The Kachina Spires stand proudly over the upper reaches of Hell Roaring Canyon. Though relatively easy to approach, these towers feel remote and offer an unrefined climbing experience. Theyíre perched atop a soaring fin that juts into the canyon from itís southern edge and are obvious from the parking area.
To get down to the bottom hike clockwise around the first small arm of the canyon, passing a fence and keeping on slickrock as much as possible. There is a way to get down without fixing a rope but it involves crawling along a ledge system. We didnít see these ledges so we fixed a rope for a 30 foot section of cliff and used it to batman down and up.
Once you reach the canyon floor, itís worth taking an extra 15 minutes to check out the Barrier Canyon Style pictographs left by the Native Americans of the area. Theyíre located in a large alcove across from the spires and slightly down canyon.
This area went untouched by climbers until 1999 when Paul Ross and Paul Gardner bagged the North Tower. The following year Smith Maddrey and Wells Cambell climbed the South Tower from the opposite side of the fin calling their route Beyond the 80th Meridian. Regardless of which route you climb, you are likely to be the only ones in the canyon.
Use the Spring Canyon Bottom Road Approach as described on the main Hell Roaring Canyon page.
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 H...[more]Browse More Classics in UT
Correction on first ascents. The South Tower was first ascented by a route first up to the back ridge (via 5 pitches) then the final Tower section by Paul Ross and Paul Gardner (16th Oct 1999).The Route mentioned "Beyond the 80th Meridian" up the South tower came later as alternative pitches... and finished up the tower section of the Ross/Gardner route. The North Tower was first ascented by Paul and Andy Ross ( 1st May 2000)
Here are a few tips for the easiest way to get up both towers, starting with the South tower route. Hike around the west side of the towers leaving your packs at a large boulder to the west of the notch between the towers, on your way to the slabs/drainage, up and to the right. For the 1st "pitch" getting up to the ridge, stay to the right and you are able to friction up a 30 foot slab without roping up, then head back to the left to find the 1st decent looking crack leading up. Rope up here for a 40' 5.6? crack. you can either head a bit right to find a tree, or get a single 3.5 camalot on top of the ledge. From here coil the rope and head left again, finding a final 20' section 5.5? to gain the ridge. Start hiking left (North) toward the towers. Once close to the tower you will need to drop down to the left (west) to follow a bench around to the short offwidth pitch. We ended up combining the offwidth pitch and the bolt ladder/summit pitch. when at the last bolt on this pitch you either need to do a committing mantle move (w rope drag) or place a yellow metolious just above in a horizontal. To get off the S Tower the anchor seems to be set up to rap back to the South. Rap down to the ledge above the offwidth section and drop down to the east.(other side from the start of the offwidth pitch) Pull the ropes and walk the shelf around to the North. Do a short rap to the anchors in the notch between the towers. Do the step across move and follow the 2 bolts up to the single bolt anchor. Walk around to the Northwest corner of the N tower and follow the bolts/gear/ and mandatory free climbing (the rock was surprisingly good)to the top. Reverse things to get back to the notch anchor. Do a double rope rappel down west, to the slabs below. Walk back to the South to get to easier ground, and to retrieve your packs. For gear take draws, runners, a single set of cams to a #4 camalot (we used the 3.5, 3 times), and a few nuts to make use of the hangerless bolts on the N Tower. This make for an easy, fun 2 tower day.