Trip Report
Cloud Tower Direct (5.11d A0) to LULz"ON"US (FA II 5.7+) link up
Wednesday May 28, 2014 2:26pm
During the rest day Luke and I started contemplating bigger things. Even though I am lousy (relatively speaking) at face climbing, success on Black Velvet Peak allowed me to gain enough confidence to consider the Original Route on Rainbow Wall as a possibility. Another climb I wanted to attempt was the Cloud Tower. Both of these, to me, seemed like a big personal challenge as is. Luke’s idea about climbing these routes was a little different, “LET’S LINK’EM UP!” I tried to propose an easier link up, “maybe we do Cloud Tower and Crimson Crysallis?” “Yea, we can do Crimson Crysallis, on the way back after we link up the Cloud Tower to Rainbow Wall,” said Luke. His energy was contagious and I got excited about the link up myself.

Visit on

Cloud Tower!

Visit on

"Don't mess with me"

Visit on

Cool rock on Cloud Tower. Reminds me of Hatun Machay, Peru

Visit on

Luke leading the awesome splitter on pitch 3

We had an alpine start and got to the scenic loop entrance several minutes before 6am. Made good time on the hike in and I linked the first two pitches of 5.8 to make things go a little faster. Luke took the awesome 5.10 splitter and we were below the crux of the route – a 5.11d corner. Since Luke has sent this pitch before, I tried to get the OS and led it. I ended up taking two falls and my ego quickly approved the 5.12a rating that is listed in some sources. Common sense opposed it, “you are not a 5.12 climber, so why are you surprised?” Before these two settled, Luke got up to the belay station and set off for the next lead. He linked the amazing fist crack with a fun chimney tunnel through and managed to booty another cam. For those who are not familiar with Luke, it is very unlikely that he does NOT booty something on every other climb he does. Not sure if calling him a booty machine is appropriate, but he does well collecting booty. *His wife is a rock climber too and knows what I mean when I say booty. I am not being a bad wingman here! By the way, closest thing we had to a party while climbing at Vegas was a late night trip to Five Guys and Yogurtland after climbing the Warrior! Luke is a terrible wing-man, not me!!!*

Visit on

Me on the 5.11d crux

Visit on

Crux pitch on Cloud Tower from the valley

Visit on

Luke leading the awesome 5.10c fists pitch

Visit on

I am leading the 5.11c pitch on Cloud Tower. Usualy this pitch is vertical, not horizontal :)

Anyway, we were talking about climbing the Cloud Tower. I was at the base of the 5.11c corner and it was another big lead of mine. Since I fell on the other crux pitch, I was really relaxed about this lead, and sent the pitch without breaking much sweat. Actually didn’t seem harder than the Fox or Our Father, both of which are 5.10ds. At times trad ratings confuse me so much that I wish “if it was super hard but you free climbed it - give it a 5.9+” system was still in effect. After hauling our mini bag to the anchor I continued up and linked the pitch to the next 5.12+ pitch - in my case A0 bolt ladder with some 5.10 free climbing mixed in. Upper section was really loose, and I was glad I had a green alien to pull on. Next up was a tough 5.9 offwidth which was Luke’s lead, thank god. We simul climbed the 4th class terrain above and I almost pulled a giant block while leading the final chimney of the climb. Even though this pitch was fun, I wish more people climbed it on regular basis so it could clean up. It was about 1pm (?) and we were already done with the Cloud Tower Direct. Seemed like we had a chance for the link up!

Visit on

Luke leading the OW on Cloud Tower Direct

Visit on

Views from top of the Cloud Tower

Visit on

There it is! We though we could approach it by climbing the towers ahead

Visit on

Yeah, Rainbow Wall at last!

Here is where the story got a bit more entertaining. We followed a major trail down and at one point thought it can’t be the right one. “It is too good! Must be hikers’ trail that leads down. We need to get across to Rainbow!” We found a loose, wet and scary gulley that led us to some ledges above. Terrain here became a bit more real. And we soloed 5th class ledges and something that I would call a 5.8 OW. In a way, this seemed like a way for bad-ass climbers that would link up Cloud Tower to Rainbow Wall. After we got to the top of the formation, that we spent the last hour climbing we realized how screwed we were. About a thousand feet above where we wanted to be. We tried to rappel, but did not have enough trees to continue. At some point we decided to climb up the headwall we just rappel using the top rope set up we had going. It was probably a First Ascent of a 30M 5.7+ pitch which we will make sure to submit in the AAJ….NOT. In any case, we rappelled and reversed our adventure back to the “hikers trail.” It led us down and we ended up 300 or so feet below the Rainbow Wall. It was after 4pm and we did not feel bad-ass enough to climb the Rainbow Wall in under three hours, so we bailed on the idea and went back down to our car. Even though we didn’t complete our planned link-up the alternative was a kick-ass day nonetheless!

Visit on

Me leading Our Father 5.10d. Who said RR doesn't have awesome cracks?!

Visit on

Me leading the awesome arete pitch (5.11a) on Delicate Sound of Thunder

Visit on

Luke leading the 5.11b crux of Delicate Sound of Thunder

Visit on

Crack gets me psyched

Visit on

Luke on Tales from The Gripped (5.11b)

As a benefit from not being very tired on the following day, we decided to do some cragging in Black Velvet. We got on a few awesome routes including Delicate Sound of Thunder (2p 11b), Our Father (3 p 10d) and Tales from the Gripped (3p 11b). The climbing on all three was pretty challenging and fun. Our finger tips got trashed after three days of climbing and we decided that on the following day we will let them heal by climbing The Warrior!

  Trip Report Views: 4,406
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.


Social climber
  May 28, 2014 - 02:36pm PT
Wow. Another stellar TR and fun read. You and Luke are a kick ass team for sure. Thanks again for posting this up. NOW I can get back to work satisfied....
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  May 28, 2014 - 03:03pm PT
Nice shots!
Thanks for sharing.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 28, 2014 - 03:27pm PT
In your honor, I had a bacon cheeseburger and tater tots for lunch, and haven't worked out since I can't remember.

In my honor you got to get some Chocolate, Taro and Red Velvet Batter yogurt from Yogurtland. Put some cheesecake bites, cookie dough, granolla with raising, coconut, chocolate chip cookies and lychee (on taro) on it and enjoy the perfection. No way around it. Make sure you have over 10oz in that cup!

Weston, again was fun to hang out. Hope we can do it again sometime in the Fall or Next Spring! Red Rocks kick ass!

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  May 28, 2014 - 03:40pm PT
I saw your boobs

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  May 28, 2014 - 06:18pm PT
Yay for man boobs and jammy pants.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 28, 2014 - 08:08pm PT
GNAR !!!!

  May 29, 2014 - 09:20pm PT
Sick! I'm going to say sick on your other TR too just so you know. :)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 29, 2014 - 09:54pm PT
Say SICK till you get SICK of it BRAH! #sendthegnarsprayhardgangsta

Trad climber
Boston, MA
  May 30, 2014 - 01:32am PT
Awesome! TFPU

  May 30, 2014 - 01:37am PT
Another satisfied customer.


Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  May 30, 2014 - 01:45am PT
that's a badass TR dude!!


Trad climber
  May 30, 2014 - 02:29am PT
#kickassTR #themonkeysaresending

But seriously: That is one fine piece of stone. Looks like a beautiful route. Nice send.


Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
  Jun 1, 2014 - 07:18pm PT
Fabulous TR Vitaliy M!

Just curious...did you do the Cloud Tower on the last weekend in April?
My friend Kevin Lawlor and I were headed up to climb Unimpeachable Groping and I think we saw you and your partner gear up in the parking lot and run off. I remember the jammies, and the fact that one of you was doing the approach all racked up. Now I know why!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 2, 2014 - 11:30am PT
Yes, April 27th (Sunday). Even though I don't think one of us was racked up. We brought the rack in a backpack that we than hauled through hard pitches.

Oakland, CA
  Jun 5, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
Real deal bump.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jun 5, 2014 - 04:55pm PT
Getting it DONE and then SOME!

Trad climber
  Jun 5, 2014 - 08:51pm PT
Dude, your getting all bulgy muscles and stuff. I guess becoming a climbing machine will do that to you.

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Jun 6, 2014 - 10:06am PT
badada bump

Thanks Vitaliy for the TR

Social climber
  Jun 6, 2014 - 10:58am PT
Great photos and story! Thanks

Trad climber
Red Rock
  Jan 19, 2016 - 01:24pm PT

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jan 20, 2016 - 04:08pm PT
Vitaliy's boobs are internet famous.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jan 22, 2016 - 03:27pm PT
Bump for another great Vitaliy M. TR
Thanks for all your TR's.