After seeing the Citi bank commerical of Ancient Art with Alex Honnhold and Katie Brown too many times to count, the plan was hatched to go out to Moab and have a go at the Stolen Chimney on Ancient Art.
We got an earily start and watched the sunrising through the towers.
As soon as we were out of the car I could feel a great vibe that holds this amazing place. Quickly on our way we saw great views of Kingfisher tower and Ancient Art
The trail follows right below the S Face and gives you a great view of the Tower. The actual climb goes up the stolen chimney which starts at about the mid point of the tower on the east end.
The cool factor is a 10, however the rock quality is much less. I would call it "baked Mud" Having lived and climbed in the Grand Canyon, I was familiar with this type of choss. Using extreem care not to crank too hard is good technique.
The first pitch is 5.10+ and is well protected. No more bolts on this route. All the fixed Protection is glue in shuts. I have never seen this type of shut.
I had read a lot of beta on this climb and was aware that P1 should be broken into 2 pitches because of rope drag. After looking myself, I was sure I could get it done in one pitch without any rope drag but when I arrived at the first bolt I was already pulling rope just to advance. I guess that the rope falls into some unseen crack and really gets bogged down. So much for getting it clean !
The Pitch 2 mud chimney was pretty fun. However you do see the true nature of the rock and it is not very inspiring. At the pitch end you must either go straight up the face or burrow through a hole to reach the ledge. No way would I fit through the hole ! This is a great spacious ledge with great views.
Now we are to the good stuff. A very shorp pitch leads to a belay on the end of the tower right before the "walkway" This is a much easier crux than the first pitch and is not bad.
We set up shop here. We had a helmet GoPro, a Quadcoptor with a GoPro attachement and a tripod with a digital camera. After I led the Spire, Keith lanched the quadcopter and filmed me standing on the top. The video is Totally cool. However too big a file to post here.
The "walkway" was a trip. I found the free move to get on the tower pretty hard. I'm 54 years old and ready to have my second hip replacement, and I really struggled to figure this out. The last hard move was really fun and much easier.
I have to say it was well worth the effort. Standing on top of the spire is truley amazing. The citi commerical, all the you tube videos of crazy stunts at the top and lots of other climbers do not take anything away from this spectacular climb. Even the choss is not enough to ruin the day. The super topo
was helpful. a double rope rappel from the big ledge gets you to the ground. You do not want to single rope rappel down the chimney if others are on the climb.