Trip Report
NEW ROUTEs RULEZ! ••Ardbeg, Vaca & Beyond••
Tuesday March 12, 2013 3:03am
Seven breezes around the cabin door.

And cold ones, too! It's been a hard, freezing winter around Moab.

As solid as I've seen it. Previous winter was bad enough:

So we wanted to climb, and Chip Wilson and I went south, south, to somewhere a bit warmer and even more deserted:

Well, not quite that far. But to the Valley of the Gods. Stopped in Blanding for gas, like the dinosaurs we are:

And then to Eagle Plum Tower, in Valley of the Gods:

In the middle of the Valley lies this, the biggest, coolest tower for miles. Yeah! Camping was freezing cold, but the place was absolutely silent, deserted. Like going back thirty years.

There was a line on the south-southwest side. Chip had been eyeing it up for a couple years.

At the base was some old, stupid graffiti (Nate?), but never mind. Nate was not far wrong, though it did not really need to to spelled out.

Chip got busy. For hours and hours. All day, really. Poor Art-dog was worried:

Next day the second pitch went down, easy except for the last few feet, a traverse under a roof. I expected to place a couple bolts but a hook on a VERY fragile flake held, then came an A5 birdbeak. Except the beak bent. As did a Tomahawk. Damn. The seam was just 3/4" deep. But the bent ones seemed to catch, anyway. I'd heard that Peckers were tempered harder, so tried one. Useless. Bent, again. Three pins bent, so far. I almost called for the drill. But I'm nothing if not stubborn. I tried one more Tomahawk, this time tapped real gentle, subtle, precise and stopped as it began to bite. YES!

Gently slid onto my weight onto it. Next? Nothing. Except fear, as I was farther and farther away from the dihedral, looking at slamming back into it if things went south. But that's what we were here for. Maybe an upside-down knifeblade under the roof? I picked out a knifeblade, painted blue. Not just any knifeblade this, but one that had arrived in a box from Piton "Santa Claus" Ron, from the Kyle Copeland Collection. Kyle would'a smiled. Ron, maybe, not so much. I hand-placed a baby angle behind a flake, slithered left to a foot-ledge, relaxed. Placed a two-bolt belay.

The next pitch was the crux. That was clear. From the ground we had spied not much, and zi imagined all kinds of slow, scary beaking shenanigans. But in the event, this pitch went really well, with a splitter crack for 70 feet followed by a couple sneaky moves to another crack. The rock was soft, cleaning went embarrassingly fast, Chip had done real well, stacking Leepers and all sorts of trickery....

The final pitch was mine. A perfect Toucan crack in great rock. Cleaning went embarrassingly slowly....

Top pitch, viewed from the side:

On top, we found an original register, with a Bill Forrest bag:

and his business card:

Which was a who's who of desert climbers. Those you've heard of:

and many you've not. Very cool!

There was it turned out, a second register, at the other end of the summit. Placed by Mike Gruber, this had kind of taken over. About 30-40 ascents, so far. For me and Chip, our second, both by new routes, 26 years apart. We hung out on top for a while, enjoying the solitude, the ambience. Nothing better than this.

Time to head home:

  Trip Report Views: 1,546
About the Author
crunch is a social climber from CO.

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la la land
  Mar 12, 2013 - 03:20am PT
You always post sick stuff, thanks!

In fact the register thingy is dope and I didn't even look at the names at first... F*#kin love it

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Mar 12, 2013 - 03:23am PT
Awesome! TFPU! Digging the Dora the Explorer backpack

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Mar 12, 2013 - 09:26am PT
Hand picking the too often overlooked and getting scared I. The process -Adventure! Cheers!

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Mar 12, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
What a great couple days! Thanks crunch.

Trad climber
Hankster's crew
  Mar 12, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Thanks for that, Cruncher. Looks like a good time.

Social climber
Author's Reply  Mar 12, 2013 - 01:35pm PT

I edited the title and the whole post vanished. Maybe this'll put it back....

  Mar 12, 2013 - 01:51pm PT
High adventure!
& the photos?!?!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Mar 12, 2013 - 01:52pm PT

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Mar 12, 2013 - 10:13pm PT

So Steve, when are you gonna have a show in

Thanks for sharing!

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Mar 12, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
Too much! But well understated.

Oakland, CA
  Mar 12, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
The photos... great stuff.

Social climber
Author's Reply  Mar 12, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
I have a few slideshows coming up! Psyched!

BAY AREA: April 5, 2013, Saratoga/San Jose REI, 7pm

BAY AREA: Apri 8, 2013, Berkely REI, 7pm

DENVER: Monday, April 22, 2013. REI Flagship Store, Denver, 6:30 pm

Also South Dakota, Crow Peak Brewery, Spearfish, March 27, 6:30.

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Mar 12, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
What a great TR. Thanks for posting!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Mar 12, 2013 - 11:46pm PT
Thanks for sharing! Great photos and a really cool summit!

What's the name of the route?

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Mar 12, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
Sweet hawk shot!

I have found that the blue and red have so much torque, they have a learning curve.

Thanks for the TR!
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
  Mar 13, 2013 - 02:45am PT
Sean Plunkett has posted to the forum.

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Mar 13, 2013 - 02:51am PT
crunchy post, crunch.
some great pics in there.
no need for a 2x4 rap on this one, eh.

Social climber
Author's Reply  Mar 13, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
Hey mucci, In straight-in cracks all three Tomahawks seem interchangeable, which is real nice. For corners the bent bits are subtle, precision is required to hit them correctly. The corners are bent enough to keep the cable so it's not pinched against the rock, and they allow easy cleaning.

Have not yet noticed much unusual torqueing, maybe that's a feature in angled cracks. But only placed a few, yet.

They are the best design for the beak/pecker-style pin, I love 'em.

Another gem from the register:

Another first: First base jump, 1994. Tower's only 350 feet high. Woo ...
Another first: First base jump, 1994. Tower's only 350 feet high. Woo hoo!
Credit: crunch
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 13, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
That's what it's all about!!!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 13, 2013 - 08:56pm PT
Nice write up. Looks like a cool tower.

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Mar 13, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
Loved reading about this. I have camped above Valley of the Gods at Muley Point, for some reason that is one of my favorite places i have ever been. I always hope to get back to it and camp there etc. Muley Point/Goosenecks/Valley of the Gods captured me before I even climbed, which is why i hope to climb something, anything, in Valley of the Gods someday. So this trip report is cool to see an unusual or less known climb. Haven't really aid climbed, so it's crazy to see some of what it's about, such as that tomahawk pic, yikes! The summit register was really awesome, the first base jumper, wow (would've liked to witness that)! Good job, great photos, and Art dog sure looks sweet. When camping there, I was impressed by the night sky, the stars, incredible. Gotta see if I can find some 5.8 that gets to the top of something out there ;-)
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