Trip Report
Ottos Route, Colorado National Monument
Friday July 4, 2014 12:59pm
We did the mega classic and moderate desert "Ottos Route" in Grand Junction, CO(Colorado Natl Monument)this morning.
Credit: MountainProject
Credit: Hankster
We woke up at 4am and got there 1st, stoked!
Credit: Hankster
The route is about 5.8ish
Credit: Hankster
The route was 1st climbed using drilled stovepipes pounded in in 1907, so great History.
Credit: Hankster
You clip tons of freaky sh#t.
Credit: Hankster
Credit: Hankster
Mid route selfie.
Credit: Hankster
Summit selfie.
Credit: Hankster

Can't recommend this under the radar classic enough. Fin.

  Trip Report Views: 1,733
About the Author
Hankster is a social climber from Texas/Boulder.

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Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jul 4, 2014 - 01:10pm PT

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Jul 4, 2014 - 01:19pm PT
Fun TR. We've done this a few times and each time I think "Otto was a badass!"
john hansen

  Jul 4, 2014 - 02:53pm PT
Did you jump?

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:07am PT
A very cool route though I don't think the style of the FA is one to emulate these days.

I've climbed it twice. The first time I soloed with a rap rope and a couple of slings and biners to clip the bolts (pins?) on the last pitch. The second time was with a sport climbing partner to share history and weirdness!

Bravo team Caylor! You're on a protracted tower bender!

For a really cool route of more conventional style and challenging pitches, medicine man, across the way is one of my fave tower climbs!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jul 4, 2014 - 05:07pm PT

What, no jump from the top?
Hank, that's so unlike you!!!!!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 4, 2014 - 05:41pm PT
Surely they did,, i imagine they both cant even remember HOW to "rap" lol!;-)

  Jul 4, 2014 - 06:10pm PT
Nice Hankster cool, historical route. TFPU
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jul 5, 2014 - 05:22pm PT

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 5, 2014 - 05:32pm PT
Nice Hank....liked the history!
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Jul 5, 2014 - 05:37pm PT
Enjoyed the photos of old pro, thanks.
The Larry

Moab, UT
  Jul 5, 2014 - 05:37pm PT
Go Team Weenie and The Butt!

Trad climber
  Jul 5, 2014 - 05:48pm PT
GO Hankster and TheHotWife GO!


A friend and I were there last June. . . the place is a trip!

I hope you stopped at "No Coast Sushi" for dinner before you left GJ. The place is HIP!

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 5, 2014 - 09:45pm PT
Thanks for the TR!

A classic early desert summit.

Otto wrote a book about his exploits and Crusher's superb Desert Towers book covers the history.

Even Kor got spooked climbing the original pipe ladder if I remember correctly.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 5, 2014 - 10:04pm PT

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Jul 6, 2014 - 07:20am PT
Nice:) i am guessing that perhaps jumping is not allowed hence the discretion;) wink wink say no more;)

Balcarce, Argentina
  Jul 6, 2014 - 07:26am PT
That's the spirit!

4 Corners Area
  Jul 6, 2014 - 11:29am PT
I love historic routes like that!


Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jul 6, 2014 - 11:39am PT
Cool TR, thanks for posting Hank!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jul 6, 2014 - 12:48pm PT
Several comments come to mind.

I climbed this route many times in the '70s and '80s. If you can belay below the final headwall there must be far more anchors up there than BITD. Just check out my photo on page 60 of Rock & Ice 16.

BTW the article begins with R&I's first "centerfold", a B&W rendition of a photo of mine (already published in Mountain as a half page) of Independence and other towers rising from the fog of an inversion.

It also has a shot of me doing the tyrolean off of the Watusi (Sentinel Spire) after the first solo. I still think this is a timesaver over rapping and jugging.
Solo, you have to do it 3 times to rig for recovery, but it is big time airy fun.

The article finishes with a strange composite photo page, but includes a shot looking down the Ribbed Buttress, a desert climb with an approach that rivals Potash but is a grade III-IV.

I believe that this route will be highly subject to wear.
Still, Independence is cool but the Bell Tower is my favorite in the canyon (and Layton's too BTW).

Maybe Steve can post them?

Otto may have been a kook, but he's OUR kind of kook, pipe drill and all!

Social climber
Golden, CO
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 02:09pm PT
Aaaaaaahhh, when I posted the remotest hint that we BASE jumped Moses Tower in one of my prior TR's, I got enough brushback from other jumpers and climbers to just stow that part of my story from now on.


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 6, 2014 - 02:42pm PT
Sweetness. Great lil route and a supercool looking formation. Way to get all independent on the 4th. Thanks for sharing the fun times.


Social climber
  Jul 6, 2014 - 07:45pm PT
Hey, nice going, Hank! Great photos!


Social climber
Golden, CO
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 08:03pm PT
Plus it falls under NPS guidelines

I give about only as much crap about those guidelines as I absolutely have to.

Edit- Thanks everybody, it was a cool route.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
  Jul 8, 2014 - 06:32pm PT
Just saw this. You two have so much fun it should be illegal!

And sometimes it is... :)

Social climber
  Jul 14, 2014 - 02:33pm PT
Piton Ron wrote:
Still, Independence is cool but the Bell Tower is my favorite in the canyon (and Layton's too BTW).

FWIW, Layton climbed Bell twice, 1st and 2nd ascents, a very rare occurrence for him. That says something to the quality.

Hmm. Been up Bell Tower three times, Otto's once. First time I did Bell Tower it was winter, damp rock, not much fun, aiding harder bits, numb fingers and toes. Next time it was hot, dry and climbed it all free. Superb! Most all of it is shady (even though the climb officially faces south) so it's a fine hot-weather climb.

Otto's we climbed xmas, bundled up like Michelin Men. Memorable, with that vividly sharp January sun.

Bell has wilder geometry (Put it on the list, Hank!) but Otto's Route has the most outrageous history!

ps, Ribbed Buttress is really damn good, too!


Social climber
  Jul 14, 2014 - 03:48pm PT
That last selfie for the win. Good times.

  Jul 14, 2014 - 06:36pm PT
Thanks man! I've only rappelled it. But I remember the relics. Is that pipe at the lip of the summit the original?


Social climber
Golden, CO
Author's Reply  Nov 8, 2014 - 02:19pm PT
Bumping my own TR.

We did this route again this morning, early start and a bluebird day!

This tower is fully 400' tall and a mellow and mostly flat 50min. hike to get to the base.
Credit: Hankster

I don't care what anyone thinks, chossy tower selfies are awesome!!! Look at all those towers behind me!
Credit: Hankster

My awesome midget.
Credit: Hankster

Summit shot and we bail, great route. Historic and scenic as all hell.
Credit: Hankster

Suddenly we were at a Starbucks!!! End of TR..
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Nov 8, 2014 - 03:15pm PT
Looks like a great route Caylor!
Thank you!!!

Mountain climber
Vancouver, BC
  Nov 8, 2014 - 03:58pm PT
Thanks for stokin' the fire! I'd love to get out there and try that one. What a great formation!


Trad climber
  Nov 8, 2014 - 04:14pm PT
Chossy rock and a pretty lady is pure goodness combo!!
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