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Castle Valley

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Castleton Tower 
Convent, The 
Nuns, The 
Parriot Mesa 
Priest, The 
Rectory, The 
Sister Superior Group 
Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Castle Valley Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.6836, -109.4227 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 158,836
Administrators: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ben F on May 12, 2002

Memorial Day

87° | 56°

86° | 57°

87° | 59°

90° | 61°

93° | 63°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Aerial view of Castleton Tower, the Rectory, and t...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Castle Valley is the place to go for your baptism into desert towers. This area is one of the birthplaces of tower climbing. Maybe you've heard of the Kor-Ingalls Route, listed on the 50 North American Classic climbs? Other climbs that should be done before you become too old and fat to climb are Honeymoon Chimney, Jah Man, and Fine Jade.

Overall, the rock is as good as desert sandstone (Wingate) gets, but beware of the slippery white calcite coatings found on much of the rock here. Most routes start at honest 5.9.

Getting There 

These directions are from Moab. Basically, the turn-off for Castle Valley is about 20 miles NE of Moab off SH 128 (River Road). Look for the sign for Castle Valley. To do anything on the Priest, Rectory, or Castleton Tower, take the Castle Valley turn-off (see here for a photo)

Go about 4.7 miles on the Castle Valley road, and then turn left on a noticeable dirt road. Go until you can't anymore.

For Sister Superior, go about another mile up 128 (i.e., not taking the Castle Valley turn-off) and look for a dirt road (obviously on the right since the left will send you towards the Colorado River). See here for a photo of the turnout, which may also be seen from above here.

Hey, just look for stuff and figure out how to get there. Its not like there are tons of trees blocking your view. In both cases be prepared to walk. Look for climbers trails as much as possible to avoid trampling any cryptobiotic soil.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.6 miles from here

46 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',21],['2 Stars',7],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Castle Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Castle Valley:
Longbow Chimney   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c A1     Trad, Aid, 2 pitches, 300'   Parriot Mesa
North Chimney   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   Castleton Tower
Kor-Ingalls Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   Castleton Tower
Black Sun   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   Castleton Tower
Jah Man   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches   Sister Superior Group
Ministry   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   The Rectory
Fine Jade   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 5 pitches   The Rectory
Honeymoon Chimney   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   The Priest
West Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   Castleton Tower
North Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Grade III   Castleton Tower
Crack Wars   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   The Rectory
North Face Original Pitch 1   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   Castleton Tower
Find Shade   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 4 pitches   The Rectory
Where have the Wild Things Gone   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 3 pitches   The Nuns
Holier Than Thou   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 350'   The Nuns
Bad Habit   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   The Nuns
Coyote Calling   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   The Rectory
Voodoo Child   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 4 pitches, 480'   Parriot Mesa
Sacred Ground   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad   Castleton Tower
Excommunication   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Trad, Sport, 5 pitches, 380'   The Priest
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Castle Valley

Featured Route For Castle Valley
Rock Climbing Photo: The bolted arete of Excommunication.

Excommunication 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c  UT : Moab Area : ... : The Priest
This is the spectacular bolted route on the North Face of The Priest. It climbs unique calcite features similar to those on Holier Than Thou on The Nuns. Greg Child apparently bolted this route in September, 2002. He established the route "ground-up"—which I think is a bit misleading, because he basically made a bolt ladder out of it. True, it was ground up, but it was not free, nor was it bold. There are several holes in the rock with missing bol...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Castle Valley Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley Twilight
BETA PHOTO: Castle Valley Twilight
Rock Climbing Photo: hey, lets go do the kor-ingalls!
hey, lets go do the kor-ingalls!
Rock Climbing Photo: The Priest, the Rectory, and Castleton Tower.
The Priest, the Rectory, and Castleton Tower.
Rock Climbing Photo: july sunrise lightning
july sunrise lightning
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley
Castle Valley
Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton and the Rectory
Castleton and the Rectory
Rock Climbing Photo: The Castleton massif
The Castleton massif
Rock Climbing Photo: Storm over Castle Valley
Storm over Castle Valley
Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton and company from the Fisher Towers. Janu...
Castleton and company from the Fisher Towers. Janu...
Rock Climbing Photo: Porcupine Rim rockfall
Porcupine Rim rockfall
Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton, the Rectory, and the Pope after spring ...
Castleton, the Rectory, and the Pope after spring ...
Rock Climbing Photo: N. Chimney success.  finally.
N. Chimney success. finally.
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley sky from Castleton campground
Castle Valley sky from Castleton campground
Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton Tower in clounds
Castleton Tower in clounds
Rock Climbing Photo: From the Convent, looking North
From the Convent, looking North
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset 10/13/06
Sunset 10/13/06
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley. Photo by Blitzo.
Castle Valley. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Yucca flowers standing tall with the Castle Valley...
Yucca flowers standing tall with the Castle Valley...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another rockfall on Porcupine Rim (in cloud shadow...
Another rockfall on Porcupine Rim (in cloud shadow...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunrise on The Rectory. March 2012,
Sunrise on The Rectory. March 2012,
Rock Climbing Photo: Around 7PM, looking back into the valley from comi...
Around 7PM, looking back into the valley from comi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley from the La Sals. A beautiful perspe...
Castle Valley from the La Sals. A beautiful perspe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley from Mount Tukuhnikivats(12,482)
Castle Valley from Mount Tukuhnikivats(12,482)
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Valley viewed from Fisher Towers area
Castle Valley viewed from Fisher Towers area

Show All 56 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Castle Valley Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 18, 2016
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 2, 2002
Access to Castleton is restricted by private property now. You need to look for a rough road to the west of the old turn-out and the approach is much longer. If we continue to use the old appraoch we run the risk of pissing off the locals and loosing all access.
By Anonymous Coward
Jan 7, 2002
could you elaborate, please? What is the private property/access situation exactly, and how long has it been in effect? I didn't notice any no trespassing signs last time I was there, and the sign at the trailhead was still up (in November). Is there a trail from the parking area you suggest? How about better directions? Has there been anything about this in the mags?
By Anonymous Coward
Feb 8, 2003
As some of the may know, the access lands and camping areas around Castleton Tower are currently threatened by development. In order to prevent this from happening, the Castle Rock Collaboration ( was formed with the goal of finding a 100% conservation solution for this land. They have entered into an agreement to purchase the land around Castleton Tower, but now they need your help to raise the funds for this purchase. Any contributions you can make, however large or small, will be greatly appreciated. For more information, please visit their web site at:
By E.T.
Jul 7, 2003
I'm not familar with this site so pardon the stupid question.

Is there a standard, or convention on cams for route beta? ex: when route beta says you need a #4 cam do they mean the rather large BD cam. or the rather small Trango cam?
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 7, 2003
There isn't really a standard, but usually it seems that when vague you can assume camalots.
By Craig Quincy
Jul 16, 2003
There's no standard on the site. When the type of cam isn't listed, I always assume friends since they've been around the longest and they correspond roughly to inches. A #3 Friend tips out at 3 inches. Most guide books use the friend convention too. Sometimes it's possible to figure it all out based on the type of crack under discussion. #4 cam in an offwidth discussion ususally means Camalot. #4 cam in a fist crack reference usually means Friend. It gets even more interesting when people specify the color of cams that you aren't familiar with. "Bring lots of yellow cams". The supertopo website has an excellent cam conversion chart which is helpful in matching up your rack to the beta. Regardless, I usually fatten up my rack with a few purchases and then steal my friend's rack before heading out. Then, I survey the cracks and make my own decisions before starting up.
By E.T.
Sep 10, 2003
From personal expierance castle valley is nearly unclimbable in the summer. Also it is well worth your time to find and stay on the trail. Bushwaching it is very hard and dangerous. Finally if you are bold/dumb enought to attempt it in the summer plan 1.5 gallons/person per day.
By Derek (friendly east coast climber)
Oct 14, 2003
Just wondering, i am from the east coast and plan on climbing Castleton Tower on my spring break; are there any updated guides or topos that might cover access with respect to the current issues with Castle Valley? If not where is the Castle Valley climber's campground located? ThanksDerek
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Apr 26, 2006
For the apres-climb time, there is a terrific little winery with wine tasting just downstream along the River Road. Castle Creek Winery at Mile 14, Hwy 128 in the Red Cliffs Lodge. Reasonable prices. Chardonnay & the Merlot are particularly enjoyable.
By Lyndsy
From: Laramie, WY
Mar 7, 2010
My partner and I are headed down from WY in a couple weeks to Southern Utah we would love to jump on Castleton which we have never done, any advice? I have heard its best to park at the bottom of the rough road and start hiking at dawn to not have to wait in that true? Any comments or tips would be great!
Happy Climbing!
By Brian Scoggins
From: Laramie, WY
Mar 7, 2010
I drove down from Laramie years ago and got to the parking lot around 10pm. If its warm enough (you'll know if it is), its worthwhile to toss the sleeping bag in your pack and hike up to the base. The trail isn't difficult to find, and depending on the condition of the final 1/4 mile, it might make the trail's exposure easier to deal with. We made it to the base just after midnight, so we still got a solid 5-6 hours sleep before starting up the next day. There were some rock structures present to help block the wind as well, and since you're packing two ropes anyway, you can just lay out the tarp and sleep on them, old school mountaineer style. Plus, the ridge to the west blocks all the light from Moab, so you get a sky so dark that I could actually see color in the Milky Way.

Also, if you elect to do Kor-Ingalls, fight your Vedauwoo instincts. Climbed as a regular offwidth, it ain't 5.9.
By fossana
From: my van
Mar 12, 2012
Newish pit toilet in the campground below Castleton. Many thanks to Friends of Indian Creek. Please show your support with a donation.
By Gee Double
Oct 3, 2015
Anybody mind if I look for a new route b/t Ministry and Crack Wars ? Thin Flake to 'blank' head wall ?
By J Antin
From: Golden, CO
Jan 22, 2016
Some cool footage of Castleton Tower & The Rectory!

By Sure-man
From: Moab, UT / Boone, NC
Feb 18, 2016

Today my partner fell at the top of pitch one of The North Chimney on Castleton Tower and hurt himself bad enough to lower him immediately and begin a rescue. After 2-3 hours of self rescuing we decided to call Search and Rescue to get more hands helping him down. They sent a helicopter, so that happened! ANYWAY,,,, I still have about 10 or so cams up on the first pitch. I intend on going back up to retrieve them ASAP, but weather and time dependent, it could take me until Friday to head back up. So PLEASE, if you get there before me, help me get my gear back. I left it there to perform an epic rescue! My friend is ok with only an injured ankle, which could have been soooo much worse after taking that monster whip! I live in Moab.

Brett Sherman

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