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Castleton Tower

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Arrowhead, The T 
Bjornstad Traverse ( The Girdle of Castleton Tower), The T 
Black Sun T 
Burning Inside T 
Discrete Start to Black Sun T 
Hollowpoint T 
Kor-Ingalls Route T 
North Chimney T 
North Face T 
North Face Original Pitch 1 T 
Sacred Ground T 
Stardust Cowboy T 
West Face T 

Castleton Tower Rock Climbing 


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Location: 38.651, -109.3678 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 94,463
Administrators: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on May 12, 2002  with updates from George Perkins
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  • Registration required for camping starting 01 Oct 2010. MORE INFO >>>
  • RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    Castleton Tower is probably the most famous desert tower in the world, and was the first major tower climbed in the Moab area. The Kor-Ingalls route is one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America, and Castleton also has one other 5.9 route of the same caliber. Harder classic routes both aid and free exist on its fantastic Wingate sandstone with its unique calcite crust.

    Castleton is most climber's first desert tower, and it is common for lines to form on the Kor-Ingalls during the spring and fall. All the free routes are trad, and you should be solid at the grade - this is not a good place to break into 5.9.

    Getting There 

    Drive as far up the dirt road as you dare, and start hiking. The road winds around the base of Castleton. Look for a cairn on the right made from white rocks and do not be tempted to leave the road too early. There is an excellent trail to the base of a small cliff band, at which point it turns towards the Rectory and the Priest. Scramble easily through the cliffs(if you are scared there is a better way) and hike up steep scree to the base.

    The approach takes an hour if you are in shape, but it is strenuous.

    Camping/Utah Open Lands 

    Utah Open Lands owns the land at the base of Castleton Tower where the historical primitive camping area exists. This land has been protected for its wildlife, ecological, and scenic value in addition to its recreational value.

    Use of this camping area has increased dramatically in recent years. Historically, no fee was required for camping or day-use of this area. This area has been maintained as a fee-free area in the face of increased use and the conversion of the surrounding areas to no-camping or fee-only camping.

    Utah Open Lands has no intention at this time of charging a fee. Due to high levels of use, however, certain requirements have become advisable. You can find these requirements on the Utah Open Lands website (www.utahopenlands.org).

    Please be advised that the appropriate donation for a wag-bag is $2.00. In addition, please note that donations cover all costs for maintaining the area. Donations of all sizes are appreciated.

    Beginning October 1, 2010, campers will be required to register to camp on the Property. There will be no cost for registering at this time. You will be able to register at the Utah Open Lands website. Past experience has shown that almost all campers use the area respectfully and appropriately. Help us maintain this tradition by taking personal responsibility for the care of this protected area.

    Thank you. Please contact Utah Open Lands with any questions or comments.

    Climbing Season



    Weather station 1.7 miles from here

    13 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
    ['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',3],['5.10',3],['5.11',6],['5.12',1],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in Castleton Tower

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Castleton Tower:
    North Chimney   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   
    Kor-Ingalls Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches   
    Black Sun   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   
    North Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Grade III   
    West Face   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 4 pitches, 350'   
    Stardust Cowboy   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   
    North Face Original Pitch 1   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   
    Hollowpoint   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 140'   
    Sacred Ground   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Castleton Tower

    Featured Route For Castleton Tower
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton Tower is on the right, The Priest and th...

    Kor-Ingalls Route 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  UT : Moab Area : ... : Castleton Tower
    This is one of the earliest modern desert routes, it was the first on this 6656 foot tower, and it was put up by the dynamic duo of astrophysicist, Huntley Ingalls. and the incomparable Layton Kor in September of 1961. Arriving in the valley before their friends Fred Beckey and Harvey Carter, they started up the route on a reconnaissance, climbed a 100 foot pitch, continued with a more challenging pitch requiring some aid climbing, and rappelled. The next day they mixed aid and offwidth/chimne...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

    Photos of Castleton Tower Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: CASTLETON TOWER SKETCH SOUTHEAST FACE ROUTES: A.  ...
    BETA PHOTO: CASTLETON TOWER SKETCH SOUTHEAST FACE ROUTES: A. ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton (and realtives) from Onion Creek rd.
    Castleton (and realtives) from Onion Creek rd.
    Rock Climbing Photo: castleton tower in the lower left.
    castleton tower in the lower left.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Kimmmmyyyy J. and I had to snip the old chain out ...
    Kimmmmyyyy J. and I had to snip the old chain out ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton as seen from Sister Superior
    Castleton as seen from Sister Superior
    Rock Climbing Photo: A storm rolled through the valley. The weather in ...
    A storm rolled through the valley. The weather in ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton at Night (w/ headlamp streaks accidently...
    Castleton at Night (w/ headlamp streaks accidently...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Fog / Snow in March
    Fog / Snow in March
    Rock Climbing Photo: Josh keeping his feet warm.  This might explain so...
    Josh keeping his feet warm. This might explain so...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton with a halo
    Castleton with a halo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton Tower Shine on
    Castleton Tower Shine on
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton Tower from the North. Photo by Tony Bubb...
    BETA PHOTO: Castleton Tower from the North. Photo by Tony Bubb...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Duke and CT descending past Castleton.
    Duke and CT descending past Castleton.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton Summit, 10/13/06. Rectory & Priest in ba...
    Castleton Summit, 10/13/06. Rectory & Priest in ba...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton thanksgiving stars  Photo By: Brian Coop...
    Castleton thanksgiving stars Photo By: Brian Coop...
    Rock Climbing Photo: the old Kor Ingals rap
    the old Kor Ingals rap
    Rock Climbing Photo: parting shot
    parting shot
    Rock Climbing Photo: castleton campground
    castleton campground
    Rock Climbing Photo: The North Face of Castleton Tower
    BETA PHOTO: The North Face of Castleton Tower
    Rock Climbing Photo: Really windy conditions at the base of Castleton, ...
    Really windy conditions at the base of Castleton, ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Castleton and Friends
    BETA PHOTO: Castleton and Friends
    Rock Climbing Photo:
    BETA PHOTO
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mini Castleton Tower juxtoposed with the real thin...
    Mini Castleton Tower juxtoposed with the real thin...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Walking up to Castleton
    Walking up to Castleton

    Show All 63 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on Castleton Tower Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 25, 2016
    By Charles Konopa
    Mar 16, 2005
    Climbed the North Chimney the day after the Moab Half-Marathon. Along with 3 groups from Kor-Ingalls we used 4 60 meter ropes to set two double rope raps down the north face. The second rap left us 6 feet off the ground; untying on a pillar and then downclimbing to the ledge. After the third person came off rappel and was nearly finished downclimbing, the 6 foot high pillar fell over. No one was squashed and we caught the downclimber. We set up a trad anchor to assist the other 5 rappelers in unclipping and downclimbing. Two 70 meter ropes would be enough for the last rappel; and recommended since the easier pillar is now laying on the ledge. Or just do three raps.
    By Sam Lightner, Jr.
    From: Lander, WY
    Sep 28, 2007
    On the 26th of September Kimmyyyyyy Jacobs and I completed the cleanup and backup of the North Face anchors. We dragged a bunch of chain up and the big 1/2 inch steel snippers. We removed the old chain and equalized the stuff I dragged up there last spring. ON that previous job the drill broke down so I wasn't able to add the stainless bolts. All anchors now have at least 1 stainless halfie with the chain. The old chain was probably good for a few more years (though it was rusted together), but the way it was wset up, to one single cold shut worth only 900 pounds when brand new, was unnaceptable. Those things are made of soft metal and are never tested... the 900 pounds is an average. IN any event, it is now set up with big rings and rated to way over what we can generate. It should last a while.

    You will notice there is about 5 feet of chain linking the long halfie to the orginail bolts. This is because I had to go 5 feet back from the rim to find a non-hollow spot in the cap rock. Its not pretty, but it makes it easy to get over the lip and is a much more stout rap anchor.

    We also brought the top anchor on the Kor Ingals up to speed with chain. We ran out of time and were not able to do the lower rap... that will have to wait.
    By Sam Lightner, Jr.
    From: Lander, WY
    Oct 16, 2007
    The lower-rappel anchor on the Kor INgalls is now chain and half inch bolts. Two rappels with double 60's get you down.
    By David Shiembob
    From: slc, ut
    Sep 26, 2008
    We climbed the N Chimney on Sept 25. The trail is mostly still in, but the last 1/5 or so is completely destroyed, making the last bit hard going. I had read on here somewhere it was possible to rap the N face with one 70m rope, so that is what we tried, but found that our rope came up about 8 feet short on the first rappel. The other two rappels reached fine.
    By Chad Wagner
    Oct 11, 2011
    There are some updates that need to take place on this page, so I will highlight them in this comment.
    The Approach: You will find the campground on Castle Valley road about 1/4 to a 1/2 mile after the cattle guard in the road on the left. From the campground/parking lot hike up the wash following the cairns until you get to a dirt roa
    By bryant
    Oct 25, 2012
    Around the 2:00 mark of this video it shows some footage from Kor-Ingalls route, and some other Moab fun! - takeslack.com/thanks-moab/
    By Brennan Crellin
    Administrator
    From: Draper, UT
    Mar 16, 2014
    Summit Log could use a new small notebook (all existing are full). Whoever ascends next after reading this should take one up to leave in the ammo can. I'll take one up but it may not be until fall.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 14, 2014
    Rap of N Face with a single 80M is good. I just did it Raps are 38M (A 70M WILL NOT REACH), 31M, and then 35M.
    By YetAnotherDave
    Apr 29, 2015
    Completing an attempted correction from another user - PLEASE update the approach directions!

    The Approach: You will find the campground on Castle Valley road about 1/4 to a 1/2 mile after the cattle guard in the road on the left. From the campground/parking lot hike up the wash following the cairns until you get to a dirt road. Cross this road at a cairn and a signpost with an arrow pointing along the trail. Note that if you approach along the road as per the original directions this is easy to miss (at least if you're hiking by headlamp) and may lead to some scary loose scrambling when you overshoot the trail and follow old cairns left by evil gremlins to lead you astray so they can get to the route ahead of you.
    By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
    Nov 23, 2015
    Late November 2015: Anyone rapping from to of Castleton, be sure to use the correct rap anchor. The recent high-line between Castleton and Rectory utilized new bolts near the edge of the summit. These are new, massive, about 3/4-inch diameter, not really equipped for rope retrieval, and a rappel from them will leave you stranded (yes, there was a rescue last night due to someone making this mistake). The correct anchor down the north face, has 1/2-inch bolts, hangers and lots of chains.
    By Sure-man
    From: Moab, UT / Boone, NC
    Feb 18, 2016
    Hi,

    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
    919-244-8744
    shermanbd8744@gmail.com
    By Andrew Cassidy
    5 days ago
    I found a red camera with a lot of canyoneering and rafting pictures while camping here. PM if it is yours.

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