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Crag & Sport Routes - Ellinor Towers


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Hi All,

Brad and Claire joined Ann and I in Ellinor Towers this past weekend. We focused mainly on Red Tower although we did some exploration of the surrounding towers. There were way too many routes for such a small party to make much of a dent in.

The south face of Red Tower is very clean and very steep. As you go around to the north side (either direction) it becomes less steep and less clean. We noted at least two routes that seemed quite good that we didn’t get to. One potential route at the junction of the south and east faces was particularly attractive. It is shaped like a large “C” and looks to offer good trad pro.

The routes we did get to were on the South and SW faces. On the SW face Claire and Ann put up a pleasant short route. This route they called Hairy Crack - 5.5, pro to 1” & 2 clips. The route follows a right going crack until it ends, then angles up and a little left. The crux is getting off the ground.

On the south face, Brad put up an excellent route that follows the obvious crack system. He cleaned and inspected the route on rappel. Then, after one bolt was placed at the crux, he lead this strenuous route. Calling one spot the crux, in this case, is somewhat deceptive, as the route is quite continuous in it’s difficulty. The route is Flett’s Violet – 5.10a, pro to 2”& 1 clip. Begin at the top of the rib just under the south face. Step across onto the south face and follow the crack system to the bench. Leave the bench on the left side and climb to belay bolts behind the dead tree. No one in the party could follow so it needs to be climbed again to verify the rating.

To get to Ellinor Towers drive as you would to get to the upper Ellinor trailhead. Just prior to crossing the last creek (about 150 yards short of the trailhead); find a well flagged trail on the west (uphill side) of the road. This trail follows the southern margin of the clear-cut (north side if the creek). The trail passes through several Beargrass meadows that are just spectacular now. The flowers are not only an amazing sight but wonderfully fragrant. After about 15 minutes you will arrive at boundary rock at the upper margin of the clear-cut. Follow the trail from the north end of boundary rock uphill to the top of a talus slope. Red Tower is to the right. Red Tower is about 5 minutes from Boundary Rock.

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Finally got around to checking this area out yesterday. I don't believe many others have either. Trail in was mostly overgrown but we did manage to follow it to Red tower, by using a combination of open corridors, saw cuts, yellowed orange flagging (not much at the start) and glimpses of what indeed turned out to be our objective. The 5.5 made an all too quick warmup and that just left the 10a to finish our day as we had gotten a very late start and wanted to go jump in the lake. After pushing the tree leaning up against the start to a more secure position (could not get it out of there) I threw a hex into a fairly nice slot and moved my feet up to position myself for the one clip on the route. As the route overhangs about 5 feet in the first 20 I was expecting to find something more than rounded over crumbly edges to pull on. After throwing to a spiderweb choked hold the big foot I was on blew out and I decided to set up a top rope. The bolts at the top are in great shape and well placed, I quickly rapped down and fired up the route, kicking feet off at my wife here and there but missing her every time. Once past the steep bit the rest was fine with a nice direct finish on more secure holds. It looked like the the edge for the right hand down low may have pulled off, with another hold or a nice jam down there it would not have been harder than BOC. Always fun to get on steep stuff but if you get on this thing be prepared for a bit of crumble and something more like 10c.

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All too true K-dub but you'd think the rock'd be better if someone drug a drill up there and installed some nice bolts. And got it written up in a respectable guidebook. Didn't have time to check out the other, more grayish crags, wonder if they're any better and have routes on 'em?

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