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Routes in Independence Monument

Geezer Highway T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Independence Chimney T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1
Otto's Route T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Slavery T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A3-
South Face Direct T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3+
Sundial Dihedral T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c C1
Unknown handcrack T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
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Access Issue: 6/25-6/26/16 Otto&@POUND@39@SEMICOLON@s Route, vicinity, and rap will be closed! Details


This is a great tower with many different types of routes on its soft sandstone. Most routes get to the awesome summit in 4-6 pitches and all routes require double ropes to rappel. This tower should definitely be on your tick list if you haven't done any climbs here, and if you've never done any desert climbing like the Fishers or Moab, you'll get a nice introduction to that type of climbing.

The rock is generally solid, but flakes and small holds sometimes break off and all the climbing is sandy, nearly negating the need for chalk.

Getting There

Going South on 340 from Fruita, go past the entrance to Colorado Monument on the right a couple miles. As you pass over the crest of a hill with a housing division on the right look immediately for a right turn down what appears to be a driveway to the Monument Trail parking lot. This small lot leads about 2 miles (45 minutes to 1 hour+) to the base of the monument.

7 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Independence Monument

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1
Independence Chimney
Trad, Aid 6 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Otto's Route
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3+
South Face Direct
Trad, Aid 5 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Unknown handcrack
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c C1
Sundial Dihedral
Trad, Aid 6 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Independence Chimney
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1 Trad, Aid 6 pitches
Otto's Route
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 5 pitches
South Face Direct
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C3+ Trad, Aid 5 pitches
Unknown handcrack
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Sundial Dihedral
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c C1 Trad, Aid 6 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Independence Monument »

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George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
It looks like there is no unchipped, free route on this tower. Otto's route goes free, but using some large gouged artificial holds. It would seem unlikely to me that Otto's top pitch it could be freed without these pockets. Apr 15, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I'm just saying that surprisingly there appears to be no natural free route up this tower, at least nobody has discovered one yet. Bell Tower, Sentinel Spire, these all have free routes, but apparently not Independence Monument. No I am not saying that this justifies Otto chipping a free route up the thing, of course not. The search should now be on for a natural free route up the tower! Apr 15, 2003
I am in total agreement with Brent on this one! Think of WHEN this was done an give the ole' boy the respect he deserves. Thankfully climbing evolves. Apparently, closed minded arrogance is eternal... Nov 25, 2004
Heading up to the Monument in a little over a week, and am stoked. Just one question: Is it possible to hike from the base of Sentinel Spire (with its convenient rap-in) to Independence Monument by way of, say, Wedding Canyon? Ideally, we'd like to have the opportunity (perhaps overly ambitious) to do Otto's Route and then Fast Draw. And if one were able to do this, how does one get back to the CG? Any and all beta would be much appreciated. May 24, 2005
It would be easy to combine the two, either via x-country/trail travel, or by doing Independence and then driving up to rap in for Fast Draw. May 25, 2005
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Jon: I just now saw your comment posted 8 months ago. In fact, it is very do-able to rap in as for Sentinel Spire, leave a fixed line, hike over to and climb Otto's, rap down, climb Fast Draw, then jug back out to get back to the campground.

I actually have a funny story about doing just that. I met my friend Robert out there a few years ago with that very plan in mind. We were both trying to travel light, so between us we just had 2 full-length ropes. We forgot that we'd need another rope to leave fixed to jumar back out! Well, luck was on our side. Robert was in-between Outward Bound courses, and driving a 15-passenger OB van with about 100 feet of retired, chopped up rope being used as tie-downs for gear on the roof rack. Well, we figured it was probably good enough to rap on, so we tied about half dozen pieces together and rapped down in. The main difficulty was in passing the knot multiple times! I don't think anybody at OB ever found out. Feb 2, 2006
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
Joe Forrester   Palo Alto
Does anyone have any info on the South Face or South Face II routes on the monument? I was trying to find a topo but was having a hard time locating one. Also, if anyone has done the South face clean I would be interested to hear how it went.


joe forrester Mar 10, 2006
You can get down with three raps with a 70m rope. Summit-->Time Tunnel; top of the 5.8 OW -->top of P1; P1-->ground. May 7, 2013
Trey Irland
boulder co
Trey Irland   boulder co
The time tunnel was pretty claustrophobic. Oct 7, 2018

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