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Fisher Towers

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Fisher Towers 


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Location: 38.724, -109.3083 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 840,050
Administrators: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Andrew Gram on May 12, 2002
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BETA PHOTO: Fisher Towers December 2003

Description 

The Fisher Towers is one of the most difficult places in the desert to climb, but also one of the most spectacular. The towers are huge soaring fins of mud up to 1000 feet high. Nearly all the routes on the major towers are at least Grade IVs, and there is more than one Grade VI here.

The Fishers have a lot of history. Shortly after making the first ascent of Castleton, Layton Kor came here to climb the largest tower, the Titan. The extremely difficult ascent of the Finger of Fate route was the subject of a National Geographic article, and is one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America. After Kor climbed the Titan, Harvey Carter dominated the scene by making first ascents of every other major tower and most of the smaller ones.

The Cutler sandstone is actually very hard, but doesn't fracture into continuous crack systems like most other sandstone. The rock is also covered with a thick layer of mud, which makes the climbing dirty, loose, difficult, and sometimes very dangerous. The caprock for the towers is Moenkopi.

Stolen Chimney on the corkscrew summit of Ancient Art is by far the most popular route here, and at 5.9 A1 the only real moderate route. The Colorado NE Ridge of the Kingfisher, Phantom Spirit on Echo Tower, and the Finger of Fate route on the Titan are all fairly popular and increasingly difficult. Some of the hardest routes in the desert are here, many put up solo by Jim Beyer. Stevie Haston has freed Echo Tower as a long scary 5.12 and nearly freed the Titan.


Getting There 

From Moab, drive north on the River Road(SH 128) past Castle Valley to the Fisher Towers turnoff sign(about 27 miles). Drive to the parking lot at the end of the road.

All routes are accessed via the Titan Trail, which is quite good and well marked, though it can be hard to follow in the dark.


38 Total Routes


['4 Stars',11],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',12],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',7],['5.8',7],['5.9',7],['5.10',8],['5.11',2],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Fisher Towers:
North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)   5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c C1 R     Trad, Aid, 4 pitches, 400'   River Tower
Original Route   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Carson's Tower
Rasta Wall   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b A3-4     Aid, 5 pitches, 440'   River Tower
Entry Fee   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c R     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lizard Rock
The Flow   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c C1     Trad, Aid, 4 pitches, 400'   River Tower
Colorado Northeast Ridge   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c C2     Aid, Grade IV   Kingfisher
Finger of Fate   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c A2     Aid, Grade V   The Titan
Phantom Sprint   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a C2     Aid, 5 pitches, 500'   Echo Tower
West Side Story   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a C3     Aid, 10 pitches, 850'   Cottontail Tower
Sundevil Chimney   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a A3     Aid, Grade VI   The Titan
World's End   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a A4 X     Aid, Grade VI   The Titan
Leapin' Lizards   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Lizard Rock
Fantasia   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a C2 R     Trad, Aid, 8 pitches   The Oracle
Stolen Chimney   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Trad   Ancient Art
Death Of American Democracy   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b A4 X     Aid, Grade V   Kingfisher
Great Googly Moogly   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Great Googly Moogly
The Cobra   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c R     Trad   The Cobra
Browse More Classics in Fisher Towers

Featured Route For Fisher Towers
Todd Gordon on The Sundevil Chimney.  Photo  Todd Gordon Collection

Sundevil Chimney 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a A3  UT : Moab Area : ... : The Titan
This was my first real nailing route, and is still one of the best routes I've ever done. It is awesome! This route climbs the obvious fluted chimney system on the south face of the tower. We climbed it in two days, on the first day we fixed to the top of pitch 2 and finished the rest of the pitches the following day. We ran out of water, it was over 100 degrees. All we had were pop tarts, and I will never eat pop tarts again as long as I live.P1- Climb the blocky crack systems up to the ro...[more]   Browse More Classics in UT

Photos of Fisher Towers Slideshow Add Photo
Storm over the Fisher Towers
Storm over the Fisher Towers
Looking down at the Fisher's from the Titan's summit.
Looking down at the Fisher's from the Titan's summ...
Shadows cast by the Titan and the Oracle
Shadows cast by the Titan and the Oracle
oh yea.
oh yea.
A painting done from a photo taken from the Titan.  Artist: Willis Randall.
A painting done from a photo taken from the Titan....
Travis Coster rappeling the Colorado Northeast Ridge.
Travis Coster rappeling the Colorado Northeast Rid...
Fisher Towers base perspective
Fisher Towers base perspective
View of the Fishers from near the Colorado River
View of the Fishers from near the Colorado River
The beginning of the pitch 5 bolt ladder of West Side Story on Cottontail Tower.
The beginning of the pitch 5 bolt ladder of West S...
The Fishers and La Sals
The Fishers and La Sals
Sunset on the mud.
Sunset on the mud.
Ancient Art
Ancient Art
The Fisher Towers at night.
The Fisher Towers at night.
At the top of Sundial Tower just east of the Cobra.
At the top of Sundial Tower just east of the Cobra...
Echo Tower. As seen from the ledge that connects to Cottontail Tower.
Echo Tower. As seen from the ledge that connects t...
Not all fixed gear in the Fishers is to be trusted! <br /> <br />We found this 40 year old relic at top of the 7th pitch on the Oracle.  <br /> <br />This bolt (and many like it) was placed by the FA team of Harvey Carter and Steve Kentz and is only 1" or 1.5" long. Makes you appreciate the big fatties that the ASCA has installed on some of the trade routes eh?
Not all fixed gear in the Fishers is to be trusted...
Ancient Art with snow
Ancient Art with snow
Alex on the "Diving Board".
Alex on the "Diving Board".
Titan in snow with clouds
Titan in snow with clouds
The Towers .Photo Carol Crockett
The Towers .Photo Carol Crockett
Towers fron across the Colorado River. Photo Carol Crockett
Towers fron across the Colorado River. Photo Carol...
Fisher Towers
Fisher Towers
A climber on the corkscrew summit of Ancient Art as seen from Colorado Ridge on the Kingfisher. <br />
A climber on the corkscrew summit of Ancient Art a...
Titan with snow
Titan with snow
The Fantastic Five.
The Fantastic Five.
Full moon at midnight friday the 13th of March. Slightly erie, being the first time I had laid eyes on them.
Full moon at midnight friday the 13th of March. Sl...
Myke Komarnitsky being foolish.
Myke Komarnitsky being foolish.
BETA PHOTO
Fishers
Fishers
Fishers after Cottontail
Fishers after Cottontail
Morning alpenglow.
Morning alpenglow.
the best kind of cathedral
the best kind of cathedral
Fisher Towers
Fisher Towers
A profile of the Titan from the base showing the complex and fluted east face.  Lots of unclimbed territory here.
BETA PHOTO: A profile of the Titan from the base showing the c...
Jimmy P. (next is Wayne C.) after base jump from the "diving board" on the rim rock - crazy sight. . . .
Jimmy P. (next is Wayne C.) after base jump from t...
Looking off summit of Ancient Art. <a href='http://rjohnasay.blogspot.com/2012/12/moab-utah-fisher-towers-ancient-art_8.html' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >rjohnasay.blogspot.com/2012/12/moab-utah-fisher-towers-ancie>>></a>
Looking off summit of Ancient Art. rjohnasa...
A typical Fishers belay. In a mud chimney.
A typical Fishers belay. In a mud chimney.
Echo Tower with the Kingfisher and her sister formation in the background
Echo Tower with the Kingfisher and her sister form...
Fisher Towers from Fisher Mesa 2009.
Fisher Towers from Fisher Mesa 2009.
Sunset on The Fisher Towers
Sunset on The Fisher Towers
Modern art on Ancient Art <br /> <br />March 2013
Modern art on Ancient Art

March 2013
Fisher towers, clouds, La Sal mountains in back
Fisher towers, clouds, La Sal mountains in back
the vicinity of the Cobra
the vicinity of the Cobra
Comments on Fisher Towers Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 1, 2010
By Brad Schildt
From: Boulder, CO
May 28, 2002

Don't keep putting it off. Get out there, climb Ancient Art, and understand that the rock is not so bad. Do the Colorado Arete of King Fisher and realize, these towers can be climbed. Gaze East from the summit of King Fisher towards the Titan and know, it can be done. And from the summit of the Titan, retire from Fisher Tower climbing, content.

By david goldstein
Nov 7, 2002

The Fisher Tower trade aid routes all suffer from serious rock abuse, the result of nailing.To the best of my knowledge, the following routes have all gone hammerless (some have even gone free!) without excessive trickery, yet continue to be nailed:Phantom Spirit (Echo Tower)Colorado Northeast (Kingfisher)West Side Story (Cottontail)Finger of Fate, Sundevil Chimney (Titan)

When I climbed these routes in the mid 90's, they all suffered from significant rock scarring, much worse than anything on The Nose or Salathe; I'm sure it's worse now. Desert sandstone is a very soft medium that simply doesn't stand up to repeated piton placements. I feel that we desert climbers should adopt the Yosemite ethos that once a route has gone hammerless, subsequent ascenders should make every effort to avoid nailing. This seems to be happening in Zion.

What do others think about this subject?

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 8, 2002

Has the Finger of Fate on the Titan gone hammerless? I didn't think it had yet. Does anyone carry a hammer on the Kingfisher anymore? That route goes clean really easily, though I'd buy someone a bunch of bolts and beer if they wanted to do a public service on the bolt ladder pitches. Maverick on the Hindu on Onion Creek is the same way - I was never even remotely tempted to bring out the hammer on that one.

I haven't done any of the other routes you mentioned, but I do think most people try to leave the hammer in the bag if at all possible.

By Anonymous Coward
Mar 12, 2003

I just climbed the Finger last week and was appalled by the scarring. Perhaps Fisher climbers should adopt the Olevsky technique and constructively sculpt some nut placements out of those boxy pin scars. After all, nailing is chiselling, too- just less deliberate in its effects on the rock. Any thoughts?

By Colin Coulson
Mar 31, 2003

"Creatively sculpt nut placements..."? All a pin scar is, is a chance to cratively place a nut. Or better yet, a tricam. Just like in hard sport, if you don't have the skill (in this case, gear), don't make the route bend (or break) to fit your needs by altering the rock. Go buy some better gear (e.g. tricams-esp. small ones, tapered nuts, off-set cams...). These routes are amazing to climb clean, somewhat scary, but amazing none the less. A climber skilled in variable placements shouldn't be exposed to more than a 10 foot fall at just about any time on the Finger of Fate, and imagine it is the same on many of the other moderates in the fishers.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 24, 2003

Anybody know who or what these towers were named after? Fred Knapp claims "Fisher" is a modification of "fissure". I don't believe this as cracks are not evident on most of these towers, at least they are certainly not their most striking features. Bjornstadt told me he thought they were named after a local rancher, but he didn't know for sure.

By Andy Johnson
Jun 2, 2003

I am 99% sure that the Fishers were named after either a rancher or a miner the used to live around the towers.

By Anonymous Coward
Sep 8, 2003

Quoting "Desert Rock III" p. 169:

"The Fisher Towers are named for a miner who, in the 1880s, lived near them..."

By Stiles
From: the mountains
Apr 19, 2004

Finger of Fate can be done hammerless almost "easily". Even Sundevil Chimney has gone clean. Just bring LOTS of tricams and healthy appetite for some fear...Each new pin that is placed increases the size of the scars; if you can't do a trade route clean, don't do it. If you want to hammer, get on something A4.

By Ben Kiessel
Sep 11, 2006

Brad, Bill, and I did Fantasia on the Oracle this last weekend. In case anyone is interested the final bolt ladder either needs to be rebolted or bring a really long stick clip. I took a fall and ripped a screamer when one of the bolts pulled under my weight.(and i am not even that fat!) then after batmaning back up i pulled two more out of muck with my finger tips. Just letting you know in case anyone was planning an ascent. Also we did it hammerless so don't bring one unless you are replacing bolts.
ben

By James Garrett
Oct 22, 2006

I have a sense that many routes in the Mystery Towers and Fisher Towers suffered the consequences of huge rains this past month in Moab. I would approach alot of the routes where3 mud is known to flow, more cautiously. though you climbed it in September, I bet much more time bombs have erupted out there since!

By Ben Folsom
Nov 30, 2007

Tim Wagner and Lance Bateman did the second ascent of Deadmans Party. In my opinion, all those things you mentioned were great accomplishments. The free climbing that has been done out there is pretty amazing, super impressive!

By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2009

Actually, It's Phantom Sprint.On Echo. Weird route.
Weird frickin' place, but great fun too.

By Brian Boyd
Administrator
Oct 27, 2009

The Fisher Tower turnoff is actually by milepost 21, not 27 as listed in the description. And, as of October 2009, the sign is missing on the side coming from Moab. We ended up driving all the way until we crossed the Colorado before turning around.

By Aaron Child
May 1, 2010

As of Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, every single bolt has been replaced on Fantasia on The Oracle by me and Darren Knezek including a new bolt or two at each anchor. The anchors at the top of the very last pitch and the pitch before that have been completely replaced. Enjoy either a hefty glue-in or a half inch bolt in place of the old, scary manky bolts on the pitches that had bolts.