Spring update, Desert Climbing in Utah!

March 31, 2012 - 10:51pm

My winter job finished up giving me some time off... time to go climbing!  While the ice has been melting up here in Montana and mud season is beginning to set in, down in Southern Utah the weather is perfect for some desert climbing.  Along with two of my co-workers from Montana, we set out on a road trip to Utah and met up with fellow EGG Keith.  We started the trip with a few days of sport climbing to get warmed up for the longer climbs in southern Utah.   After a few days of pulling limestone pockets in Sink's Canyon and soaking up the sun we all headed to desert sandstone of southern Utah.   We begun the trip at the San Rafael Swell, just east of Green River, UT.  There we were woken up early the first day by a vicious sandstorm, but by 11am it was calm and bluebird skies. In two days of climbing there we completed two 5 pitch (5 ropelengths tall) slab climbs.  Keith and I, along with one of my co-workers from Montana even nabbed the 8th ascent of a 5.8 route, Knights-Errant.  

EGG Guide Keith (codename: Sprinkles) signing the summit resigstar of Knights-Errant 

Next we headed a little bit further south to the Moab area.  Our first climb there was the Ancient Art Tower, via the Stolen Chimney route.  This is a wild, exposed summit in the Fisher Towers area.  After 4 pitches we all made the 30 foot traverse across "the sidewalk", a 12-18 inch wide ridge 500 feet off the ground and then one at a time climbed the 40 foot summit spire to a slanted pizza box sided summit.  Definitely not going to forget that anytime soon! This climb is also freatured in the recent Citi bank commerical, though we all told our parents that after the fact!

On the summit of the Ancient Art Tower

For our last climb, we ventured over to the Castleton Tower, a massive 400 foot pinnicle sitting on top of a 1000 foot talus cone.  After a quad burning approach to the tower's base we were ready to climb.  Alas, so were two other parties of climbers!  Though we hiked up in the dark and arrived for sunrise, others had woken up even earlier than us.  After a short wait we managed to climb the 5.9 Kor-Ingalls route to the summit.  It was a hot day, but lucky for us, the route was in the shade and a cool breeze kept it pleasant on the summit.  Some quick photos and then 3 rappels back to the ground completed our desert adventure.  One last stop took us to the Moab Brewery for a well deserved beer and then it was back home to Montana.  I must say that I can't wait to go back!

The crew on the summit of Castleton Tower