotch
Testing the wind at the base . . .
Testing the wind at the base . . .
Credit: Reeotch
We hung out at the base waiting for the sun to come out for over an hour. Then, another party showed up and we were spurred into action.
Nature getting ready to tunnel through on the 1st pitch.
Nature getting ready to tunnel through on the 1st pitch.
Credit: Reeotch
As the day went by the weather improved.
As the day went by the weather improved.
Credit: Reeotch
Over coffee that morning Nature admitted to having been climbing regularly over the past couple weeks, a clear violation of the off-the-couch ethic, thereby earning himself the crux lead.
Nature starting the crux 3rd pitch
Nature starting the crux 3rd pitch
Credit: Reeotch
The first three pitches each delivered a real pump. The first pitch tunnel through/squeeze was like a wrestling match. I nearly got stuck! The crux for both of us was figuring out how to orient your body so as to make upward progress possible.
Looking up from inside the first pitch.
Looking up from inside the first pitch.
Credit: Reeotch
Now, the route description I read called for pro to 3.5 inches. From photos I studied beforehand, I thought more big gear was warranted. We brought 2 #4 camalots, a #4.5, and a 6" big bro. We used all of it! If you only bring the recommended gear, you'll definitely have to run it out a bit more. There are bolts at some of the wide cruxes, however.
Nature demonstrating proper off-width technique.
Nature demonstrating proper off-width technique.
Credit: Reeotch
Yeah Baby!
Yeah Baby!
Credit: Reeotch
Summit Ninja . . .
Summit Ninja . . .
Credit: Reeotch
If you were ever in doubt about the sick and twisted nature of climbers' minds, a quick perusal of some of the prose written in the summit register, as well as some of the "offerings" left, should leave no doubt!
Credit: Reeotch
We both freed every inch of the route. It definitely pushed me both mentally and physically. And, thats how I prefer to measure achievement in climbing, by the quality of the effort involved in overcoming the difficulties and uncertainties of the day.
Kor Ingalls is a true classic! I'm still sore . . .



  Trip Report Views: 1,510
Reeotch
About the Author
Rich Ludwig is a climber, biker and adventurer currently residing in Kayenta AZ on the Navajo Nation where he teaches high school biology.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
wilbeer

Mountain climber
Terence Wilson greeneck alleghenys,ny,
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:06am PT
Great TR,Awesome location.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:08am PT
Nice! Makes me miss the desert even more.
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Oct 16, 2013 - 10:47am PT
Short and sweet with great photos. Excellent TR!

I love the fact you made Nature lead the crux pitch because he'd sinned against the off-the-couch ethic--LOL.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:38am PT
Nice!
10b4me

climber
  Oct 16, 2013 - 10:26am PT
The last pitch was the most enjoyable for me.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Oct 16, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Sweet!
TFPU
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 16, 2013 - 10:40am PT
Bringing more = $$$ in the bank.

Climb my butt with THAT wide teckneek, though.

Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Author's Reply  Oct 16, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
We met this dude hiking up around 4:00 or so. Thought it was a little late to be just approaching. Turns out he wasn't climbing . . .

Yellow canopy
Yellow canopy
Credit: Reeotch

He was flying . . .

He gained some serious altitude . . .
He gained some serious altitude . . .
Credit: Reeotch
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Oct 16, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
Awesome. I did that route when I was a youngster at NAU. It was FREEZING when we were there and also hunting season had just started which meant a lot of trigger happy folks were around. No other climbers. Ancient if not original bolts (I think they were actually nails or something not that much better) Partner's VW broke down on the Res on the way back to Flag and I arrived in class Monday morning not having slept. Classic weekend!

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Oct 16, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Nice! Am I correct in assuming Kor did knott put those bolts in?
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Oct 16, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Good job dudes.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
This is rad. Off the couch efforts should not be discounted! Nice work.
Bad Climber

climber
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:31pm PT
Buckets o' burl! Nice send. I'm sore just thinking about it.

Cheerz,

BAd
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:32pm PT
Great job, you guys!

Always wanted to do that line...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 16, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
so it's kosher to climb on the sandstone after a rain?

the climb looks cool
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Oct 16, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
Bump!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 16, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
Kool, Thanks!!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Oct 17, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Here's the money comment:

How do you measure achievements in climbing? Numbers are deceiving. Too little attention is paid to the quality of the effort involved.


Nice work gents.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 17, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
I wasn't very far away from the couch. What with all the flood closures around here I hadn't been climbing. Though monday and wednesday of last week I soloed the First Flatiron. On Friday I went to the gym. Saturday morning I climbed the First Flatiron again - this time with a rather charming and beautiful woman. She's a good climber too. Lucky me....

:)
:)
Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Saturday night I did a one night SushiFest. After cleaning up my tent Sunday I hopped in my truck around 4PM and headed to meet Rich. I arrived around 11PM to rain. I crawled into the back of my truck totally exhausted and slept until about 6AM.

Dam it was cold. Around 8 we hiked to the base. Dam it was cold. On the way up rich noted, "well, you've been climbing. You wanna lead the crux pitch?". He's usually pretty good about being motivated to get things done but when he asks to defer it's pretty obvious it's time to step up. I didn't know I had sinned, however.

Eventually we got started and topped out around 2PM. We spent a little time on the summit and rapped the route. Back at the trucks around 4PM we celebrated with a beer. I hit the road around 6PM. The forecast was snow over the passes and chains required at Vail Pass. I stopped short of the climb to Vail pass and crawled in the back of my truck around 10 PM, slept until 3AM and continued the journey home. 7AM I arrived and immediately crawled into my bed. Exhausted.

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Credit: nature

His Big Bro was all shiny and new. It needed to be placed.
His Big Bro was all shiny and new. It needed to be placed.
Credit: nature

demonstrating proper off width technique
demonstrating proper off width technique
Credit: nature

Credit: nature

Dam it was cold.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
  Oct 17, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
Castleton is a great climb;.....good one;....(I climbed Kor-Ingalls route 31 years ago.......I still remember it well).....get busy wid it , Doug...
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Oct 17, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
NICE WORK MEN!

It was cold as the balls on a brass mo key in Motown monday....
Gal

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Oct 18, 2013 - 01:01am PT
fabulous job!
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Oct 18, 2013 - 01:17am PT
That last picture is great - miss you guys.
climbrunride

Sport climber
Golf Wall, CO
  Oct 18, 2013 - 02:46am PT
Way to go guys. Sure looks COLD! Way to hike up there anyway and get your butts up the climb anyway.

Smart to bring the Big Bro. I brought some big cams, but they weren't even close to big enough, so it was just like carrying extra training weight with me. I really would have liked to have been able to get some pro at a few spots.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 18, 2013 - 11:04am PT
wrestling around inside the crack on the first pitch... I think I sprained my right knee.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Oct 18, 2013 - 11:09am PT
Soft stone for hard guys!

Way to persevere and summit gentlemen.

Now that Huntley Ingalls photo will really resonate with Doug.

The FA was done in stormy weather too.

Layton and Huntley had lightning in the mix to boot!

Fun the rigorous way and not soon to be forgotten.

Thanks for sharing it with us.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 18, 2013 - 11:37am PT
Credit: nature
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Oct 18, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Is nobody gonna answer my question as to whether Kor put the bolts in next to the crack?
I hope it is a rhetorical one.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 18, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
I have no idea. but I will say that without them they would have been looking at hitting a ledge if they fell at the crux.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Oct 18, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
Thanks for the excellent trip report and pictures. Your report and climb certainly fit your TR's title. That picture of testing the wind was quite convincing.

I have no idea. but I will say that without them they would have been looking at hitting a ledge if they fell at the crux.

I, too, have no idea, but I know that neither Kor on the FA, nor Pratt on his free ascent, would have been stopped by that prospect. We admire their climbing for very good reasons.

John
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 18, 2013 - 05:37pm PT
TR's disappear?
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
  Oct 19, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
I sat down this morning and read through Crusher's Desert Towers book. In '62 when McCarty and Carter went to attempt to free Castleton "McCarty recalls, 'Harvey was going to avoid [aiding on] that bolt at all costs.'"

So there's our answer. At least one of the two bolts were put in on the FA. I suspect both of them were.
10b4me

climber
  Oct 19, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Nice pics, Doug.
I climbed it on October 1, 1996. What I thought was going to be a cool day, turned out to be rather warm.
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Castleton Tower - Kor-Ingalls 5.9 - Desert Towers, Utah, USA. Click to Enlarge
A view from the approach.
Photo: Dougald MacDonald
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A view from the approach.
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A view from the approach.