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#659457 - 03/21/07 03:58 PM [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 *****
joepuryear Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 96
TRs: 8 Photos: 171
Loc: Leavenworth, WA
Trip: Utah Desert Tower Tour -

Date: 3/20/2007

Trip Report:
My wife Michelle and I just returned from a two week trip climbing desert towers around Moab, Utah. Overall we had a great trip, climbing 11 routes on 10 towers (actually 9 towers and 1 mesa).

Our first stop was Arches National Park. We decided to warm up on Off Balanced Rock, North Chimney (5.7). The 100-foot runout on the second pitch was a little unnerving but luckily the chimney was fairly secure.
Here's a shot of me taking a picture of Michelle coming up the chimney:


On top of Off Balanced Rock:


Next stop was the obligatory Owl Rock, Olevsky Route (5.9), definitely a must do tower for anyone visiting Arches.


Michelle rapping off:


That evening we hiked out to Delicate Arch for the sunset.


Next it was time for the Fisher Towers.


It rained a little the night we got there, so climbing Ancient Art the next day was out, as climbing dry mud is bad enough. Instead we did the really cool hike through the towers and out to a viewpoint.


Later that evening it seemed to dry out enough to give Lizard Rock, Entry Fee (5.9) a go.

Leading up:


Michelle on top:


The next day we headed up to do Ancient Art, The Corkscrew Route (III 5.10d)

The route climbs up the central chimney then up the highest point on the left.


Following the first bolted crux:


The summit has to be one of the top five coolest spots in the world that I have been.


We came back down and I decided to give a go at The Cobra (5.11 R). I mean, how much longer is this thing going to be there? I had to get it while I still could.


Chalking up under the lip:


One more day in the Fisher Towers and we wanted a little bit more, so we climbed the Kingfisher, Colorado Northeast Ridge (IV 5.8 C2).

Kingfisher, the route ascends the left side of the tower:


This was actually Michelle's favorite route of the whole trip! Not because the climbing was that great - mostly a bolt ladder with a few very C2 mud placements and some good free-mudding. But the overall line, exposure, and summit were fantastic.

Looking straight down the Northeast Ridge:


Summit views - The Titan, Echo Tower, and Cottontail Tower:


Next stop was Castle Valley. We of course had to do the obligatory route on Castleton Tower- the Kor-Ingalls (III, 5.9).

Castleton Tower:


The route follows the central dihedral:


The line is good, but the climbing leaves a bit to be desired. The crux offwidth is only cruxy because they tell you to bring so much god-damned gear up the route and you have to squeeze up the thing with all this crap. In reality you only need a number three Camalot and 4 quickdraws to lead the crux pitch. Anyways, cool summit.

Michelle coming up the crux OW/Chimney:


The Rectory came with many recommendations, and although it is a mesa and not a tower, it still has a tower feel and is a really cool desert formation.

The Rectory is the Mesa in the foreground, the route climbs directly up the facing wall:


We climbed Fine Jade on the Rectory (III, 5.11a). The first two pitches are the crux and are both interesting and sustained. The warm up pitch is a steep but short 5.10d hand-OW-hand crux.

Michelle following the first pitch:


We hiked across the Rectory to watch some climbers on the Honeymoon Chimney of The Priest.



Climbers on Fine Jade, The Rectory:


Later that afternoon we decided to climb the North Chimney of Castleton Tower (III, 5.9), as many people consider it the better of the two moderate routes. The first pitch was ultimately classic. Two parallel cracks, mostly hand jamming, and interesting moves for an entire 150 feet. The second pitch, however, was mostly junk and I linked all the way to the notch in exactly 200 feet.

Michelle following the first pitch:


The next mission was Sister Superior, Jah Man (III, 5.10c). Another fine desert route, with a stout but short crux on the 3rd pitch. And one of the finer chimneys in the area - the Sister Squeeze chimney on the 2nd pitch.

Sister Superior:


Up close:


Looking down the 3rd pitch:


On the summit looking toward Castleton and the Rectory:


And for the final hurrah we took the long drive out and climbed Moses, Primrose Dihedrals (IV, 5.11d).

Moses is the tallest tower:

The route is everything it's cracked up to be - short but sustained pitches, interesting climbing, and an awesome position.

Michelle coming up the 4th pitch:


Pitch 5:


Summit success:




Gear Notes:
SuperTopo: Desert Towers - a great guide for these routes.



Approach Notes:
High clearance 4x4 recommended - even for parking lots.
_________________________
Joe Puryear
www.joepuryear.blogspot.com

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#659475 - 03/21/07 04:07 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
Weekend_Climberz Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 08/04/02
Posts: 3403
TRs: 4 Photos: 139
Loc: Overlooking Elliot Bay
Those pictures are great

I remember a story of Pete Takeda and a buddy doing some mud pounding on Fisher Chimney's in Climbing about 12 years ago. Good on you \:\)
_________________________
Weekday Sprayer

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#659586 - 03/21/07 05:29 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Weekend_Climberz]
tyree Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 285
TRs: 10 Photos: 68
Really nice pics! I am headed down to the creek over spring break and we got some towers on the list too. I will try to post when I get back.

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#659589 - 03/21/07 06:24 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: tyree]
telemarker Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/17/01
Posts: 1672
TRs: 71 Photos: 1091
Loc: Wenatchee, WA U.S.A
Hey Joe,

Ya wanna swap lives with me for a few months?
_________________________
"God gave you two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Use each in proportion."

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#659603 - 03/21/07 07:15 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: telemarker]
Chad_A Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 1500
TRs: 14 Photos: 371
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Beautiful pictures, looks like a great trip. I really have to get down there....time to call up my pal in SLC

Thanks much for the TR
_________________________
"prepare, do your best, and continue trying after failures." -George Lowe

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#659628 - 03/21/07 09:11 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Chad_A]
cluck Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 01/16/03
Posts: 523
TRs: 12 Photos: 131
Loc: Portland, OR
Damn - what an amazing trip! Truly spectular pics of what sound like some unbelievable lines. I'm inspired!
_________________________
If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

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#659631 - 03/21/07 09:22 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Chad_A]
fern Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/17/01
Posts: 2469
TRs: 8 Photos: 47
I hate you Joe and Michelle Puryear you have made me so jealous!

I don't remember a 100 foot runout on Off-Balanced Rock, but perhaps I avoided it by climbing into the chimney right off the belay, only recommended for the tiny and flexible. ;\)

I will add that route on Kingfisher to my list for next time.

Thanks for the TR

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#659667 - 03/21/07 10:49 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: fern]
David Trippett Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/17/05
Posts: 824
TRs: 14 Photos: 227
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Great TR and Beautiful photos Joe!! ....but, more importantly....how many times did you guys make sexy summit explosion?

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#659847 - 03/22/07 11:21 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
sirwoofalot Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/01/05
Posts: 712
TRs: 1 Photos: 3
Loc: Edmonds, WA
Wow!

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#659851 - 03/22/07 11:26 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: sirwoofalot]
strumpett Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 182
TRs: 0 Photos: 2
Great pictures, sounds fun.
_________________________
Mom's rules

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#659872 - 03/22/07 12:05 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: strumpett]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1706
TRs: 31 Photos: 407
Loc: leavenworth
sweet, nice photos, great TR.

deser tower power

if you haven't climbed it yet, next time your down there, put lightning bolt cracks on the north six shooter on your list.

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#659883 - 03/22/07 12:21 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Sol]
John Frieh Offline
sprayer

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 6290
TRs: 56 Photos: 1214
Loc: PDX
Awesome TR Joe! You ever going to get around to writing one for the pencil?

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#659913 - 03/22/07 12:38 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: fern]
joepuryear Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 96
TRs: 8 Photos: 171
Loc: Leavenworth, WA
Originally Posted By: fern

I don't remember a 100 foot runout on Off-Balanced Rock, but perhaps I avoided it by climbing into the chimney right off the belay, only recommended for the tiny and flexible. ;\)

Fern - yeah I just did it the stupid way. One guide said to climb the outside edge of the chimney, which has no pro whatsoever and is probably harder than the 5.6 they say. After I got down I read another book that said to go all the way back into the chimney and follow the crack up - that definitely sounds like the way to go.

Originally Posted By: frosty_the_tradman
if you haven't climbed it yet, next time your down there, put lightning bolt cracks on the north six shooter on your list.

That looks like a great route too and was next on the list for sure - can only climb so much in two weeks - can't wait to go back and do more.

Originally Posted By: John_Frieh
Awesome TR Joe! You ever going to get around to writing one for the pencil?

We're still working on editing the video footage
_________________________
Joe Puryear
www.joepuryear.blogspot.com

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#660253 - 03/23/07 09:03 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
fgw Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 574
TRs: 23 Photos: 90
Loc: Portland, OR
The shots of climbers on the Priest from Rectory & climbers on Fine Jade from Castleton are some of the best tower shots I've seen. Outstanding.

You should add Honeymoon Chimney on the Priest & In Search Of Suds on Washerwoman to your list for next trip down there.




Edited by fgw (03/23/07 11:42 AM)

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#660335 - 03/23/07 11:31 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
zoroastr Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/02/00
Posts: 248
TRs: 40 Photos: 253
Loc: redmond, washington, USA
Nice TR! ... a real jawdropper. The only chance I'd have on any of those monuments would be to photoshop myself onto your pix...
_________________________
Always be sincere--even if you don't mean it.
--Benny Hill

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#660491 - 03/23/07 07:31 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: zoroastr]
joepuryear Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 96
TRs: 8 Photos: 171
Loc: Leavenworth, WA
Thanks guys. Hey that route on Washerwoman looks great. Some friends of ours headed out to do that the day we left. Yeah the Priest is definitely a must do next time I'm down there.
_________________________
Joe Puryear
www.joepuryear.blogspot.com

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#660505 - 03/23/07 08:12 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
Gary_Yngve Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 03/04/02
Posts: 3586
TRs: 36 Photos: 0
Loc: UW
f'n awesome!

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#661042 - 03/25/07 11:20 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
ElisifHarro Offline
n00b

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 27
TRs: 6 Photos: 149
Loc: Portland, OR
Sounds like an amazing trip! Great pictures

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#661043 - 03/25/07 11:27 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: ElisifHarro]
Billygoat Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/22/02
Posts: 2984
TRs: 0 Photos: 124
Loc: Trundle Alley
WOW!

Great pics, thanks
_________________________
A sack of apples and a Hammer are all you need

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#661087 - 03/26/07 08:56 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Billygoat]
Brianmoore Offline
member

Registered: 03/26/07
Posts: 101
TRs: 0 Photos: 2
Loc: Washington
Great pictures. I love climbing in the SW.
_________________________
Rock n roll!!!!

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#663178 - 03/28/07 11:53 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Brianmoore]
corvallisclimb Offline
bolt nazi

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 1425
TRs: 20 Photos: 359
freaking good tr

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#663186 - 03/29/07 04:44 AM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: corvallisclimb]
Dechristo Offline
Spray Master

Registered: 08/09/04
Posts: 10304
TRs: 0 Photos: 22
Loc: between Valhallas
well, since no one else mentioned it...


...nice freakin' photos!


with the exception of the spot of rain you mentioned, it looks like the weather was cooperative.

windy at all?
_________________________
chock full o' Higgs boson particles

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#663616 - 03/29/07 05:42 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: Dechristo]
joepuryear Offline
journeyman

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 96
TRs: 8 Photos: 171
Loc: Leavenworth, WA
Ah man the weather was beautiful the whole time and hardly any crowds either. That seems like a good time to be there, we had nearly every route to ourselves and sometimes entire campgrounds to ourselves. It definitely started to pick up though as soon as spring break happened. We got lucky with the wind too - I've heard the stories - but it was calm the whole time.
_________________________
Joe Puryear
www.joepuryear.blogspot.com

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#663967 - 03/30/07 12:41 PM Re: [TR] Utah Desert Tower Tour - 3/20/2007 [Re: joepuryear]
corvallisclimb Offline
bolt nazi

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 1425
TRs: 20 Photos: 359
Originally Posted By: joepuryear
Ah man the weather was beautiful the whole time and hardly any crowds either.


ahh you lucked out i was just down there and there where hoards of people everywhere, and the weather was shitty too!

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