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Cottontail Tower
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West Side Story 

West Side Story 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a C3

   
Type:  Aid, 10 pitches, 850', Grade VI
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a C3 [details]
FA: Harvey T. Carter, Art Howells, Don Doucette, Mike Dudely, Morgan Gadd, Herbie Hendricks (June 1969)
Page Views: 7,467
Submitted By: Joe Forrester on Sep 4, 2005

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Trying to figure out were the crack of the last pi...

Description 

I thought that of all of the routes that I have done in the Fishers (NE ridge, Phantom, Finger) this was certainly the most exciting. It does not have the same exposure as Phantom, nor the history of the finger, nor the height of Kingfisher. However, west side story is a very fun climb that deserves to be more popular. At no point does the aid become too hard for a competent C3 leader nor is the free climbing at all too death defying. One note of caution; someone someone should go up and start replacing the belay bolts, some are very old and dubious. Also, just a side note before I get to the topo, I think that this will be the next line in the fishers to go free. Very possible if the belays were improved. Now onto the business. Also, descending the route was not enjoyable. There needs to be another way to go about that. Also, another note: I will grade each pitch with a fun, zesty, uber zesty rating as opposed to the YDS. It is the fishers after all, each pitch can change a lot. I will note the harder aid pitches and free pitches though.Location: Begins on the left side of the north face of cottontail below the saddle between cottontail and echo. P1- Fun- Begin on some slabs and work up obvious chimney system to spacious ledge. P2- Fun- Use a few old studs to get into a squeeze chimney. Don't get stuck!P3-Fun- Descent Aiding, a few mud moves. Follow the left side crack and then move right to a belay. P4-Zesty/uber zesty- Good aiding and some exciting free moves. Maybe made more exciting because I was rope soloing, I don't know. Just dig the mantle. this pitch will take you to the giant bivy ledge on the saddle.P5-Zesty-Fun aiding, but short pitch straight up arete on the west end of the saddle.P6- Fun- Good aiding, but no particularily zesty moves, the chimney at the top is cool though.P7- Uber Zesty- The aid pitch combined with a sweet traverse to a blind placement. The exposure is becoming more awesomeP8 Zesty/uber zesty- a free pitch with some enticing off-width. Combine this with the chimney marked Pitch 9 in the Bjornstad guide for one long pitch. P9 Fun- Go around to the south side of the tower and climb a wide crack to a 1/4 incher to the summit.

Just a few words of caution. If you are going to rap the route, leave a rope fixed between 5 and 6 and 6 and 7 to help you get back down. A sweet route over all.

Protection 

Double Set of Cams, Double Set of Stoppers including RP's, Tie Offs, Ball-nuts, tri-cams. Basic Fishers rack should suffice. If you are uncomfortable with wide cracks you might want to bring two number 5's and two number 4's but not neccessary. One of both should suffice.


Photos of West Side Story Slideshow Add Photo
Looking down from the top of pitch 6.
Looking down from the top of pitch 6.
THis is the ugly wad we brought down
THis is the ugly wad we brought down
Alan Ream climbing pitch 5 - the first pitch from the saddle between Cottontail & Echo.
Alan Ream climbing pitch 5 - the first pitch from ...
Enjoying a cold PBR on the saddle between Echo and  <br />Cottontail.
Enjoying a cold PBR on the saddle between Echo and...
West Side Story Topo
BETA PHOTO: West Side Story Topo
Another choice anchor on West Side Story. Many  <br />hangers were old chopped arrows or blades. Super  <br />bomber.
Another choice anchor on West Side Story. Many ha...
Ben humping the rock on pitch 5.
Ben humping the rock on pitch 5.
Matt on the the shoulder(top of pitch 9) Note the bloody leg.
Matt on the the shoulder(top of pitch 9) Note the ...
Starting up pitch 4 to the saddle. You brought the  <br />tricams didn't you?
Starting up pitch 4 to the saddle. You brought the...
Alan following pitch 6 of Cottontail.
Alan following pitch 6 of Cottontail.
Bill Roberts, West Side Story, early 1990s
Bill Roberts, West Side Story, early 1990s
This is what we took up to bring the anchors up to speed. You can thank the ASCA. Not all of these were used.
This is what we took up to bring the anchors up to...
Choice anchor on West Side Story.
Choice anchor on West Side Story.
Alan on pitch 7 of Cottontail, just before starting the traverse.
Alan on pitch 7 of Cottontail, just before startin...
Sam Lightner (?) on the summit, drilling new anchors.
Sam Lightner (?) on the summit, drilling new ancho...
Me almost to the end of the chossy third pitch. The traverse from the main mud crack right to the anchor ledge is exciting. Photo by Derek.
Me almost to the end of the chossy third pitch. Th...

Comments on West Side Story Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 21, 2014
By Andy Johnson
Apr 28, 2004

Leave the hammers at home for west side story, it does go clean. Mark Hammond and partner(sorry I don't know your name partner), I think got the first clean ascent. Mark said there were some scary sections, but it goes around C3.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 6, 2005

Climbed this route with Joe, Mike and Dave this past weekend. You MUST have tricams for this route. There a couple placements that will work ONLY with tricams. You WILL be bummed if you don't have them.

You have been warned.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 14, 2005

Rapping the route sucks, don't do it.

Bring binocs and scope the Road Kill rap route before you set off. Rap Road Kill straight down the face to the ground!

If you do this bring a bunch or webbing, leaver biners/rap rings, some bolts and a hammer. Who knows what the Hell is up there as far as hardware is concerned?

Have fun!
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Jan 23, 2006

I climbed West Side Story clean earlier this year. It wasn't too bad.
By Ben Kiessel
Jun 18, 2006

We did this route last week. We set off expecting to fix the first few pitches and then finish it the next day. but we got to the saddle and it was only 10:30, so we did it in a day. The route was pretty chill, nothing too hard and no pitches too time consuming.
-We did get off route on the last pitch and climbed a crack that was to the left of the route, don't do this; it was not fun.
-We also combined pitches 8 and 9 (with a 60 m rope) which was nice.
-We rappeled the route with one 60 meter fixed rope on pitch 6 and half of pitch 7. It was fine and would have been even easier if we did not have a small haul bag with us.
-We left the car with light, got back with light, and did not rush. It is deffinetly not a grade 6 like one of the guide books and this page suggest. Grade IV, or Grade V if your slow.
-An extra bolt on the anchors is not a bad idea. The anchor on top has only a drilled pin and a bolt(with a nut as a hanger) there was a inch long 1/4" that we pulled out with our fingers. You would be fine with out a bolt kit but it might be a good idea to bring one.
Ben
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Apr 30, 2007

Yesterday Jeff Widen, Rich McDonald, and I did the route and replaced a bunch of stuff on it. In light of the Colorado Arete discussion, I left most of the time-pieces and science projects that had been used over the years so that the route retains its museum qualities. A few bolts were pulled, but they were mostly bad star drives on leeper hangers and exposed angles... not anything too exotic.

A number of lead bolts were replaced, but the route is still very spicey in this category. The traverse pitch still has 3 or 4 time capsules for all the new halfies. Many lead bolts were not replaced on other pitches cus they are not necessary with new gear. Its still C3 with that hard bit coming up high and in a traversing pitch, so if you fell and got hurt your partner would have a VERY difficult time getting to you. Considering the Moab area does not have a heli-rescue team, you might be toast and he might just have to give you the Simpson/Yates sendoff!

All the anchors on the main tower have at least 2 half-inch bolts (ASCA stuff) and are linked with camo-chain. No need to add webbing for quite a few years. The second anchor from the top, on the summit ridge, has been moved east to a spot directly above the next rap... you'll see it.

The rap that spans the traverse pitch should have, with hindsight, been moved. We had a hell of a time pulling the ropes and the traversy- rap is spooky. I would recommend that future parties go with two seventies, one for climbing and one for pulling. With a seventy (X2) you can rap from the top of the traverse pitch to the arete anchor. THis gives you a better pull angle on the rope.


We replaced one of the anchors on the lower section, below the saddle, with new chains. You can rap to this anchor from the saddle and then rap to the ground (Watch the ends) with rope stretch from it. That last one is all of the 60 meter ropes but would be casual on 70's

I posted some pics of our replacement stuff. We did not bring down all the webbing we could... we ran out of day light. In particular, there is an old fixed line running above the saddle that needs to be chopped. Its been there for years and muggles have legitimately complained.

All in All, I would have to say that this route now sports the best rap anchors in the Fishers... which is more than it deserves. I felt it was a great summit, with the highest pitches being the best. However, the majority of the route was pretty bland Fisher climbing.

A final note... in Thailand we have to worry about big, overhanging traversing raps a lot. The best way we found to do it is to have the first person go down and clip the gear on the way, sucking him in, and then clipping the ends real lose at the lower anchor. The second then goes down removing it and taking a big swing each time. For real big raps you need ascenders to pull yourself in and a prusik helps to get your hands free. The system works well in Thailand, but there are things to worry about. Each time you swing the rope could be rubbing on something... you could slice it or you could dislodge something that hits you really , really hard.

Actually, the safest thing is to just not climb in the Fishers.
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
May 2, 2007

Thanks for taking the time to replace the anchors. That must have been a helluva job. That fixed line has been up for at least 5 years. Did you replace the last bolt leading up to the summit block? I thought I remembered that one being a little suspect. Thanks again.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
May 2, 2007

Thanks Sam. I was wondering who was up on Cottontail that day. West Side really needed some maintenance.

I'm not surprised to hear of your struggles with the traversing rappels. I thought most folks rapped Roadkill. Roadkill itself does not look very good (lots of 1/4-inch rivets following seams, this being done in the pre-Birdbeak days), but it is a very direct rappel line.

Thanks again for putting in the time and effort. Looks like a nice haul of old webbing.
By Paul Gagner
Oct 15, 2007

Tom Dickey and I climbed this route on October 14, 2007. The rap anchor at the top of the 7th pitch needs to be fixed - it's in a terrible place. We left a draw with a roller biner on it to facilitate pulling - which helped tremendously. Someone should move the shoulder anchor over so you can rap straight down to the top of the 6th pitch. We left a 7mil fixed on the 7th pitch.

Our recommended rack was:

8x rivet hangers
1x stoppers - mostly med-lrg
1x #5 HB offset
1x Tcu's - nothing too small
1x .25, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5 Camalot
3x .5 - 3 Camalot
Two tie offs
shoulder length slings
15 draws
50 biners

Didn't have or need any tricams.

Suggest bringing a bolt kit to replace any of the old bolts that might pull - there are a bunch that are pretty manky.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Oct 16, 2007

Paul, the anchor was placed there because that is roughly the place the first ascentionist placed theirs. Its a very bad pull, but we did not want to alter the route.
By Paul Gagner
Oct 16, 2007

Hey Sam - Long time no see. Hope you are well. Yes, I figured that was what you guys did. Someone is going to epic on it so it may be prudent for a future party to try and straighten out.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Oct 17, 2007

When I looked at it I thought the correct thing to do was to have another party rap down Road Kill and equip it with chains. I believe Brad B and Ben K. did that and had no problems. It would be nice if the next party used chains... I will provide it for you if you want to do this.
By Ben Kiessel
Oct 17, 2007

Matt and I rappeled West side story, It was really not that bad. I think that rap stations down Road Kill is a good idea. Moving anchors on W.S.S. seems silly when you can go straight down the face. The reason we didn't was because we didn't have a bolt kit, didn't know the conditions of the anchors and were afraid.

ben
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Oct 25, 2008

I'd have to agree with the Ben Kiessel. I've rapped Roadkill twice, once in 1989, once again in 1992. It's the best way down from both West Side Story and Brer Rabbit. Both times this was fast and efficient--straight down each time, and easy pulls. The first rap down the face is pretty spooky, as you can't see what you are aiming for. The fixed gear at the belays is--or at least was--an old-school assortment of pitons and bolts with webbing. Best to have a hammer for resetting the pitons, and fresh webbing (and maybe knife) for backing up the existing tat. There again, 15 years later, who who knows what's up there now.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Oct 26, 2008

Had I known I would have done Roadkill anchors. As is, it is a hard pull. Here is what we can do. The next person up can take a hand drill and a 1/2 inch bolt. ITs only about 30 minutes to drill the hole. I will provide the hardware, including the chains (we need chains folks). This will get ROadkill set up for the long haul and get the tat down that is so visible. Anyone planning on doing these towers should drop me a line... I"ll provide the gear.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
May 6, 2009

In the middle of March, Rob Pizem and I put a week of effort into freeing this. At the end of the day, we lead every pitch free except pitch 7, which we freed on toprope after I took a lead fall and broke two bones in my foot. I returned in late April with Craig Jacobs to complete the first one-day all free ascent. Craig was amazing enough to belay me as I lead every pitch clean and he jugged behind me. Can't thank you enough buddy! The route goes free somewhere around 5.12/12+. Piz and I also replaced a dozen bolts, though we left some in their original condition as we were limited on both time and gear, replacing every other or every third or so on the bolt ladder pitches. Bolts were provided by the ARI and Climbing Magazine, thanks for the donation!

Also, mega props to Sam and the ASCA for replacing most of the anchors on the route. Thanks a ton, it really helped give us the balls to try this thing in the first place.
By Jesse Zacher
Administrator
From: Grand Junction, Co
Mar 30, 2010

I feel it is a shame that most of the character of this route has been robbed because some hard men felt it was needed to be freed. In making it safer for your free climbing adventure, you have degraded a classic. Oh the day of 1/4"ers in the fisher is nearing an end.
By Jeremy Aslaksen
From: Albuquerque, NM
Mar 31, 2010

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!!!!

:-)

Be safe out there suckas!

Jeremy
By Jesse Zacher
Administrator
From: Grand Junction, Co
Apr 15, 2010

I guess in my brain I have distinction between aid climbs and free climbs. This is probably silly especially with all the amazing things going on with free climbing. Often when a party would like to free climb an old aid climb (which is totally bad ass and great), they will either climb it with in place gear options or do a variation where they can bolt/place and make it safer so that they are not altering the original line.

It is only fair to admit that routes done from back in the day will be updated.

When climbing the sundevil chimney, the only thing I saw updated was the anchors from Stevie's attempt on freeing it. The same with the other towers in the fishers that he did.

I feel that changing a route for the over all safety is justified. But, changing a route for two people to feel safe in their new approach to the route is perhaps not.

This is not to say that when I am out there that I don't replace bad protection. I thought that the equipment on the WSS was adequate for the Grade.

If the protection warranted a sweeping update why didn't Sam do it?

I do not mean to take away from the accomplishment in no way do I think they are "lame-ass hardmen". I also do my share of anchor replacement. Perhaps I need to step down from the soap box!

Nor do I think that there is anything wrong with aid climbing
I guess that it boils down to the line that becomes more and more blurry between aid and free.

With the rock quality in Arches and in the Fishers it is also difficult to speculate on what is more sustainable for the route.

I guess I just need to get-up with times. Cheers to new school trad!
xtranormal.com/watch/6106469/
-Jesse


By Ryan A. Ray
From: Keller, TX
Nov 1, 2010

Does this route still go at C3? Im interested in doing it and was curious what the grade is now?
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 5, 2011

Jesse, I respect your opinion but should clarify that all the bolts except for those updated on the last bolt ladder pitch were done after we sent them, meaning we climbed the pitches free on the original gear. We updated the old bolts while rapping down as a service to future climbers wishing to do the route, whether free or on aid.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Apr 6, 2011

Jason, those half inch bolts that separated every other or every two ancient relic, nor those half inch bolts with chain at each anchor, were not the "original gear". Far more was replaced before you guys got there than while you were on it. Just a clarification.

EDIT
BTW, this is in no way intended to influence any arguments of style or anything. I just want it understood that prior to you guys freeing the route we had replaced a lot of it... its in the record above. I make the point simply because it was a big effort and a lot of people on this site made donations to the fund that paid for it.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 6, 2011

You're right Sam, sorry I didn't clarify better. There were quite a few updated bolts on the second bolt ladder, the one leaving the saddle, and I believe a few on the last bolt ladder pitch, which I was very grateful for. There were also a few random updates as well, such as on the very last pitch getting onto the true summit that was updated before we climbed the route. It's been awhile now since we did the route, so my memory may be sketchy, but I believe the only pitches we updated hardware on was the first and third bolt ladder pitches. I'd have to look at my notes. In reality, we updated very few bolts in comparison to you and by no means was I trying to diminish your good deed/service with my post. My original post was simply to inform others that some hardware had been updated.

Anyway, I did mention in my above post and will say here as well, thank you for updating the anchors and other hardware that you did. You did a great job and I really appreciate it, both on this route and every other route you update. Happy climbing
By Jeremy Aslaksen
From: Albuquerque, NM
Apr 7, 2011

Oh the day of 1/4"ers in the fisher is nearing an end.

Yep...cuz they are falling out.

This whole argument is silly...when the FA went down back in the day...shitty 1/4 inchers were state of the art...same as 1/2 inch bolts today. The FA was placing fresh "bomber" protection...but after 40 years it ain't so "bomber" anymore. As with any fixed protection on "popular" routes (think El Cap for example), sometimes things need to be replaced. This is even more so in the Fishers.

The whole concept of "difficulty/danger/hard aid" that is based on fixed mank is flawed. Sure it is cool to see old FA gear/pins/bolts/wedges...that is why Sam (and others)leave old (semi-good) fixed gear when they can. I have done the same.

Aaron and Derek just(well last year)rebolted ALL of Fantasia on the Oracle. This is a historic and AWESOME ROUTE that has a bunch of fixed gear. They were pulling bolts out with their hands. A5 mank for sure. Does that make the route hard/er? I say no.

I recently climbed Fantasia with my friend Paul and we enjoyed the route and the updated fixed protection. Did it make the route/our experience different? Sure...we didn't need a bolt kit and a hammer. Did it make it easier. No. We still had to do some pretty funky mandatory free climbing where a fall would have SERIOUS consequences. Same as Harvey T. and the gang.

So what am I trying to say?

These routes are a limited resource in a place that I truly love.

It's kinda like an old classic car (I would like an El Camino)...sometimes you need new tires to be able to drive it and enjoy it.

Would you want 40 year old tires on your car? Buckle up buttercup.

Route longevity in the Fishers = maintenance of fixed gear.

Think long-term.


Thanks for listening.


Jeremy Aslaksen
By Jesse Zacher
Administrator
From: Grand Junction, Co
Apr 8, 2011

I would say that after my first comment, I have come to agree and understand the replacement done by Rob and Jason. It was a needed thing. As far as sustainability and longevity in the fishers I think that putting solid bolts is quite appropriate and thank you for taking the time. I am sorry for any comments that detracted from the send. I am in favor of these free climbing efforts and believe they are truly sustainable especially when compared to the gear lists of Jeremy's that include 20-30 peckers... But I guess peckers usually are not "fixed" gear.
By Jeremy Aslaksen
From: Albuquerque, NM
Apr 8, 2011

Jesse,

I wasn't harshing on you in the least bit.

All I was saying is that old bolts need to be replaced on "popular" routes from time to time.

No offense intended towards you or anyone else.

Email me if you have any other questions.

Jeremy Aslaksen
By Bob Dobalina
Apr 23, 2011

FYI. The first bolt on the bolt ladder leading off the "deck" between cottontail and echo (P#5?) pulled out yesterday when my partner moved above it. It was an original FA star drive.
By Bill Duncan
From: Jamestown, CO
Apr 3, 2012

If you prefer to rap the route instead of Roadkill, then this tip may be helpful. As Sam suggests above, bring two 70m ropes. Go ahead and fix one end of one rope to the top of pitch 5 (the pitch above the saddle). Climb the next two pitches and fix the other end of that rope to the belay atop pitch 7. The other rope is long enough to lead and rap the rest of the climb. Once back at the belay atop pitch 7, rig the ropes for rappel, but then rappel on only the NON-FIXED side of the rope and clip your daisy chain or sling to the fixed rope. When descending, this will safely guide you directly back to the belay atop pitch 5, without the sketchy free traversing while on rappel.
By Noah8000
From: Vail, CO
Oct 24, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2-

David, Derek, and I finished this up last weekend. Marked my 5th major tower. What an adventure. The crux pitch was actually the pitch going to the saddle. The traverse pitch up high is not as bad. Still has some dicey free climbing but is probably the best pitch on route. Getting to the bolt ladder on P4 is pretty scary. Summit pitch is stellar so is the chimney splitting the whole tower! Oh and P1.....5.8+....hahahahhahahaha :) Go explore for more info.

Also whats up with all those bolts????????? There is 3 at the shoulder besides the already 4 pieces for the anchor. Keep in mind, these 3 are a totally separate anchor. Brand new.... Then there is a 3 piece bolt anchor on the summit that is a totally different anchor from the summit anchor. Is this Andy's anchors he bolted for the highline? What a shame........let's add 6 bolts on one tower for one highline. Bit much....Why couldn't he use the standard anchors? There right by each other.....Might as well add a bolt ladder up the tower. Maybe it's just me. A pet peeve.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Oct 24, 2013

The anchors you are mentioning were not there when the tower was re-equipped. My guess is that your guess is right... slacklining bolts.
By Noah8000
From: Vail, CO
Oct 24, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2-

Makes sense. Thanks for updating the route Sam with all those anchors and etc! Much appreciated
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Oct 24, 2013

I have heard, but not personally confirmed, that there is now a bolt at the end of the traverse at what used to be the crux. This was not there when I did this in 2005. It concerns me that bolts are being added which are detracting from this climb.....
By Furthermore
Oct 25, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3 PG13

There indeed is a new bolt at the end of the traverse on pitch 7. That's why pitch 4 is now the "Spicy Meatball."

Also, that rappel down pitch 7 to the top of pitch 6, it blows. Didn't someone mention someone was going to epic on it? Well, that chap, was me. We wanted to go down Road Kill but was worried about the condition of the anchors. Descending this route sucks!
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Oct 25, 2013

Well, that is really unfortunate. Who ever put that bolt in helped take away from everyone elses experience. Anchor bolts are thing, replacing bolts that are already there is another. But putting a bolt on the crux aid pitch should result in a swift kick in the gnards or ovaries. Anyone know who did it?
By David A
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 25, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3 R

Was it not added during the Haas/Pizem free project?

This climb was pretty involved and a big undertaking for our group, but we persevered. So worth it for that amazing summit. Every pitch has at least one sketchy/hair-raising spot. The chimney pitch near the top was amazing! Super runout, but very secure.
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Nov 15, 2013

Too bad about the bastardization of the crux pitch. The whole thing is C2 now....congrats for ruining other folks experiences.
By Ryan A. Ray
From: Keller, TX
Jan 23, 2014

All those excess bolts should be chopped in my opinion.
By Jason Kaplan
From: Glenwood ,Co
Mar 17, 2014

We made an attempt on this last week with me taking a 30 footer at the start of pitch 4 landing on my head after flying past the belay. Our ropes are currently fixed and we intend to head back to finish it as soon as we can, though I'm not too sure how we will proceed without a monster of a stick clip. Though I did just try to free climb strait up, I kinda feel like it might require a pin or 10. The runout to the bolt ladder seems a little insane and I'm gonna go ahead and give my opinion that it is R rated. As usual we moved slow as hell. Maybe one day we will learn how to climb.
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Mar 17, 2014

Welcome to harder clean aid in the Fishers......it isn't for everyone. Plenty of folks have done it clean before......
By Jason Kaplan
From: Glenwood ,Co
Mar 18, 2014

I certainly see your point Joe. I guess I just have to get back on the horse and stop being such a pussy or just give up. Or just figure out how to piece together a huge stick clip instead of risking what looks like it could turn into a 60 footer with a potential of factor 2ing the anchor which is pretty much one modern bolt, a drilled ring angle, and some old bolt. Perhaps I am just over reacting and I was just too scared and hurried to really take the time to piece it together. Though I find it interesting how you say the whole thing is C2 now while also saying welcome to harder clean aid in the Fishers... So which is it, and when were you up there last? Considering the location of this pitch I do wonder how much it has degraded over the years. I've put in way too much work on all the other towers to just give up with only 2 left, but I will do everything in my power to not alter the mud for the next poor bastard that wants to play lawn dart. Good ole' first world problems.
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Mar 18, 2014

It is C2, and I soloed it about 8 or 9 years ago, clean. As most people know, C2 has a wide range, particularly in the Fishers, welcome to the Fishers sandbag. C2 on Cottontail feels a bit harder than the C2 on Kingfisher, just like C2 in the Mystery Towers is gonna feel a bit harder than any of the C2 in the Fishers. Can C2 be hard aid, of course. It is a less traveled route and yes, it does take time to piece those things together. That fear you feel is called developing skill. I know of at least two parties that have also climbed it clean within the last 3 years, who also agreed it is C2. So there you go, go get er done! It is gonna feel a hell of a lot better when you push through the pitch and get to the summit clean. And I couldn't agree more that these are all first world problems...
By Furthermore
Mar 27, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3 PG13

C2? Blahahahah...

Our party must have been complete chicken shits too!

No doubt in my mind that's C3 but I suck at climbing.
By Noah8000
From: Vail, CO
Mar 29, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C2-

C2?

I thought it was more like C2−. For reference, I think FOF is C1, and Kingfisher about C0+...maybe.....

But seriously, I think grades in the fishers don't mean shit. I've found them either soft or sandbagged. More often then not, sandbagged. That's the way it is. It's constantly changing from year to year. Who cares about what grade the route is. It's a sweet route and a good adventure. Enjoy the mud. You'll get er done this time, Jason! Woohoo
By Jason Kaplan
From: Glenwood ,Co
May 21, 2014

Well for what it's worth, we went back. I took another stupid fall. I totally should have just cheat sticked the bolt ladder because I was practically there. This time I made it further, aiding up the crack on the left instead of trying to free up the groove with no pro. I used a 3.5 to a red tricam (very similar to the fixed ones on finger of fate) it ripped by hand at first but eventually it set. Then a green totem only loading the inside set of lobes to a couple offset aliens which got me to a decent offset stopper. So I back cleaned the aliens and continued using them. Just before the crack starts trending right into the seam I placed a red alien with a screamer and 2 offsets I think g/b and b/bl clipped together with a screamer. Above that just as the crack starts going right I left my g/y offset alien and for some reason just clipped in direct with the rope (this was actually a good thing). I placed a blue alien in a downward flaring tight crack and it took some work to try to fish it up in; but once in, I thought it was pretty solid as far as I could see. Though I figured it might be a little directional and that shifting around on it wouldn't be advisable. After resetting the offset I was then faced with a parallel sided seam that was off to the right. I made my way over and tried hand placing a #3 pecker in vein, it just kept ripping out by hand.

While leaning right and jiggling around a bit the blue alien shifted and when I looked at it it appeared to have all but umbrellaed on the left side. I wasn't quick enough and it ripped, I landed on the slab below compressing my chest on the right side in a sitting position then bounced and was caught by the y/g offset alien thankfully. I lowered off almost immediately because I knew I was in bad shape. Trying to get comfortable at the belay was not enjoyable so I rapped off. Most painful rap of my entire life, followed by one of the worst nights of sleep then hauling 3 loads of ropes and other crap out as my partners stripped the gear and other ropes off the route the following day. My partner left a #3 bd stopper fixed when he down aided/ cleaned the pitch the following day. The anchor on that pitch is not inspiring and before I set out on the pitch we backed it up by making a 20' loop to sling the protrusion on the ledge.

I highly doubt I will ever come back, the experience has been miserable enough to make me reconsider my dreams of climbing all the major towers. It's pretty lame giving up and feeling inadequate but I guess I'm just not good enough or willing enough to break more bones and work my ass off in the process.