A very good, yet unfrequented route on canyon country's best tower. This sunny route features lots of variety and would get three stars but for some fractured, not-fully-trustworthy rock on the last pitch.
Start as for Kor-Ingalls. Scramble up 30' to the big ledge from which you can walk to the start of all other Castleton routes. Walk about 50' right from K-I to a crack system which starts in blocky choss, enters a pod with a finger size crack in back, then exits the pod to a slab.
P1 (5.11b, 80') Up fairly easily about 20 feet of choss to the pod. Enter the pod, laybacking up thin fingers for a couple of moves. Undercling 3' left out of the pod and pull around the arrete and into another pod (technical crux). Work up the second pod which though it has a decent hand crack in the back, is narrower than the first and thus awkward, and pull a hard move out of the slot onto the base of the slab. A couple of non-trivial face moves protected by small gear lead to easier slabbing and the belay.
P2 (5.8, 60') The second pitch of Black Sun. Fist and offwidth. This pitch crosses over KI.
P3 (5.10b, 100') The third pitch of Black Sun. Flared chimney with 5" crack in back. Do the long version of this pitch, continuing about to a ledge about 20' above the block at the top of the chimney; the correct belay is about 10' below the first of four bolts.
P4. (5.10d, 90') Slightly necky (PG) getting to the first bolt. Many of the holds through the first three bolts don't seem very well attached. The fourth bolt is about 25' past the third. This stretch follows a thin crack followed by a hand traverse on a somewhat rotten seam and a couple of face moves; small nuts, micro cams and a couple of thin hand sized pieces comfortably protect this strech. The crux is thin crimping on good rock after the fourth bolt and soon leads to an easy but exciting top out. Be careful not to knock any of the plentiful loose rock from the top out onto the the numerous people and dogs who are likely to be hanging out at the base of Kor-Ingalls, directly below. This pitch features continuous climbing in a spectactular position but substandard rock quality diminishes it.
1 set wires (e.g. 1-7 Rock). 1 each purple & blue Alien. 2 or 3 SLCDs each from green Alien to 1.5 Friend. 1 or 2 each from 2 to 3.5 Friend. 1 #4 Camalot. At least 1 4.5 Camalot, though another 4.5 or a 5 is useful. At least 6 quickdraws or runners.
Oct 24, 2006
Really fun route, and an excellent way to bypass the hordes on Kor-Ingalls. Exiting the slot on the first pitch is hard and the first few face moves above will get the blood pumping. Second and third pitch combine nicely. The last pitch is a wee bit sketchy, especially passing a completely detached block that wants to fall directly on people at the base of the tower. We found one #4 and one #5 camalot to be plenty of wide gear, even for linking the second and third pitch (a #4.5 would probably fit better than the #5). All in all a fine route.