Climbing desert towers
Posted by sibylle in utah (Friday November 23, 2007 at 6:44 pm)

Fisher Towers, Titan, La Sal mountains in back

We’ve been climbing towers the last few days. My son Tristan caught the desert bug last spring after our ascents of Sparkling Touch and Easter Island in the Bridger Jacks (Indian Creek). When I told him that desert climbers had an unofficial prize for completing climbs of 100 desert towers, he decided that we should try that. For Thanksgiving break this year, he said he’d rather climb as many fun towers as possible and didn’t really care about food. That’s the first time I’ve heard my 6-foot tall, 125-pound slim 17-year old tell me that anything was more important than food.

With Tristan’s goal on eventually climbing 100 towers, we started our trip by camping up Onion Creek, a lovely campsite situated off a dirt road between the road to Castleton and the road to the Fisher Towers. On our first day we climbed a small one-pitch tower, Lizard Rock, right near the parking lot.

The next day, we headed for the spectacular Ancient Art, a tower with four summits to the far right of the large towers in the photo above. Tristan romped up Ancient Art’s 5.11-rated first pitch, barely slowing down to clip the bolts.

“That sure didn’t feel like 5.11,” he said. That was fine with me. An easy first pitch promised the possibility of an easy second pitch, which was my lead. Indeed, the 5.7 chimney turned out pleasant, only slightly sandy, with occasional gear placements. Here we encountered a bit of a traffic jam, as two parties in front of us were waiting for the party on the last pitch to get up and down their pitch. We made friends with the guys sharing our belay while waiting to get on the last pitch.

When the first party finally descended, the second party climbed up the very narrow catwalk to the tiny, corkscrew summit and the party in front of us headed up the third pitch. We luckily had near perfect weather and though days were short at the end of November, we were able to get up before dark. Our new friends got pictures of us, which I’ll post once I get them.

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