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Ataxia Tower
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Ashtar Command T 
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Ashtar Command 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: John Tainio
Page Views: 13,752
Submitted By: Bekky on Jan 31, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: The most climbed of the several routes on this tow...

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Description 

Ashtar is the located on the prominent tower on the west side of the Mount Carmel Highway Tunnel, across from the ranger kiosk.

The first pitch will take everything on your rack: cams, nuts, hexes, and TCUs. It is mostly crack climbing for the first 75 ft then climbing on small ledges and crimps to first set of anchors. The second pitch is mostly bolted with some exposed, crimpy 5.9 climbing.

The second pitch traverses right and a .5 is handy for the runout between the anchors and the first bolt. There can be a lot of drag on this second pitch and communication can also be an issue. Very fun! Great view and exposure!!

Protection 

Pretty much everything will fit in this climb. Bring a selection from nuts to a #3 cam. Lots of slings to prevent drag and about 14 draws for the second pitch.

Approach 

Park on the last switchback before the tunnel and walk up the south side of the road till you get to a small trail that takes you to the base of the tower. (Approximately 5 minutes.)

Descent 

Rap off to rock right to two other sets of rap anchors. Three raps to ground.


Photos of Ashtar Command Slideshow Add Photo
Shot of belay on P2 as we rapped to the left.
Shot of belay on P2 as we rapped to the left.
Andy plugging up the first pitch
Andy plugging up the first pitch
Ropes in flight
Ropes in flight
start of 2nd pitch
start of 2nd pitch
Desert museum featured exhibit.  Cost of admission, two great pitches.
Desert museum featured exhibit. Cost of admission...
Ashtar Command Tower
BETA PHOTO: Ashtar Command Tower
Andy higher up
Andy higher up
Looking down on the stellar crack on P1...
Looking down on the stellar crack on P1...
Noah as a second follower on the 2nd pitch.  Bolted hangers can be seen on left where slings were removed by the first follower.  Photo taken 24 May 08 by the first follower standing on the small and only ledge of the pitch, about 20 feet below the anchors.
Noah as a second follower on the 2nd pitch. Bolte...
Jamie coming up the finish of P2.  6 Mar 2014.
Jamie coming up the finish of P2. 6 Mar 2014.
Not a bad view
Not a bad view
Jonny on p2 of Ashtar Command Tower. Photo by Gigi.
Jonny on p2 of Ashtar Command Tower. Photo by Gigi...
Bill Grasse on the 2nd pitch of Ashtar Command.
Bill Grasse on the 2nd pitch of Ashtar Command.
Dan points out the finer aspects of Zion climbing from the summit of Ashtar Command Tower.
Dan points out the finer aspects of Zion climbing ...
climbers on the first belay of ashtar command
BETA PHOTO: climbers on the first belay of ashtar command
Gearing up for Ashtar.
Gearing up for Ashtar.

Comments on Ashtar Command Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 15, 2014
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 30, 2006

A real great climb, short approach and fun moves. Takes great pro the whole way. There are actually two sets of chains on the official "first" pitch with the first set about 75 ft off the deck and the second at the end of the crack as is continues to thin before traversing onto the bolted pitch. This is most likely to faciltate rapping off as my 60 meter rope was about 15 feet short of being able to rap off the top set of chains. And yes, prepare to star in some tourists home movie. (Another nice feature of this climb is that it is in the shade in the afternoon!) hmm..and i guess it could be good first lead if you don't mind breaking in at 5.9?
By k. riemondy
From: Boulder, Co
Oct 23, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A dozen video cameras is a good number to expect when climbing this route. Maybe more in the summer season when it gets hot. Excellent exposure on the second pitch, with nice shade most of time.
By Mark and Stacy Egan
May 4, 2008

There are 14 bolts on the second pitch. Two of the bolts are 1 foot apart which made me think that the first ascensionist thought one of those bolts was not bomber. I clipped both bolts and climbed on.
The second and third rappel stations are left of the route as you face the route (climbers left). I thought I would be able to rap the route itself but I found that a single 60 meter rope would not reach the anchors at the top of pitch 1 from the top of pitch 2. It was approximately 15 feet short of the chains. The second pitch is more like 110-120 feet of vertical distance. Note that the three rappel stations use webbing instead of chains. Also, a 60 meter rope just makes it to the ground from the third rappel station. A 50 meter rope will be too short.
Both pitches are fun! And yes, you will entertain the crowds waiting to get through the Mt. Carmel Tunnel.
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
May 4, 2008

Mark, the two bolts 1 ft apart are supposed to be an intermediate anchor. Both bolts are bomber. Most parties just skip them, but on a windy or loud day it is help full, for communication
By Mark and Stacy Egan
May 8, 2008

Gaar, thanks for the clarification!
--Mark
By George Vigeon
From: Bend, OR
Jun 6, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Super fun sandstone climbing and the crack takes everything. The traverse to the first both is exciting for both and the crowd that congregates because of traffic issues in the tunnel are always entertaining. You can hear everything they say, but they can't hear you. My favorite comment was, "Why in the world are those two up there?" Communication issues are resolved buy yelling at the wall behind you at the top, acoustics send the sound to the belayer rather than out into the grater canyon.
By JayBrink
Dec 12, 2009

This is a really rad climb. totally worth it
the crack is bomber the whole way and takes ssome of the best gear i've placed. the crimpy second pitch is a blast as you cant see or hear the belay and you jsut have to climb. its pretty slabby and the holds are chalked up pretty well.
i liked running out to the first bolt on the second pitch- adds to the experience
its a great tower.
does anyone knon what the anchors on the back side are to?
By skeers
Sep 3, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Unbelievable!!! The first pitch was just another classic crack with pro! but leading the second sport pitch was "mind bottling". A 5.9 with this kind of bolt spacing, amazing exposure, and the chance for passer byes to ooh and aha. This equals total classic..... A definite tic for anyone who comes to Zion.
By Courtney Pace
Oct 16, 2011

Stop at the first set of anchors for a much more comfortable stance if you can convince yourself to stop. We rapped from top in one rap with 2 60 meters with a few feet to spare.
By Alec
Feb 21, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

If you like the second pitch of this one go do Made to be Broken. Similar-style climbing, but five pitches and a little stouter.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Mar 6, 2014

great climb. placed up to one BD #1 for P1 (didn't place any stoppers; next time won't bother with them). P2 started with a 0.5 cam halfway to the first bolt, then clipped that first bolt and 11 others, for a total of 12 bolt clips on P2 (having skipped one of the two closely bolted ones mentioned above and counting the last topside bolt protecting the topout)
By scottso
From: St. George, Utah
Apr 15, 2014

Brought a single set of cams from blue TCU to BD #3 and had to stop at first set of anchors. If you are a 5.9 climber bring 2 sets of cams. I will bring 2 sets of TCUs when I do it again.