Finger of Fate 5.8 C3F

 
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Fisher Towers, The Titan


Desert Towers, Utah, USA


Trip Report
Finger of Fate Solo (aka "Tw#t on a Tower") Dec '12
Thursday February 28, 2013 1:43am
The 2 weeks in Josua Tree were fun. But it had been too long being too close to the ground. When my friends left, I didn't want to make more. The frame of mind required for soloing, for me, is to want to not be around people for a while. I also want to be cool, badass, sexy, better than everyone else, and special. Aid climbing makes me none of these things. But at least it gets me away from the pseudo hippy, "lifestyle" climber I've come to view as only slightly less rage inducing than a good solid kick to the stones. Does that make me a dick? Probably. I'm single. I climb on my own a lot. Make of it what you will.

Anyway, went to the fisher towers with dreams of being the next Jim Beyer. Saw his routes. Felt more like Jim Carrey. Not happening. But still want to get scared and muddy. So which one looks the best? Which one can I brag to all the pretty girls about soloing? (To which they say: "what are you talking about?", "Who are you?", "That sounds terrible"...). The Titan! That sounds big and impressive, right? So I go and try to find the base of the Finger of Fate. First done in the 60's and apparently pretty popular for the area. Figured finding the base wouldn't be too hard. Figured wrong. So start up the Sun devil Chimney instead. Nice line, sunny, and A3. Shouldn't be too hard right? Wrong again numbnuts! Get to literally the second placement off the ground. Can't get anything to stick. The rock keeps crumbling. Don't want to nail it, as Stevie Haston has freed the thing. I worry he'll know through some mysterious 6th sense that someone is desecrating his route. I worry he'll crush my ill formed, aid-climber testes in the crook of one tendonitis scourged elbow. I worry I won't be able to do it, I'll fall off and die, it will be embarrassing. I worry I'll be the first person I know to die climbing. 2 feet off the ground, I bail. Failure. Ignominy. Fishers 1, tw#t 0. Might as well go home.

Credit: Paul Brennan

Credit: Paul Brennan

Walking in with piggie. Still happy
Walking in with piggie. Still happy
Credit: Paul Brennan

Somewhat apprehensive
Somewhat apprehensive
Credit: Paul Brennan

Stuff at the base of Sundevil
Stuff at the base of Sundevil
Credit: Paul Brennan

This dude was less worried than I was
This dude was less worried than I was
Credit: Paul Brennan

But.....I'm incredibly lazy. Humped a haul bag, water and food 2.5 miles into the base of the damn tower and don't really want to walk it out again. So look harder for the base of the FoF. Lo and behold, its exactly where its always been! Its also where the guidebook says it is. Why couldn't I find it before? Because I'm a blind tool, that's why. So hump my stuff up there, fix a surprisingly solid pitch, and call it a day. Still have to walk 2.5 miles back to the car. I hate life. But the ropes are up a pitch so it could be worse.

The start of the route. Finally....
The start of the route. Finally....
Credit: Paul Brennan

Looking down the 1st pitch
Looking down the 1st pitch
Credit: Paul Brennan

The rock was fine for the whole route
The rock was fine for the whole route
Credit: Paul Brennan

Anchory wankery
Anchory wankery
Credit: Paul Brennan

Day 3 (first day was a recce, second was climbing). 3rd time walking the 2.f-ing5 m into the tit-an. Psyched. Kinda. Still don't want to walk the bags and rack back out so decide to fix to pitch 5. I have 3 ropes, so feck it, why not? Potter up the pitches. Not too hard, rock is OK, some exciting free sections over iffy fixed gear. No one there to say its a bad idea. That means its a good idea, right? Link 4 and 5. Get to the top of the pitch 5 chimney when the knot in the rope gets stuck in a bloody crack. I can see the anchor so try to reach it by stretching the rope. Bad idea. Get slingshotted from the top of the chimney to halfway back down it. Rubberband man style. Instinct makes a grab for the size 5 cam below. Instinct gets me a tweaked, shredded, bloody finger. Arse. Finish the pitch. Can't recall how. Wander back the 2.f5 m in the dark with a dying light and a bum hand. Time for a day off.

Was surprised how easily everything went clean as I only had the Bjorn...
Was surprised how easily everything went clean as I only had the Bjornstad book for info
Credit: Paul Brennan

I'd never seen drilled angles before, but they seemed ok
I'd never seen drilled angles before, but they seemed ok
Credit: Paul Brennan

Surprisingly effective way to haul up a day bag, with 2 jumars and a D...
Surprisingly effective way to haul up a day bag, with 2 jumars and a DMM revolver
Credit: Paul Brennan

Flapper on 5th pitch
Flapper on 5th pitch
Credit: Paul Brennan

First Aid
First Aid
Credit: Paul Brennan

Day 4. Sat in a coffee shop the next day, making friends and failing to influence people. So that night did the 2.f5 in the dark, on my own, with bivvy gear. Plan was to sleep at the base, fire it in the morning, get the hell out and go somewhere fun. Woke up at 4 the next morning. Day 5. Had enough time for a piss, a bagel, a coffee, and a fag before the rain.... marinate in a bivvy bag for a few hrs, bitching at no one in particular. Then the descent gully starts to slide (well, a couple of pebbles fell on me). I get scared, and slog back to the van. Have a hot flush, and a momentary lapse of reason. Sick of the fishers, sick of aid climbing, sick of being alone. Drive 80 miles to Indian Creek. Sit and read a book for 2 hrs before realizing I like the fishers, and aid, and people suck, and my stufg is still at the top of the 5th. So drive back. 160 miles of driving in one day because I'm on my man period. Jesus.....

Nice bivvy
Nice bivvy
Credit: Paul Brennan

Crap weather
Crap weather
Credit: Paul Brennan

Sad face. Unfortunately also my "sexy" face.
Sad face. Unfortunately also my "sexy" face.
Credit: Paul Brennan

Day 6, nearly done. If you've made it this far, take heart. Get up at 2, slog in the dark, finish the route. The strippers and beer I imagined onto the summit don't appear. Bummer. But the summit register is there. Leave scrawl, take pics, start abseiling. Goes smoothly. Thank christ. I've learned to hate descending. Too lazy to walk all the stuff out in multiple trips. So pack the Piggie, shoulder it, super squat my way to a standing position, and grind out the 2.mf5 miles one more time. The iPod runs out of battery slightly faster than the head torch, and a lot faster than I can get back to the van.

Me no like early mornings
Me no like early mornings
Credit: Paul Brennan

Star drives
Star drives
Credit: Paul Brennan

Credit: Paul Brennan

Clipping up the two fixed tricams in a row over the ledge on the 4th p...
Clipping up the two fixed tricams in a row over the ledge on the 4th pitch (I think) was the most unpleasant section of the route. think I took this photo when jugging up past it
Credit: Paul Brennan

Looking past the duck to the final ridge
Looking past the duck to the final ridge
Credit: Paul Brennan

Various generations of shite between good bolts on the final pitches
Various generations of shite between good bolts on the final pitches
Credit: Paul Brennan

Interesting slinging of a fixed angle
Interesting slinging of a fixed angle
Credit: Paul Brennan

Looking back down the ridge
Looking back down the ridge
Credit: Paul Brennan

Summit register
Summit register
Credit: Paul Brennan

Credit: Paul Brennan

Credit: Paul Brennan

On top. PSYCHED
On top. PSYCHED
Credit: Paul Brennan

Pulling the last rope
Pulling the last rope
Credit: Paul Brennan

8pm. Back at the van. Soloed the Titan. I'm no different than before, just a bit more tired. I hadn't soloed the titan before. Obviously. I know a bit more about myself. I smell terrible. The climbing wasn't hard, but wasn't easy if you get me? Standing on top was superb.

Go do it. Wall climbing sucks, and its slow and hard and occasionally scary, and obsolete. But you might enjoy it and learn something. I learned that it makes you look cool to other hairy, smelly blokes. Need to go away and reassess some things.

Near the end of a longish day
Near the end of a longish day
Credit: Paul Brennan

Peace out

Sexy
Sexy
Credit: Paul Brennan

  Trip Report Views: 1,666
Paul Brennan
About the Author
Paul Brennan is learning to like people and make friends

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 28, 2013 - 02:47am PT
Ha ha! Nice stuff, wondered what you were really doing out there. Thanks for the write up!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Feb 28, 2013 - 04:19am PT
One thumb up.
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Feb 28, 2013 - 04:27am PT

good work!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
  Feb 28, 2013 - 04:44am PT
YAY!

TFPU!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Feb 28, 2013 - 05:55am PT
Nice job. Looks dusty.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Feb 28, 2013 - 07:25am PT
Great TR, mate. Cheers for topping here our. Well done!
Loose Rocks

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 07:31am PT
I love how the "rock" coats all the fixed gear in a lovely patina.
Beatrix Kiddo

Mountain climber
ColoRADo
  Feb 28, 2013 - 07:40am PT
Awesome! That tri-cam gave me the chillz. Funny, entertaining report.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
  Feb 28, 2013 - 08:10am PT
Nice work and a fun read.
Relic

Social climber
Weenie
  Feb 28, 2013 - 09:17am PT
Way Rambo man! Even though you're a deserter of Squamish. The Negro Lesbian is waiting for you so get yur ass back here.
RP3

Big Wall climber
Sonora
  Feb 28, 2013 - 09:36am PT
Fantastic TR...And what an accomplishment. Thanks for posting!
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
Ireland
Author's Reply  Feb 28, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Cheers all, it was a great experience. Best part is, there are still 4 main towers to go back and tick! Not to mention the Mysteries.... The desert rocks

And don't fret Relic, its all training for the Chief!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 10:04am PT
So, didn't your parents let you play in the sandbox as a wee laddie?

Nice write-up! :-)
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 10:34am PT
Sweet, good send, good pics. Enjoyed it. Funny about the 160 miles.

What to make of the misanthrope who likes no one but seeks approval from peer group? Either way, it's a good psych profile to have for a soloist.
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
Ireland
Author's Reply  Feb 28, 2013 - 10:56am PT
I'm trying to make more friends.... :-)

I find soloing a good release for misanthropic tendencies. When I'm tired of being around people, I go solo, and by the end want to be around people again. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from the trip reports on here, so thought I'd contribute as for once I have something interesting to write about!

And supertopo is at least 2 degrees removed from real life anyway :-)
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 08:26pm PT
Since I learned to read by reading Playboy, I just looked at the pics here and got the gist of it. Thanks! It's always fun to look at placements - there's always a tale there! I will finish reading it at some point. Good comment on soloing creating a desire to be around people.

OK - finished reading - it's about the climbing - am having deja vu.
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:02am PT
Way cool. Your mental state on this adventure sounds like something I would put myself through.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:46am PT
Hey Paul -

Totally get it and no insult intended! TR's like yours are the golden heart of this damn site, and I'm sorry if I sounded like an as#@&%e. Mine was just an idle question about the persona as presented in your TR - I figured that persona probably had only partial, watered-down correlation to the real dude.

Back to the top with you!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 28, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
Paul (left) in company of others the day (?) after the finger
Paul, Pamela Pack, Andy Reger, farther away Jason Molina and Matt Kueh...
Paul, Pamela Pack, Andy Reger, farther away Jason Molina and Matt Kuehl
Credit: Jaybro
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Feb 28, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
Really enjoyed it! Thank you!

"I worry he'll crush my ill formed, aid-climber testes in the crook of one tendonitis scourged elbow."

Ha ha :-)
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
Ireland
Author's Reply  Feb 28, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
No offence taken in the slightest le_bruce! Its a worthwhile question. If no questions were asked, this place would descend into a back-slapping circle jerk where not much beyond the obvious is learned.

The psychological reasons for soloing are something that preoccupied me quite a bit last year. The physical act is secondary in some ways. Lots of soul searching and self analysis happened on the long drives to Yosemite and elsewhere. I found that I started these things with negative emotions (and sometimes for questionable reasons) and ended them with positives. For that reason its become one of my favorite types of climbing. Nothing I've written above is untrue. Emotions, like the fishers themselves, are subject to sometimes rapid change.

Nice photo Jaybro! And I seem to recall it was literally the day after I topped out. Was pretty happy to have friends to hang out with that day :-)

Edit: the date I put down in the summit register was wrong, I actually topped out on the 7th of December. Need to fix that next time I'm up there...
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Feb 28, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Ha ha - great write up .... isn't the muddddd fun? And yes, there are lots more towers to do, Do Cottontail next. It's the best summit of the main Fisher Tower, if you really want to have an adventure.

WOOT!!

Paul
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Feb 28, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
The opposite of McHale, takes too long to load.

Anybody know the connection between the "Titan" and the Cuban Missile Crisis and Carla Selby?

I got it from the horse's mouth a few days ago.
Captain...or Skully

climber
  Feb 28, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
I love The Fishers. That place is weird cool. TFPU, Paul.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Mar 1, 2013 - 11:05am PT
I found that I started these things with negative emotions (and sometimes for questionable reasons) and ended them with positives.

That's a blueprint for doing well in life. What more can we ask for? Also, your writing is airtight and a joy to read. Post more TR's!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 1, 2013 - 07:15pm PT
Great write up and TR, Way to Go!!!!!!!
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  Mar 2, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
good TR
10b4me

climber
  Mar 3, 2013 - 09:14am PT
Way to go, and tfpu
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Mar 3, 2013 - 09:57am PT
Thanks for giving us the Finger, Paul !
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Mar 3, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
Hard core man. Way to get up there and get dirty and lonesome and rad all in one route. Thanks for a great write up. Hopefully more to come.

Scott
bob

climber
  Mar 3, 2013 - 10:15pm PT
Alone up in the mud. Thanks for posting this. I would never ever do that ,but I love reading about things like that/this.

Yeah!

Bob J.
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Fisher Towers, The Titan - Finger of Fate 5.8 C3F - Desert Towers, Utah, USA. Click to Enlarge
The Titan from the approach.
Photo: Chris McNamara