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Cottontail Tower
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YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A5 X

Type:  Aid, Grade VI
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A5 X [details]
FA: Jim Beyer (solo) December 1988
Page Views: 5,465
Submitted By: Ben Folsom on Nov 15, 2001

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


Originally rated A6 by Beyer. According to Beyer there were no holes drilled deeper than 1/4" deep on the first ascent. Tim Wagner on the third ascent filled in holes that were deeper than 1/4" drilled by somebody. The route starts right off the trail on the south face of the tower.

P1- Climb a thin seam that diagonals up and left via beaks and aluminum heads. Climb a dihedral until a hook traverse left on cobbles is possible. Belay underneath a small roof at a fixed pin. (A3+)

P2- Continue up the crack to a left facing corner passing a possible belay. Climb this corner to a small stance and belay there. (A3)

P3- A rotten grovel leads to a horizontal crack. Climb left following this crack with thin nailing and hooking. Climb a vertical A1 crack to a spot below a small roof and set up a hanging belay there. (A4)

P4- This is the business. Climb thin cracks and seams with some hook moves to establish another hanging belay in a right facing corner. (A5)

P5- Continue up this corner at A1 to some discontinuous cracks and features. Climb this via thin nailing and hooking. The pitch ends at another hanging belay in a left facing corner under a roof. (A3+)

P6- Climb the corner above the roof to and A3 crack. Climb the crack up and left to a horn. Tension left off the horn to some hooking and then 5.6 to a large belay ledge to join Brer Rabbit. (A3, 5.6)

P7- Continue up Brer Rabbit climbing a bolt ladder to an A2 crack. Pass an old belay, climb past a hole then a 5.8 mantle and some bolts lead you to the Belay. (5.8, A2)

P8- Climb up a right facing corner to a ledge and thread a hole for pro. From there traverse right to a fixed pin and some awkward grovelling under a roof. Climb bolts and cracks above the roof to the belay. (5.8, A2)

P9- Climb a 5.8 squeeze chimney and a short A1 section on the south face of the summit blob to the summit of the tower. (5.8 A1)

Descent- Make 6 or 7 raps down Road Kill on the Northwest face of the tower.

This route takes a lot of effort and time to set up good belay anchors.


7 beaks, 10 blades, 12 arrows, 5 baby angles, 3 3/4" angles, 2 each 1"-1 1/2" angles, 3-4 sets of cams to #4 camalot. 2 sets of stoppers, many hooks, 20-25 aluminum heads.

Comments on Intifada Add Comment
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By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Jul 22, 2002

"There were no holes drilled deeper than 1/4" deep on the first ascent".

Yes. Beyer told me that on this route, and on World's End, he developed the innovative technique of drilling two (or was it three?) 1/4" holes immediately above each other and then pounding in an alumihead (the old rectangular Forrest versions work best for this) into the resulting slot. Trenching for the Fishers. He also told me he did not want this printed in Bjornstad's guidebook. This gets a little weird years later when someone tries a second ascent, and the slots have degraded and eroded out ( the rock can erode really fast; I have actually seen Beyer copperheads on top of little protrusions of rock); and there is no mention of any of this in Beyer's own descriptions/topos. What's a second ascentionist to do?In the case of World's End, the second ascentionist retreated, baffled, and, after a long phone call to Beyer, returned to the fray armed with a drill, and rather more liberal attitude to using it.With Intifada, the second ascentionists, once they realized that there were lots of driled holes already on the route, figured there was no harm in deepening existing holes. I was camping in the Fishers when Tim Wagner did the third ascent of Intifada. This was a fine effort, done solo. As I recall, he told me he had no clue about who was responsible for the numerous holes all over the route. He just used the holes he could, and drilled others out deeper as needed (ie if they had degraded/flared out and were unusable).

Anyway, three points/slanderous comments:1. If a route in the Fishers employs an indeterminate number of drilled holes/slots, and the first ascentionist doesn't telll anyone, it seems quite understandable to me that folks, once they realize what was done, will drill deeper holes_and, what is far worse, if they cannot find a hole, they'll drill a new one because they will rationalize that the old hole has eroded out altogether.

2. What do other folks think of this trenching technique?"The second ascent drilled some of the holes deeper to place baby angles." If a hole was drilled by the first ascentionist, is it bad to drill it deeper? If so, why? 3. Anyone who thinks that Jim Beyer, on those A4/5 leads, was taking out his 25-foot Stanly tape and methodically limiting himself to no more than 1/4" deep probably still believes that Clinton resolutely refused to inhale.

By Joe Collins
Jul 23, 2002

To me, the whole idea of "trenching" head and hook placements in this manner sounds like pretty much the same damn thing as drilling holds (or bolting on holds) on a sport route. One is done in the name of adventure, while the other in the name of athleticism. Essentially, I see no difference. Beyer and cohorts, in employing these techniques, do have tradition on their side... but then he has the gaul to take on the role of ethics-policeman when NATURAL sport routes pop up on "his" walls near Durango. One may be able to justify this with the macho-attitude that its far more ballsy to create tenuous placements than place bolts, but with repeated ascents and thus further modification, it is the rock that suffers.

It is very possible that the Fishers will one day be designated a wilderness-type area where, much like the case of Canyonlands NP, only clean protection will be allowed. If land managers only knew (or read this page) what happens up on the walls, this outcome would be a virtual certainty. This type of route development needs to be discouraged if the rest of the climbing community still wants to climb in the Fishers.

By Andy Johnson
May 28, 2003

So let me get this straight. Did Wagner use the trenching method on his ascent? Who did the real second ascent? Also, I have a ton of respect for Jim Beyer. He is definately the ultimate aid master in my eyes, but the whole deal of trenching sounds pretty bad. I have always been told that one should never enhance a placement when heading. You might as well just put in a rivet. Both are modifications in the rock to allow upward progress. The only diference is that one is reuseable and the other is not. Sure it will lower the rating, but it will save the rock from being drilled with every ascent. Reinhold Messner called bolts "the murder of the impossible." I beg someone to tell me the difference.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 16, 2004

The earlier comment I made reads way worse I intended. It is not meant as a personal criticism of anyone. I was (and I am still) trying to open up a debate (and this is a good forum for such a debate) on different styles of doing aid routes in the Fishers.
By Colin Coulson
Apr 15, 2004

Could it be that the land managers previously mentioned are or one day will be right? Is the elimination of climbing in the Fishers the best decision for the towers? The Fishers are possibly THE place for frightening adventure, but it is simply impossible to surmount these towers without leaving your mark. Even on the trade routes there are scars from _clean_ aid. Granted, these towers may only be around for X number more years (Geologists, help me out on this one!) due to their discontinuity of strata and weak cohesion.Likewise, the marks left by climbers weather away into oblivion as well. So why be so concerned with the damage we leave? Secondly, the history of climbing is marred by countless _epic_ climbs that dealt with the dilemma of bolting and scarring in a rather impertinent manner.Perhaps you have heard of the "Kompressor" Route on Cerro Tore or even the first ascent of El Cap_tan. These accomplishments have been met with considerable scrutiny and the results of such may be considered viable in application to the Fishers. I am not drawing conclusions here, simply stating similar cases. Granted these routes in the Fishers are under significantly less traffic and this fact is crucial in this examination.

It is here that we reach the dilemma:

Is the weathering caused by climbers significant enough to impose regulations beyond those self administered by all respectful participants? Do the natural weathering processes eliminate or lessen the problems cause by climbers? Are the benefits or climbing these towers worth problem of _defacing_ the towers- even if the towers will likely be gone in X number of years?How do we as climbers address this problem?

It is absolutely imperative that WE, the climbers who love these towers most, initiate and uphold standards here before all climbing is completely outlawed in this mysterious corner of America's most majestic dessert.

By Andy Johnson
Apr 20, 2004

Colin, I honestly cannot think of another group of people who care more about these towers than the climbers who climb them. You are probably right however, that we do inflict the greatest amount of damage to them. I think most issues here boil down to style. I personally feel that once a route has gone clean, it should stay clean. I think most people agree with this logic, yet I still hear recent stories of people nailing on echo tower or the colo-northeast ridge on the king fisher when things get hairy. This is absolute bullshit! Most people who like the fishers, like them because they are scary (in a good way). These routes get nailed out fast and become even more difficult. The crux of the NE ridge on the King is a prime example of what happens with excessive nailing. As for your other comment of "they are just going to fall down anyway". I think that this is a rather rediculous comment. Some day life will cease to exist on this planet, yet despite what the current administration would leave you to believe, we probably should not just rape the planet and accelerate the inevitable. You dig it? Just a general note because I think a lot of the people that nail on the clean routes are new to the area (NOT ALWAYS), THIS IS NOT GRANITE AND THE ANCHORS DO NOT ALWAYS LOOK THAT BOMBER. I have talked to a lot of people who get the shit scared out of themselves here. The Fishers are like no ther place. Be forewarned.
By Colin Coulson
Apr 21, 2004

Andy, the comment "that they are just going to fall down anyway" does seem foolhardy. I drew attention to this argument partially due to what Layton Kor said when asked why he was climbing the Titan: "Not because it's there, but because it might not be there much longer." Just FYI.
By Stymingersfink
Nov 12, 2007


I'm curious how you feel about your original route description when compared with the TR provided by the SA team, especially in light of the WoS discussion thread on McTopo?
By Joe Forrester
From: Palo Alto
Jan 28, 2008

Does anyone know how many ascents this has gotten and who did 'em?
By Jim Beyer
Jan 26, 2016

Intifada was A4+ or A5- after the second ascent.I originally climbed the route without bolts(but some drilled hooks, both bathooks and enhanced hooks)I use to think that routes that link with no bolts were the best style.I rated this route A6 close to 30 years ago.The third ascent party,Tim Wagner,called me and said that he found 2 drilled angle holes;one on the second belay and one in the middle of the crux pitch.He said that the hole must be used to progress between 2 features.I agreed and said that I drilled a hook to link the 2 features but did not drill a drilled angle hole (which is a bolt)in the middle of my crux pitch because I was trying to put in a no bolt route and more importantly trying to put in a hard(runout) route.Wagner also said that Deadmans Party is harder. The second ascent party first said that I drilled those 2 holes and then later said that I filled those holes(justifying his 2 drilled holes?) 30 years ago, seams were climbed with Rurps ,Trenched heads or bolts.We didn't use beaks because they had not been invented yet.I don't use trenched heads in the Fisher Towers anymore because I'm lazy and Zamack rivits are faster and weaker.Intifada as first ascended (no bolts) would today rate about modern(2016)A5a.It was, in that day, probably harder than any climb in Yosemite.Check out my latest route, Lone Wolf, on the Titan. It is modern A6.Any climber who does not trench heads has never done a hard El Cap route.Nail every pitch!

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