East Face (Sunflower Tower)
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Matt starts up the awkward first pitch.
At the Fabulous Briger Jack area...Thumbelina and Sparkling Touch are the twin towers to the far left.Next to the right is the short but sweet (and now partially fallen) Easter Island Tower. Up and right of Easter Island is the blocky-topped Sunflower Tower.Just Right of that is the pointed Hummingbird Tower and the King Of Pain, with it's twin summits.
Walk to the base of the Sunflower tower on the east side (facing the camping sites and the road) and head to the tower's right side, just north of the north end of the summit block. There you will see a nice thin hands crack just right of a low roof...
P1: Ascend the thin crack. One book calls this a finger crack, but not for my size. I nearly had my hands in it. Go up and then up and left into a slot, past a huge loose block, where another good crack can be found inside. belay on the fixed anchor. (5.10)
P2: Walk a few steps left (south) over a big flake and then either launch up off that flake or drop down behind it and start climbing back up. Either way, you get to ride another great 5.10 crack for another pitch. This starts at hands, but thins as it goes. You will move left on a few ledges to belay on fixed anchors again.
P3: Walk over to the left and around the corner to reach the Northwest corner of the square summit cap. Climb up and right past a few fixed pins (5.10)to get out onto a rest stance, before committing to a runout finish that is a little sandy and soft. (5.8)
Belay from fixed anchors and then rap down the East face to the ground.
A few sets of cams from fingers to wide hands with a few more in the 2" range. Pitch 3 is fixed gear to a easy runout.
|Photos of East Face (Sunflower Tower) Slideshow
On the summit.
Ian McAlexander in the stem-box on the first pitch...
Ian on the third pitch.
P1. c. 1996. Photo by Steve Samuelson?
Looking through at the 1st belay.
We moved the belay after P1 down into the cave. It...
Sunflower Tower - a unique view of the 1st Pitch.
Tristan on pitch 2 of Sunflower Tower
Looking down to the top of pitch two from the summ...
Starting the exposed P3
|Comments on East Face (Sunflower Tower)
|By Joe Collins|
Sep 16, 2002
A classic short tower route. As is typical with routes up on the Bridger Jacks, the 5.10+ on the 2nd pitch felt significantly harder than your typical Indian Creek 10+. I don't recall there being any 5.10 on the third pitch... just an exposed, but easy traverse past some manky star-drives to a 5.8 move through a dirty bulge- this pitch probably warrants an "S" rating.
From: Sacramento, CA
Mar 30, 2003
The second pitch is significantly harder than the first, and sustained 10+/11- is probably an accurate rating. I have smaller than average hands (I'm 5'6"), and am usually stoked when a route is described as "thin hands". While pitch 2 does have some thin hands, the crux sections were fingers for me.
As for pitch 3, some prudent gear placements will help ease the runout to the top after clipping the aging star-dryvn bolts.
|By Andy Johnson|
Feb 28, 2004
This is a fantastic route that is fairly short. The second pitch was stout in my book. It was rattly fingers for me. Stick with it though. The final pitch is dirty but there is nothing to worry about. An excellent climb.
Oct 16, 2004
excellent route. my favorite of the BJ's yet.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 16, 2004
Joe, just curious.
But how you possibly downrate this to 5.10b?! Could you talka little about that?? Everyone I know, (and everyone posting here, including some good experienced desert climbers), thinks it is harder than the given 10+!
|By Josh Janes|
Oct 21, 2004
Joe, it was good to meet you the other day. What did you mean about the ascents on Dolofright?
|By Anonymous Coward|
May 2, 2005
Nice tower. I'd call the pitch ratings 10a, 11a, 5.9. The pitch 1 anchor isn't horrible, but could use one additional bolt. The crux of pitch 2 is easy enough to aid (guess how I know...). I only found two pieces of fixed gear on pitch 3, a drilled angle and a spinner star-drive. On pitch 3, bring a small Alien or TCU to back up the spinner, as well as a few Camalots to #4.-Eric
From: Sandy, UT
Mar 21, 2006
P1 is sick, the start's kind of a weird thin hands size, then goes to a short fourth class scramble up to a really fun stembox. On the left hand side there's #3 Camalot (fist for small hands) crack up to the first belay.
P2: I leaned off the anchors to place a #2 Cam in the splitter crack then walked out on the flake and stepped across to the crack. The dihedral is super fun and sustained. It's a lot of sustained 5.10 moves, easily making it a 5.10+ pitch, and a desperate grind for my untrained forearms.
P3: Starts with a fun traverse and step across on slopey, sandy sandstone protected with a star drive and a semi-positive drilled piton or really good gear before and after the step across move. You then follow a series of easy, sandy cracks to the summit. I ran this pitch out to avoid rope drag and it seemed to work out really well.
Gear: I managed with 1 set of Cams (#.4-#3) but I tend to run out my gear. However, I think you'd only need doubles of #.5-#3 with an extra #1 the second pitch could be protected pretty well. A couple draws and runners are helpful for decreased rope drag over the little bulges and wanderings of the route.
This tower's a must do, the stembox on the first pitch is really, really fun and the second pitch has some awesome and aesthetic climbing. There's a lotta fun movement on the climb and is a good introduction to desert towers.
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
Apr 1, 2007
Sunflower Tower is great fun, with plenty of variety in its three pitches.
The first pitch is certainly awkward, but the difficulty eases quickly and you're rewarded with a fun and protectable chimney. The anchor consists of two drilled angles.
The second pitch (crux) is certainly hard, but I found the grade of 10+ to be fair with the rest of IC. I chimneyed over to the splitter and begin from there. Perfect #2 camalots give way to #1 camalots in the first 30-40 feet, which then taper to a short section of #0.75 and #0.5 camalots for about 10 feet. An awkward move gains a big rest. After the rest, the next 30-40 is mostly #0.75 and #0.5 camalots (with maybe a #1 camalot somewhere) and while hard, is made more manageable by the occasional stem rest. The anchor on this pitch consists of a drilled angle, a star drive, and a big - but spinning - new bolt.
The 3rd pitch is definitely spooky. Tip toe across the sandy ledge system using small, but positive handholds. A final long span of the legs brings you to the base of the crack where good gear can be hand. A purple C3 was placed along this traverse (unfortunately after most the difficulties!). The move to gain the crack above is awkward and sandy, but fortunately the gear is good!. About 30 more feet of rotten rock (with some gear available) brings you to the summit! The anchor on top consists of 4 drilled angles and lots of slings.
Here's what I would bring if I did it again (this is a "super safe" rack for squeamish people like me)
- One super small TCU or C3
- 1 x green,yellow, and red aliens
Let your second carry all the #3 and #4 camalots on pitch 2, you won't need then.
|By Drew McLean|
Oct 21, 2009
Sick route for sure providing a great of variety of climbing and a sweet summit.
P1: Akward and Fun
P2: Thin and Sustained
P3: Exposed and a Little Sketchy
For a cool variation start of pitch 2:
Rap down 20ft into the narrow alcove/chimney left of the P1 anchors. The splitter for the second pitch starts at the base of the alcove. It protects with #2 Camelots from the start then thins out at the standard start above.
|By Michael Ybarra|
From: on the road
Apr 1, 2012
The first pitch description could be improved. There are two cracks at the base. The right one (shown in the beta photo) is a hand crack deep in a pod, then through a bulge. Awkward for sure. I placed two golds, a red and, then in the stem box above, two blues.
There's no way the second pitch is 5.11. I think even 10D is a stretch (this from a guy with big hands). I don't think it's that sustained, either. Sure, you have to bust a few moves, but there's a killer rest every few feet--and it's easy to bump gear up the whole way. Doubles from gold down to .4 protect this pitch fine.
The rock on the last pitch doesn't inspire confidence, but the step-across move isn't 5.10, either. I'd trust the mank bolt as much as any gear you could place. Entering the crack takes a leap of faith but the hand-sized cam placement is good.
I thought the most serious part of the day was the summit rap. We didn't peer over the edge and lowered the rope into the chasm between the summit block and the last belay. Both rope ends got caught under a loose, sharp flake. I had to worm my way into the belly of the beast to free the ropes. I tried to pack down the sandstone chards down there so this won't happen again, but some caution is advised.
Altogether, a stellar route.