Trip: North Six Shooter & South Six Shooter - Lightning Bolt Cracks & South Face Direct Trip Date: 11/03/2020 Trip Report:
I've been down in Utah/Colorado since the beginning of the month on a climbing trip and vacation. Managed to climb two towers that have been on my mind for some time via some pretty quality routes. I had become enchanted with desert towers when myself and some friends climbed the North Chimney of Castleton Tower two years ago. Desert towers seem to give me the same high that climbing in the Cascades does. Anyway, I figure I'd drop off a TR here since it gets pretty quiet around these parts this time of year. Maybe it'll inspire some Cascade Crushers to take a trip down to the desert. Beta will be minimal, since theres plenty info. Heres the thought/photo dump:
11/5 North Six Shooter - Lightning Bolt Cracks
My friend Tyler and I made our way down the double track and sandy wash to the well cairned trail up the mesa. The hike up to the base of the climb took us about an hour. We got our stuff sorted and Tyler headed up the first pitch (11a). It starts as a tips crack and gradually widens to a steep OW slot before and airy traverse to the pitch 2 options. I had to take once on this pitch at the OW section as I'm pretty lacking in that skill set. I racked up and headed up the second pitch right option which is solid 5.10 wide hands and fists up and over a bulge. I plugged a .4 and a .5 in the finger crack low on the right option and after a few steps of chimneying in the left option, reached over to a perfect hand jam and made a really fun swing into the right. Above the bulge an easy traverse and a couple feet up thin blocky climbing brought me to the base of the bomb bay chimney where I made my belay. Tyler led the third pitch, linking the bomb bay and the squeeze chimneys. The squeeze chimney was at my limit for what I'd personally call a squeeze chimney. A mix of emotion of feeling secure and worried about being stuck the entire time. I ended up switchbacking through it finding the widest parts. I took off my helmet midway through. Soon enough we were on top and joined by a cow skull that someone brought up some time in the past. Took some photos and rigged the rappel. Two raps with a 70m rope got us down to the opposite side of the tower and a quick walk around to the base of the route to pack up. This was probably the best rock route I've ever been on. I wouldn't shut up about how good the climbing was at the top. Paired with a classic desert tower made this an absolute dream trip.
Tyler leading pitch 1
Me following the traverse at the end of pitch 1
Me leading Pitch 2
Tyler coming up the upper part of pitch 2
Tyler leading through the bomb bay, approaching the upper roof
South Six from the North Six
11/3 South Six Shooter - South Face Direct (Right)
Will and I made our way up this popular desert tower by a slightly obscure route. The masses tend to climb the 5.7 Trade Route. We chose the South Face Direct (5.9) which involves two vertical hand and fist cracks broken up by a large ledge for the first pitch. The second pitch started with steep loose blocky climbing, followed by a quick scramble traverse joining the Trade Route and then the heady mantle up to the summit. We thought the climbing was fun, although short. There was a bit of a traffic jam getting down as there were a few parties coming up the Trade Route and other South Face options. We ended up doing a short two raps with a 70m rope. We rapped off the summit to a tat nest on the big ledge splitting the first pitch of the South Face Direct.
Will coming up pitch 1
Will just above the awkward mantel before the summit
North six from the South Six
Bridger Jacks in the distance
Both routes used a double rack from .3-3, a #4 would've been handy on SFD as I had to sling a worthless chockstone through the fist section. We brought a #5 for LBC and didn't find it all that essential, a #4 would've been more welcome. Set of stoppers. Alpine draws and double length runners. 70m rope Approach Notes:
Cairned trails up the mesas and talus cones. High clearance and 4wd helpful to get to the parking, but maybe not essential.