Trip Report
Ready to Rumble! Barney Rumble Tower
Wednesday June 6, 2012 12:20pm
I decided to ditch law school graduation for climbing. Granted, my dad was a little disenchanted by my choice but he knows me to be a fringe character and had adequate warnings of my intentions well before June 3rd.

Barney Rumble tower sits across the Colorado River from scenic highway 128 a couple of miles from the intersection with highway 191. The entry in the guide book tells us that we must find a way across the river and up the mesa wall to the base of the tower. I thought I heard somebody say adventure. DID YOU HEAR THAT?? ADVENTURE!!

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Although his bag looked to be waterproof, this was not so. Ryan set his gear down in the back of the kayak and the rope sucked up water like most of you people suck down beer. Well, when life gives you lemons, lay the rope out to dry in the sun and go swimming.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

After a refreshing dip, we packed up, set along the lower wall of the riverbed, and bushwhacked through the cactus until we came to a break in the vertical wall. I persevered despite the prick of those prickly pears and the not so subtle brush of the brush.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

From there, we scrambled up the rockfall to a large block and then climbed a short pitch to get over the wall, probably about a 5.8 and short of 20 feet. I'm sure some people would have just climbed this without roping up but with the gear and mystery of what lied beyond, roping up seemed to be in order.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

At the top of this pitch was some shady looking webbing that we later used to quickly rappel to the ground. The hike from this area took about a half hour and required climbing down into a gully and back up the other side. Since we began our mission at about 1 in the afternoon on a day where the high was supposed to be 101 degrees, the relief of not having to climb in the blazing sun was glorious when the earlier deduction of the east facing nature of the route proved to be true.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

If the current acquisition of adventure wasn't satisfying enough, the procurement of a stuck master cam certainly was. And not only this but also a lesson on how not to place a tri-cam and nut tool!

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

The "belay" at the top of the first pitch was three nuts tied together with some webbing. I've never seen anything like it before. Rather than die on graduation day, we decided to do the whole tower in one pitch. The book says 5.9 and that might be a slightly sandbagged rating but it was fun all the same. Make sure to bring all your #1s or get ready to slide the cams up.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

VICTORY!!

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Given the high profile yet remote location, Ryan determined that some extreme carin building was in order.

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

Credit: Stephanie Bergner

The scariest moment of the day was when I looked at the anchors for the rappel. Two shady old pitons holding the webbing with an o-ring. What do you do in this situation? I was skeptical. Ryan said he'd go first since he outweighs me by about 70 pounds. But if he goes first, does that compromise the anchors even more? Because he weighs more? If he goes first and everything goes incredibly wrong, what do I do? Maybe I want those pitons to fail on me, not him. Is that self interest? STOP BRAIN, STOP! Set your ATC and get down to the base!









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Stephanie Bergner
About the Author
Stephanie Bergner is into long, hot desert hikes and rope guns.

Comments
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crunch

Social climber
CO
  Jun 6, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
Hey, great pics and story! Thanks. I've driven past Barney Rumble a hundred times, never climbed it. Few people do. Excellent adventure, for sure.

Re, "Two shady old pitons, no chains, no webbing, no nothing."
You add your own webbing and carabiner; you find a rock, hit the pitons with it, caveman style, a few times, to ensure they are tight.

And yeah, heavier person goes first, with, hopefully, a solid cam or two (with a bit of slack) added as a back up. Heavier person carries down all the gear too. If you are really worried and have tons of gear, you can lower the rack independently.
Stephanie Bergner

Trad climber
Planet Send
Author's Reply  Jun 6, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
Hey Crunch, thanks for the beta! In hindsight, I think there were a couple chains and an o-ring but the pitons were SO old that I was skeptical.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 6, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
NICE.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Jun 6, 2012 - 01:31pm PT
Nice! The heavyweight has to go first, while you sit there and watch the mank flex. You know the anchor is bad when you unclip while your partner raps!
fsck

climber
  Jun 6, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
ha, i thought i saw someone on the summit yesterday while driving into town.

coool!
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jun 6, 2012 - 02:09pm PT
i can see that yours and mine's educations
imparted upon you and me the elusive knowledge
that everything except folly is
utter and complete bullshit and
a total waste of you stay, here.
ImplicitD

Trad climber
Boise
  Jun 6, 2012 - 02:36pm PT
Nice Trip Report. What a great adventure. A great reason to skip graduation.

So are you gonna be a lawyer now?
Stephanie Bergner

Trad climber
Planet Send
Author's Reply  Jun 6, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
You know the anchor is bad when you unclip while your partner raps!

Yikes!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 7, 2012 - 09:35pm PT
Sounds like you made the right choice ditching graduation!

Thanks!!!!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
  Jun 9, 2012 - 03:17pm PT
Yes, that's a fun one! The element of crossing the river definately adds to the adventure.
crunch

Social climber
CO
  Mar 10, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
Fun to read (or re-read) of this midsummer adventure when it's snowy outside.
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