"Sapper", the tower being "The Pillbox"
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Sam on the Summit of the Sapper!
Immediately after you turn onto 313 en route to Canyonlands N.P., you will notice a tower on the south side of the road. Virtually every climber driving this route has said, "I wonder who did that?" I was in that group until today when I went to look and see if anyone had been there. Apparently, none had. No pin scars, no anchors, no knowledge with my in-tune buddies.
The climb is worthy for the first pitch and the fact that it is an easy, iconic tick. I got lots of "honks" while climbing it. The views are great. However, the upper pitches are not memorable.
P1 Down and right of the tower is a chimney with fun climbing. There is a hand crack in the back of it, but the climbing is much like that you might find in Thailand... seriously. There is some loose rock, but by and large it is interesting rock and fun climbing. A #6 friend will protect the crux (top). A #4 camelot will protect it too, but further below and thus a dangerous fall would be the potential. Top out to the right side and traverse around and to the left to find a chain anchor in huecos (a tree is also there on the right). 5.8
P2 Ascend up through huecos towards the tower, then a hard right around an awkward, unprotected bulge. It's ugly. An easier line is likely further right on slabs that have no pro. 5.7
P3 From the notch climb up on loose rock about 25 feet to get in any size of cam. From there, it is jiggery pokery with some bolts (4) and some placements. You will want a couple of hand pieces. A few free moves, and you're on top. This pitch will likely go free at a loose 5.10, but I was alone and thus aided up much of it.
A couple miles down 313 on the left.
I use Friends. One set, 1-6, would get you by. You could even leave the 5 behind... not the 6. You need that at the top of pitch one. Bring slings for that pitch for tie-offs and rope drag. The second pitch could be easier to the right of where I went, but you will need to solo the slab.. it's not hard, but it is unprotectable. My way was protectable, but really friggin' awkward.
Brad, sans harness, at the top of pitch 1.
Sam near top of P1... and Zo-Zo patiently waiting ...
Matt P clamping down on the crux holds of P3
Sam making his way up the third pitch. (I'd be bel...
The Pillbox from 313. A pic of the route will foll...
Yet another tower ticked.. solo'd, FA'd.. etc!
Brad pulling the dangerous choss-corner on P2
|Comments on "Sapper", the tower being "The Pillbox"
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
May 16, 2010
Brad Brandewie, Matt Pickren, and I went back and re did this today. Matt managed to free the last pitch at 12-. Brad managed to wiggle through the chimney without doing the armbar move... he had to take off his harness to do it, but one has to give him credit for going so far to avoid a harder move. If you do the move, the one protected by the #6 at the top of pitch 1, its 5.9. The last moves of the last pitch are 12a-ish. Back cleaning the only piece you get in (in the bedding seam) on pitch 2 is a good idea.
Good job Matt... and Brad.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
May 10, 2014
It's possible to hike to the start of pitch 3. Start a mile west, hike into a bay, friction up a slab, across the top, find the hidden scramble descent to the big ledge. Long approach, but once at the tower, fun, fast pitch with excellent rock to a cool summit. Used one set cams to 4-inch, with doubles of 1.5 inch (for the belay) and 3-inch.