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Routes in The Pot Holes Area


The Spire described is high up the opposite side of the canyon from the Pot Holes Parking area. Strange knobbly things.

Getting There

Park at the pot hole parking area and hike up the tower.It is visible from the parking area. The approach is about 30 minutes.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Pot Holes Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Ghost Dancer Spire
Trad, Aid
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ghost Dancer Spire C1+ Trad, Aid
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Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
Steven. About 12 of the dirt towers on the Bookcliffs (Mt Garfield)have been climbed, I think four of the towers have been repeated. Probable all the Things of Beauty spires worth "climbing" have been climbed. See section on Palisade. Ghost Dancer spire is a lot more solid than it looks, at least compared to the dirt towers of Mt. Garfield. At Mt. Garfield, Mad Dogs, Black Tower, Tom Thumb's Talliwag, and Golden Age still await second ascents. Dec 11, 2009
Dude, Jason, I didn't realize you were f'ing insane? I thought just crazy...I have to drive past those mud towers at the Bookcliffs all the time and wonder if those have been climbed as well...I have been very suspect of putting ice tools in them as well. Maybe we should try soon. Nov 9, 2009
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Glad you're still with us, Jason. This route is classic Paul Ross. Speaking of Paul, we should get out to The Swell. I love climbing there, and it's devoid of other climbers. Oct 27, 2009
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
For those of you who aren't familiar with the area like I was The Pot Holes Area is located up the road from the other 2 areas, there are like 3 kiosk setups spread through the large parking area which can help you verify you are in the right place. The tower is on the same side of the canyon as all the other routes in the DB.

We climbed Bunny Ramp past the anchors and became highly un-motivated so we figured we should go bag the cool looking tower. Not knowing where the Pot Holes were we spotted a tower that looked vaguely similar across the drainage from the Bunny Ramp.

We racked up and raced over to find the tower a lot smaller that we thought (15'). We debated putting up a FA on this cool looking mini tower but the integrity of the tower was suspect as it was really narrow about 2/3's to the top (wider then my shoulder span one way and less wide the other, the narrow way was just a bit wider then my side profile (maybe 12-14"). The cap stone was big enough to kill you if it landed on you. The rock seemed kinda suspect, my friend Nathan scoped the quality of some of the micro towers surrounding us and the capstone wasn't solidily bonded on the few he checked so we decided it was a death trap. We hiked back down and drove up to The Pot Holes Area as we had seen the tower in the distance during our scouting mission.

We didn't think we had time to climb it but we wanted to do some scouting so we walked up the badlands-esque ridge with the other mini towers on the side of it. We spotted a short section of canyon below the approach to the tower that slotted up for a short stretch which is the main reason we hiked up there (to do the mini narrows section).

From the top of the slot we could see the tower pretty well and it looked more solid then our previous prospect (wide enough to accomidate us as well as the caprock). There were 3 mini towers at the head of the slot so we decided to climb one to see how solid it was. It was about 15' from the low side and we topped it out in hiking boots (The Pucker Pole, V0 FA). Solid enough but not overly solid. It was kinda un nerving being on top of the slightly slanted cap rock, and a scary down climb. It was the tower closest to the head of what we're calling Tower Canyon. Pretty cool area, there are a couple other mini towers to be put up but obviously the GEM of a line has already been established. I stood atop 3 of these mini towers, with the PP being the most significant. Going to have to come back for the Ghost Dancer Spire.

Also I'm not sure what I was thinking but after doing the canyon we came back up and out the way we came (we didn't bring ropes to rap the last drop in the canyon to the floor). I topped out another mini tower on the ridge back down and jumped off the summit to the uphill side. The dirt was soft and I spotted a couple other possibilities below, so I decided to do what seemed like some dirt/rock/ scree boot skiing down to them. Bad Idea! All was great for about 30-40' as I kicked off some slough and traversed quickly out of the way. I pulled out of the way to stop and let the loose stuff go by but when I tried to stop I was on solid bad land style dirt with momentum and ball bearings under my feet. Needless to say I didn't stop, I fell and slid downhill for probly 40-50' lucky to have stopped when I did. I'm super beat up now, so don't be a moron like I was.

BTW has anyone repeated the spire? I'm curious what it's actually like as I have a feeling it could be the scariest C1+ ever. Oct 26, 2009

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