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The Kachina Spires
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Beyond the 80th Meridian 
Kachina Tower North 
Kachina Tower South 

Kachina Tower South 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c C0

   
Type: Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c A0 [details]
FA: Paul Ross and Paul Gardner: Oct. 1999
Page Views: 1,025
Submitted By: Mike McMahon on Mar 17, 2012
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BETA PHOTO: last pitch with me on top

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Description 

First... Bjornstad's description is backwards in Desert Rock IV regarding the north and south towers. This route is listed as "Kachina Tower North," in his guide.

This seemingly minor detail cost me many hours of route finding! I also made the mistake of thinking the topo for "Beyond the 80th Meridian" belonged to this route. After aiding half-way up a loose crack right of the 80th Meridian route... the epiphany came! - this route does not start at the base of the tower!

From the descent into Hell Roaring Canyon, walk downstream past the obvious Kachina Towers above. A major wash leads up and left into a basin below the towers. After following this wash you will be forced to hike left (south) on slickrock toward the notch between the towers (80th Meridian), or right and up toward weaknesses in the cliff above (this route).

P1: 200' 5.5. Climb an angling ramp / crack that provides easy access to a bench 20' above you. Once on the bench, look for a tree to belay from. Nearly every tree has rap-tat on it.

P2: 60' 5.7. Climb a short hand crack leading to yet another bench above. Again, belay at a tree.

P3: 500'? 4th class - 5.7. Traverse on the ledge you have gained toward the towers. After one rope length, you will find yourself in a huge bowl. Continue toward the towers. (We unroped in this bowl and hiked the obvious ridge toward the South Tower.)

P4: 50' 5.7 Climb an obvious off-width crack (4" - 7"). Belay at the top of the crack.

P5: 100' 5.8 A0. Climb the bolt ladder to the summit. This requires a few free moves onto ledges. There is a single bolt and slung blocks to belay from at the summit.




Location 

Descent:
One single rap to the north leads to the opposite side of the tower (you may wonder how the tower is even standing after viewing this side).

An additional single rap from a slung boulder leads to the notch between the towers.

A double rap from bolts leads to the ground. There are additional anchors about half-way down. Maybe this could be done with one rope? I didn't try.


Protection 

Single Rack: 0.4" - 4", stoppers, etriers, a few tie-offs and double ropes for rappels. A 5"-7" piece would be useful on the fourth pitch, but is not necessary. Cordellete/webbing to back-up rappels.



Photos of Kachina Tower South Slideshow Add Photo
the money pitch, just under the first mando free move
the money pitch, just under the first mando free m...
view from the fence of the decent into the canyon
view from the fence of the decent into the canyon
the start wash and route
the start wash and route
crossing the slabs to reach the hand crack
crossing the slabs to reach the hand crack
the start
the start
The entertaining approach into Hell Roaring Canyon.  March 2012
The entertaining approach into Hell Roaring Canyon...
closer look at P-1
closer look at P-1
Erick amazed by the slabby boulder problem
Erick amazed by the slabby boulder problem
P-2
P-2
evening light on the Kachina Towers
evening light on the Kachina Towers
the O/W
the O/W
start of "pitch" 1
start of "pitch" 1
the fine rock on the north Kachina Tower
the fine rock on the north Kachina Tower
the "pitch" 2 hand crack
the "pitch" 2 hand crack
Erick sport climbing the offwidth pitch
Erick sport climbing the offwidth pitch
the bowl that signals the start of the ridge traverse to the tower; if you didn't bring double ropes you'll backtrack to here to do the final raps
the bowl that signals the start of the ridge trave...
rap to the largest pine tree and then to the deck (if rapping the route)
rap to the largest pine tree and then to the deck ...
S Kachina Tower
S Kachina Tower
about to start the crawl
about to start the crawl
summit view
summit view
looking back toward the ramps that access the canyon bottom
looking back toward the ramps that access the cany...
Hell Roaring Canyon from the vicinity of the parking area
Hell Roaring Canyon from the vicinity of the parki...
Comments on Kachina Tower South Add Comment
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By Ian Pierce
Jul 3, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b C0 PG13

Fun route, the approach was exciting (although scorching hot on the return in July)
We used 2 #1, 1 #2, and 1 #4 camalot for the 2nd pitch.
The first pitch wasn't protectable, same with third pitch,
The fourth pitch is also hard/unprotectable, only piece we got on this was a #2 TCU half way up(although not sure we did the right OW crack, there are several.)
I believe there are 7 or 8 pitons/bolts on the final pitch, I recommend not clipping the final one to avoid rope drag.

By Alison Conrad
Apr 2, 2013

Another fun tower tick. The downclimb to the basin is tricky to find, but once found goes fairly easy. The climb is the basin at the very end where all the trees and ledges are. Mostly scrambling with 5th class climbing. I was able to tunnel in the ow and exit out the backside- I had to remove rack and helmet. The aid pitch was interesting.

By Dana Prosser
Apr 4, 2013

Descent into canyon: from where you park look directly across arm of canyon to north side. This series of ledges (looks improbable) leads you down to valley floor. The picture on route description shows a ledge that is crawled on to get there..
Route location: this route is located on the west side of the formation.
Route starts about 500ft to the right of beyond the 80th meridian. Climb several hundred feet up to the start of this route on slabby low angle rock.
Fun mellow adventure!

By paul bucher
From: moab, utah
May 7, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a A0+ PG13

crazy good stuff. a bit of a sandbag. the directions sound a bit vague but work well enough if your there and follow them. although, from the other comments it sounds like we pulled it a little differently. we pulled the left side of the wash from the tree and talus high point. angled up and right on a crack/ramp like it said. poor pro and harder than 5.5. more like 5.7. pitch #2 was easy enough (5.6) and the best 15 feet of crack on the thing. pretty much a scramble to the base of the off width from there. we agree with the 5.7 for the O/W. bondo placed a 4, 5, and 6 camalot on that one. bring a least one fattie or your going solo. the money pitch had the usual pins hanging 1/2 way out. i felt the first bit of mandatory free climbing was about 5.8. however i thought the move off the last pin was a lot closer to 5.10 than 5.8. perhaps i pulled it wrong. we rapped off the south side to the base of the O/W with a single 70. then walked back above the route and made 2 easy raps from trees to the deck. cleaned and replaced webbing and added rap hardware. if your rapping the north side, bring 5 miles of webbing. it's a mess from the top down. sic little bag. big adventure. fun. good air and great location with stellar views.

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 10, 2014

Aside from the last 2 pitches, the route is more of a hike plus a few boulder problems. The setting and varied topology help offset the lack of sustained climbing.